22 January 2010

Shadow of Guilt


Tonight is the Hope for Haiti telethon. Although I have given money, I have to say I hesitated to follow the coverage of this event. There were many reasons. In some instances I just didn't like how this was being covered with politicos and crazy right wingers spinning this into some sort of boon or folly for the Obama administration. And there was also my fear that this would be another flash-in-the-pan tragedy: hot news for a few days and then dropped like a hot potato. But mostly it was the guilt.

The wonderful thing about the technology we have today is that we can see things happen in real time. Movements can be sparked in milliseconds and a call to arms is only a Tweet away. But you also run the risk of being inundated to the point of indifference. In the wake of something like this, you can feel the solidarity of people around the globe coming together but checking you Facebook status can also mean navigating a minefield of guilt. ... "I'm flying there tonight, keep Haiti in your prayers" ... "My heart is with Haiti" ... "Have you donated?"... i.e. "What have you done?" ... "It wasn't enough".

I hate to sound callous, but I didn't want to hear about it or see it or deal with it. And I know that's selfish, but some part of me was not ready to take on someone else's tragedy. Then I gave the first time. I started to pay some attention to the coverage but I still shy away from the ztark footage. The bodies being pulled from the wreckage. The personal stories.

I appreciated that some celebrities put their weight behind the relief effort even mentioning it at the Golden Globes. But tonight when I peeped in on the telethon, I found myself focusing on Christina Aguilera's fabulous new bob and simply chic outfit. And once again, I gave. Then I turned the channel.

I seriously urge everyone to do all they can and if all you can do is donate to Hope for Haiti, I applaud you. The truth is we can't all be on the ground and I know I would be of little help if I was. Maybe later in the year when the relief efforts have died down and the country starts to rebuild itself, I'll find myslf there teaching or building houses (I'm pretty handy with a drill). But right now I can't take on this tragedy. And I'm sure there are pretty of other good people who can't either.

3 comments:

hughman said...

i have haiti burn-out too and i'm reticent to admit it so thanks for the perspective. i feel rather hopeless about it so my control issues kick in and i panic and run.

shananigans said...

I'm sayin' tho. Don't feel bad cause you're not riding in on a white horse. And I think (like anything) overload triggers indifference.

hughman said...

if i were as handsome and as rich as george clooney, i would definately do more.