Tuesday, July 16, 2024

PEACE – A wish for PEACE in Haiti

February 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Highlights, Peace

On the eve of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the ground beneath our brothers and sisters in Haiti shook with the fury of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. In an instant, the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere was further devastated by natural disaster, killing an estimated 200,000 people and leaving an untold number with grave injuries. Weeks later, our nightly newscasts continue to be filled with the tragic, indelible images: men, women and children lying dead, unattended, in the streets of Port-au-Prince; others remain badly hurt, many with limbs in need of amputation but no doctors to perform the surgery.
Our hearts grow heavier as children are shown in Haitian orphanages with no food or water, and our minds grapple with disbelief at the scope of the misery being felt on the island. Even if they do not touch us personally, we all experience different episodes in life that leave us breathless and cause us to double over in despair. These events do not have to affect us directly in order to simmer in our minds and block out all other thoughts.
We feel the anguish of the Haitian people, and the natural instinct to help pulls at us every day. We make the financial contributions requested by relief organizations — but is the money enough? Is there more we can do? Where do we find the peace?
These questions awaken me from my sleep and I pray for answers.
When the earthquake struck Haiti, the universe demanded our attention. We see ourselves in those scenes of catastrophe, and in the tears of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and babies. We see our nieces and nephews, grandparents and neighbors. In those feelings of empathy, we find an answer. Yes — there is something to be done right here, in our own backyard, to ease the sorrow of others who are in pain.
At the time of King’s assassination in 1968, his quest for racial equality had expanded into a fight for economic justice. He was planning another march on Washington that would have included all people plagued by the ills of poverty. Similarly, in the face of new challenges, the drumbeat of our ancestors rallies us to break out of the mind-set of “it’s not my problem.”
When disaster strikes the least of our brothers, it is really happening to us all. We can find peace by proactively re-establishing a sense of care for others.
I will not trip you when you are trying to get up. I will not hold on to your shirt like a crab when you are trying to get out of the barrel. I will give you a lift — or maybe, simply, a positive smile — to affirm your journey toward success. I will take pride once you get there, and use your achievements as a launching pad for myself.
Now, the clamor can subside. We have the power to transform it into a drumbeat for life, one that pushes us toward the positive movement that brings peace.

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