Friday, January 15, 2010

"Haiti has been a disaster happening and waiting to happen for ever. Had most of the buildings in Port au Prince been strengthened or rebuilt to withstand such disasters, literally millions of people would have been less likely to be harmed in that city by what has just happened. And we have known about these problems in our own backyard for decades. For decades now the U.S. would rather throw good money after bad on military adventures in the Middle East and elsewhere when in fact with a fraction of what we have spent in the last decade on war the entire country of Haiti could have been rebuilt and given decent housing!! Yes its true. And these are our backdoor neighbors. But of course they do not have oil and other commodities to offer us, so we as a nation have largely ignored them and their cries for help, hoping that the piecemeal efforts of small U.N. and Christian agencies would pick up the slack---- which they have been unable to do, so overwhelmed have they been by the grinding indigenous poverty and needs of that whole country, not to mention governmental corruption over many decades."--- Ben Witherington, New Testament Professor, St. Andrews University http://blog.beliefnet.com/bibleandculture/2010/01/haiti---a-case-study-for-theodicy.html?source=NEWSLETTER&nlsource=11&ppc=&utm_campaign=Bible&utm_source=NL&utm_medium=newsletter

34 comments:

  1. you know what else really bothers me doug -
    on several of the political blogs here on multiply there are a few actually calling to just let these people die wow I just couldn't believe my own eyes -sad world we live in-

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  2. I have heard some hard-hearted things on the radio from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and others, Red ---it bothers me especially that ordinary people would say such things.

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  3. So true and hard-hearted is being too polite..they are animals....according to so called expert predictions southern
    Calif could very well be next for another 7.0

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  4. Having gone through one terrifying experience and with many loved ones lost, the people of Haiti are now facing the the fact that help will arrive too late. In a world where there are the haves and the have nots, we can only image living somewhere where help comes slow for those needing treatment for their love ones. How frightening to realise there isn't a soul around to give words of comfort, or at least try to sound like they know what they are doing. I fear the final death rate will shock and shame us all...

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  5. I have just deleted a contact for tacitly suggesting that.

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  6. I`m a regular contributor to the Red Cross and Save the Children. So I have not done anything special yet for this disaster. The television pictures depict terrible scenes and there seems to be a sense that even with millions in donations, nothing very much is getting through. I take your point about America`s priorities. Given that Haiti sits on the junction of two major tectonic plates can we ever built them a quake proof infrastructure?

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  7. The technology exists to build earthquake-resistant buildings, a heck of a lot of it is invented right here because we are also on the earthquake fault line. But Even in richer countries than Haiti, like ours, there will always be older buildings not yet earthquake-proofed, older homes, or things built shoddily. Because I am so very aware of earthquakes (all new Zealanders are) I always shudder when I see tall buildings being built higher and higher even in countries not normally prone to earthquake. Buildings so high are stupid and symptomatic of arrogance - disasters waiting to happen.

    When an earthquake of this size hits a city, any city, there will be tragedy. It can't be otherwise. We have had earthquakes as big here but thankfully (in recent times) they have been in relatively unpopulated areas and so we have not lost people for a long time this way.

    In any disaster we are told it may take at least 3 days for help to arrive. This is because infrastructure will be usually be damaged. But I find myself wondering why more ships aren't being sent out there from the mainland rather than this reliance on aircraft. Even without a working port, smaller boats with supplies could surely be landed.

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  8. By golly, I would be deleting them too.

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  9. So true, Mike. I lived in northern California, where the building codes are a lot better, and we still had freeways collapsing during the October, 1989 Loma Pieta Quake. The freeway I used to commute on pancaked. If I had still been in my old job it could have me trapped for days or dead under some part of Highway 880.

    These morons like Limbaugh have no empathy at all. Why is this guy still on the air. He talked about Haitians like some drunk who's never been past his own county line!

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  10. Exactly Cassandra--that's why I wanted to share this quote from Dr. Witerington: the saddest thing for me is so often there are people willling to put their comfortable lives on hold and help out a village or a city on a blighted place, but they they have to beg for money to support their organization. A small percentage of what went into beginning thr"Shock and Awe" of the Iraq War could have avoided the shame of this huminaitarian crisis. The developed world turns its back on poor nation like this until something so shocking occurs--as if illiteracy and grinding poverty off our shores is nothing too serious!

