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Helping Haiti

It seems silly to write about something mundane like my life when so many people are suffering, dying and in real need.

I’m not going to lie, when natural disasters happen, I’m usually, I think like most people — briefly moved and horrified, and then I move on and go about my regular life. With the exception of New Orleans, where I actually KNEW people who lost their homes and were displaced and it was close enough (I mean, my University was used to take in some students from various NOLA schools) that it was just one of those “holy fuck” events that really makes you take notice. Especially when our President at the time did almost nothing and Kanye brilliantly summed it up with his “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” remark.

But this isn’t about politics, and it isn’t about how close something is, it’s about devastation. On a personal front, Grant and I have had kind of a shitty week (nothing wrong with our relationship, just some crappy life stuff) but I can’t help but be reminded how much better we have it than so many others. And not just in terms of material wealth, but in terms of having love and support. My dad works (worked? it is complicated) in residential real estate development. To say that the last 18 – 24 months have been difficult for him is an understatement. I’m consistently amazed with his resolve and positive attitude, in spite of seeing his business and the industry crumble around him. It’s a testament to his character that he has remained able to keep on without so much as a complaint.

I donated $10 to the Red Cross via my cell phone on Wednesday, but I plan to give more. At Mashable, we’ve been covering lots of the Internet-community spurred relief efforts (you can read all of our Haiti coverage here to find places to send money or goods or just volunteer your time in collecting stuff to send over. The situation is so exacerbated by the very logistical hurdles of getting stuff from the Port-au-Prince airports to the people in need. The roads are all fucked up, people are scared and don’t know what to do, the cargo docks are unusable, it’s just really, really messed up.

Speaking of giving more — I love that the Mac community is doing Indie Relief (my Mashable post here). I see this both as a way to support charitable organizations and the indie developer community, so I’ll definitely be taking part in the event on Wednesday. I’m also thinking about making a larger donation to Doctors Without Borders.

I guess my only internal struggle when stuff like this happens, is that I feel really superficial. Even when it comes to helping out, all I can really do is throw money at the problem. I mean, sure that helps, but if I was really about trying to help others, I’d start volunteering or working in impoverished Atlanta neighborhoods. I would just throw money at charity a few times a year, I’d actually try to actively do something.

I don’t really have anything else to day and I have to start work. Help if you can — and maybe you can do more than just lip (and money) service than me.

Out.

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5 people have left comments

Robert - Gravatar

Robert said:

It’s likely that a lot of people share your feelings about. I know I do. It’s been a couple of days now since the quake and I’ve honestly been one of those people more caught up in the stupid TV late night mess than anything, but that changed today. Even though I have my car in the shop for repairs, I’ve taken the time to donate at least a few bucks and will do more to spread the word to others on how they can help (the Mashable coverage has been great, btw). It feels a little disengaged to just throw money at it, I agree, but I have to trust that people like the Red Cross, etc. know the best way to help and where it’s really needed than I would.

Posted on: January 15, 2010 at 10:04 amQuote this Comment
Michael - Gravatar

Michael said:

I wrote about Haiti and humanity’s reactions to tragedies as well today. I really hope that IndieRelief is a success. It seems to have all the makings of one so far, but ideally people will donate and volunteer just to help the victims.

Posted on: January 15, 2010 at 5:23 pmQuote this Comment
Josh - Gravatar

Josh said:

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blockquote>

Kayne brilliantly summed it up? Hmm. I call Hanlon’s Razor: never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

Unfortunately we’re seeing the same amount of incompetence in Haiti. It is three days in and the media is having a parade because planes are starting to land. It takes about two days without water to pass in the hot climate. We’ve truly learned nothing in how to properly act in times of crisis. I’m with you, and everyone, in hoping that aid can be brought quickly to make a difference.

Posted on: January 15, 2010 at 10:19 pmQuote this Comment
Caleb Galaraga - Gravatar

Caleb Galaraga said:

I know the feeling. It seems that if we don’t volunteer, it’s not enough and we’re not really making an impact.

I’m doing some research for an article on armchair activism and in some ways it makes me feel a “bit” good about the simple things that we do to donate. I did my part, like yours, sending $10.00 via text message and planning to do more. Sometimes, that’s all we can do really, to give some of our hard-earned money. The best contribution we can do to the world maybe simply excelling on what we do (like you 🙂 and impact other people’s lives positively.

Your post is an honest assessment of person’s true feelings when it comes to this mater. And it’s true, it can feel superficial, but the cumulative sum of all our “superficial” efforts is actually gigantic and can have a huge wave of impact on the Haitian people.

Posted on: January 19, 2010 at 12:52 amQuote this Comment
Amy - Gravatar

Amy said:

I wrote about Haiti and humanity’s reactions to tragedies as well today. I really hope that IndieRelief is a success. It seems to have all the makings of one so far, but ideally people will donate and volunteer just to help the victims.

Posted on: June 3, 2010 at 7:45 pmQuote this Comment