Earlier this month, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, near the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The devastation was immediate and immense, and the international community acted swiftly to respond.
The logistical challenges of delivering any type of aid were immense and continue to make the efforts incredibly difficult. The airport, a single-runway strip near the capital city, became inoperable for a time after controllers were unable to work and the incoming traffic was too chaotic to handle.
For a time, the Federal Aviation Administration held a ground-stop on aircraft flying from the United States, until the Air Force could set up remote operations to ease the process of getting much-needed aid flights into Haiti.
Once this happened, aid could more easily reach Haiti's airfield, but there is still a massive delivery problem. With the government uprooted and at least partially unaccounted for, there is a crisis of authority on the streets of the capital city.
Most Americans have difficulty imagining just how difficult the situation really is, and the major media networks have largely failed their job of informing. Instead, they have decided to loop the newest videos of bodies being pulled out of piles of concrete, which at one time were homes and offices.
There is no context, no historical background and no analysis in the reporting. Media is portraying this as just another far-away place where non-Americans are dying by the thousands. The truly sickening part is that every time an American is saved or returns home from a trip to Haiti, they are awarded such an incredibly unbalanced and disproportionate amount of coverage, as if their life is somehow worth more than a Haitian's life. It is appalling and disgraceful.
Americans and other people all over the world have answered the call of responsibility to their fellow human beings and given generously to the support networks. Over $20 million has been generated by the Red Cross' text-messaging campaign alone, but more is desperately needed. The World Bank has canceled debts, former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have joined together to form a non-partisan, apolitical aid organization and President Barack Obama is pushing a bill through Congress, which would eliminate taxes on any donations sent to Haiti. It truly has been a remarkable and overwhelming response in the name of humanity, although there is plenty more to be done.
The best any one person can do as an individual is to engage in a two-pronged response. First, donations are still desperately required. Anything, even a single dollar, will go great lengths toward saving human lives. Second, educate yourselves. Go beyond what the talking head on the TV box is telling you.
Go online, look up in detail the history of Haiti. The duality of the country is truly remarkable. Beautiful geography and a remarkable people have been, for years, suffering from a string of corrupt and self-serving leaders. The more you delve into the details, the stronger you will feel about helping the people of Haiti. You will take an all-important step towards breaking the cycle of desensitization that has taken us largely by hold.