The Political Controversy Surrounding the Haiti Relief Efforts
|A woman is rescued alive from rubble several days after the Haiti eathquake (Wikipedia)|
And once again they're bickering.
According to a story printed in last Sunday's Washington Post, the geopolitical landscape is once again embroiled in controversy. This time, the tensions revolve around the global response to the Haitian catastrophe. To quote the article:
"There were growing tensions over which country's planes were allowed to land [in Haiti] first, with each nation insisting its aid flight was a priority, according to an official involved in the relief operation.
"France, Brazil and Italy were said to be upset, and the Red Cross said one of its planes was diverted to Santo Domingo, the capital of neighboring Dominican Republic.
"The French government became so annoyed when a plane with an emergency field hospital was turned back Friday that foreign minister Bernard Kouchner lodged a protest with the State Department..."
Following the colossal tragedy that has afflicted us, the heart yearns for some light. Undoubtedly, the international reaction to the crisis has provided just that.
After millennia of non-stop warring and bickering between nations, with only self-interest at the heart of virtually all the conflicts, we've arrived at the day where countries are up in arms—over what? Over the right to come to the aid of a poor and helpless nation that is of absolutely no strategic interest to anyone! Militaries worldwide are mobilized—for what? To rush to the assistance of a devastated people with whom they have nothing in common, other than the fact that they are all G‑d's creations!
One more point:
Haiti's devastation is beyond what the mind can fathom. The enormity of the numbers simply can't be processed. According to the Haitian Interior Minister, the disaster claimed between 100,000 and 200,000 lives (with many more dying each day from injuries, infections, etc.). 250,000 people sustained injuries, and as many as one million Haitians are now homeless. Altogether, three million people were directly affected by the quake.
On the flip side, according to the United Nations, as of this past Wednesday (eight days after the quake), more than 121 people have been pulled alive from the rubble. And the search for survivors still continues.
One hundred and twenty one reasons to be happy, versus the too-many-to-contemplate reasons to mourn.
Which raises the question: Would it really make a difference whether the death toll is 150,000 or 150,121?
Think how much effort is being expended on this recovery effort. How much easier it would be to just start the rebuilding, and bulldoze away all those piles of rubble and start anew.
But every time I check the news, they report on the intensive recovery effort, proudly trumpeting every new survivor found. Because it's not just about a nation afflicted, a faceless crowd—it's about individuals. Every one of whom is priceless.
We're finally getting it. The world understands the concept that we're all one, all G‑d's creations, and we are all mutually responsible for each other.
We're understanding what the real purpose of a military is.
We're understanding the value of every individual.
I hope and pray that G‑d is watching all this with a big smile. Surely this outpouring of care, love and brotherhood will elicit from Him revealed blessings—for Haiti and all the nations and individuals who've so helplessly rushed to the rescue (personally, or through contributing to the relief effort).
There is no more need for earthquakes or other natural disasters. We've proven our point. It's time now for G‑d to finish off the process of global goodness and harmony that we've started—and send us the Moshiach to bring an end to all suffering.