There are many things we can avoid or ignore from within the safety of our Carleton bubble. The recent tragedy in Haiti is simply not one of those things that can be easily brushed aside.
Two days after the devastating earthquake, the search for survivors is becoming frantic. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people could still be buried beneath rubble. Those who have been rescued require advanced medical treatment that is not available. The necessity for aid is mounting. It is something we cannot ignore, no matter how far removed the snowy streets of Northfield feel from the ruins of Port-Au-Prince.
Tragedy in the twenty-first century has been transformed. Within hours of the earthquake, YouTube videos and cell-phone pictures emerged on the Internet. It is nearly impossible to go to a news website or turn on turn on the television without catching, at the very least, a glimpse of the ruined city.
Starting at 12:30 a.m. on January 13, only hours after the earthquake occurred, the American Red Cross began accepting donation via text message (by texting “Haiti” to 90999, one donates $10 to the organization). News outlets report that $6 million has been donated through cell phones already. Sadly, on the other hand, various counterfeit donation websites have materialized, exploiting both victims and those trying to help.
Does such hyper-visibility of a disaster inspire us to do good? Or does it simply make us more knowledgeable of the tragedy? Let us hope that the myriad options for donations are not lost amidst the interactive maps and slide shows of heart wrenching photographs.
The people of Haiti desperately need our monetary and material aid. Just as much, they need the visible demonstration of support and compassion from the outside. They need to know that the world is not ignoring their circumstances.
As frequently as we hear the adage, “every little big counts,” it could never be truer than in this instance.
- The editorial represents the views of The Carletonian editors.