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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.





January 2010

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:

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