Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Anthills of the World

My dad started my brother and I cutting the grass at our house when I was probably eight or nine-years old.

I actually didn't hate the job, it was kind of cool when I was younger. I used to have little games with myself to see how fast I could cut the yard, or I would cut designs in the yard before cutting it for real. In fact, other then the heat, there was only one thing I really disliked about cutting grass: Ants.

Ant piles are the bane of anybody doing yard work. You know that if you disturb them in anyway, there will be hell to pay as the ants scurry about seeking retribution.

Yet, there is a certain perverse part of you that wants to see how the ants will react to having their habitat destroyed, how they will cope with an unforeseen disaster that uproots them and kills their peers. It sounds perverse, but you want to see them deal with adversity because it's entertaining.

Haiti is the world's ant pile right now.

Only, I'm not enjoying watching their suffering. In fact, I've avoided the news about the disaster. I find it hard to imagine the panic and sadness that anyone in Haiti feels, yet I don't think watching the news will help me understand. It feels wrong to watch Haitians pick through their broken lives searching for relatives and comfort. There is a voyeuristic element that just bothers me.

True, folks will point out that the attention of the media will help the Haitians receive the aid they need to recover. And it's also true that I would be pissed if this tragedy had been ignored, while other less consequential news is covered. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that there is something wrong with us spending so much time and attention focused on stories about people being trapped in buildings for days, and watching footage of folks walking among newly created ruins. It's almost feels like an attempt to drive home the point of just how good we have it here in America.

There is no doubt we have it good. There is no doubt that even the poor in America often live a life that folks in certain other countries would sacrifice a relative to attain. Yet, it feels wrong to affirm our gratitude through immersion Haitian's suffering. Yes, the pain of Haiti should make us thank God for his mercy, but it feels parasitic. It feels like we're using them. As the comments of some folks have proven, Americans feel like our continued well-being is an affirmation of our goodness and greatness. The reason we've been spared is because we deserve it.

I don't know, maybe I'm tripping. I probably should just go to a website and make a donation and say a prayer. After all, I don't have to watch the news, I don't have to read the stories. Nobody is forcing me to pay attention to what's happening, and most of the attention is helpful. I'm probably being overly sensitive, I might be looking for a reason to get upset and write a blog.

I don't know. Am I?




what was it about our generation / town ?

i remember cutting the grass at the same age.

watching the ants and dirt fly.

making sure it didnt get on my ankles and keds.

i cant stop watching the hati coverage .

every time i watch it i feel like ali is punching me in the gut.

maybe there is a link.

these days nobody i know lets their kids cut the grass.

i allways goof them at work with the old remember when we were kids bit.

give to haiti everybody.

please do a little homework and make sure you are giving to a real charity.

haiti is a big piece of why new orleans is new orleans.

god bless haiti.

blackgirlinmaine said...

I agree with you, last night I was channel surfing and came across coverage of Haiti and I just could not watch it. Not because I don't care, I do but watching folks in their most intimate moments of grief just seems wrong and in many ways there is an undertone I sense in the reporting.

So no you are not the only one who feels that way.

Deacon Blue said...

I think it's the kind of moment and tragedy where you need to see some of the horror to know why it's truly horrific, but I think more time spent interviewing people who can speak to the needs and issues...and maybe some background stories on why Haiti IS so poor...might have been in order.

Darth Whitey said...

Haven't you heard Deac? Haiti is so poor because they made a pact with the devil. At least that's what the great Christian leader Pat Robertson says... Jesus these people have no compassion whatsoever.

As for charities, I suggest giving to Doctors Without Borders. Relieving suffering is really the best you can do.

Deacon Blue said...

Well, Darth, I had my share of venom for Pat and his cheerleaders on my own blog the other day. Not a fan of that "pact with the devil" BS comment.

Doctor's Without Borders is good, but Red Cross is another strong choice...both groups are very well versed in this kind of thing and both know how to put the money to the right uses.

Darth Whitey said...

Oh, and avoid Wyclef Jean's "charity"...

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