Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Haiti - day 3

Hello and welcome to my blog. Thanks for popping by, it's always nice to see you.

I was going to start this blog in my normal way and this week was going to tackle the art of relaxation. However, I've abandoned that idea because it is so trivial in comparison to the devastation that has been wrought on Haiti and it's people. I can't pass that by without comment.

It's three days since the news was first reported and by now, I hoped there would be miraculous stories of children being pulled from collapsed schools and re-united with their desperate parents. Instead I read that a search and rescue team is turned away from the airport minutes from touching down. I hear radio reports that say there are stock-piles of essential aid and equipment languishing within miles of those dying for want of it. Crushed infrastructure, lack of co-ordination and possibly co-operation is to blame, and I want to scream.

What has happened to individuals acting independently and coping with the hand that they've been dealt? Surely when you can hear the groans of the wounded, the wails of the grieving and can smell the remains of the dead, you should not be content with saying, "the roads are too bad, we can't get through." No. Unload the lorries, load up your backs and walk to where you're needed. Even if you saved one life rather than a hundred, isn't it worth the risk that you may be disciplined, your promotion be delayed, or you may look foolish? You may accuse me of being a simpleton, of failing to grasp the bigger picture, of ignoring the chaos that may ensue if we all broke the rules. Fair comment. But you will have to go a long way to persuade me that any rule, or any potential disorder, is worse than having the power to save lives and failing to use it.

Bureaucracy and government works for the benefit of the masses. It thinks in big numbers and acts in big numbers. We don't. We think in very small numbers indeed. In ones, twos, tens, hundreds at most. If we remembered that and said to ourselves, what would I do if it was my husband, my wife, or my child pleading for help? Would we say, "sorry, can't get the lorry through", or would we say, "I'm coming now even if I have to carry one bottle of water, one blanket, one syringe at a time?" I hope I would have the courage to say the latter.

So what am I saying? I am saying think for yourselves, think outside the box and think for the good of others. If your car is stuck in an icy drive, dig it out or ask someone to help you dig it out. If your neighbours car is stuck in the drive, offer to dig it out. If the path outside your house is covered in snow, clear it. Don't wait for the Council to do it, you do it.

Where life is at stake, it is never an option to do nothing. Let alone when the catastrophe is on a biblical scale as in Haiti. Be outraged that there are mountains of aid waiting to be distributed which will soon be matched by mountains of the dead who never got it. Harness that outrage to positive action. You could never dumbly sit on your hands if you are outraged, but you could if a life was reduced to a number; a number to add to the growing death toll.

I hope the the aid agencies get to where they are most needed in the next 12-24 hours because the alternative is disasterous. I don't care how you get there, just get there.

Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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