While Focusing on the Gulf, Remember Haiti
Jun 28, 2010 by Dieumeme Noelliste | 0 Comments
The year will complete its first half in a matter of days. If there is something which has dominated it so far, it has certainly been disaster. Since April, we’ve been watching the spectacle of an inferno and the accompanying environmental and economic fallout in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the BP giant oil spill. Daily, we ask with impatience “When will it end?” Although we are aware of the projected mid-August date to plug the hole and stop the massive gushing, we still find the two month time span too long—like an eternity.
What seems to have slipped away from our collective consciousness is the other big disaster which occurred during the first month of this year. I am referring to the Haitian earthquake which caused the decimation of Port-au-Prince and several surrounding cities and the loss of some 250,000 human lives. The event was the talk of the town for the first two months that followed its occurrence. But when the BP blow-up set the Gulf on fire and began sullying the ocean waters with the underground black substance, that event of apocalyptic proportion captured our imagination, and understandably, the Haitian tragedy receded from the spotlight.
While attention is focused on the gulf, however, the human tragedy continues unabated in the Caribbean sea. Exactly a month ago, today, I went on my second trip to Haiti since the January 12 earthquake. I was there to take part in the launch of the “Project for the Mobilization of the Haitian Church for a Prophetic Witness.” This effort aims to stir the church to play a more active role in all aspects of the country’s life, not simply its “spiritual” life. The objective set for the project received the enthusiastic approval of all the nearly 100 participants who came for the launching ceremony.
What was surprising and disturbing however, is that very little has changed since my first visit of two months earlier. The rubble was still in the streets. The dangerously fractured buildings were still not demolished. The country was still in a relief mode, and this has begun the seriously affect what little economic life remained in the aftermath of the quake. The tent cities were still in place, except this time, with the arrival of the rainy season, they were sites of human misery, consisting in the main of raised sheets and mud. In Port-au-Prince, in particular, uncertainty and hopelessness seem to be the prevailing mood.
As I spoke with common people in the street as well as persons in various leadership positions, the main reason for the feeling of hopeless is the virtual absence of a sense of direction. People are baffled that five months after a disaster of this magnitude, no plan for the future has been presented to the nation. The Bible says that without vision the people perish (Prov. 29:18).
The point of this blog post is this: as we focus attention on the gulf, let’s not forget Haiti. And as we remember Haiti, let us pray for the emergence of a leadership that will be used of God to provide an uplifting vision for the future of this erstwhile Caribbean paradise.