So much human suffering! And in a place where suffering was already common lot of the vast majority of people... The images are heart-rending.
Did we need another reminder of the spectacular destructive power of nature, and our puny defenses against her? I think not. And then again, perhaps we did, given the insults that we heap unstintingly upon her. The devastating event in Haiti reminds of this truth, and also, sadly, of the indifference of the wealthy and developed nations of this world toward their poorer brethren. The rich nations, well endowed with resources, march on toward greater wealth and power, with nary a backward glance toward a disaster-waiting-to-happen like little Haiti. Nothing could have been done to prevent, even predict the earthquake that struck, now nearly two days ago; but its effects were greatly aggrandized by a fragile government, a pathetically inadequate infrastructure, shoddy construction, and a paucity of medical, educational and other social services.
Not our business? Perhaps. But it has become our business now. While it is heartening to see the nations of the world rally to provide support, how much better it would have been had even a small portion of that support been available before the current catastrophe. How many lives would have been spared? How much devastation of lives and property prevented? Of note, in the rush to help: I heard on the news this morning that little Israel is sending twice as many emergency personnel as big Russia. I wonder, will Iran be there to help? Odd, tangential questions. The real, pressing question is whether sufficient help will arrive soon enough to spare the many thousands of life that are still gravely at risk.
The vulnerability of our species is once more dreadfully on display. We see ourselves as so powerful, yet we even the most powerful among us is no more, really, than a small, pitiful sack of flesh and bone. It's sad, indeed, to recognize that it takes disasters such as these to reveal the better part of humankind: its spirit.