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  11. I am broadly in agreement with the points made in this quote Doug, Pat Robertson thinks it is all down to the devil, but I think the devil is in the detail myself. Especially this one http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-215130981.html

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  12. I'm not sure we could anticipate the earthquake, Jeff, but I know the American government has seen this poverty for years and done almost nothing to allieviate it because it wasn't geenrating a military threat. I can't claim to have been an advocate for specific relief to Haiti myself before this, but its obvious that earnest pronouncements by Obama and especially past Presidents right now ring hollow given that aid has always been too small and Haiti dismissed as "corrupt" and "not-functioning". Just holding an internationally supervised election with some troops around the polling stations does not solve problems; giving people a hand up the economic ladder just might.

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  13. One would think smaller boats would be a help here, Iri Ani, I've wondered that myself. The Pacific Rim Area accounts for about 90 percent of major quakes.

    And its good to point out that some lag time is unforetunate but inevitable. It seems more sturdy infastructure, even designed to withstand hurricanes, could have been built with aid from developing nations.

    Ironically, its only when nations pose a military threat that the USA government and other power-sharers start thinking about winning the people over with good works.

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  14. Good to hear it AA. These are perilous times so I'm not sure what collateral deviltry might be afoot.

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  15. This is so true and actually I was talking to a friend about this very situation.

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  16. Hope this works....

    I have been following some of this and are we within a society now where we have come to look the other way? So as a society we have come to a point where if there is nothing to render we look the other way? I truly feel it's a pity. Certainly most all industrialized nations have been spending on areas that you have touched on Doug as well I looked at Witherington's write but I believe that Haiti has been a situation for years. Now could be the time to rebuild it. It won't happen though and it seems to me that we are within times that our governments will spend as they have but at this point it seems that the amount thus far is only a portion of what is necessary. I look at this situation and I really don't know what the answer is as it seems that this is going to be something that regardless of the amount of money placed into it - still there will be the same situation. But what I find so amazing is that this is the largest disaster to happen within the last 100 years and Canada was in there first as for reasons that I am unsure of we have a large amount of Canadian Haitians. I read within the news where there is a large question going on within Canada's government with regards to opening up the door to a faster immigration yet that is not the answer either. We have spent so much money over the last ten years in so many areas that now we are within a miff as to what to do. One would think that at least we all get in there and the ensemble of medical teams at least act faster but how does one really tend to a catastrophe this large? It's complicated only due to what has been done over the last 10 years. I find that we can only blame ourselves at this point and where is the answer I have no clue Doug. And that is very sad.

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  17. I agree Jack--its very troubling to wonder why more wasn't done , especially after 1994 and US went into Port Au Prince to depose the military government and confer an open election. UN forces have since done peacekeeping there, but its more like 'piecemeal' keeping really, not attacking the core problem of poverty. Ironically we spent so much money through NATO to liberate Kuwait and totally unend Iraq, but when it comes to development of nations like Haiti and Afghanistan (after the Soviets Army left) we tend to just walk away and forget about these places. It literally takes a 9/11 or a earthquake of this magnitude to make us realize how much more could have been done in calmer circumstances.

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  18. Doug this has been on my mind for a few days and I have really not wrote much on it. We did right now it's nearing 200,000 thousand over there and what do you think will happen?
    I really have no clue on this one. Can we at least resolve the situation right now medically?

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  19. i hope so Jack--I certainly feel you've captured the sense of a lost opportunity. No own hope for a clue is no better than yours. Things are so desperate one can only hope people in North America and other nations will open their hearts. We are now at a triage level.

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  20. not just the freeway doug my daughter was at UCSanta Cruz and half of Santa Cruz fell down she lost 2 friends who were in a grocery store buying junk just befor it happened-

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  21. Haiti is well what can one say-not even the Donican Rep. has much to do with it anymore-and until the people are ready to start working and stop praying and learn to help themselves-well no amount of throwing money at them will help-
    Not talking about the earthquake but later when they get themselves sorted out-
    The author of the note is is comparing apples to oranges you cannot help people if they chose to ignore you-and no America hasn't ignored them either has France-but after a time you stop throwing good money after bad and the Haiteiens have to take a large part of the blame for the shape they are in-if their neighbor can do it so can they.

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  22. Much like Africa yet we still send money in there Heidi.

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  23. right and their needs to be a point where we must simply say stop do it yourselves -and above all leave religion out of all this-and stop blaming the president-

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  24. Yeah it's a sad case and I think you are right but still it's sad...

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  25. You're right Heidi--Santa Cruz got the worst of that one and that should be remembered.

    I'm sorry for your daughter's friends.

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  26. You're right Heidi--Santa Cruz got the worst of that one and that should be remembered.

    I'm sorry for your daughter's friends.

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  27. Long term financial development--not talking about immediate earthquake aid here--has to be reinvented in places like Haiti. Too much aid doesn't get to where its really needed. This may be a chance for a new paradigm--out of such bad times, Jack and Heidi, something good should be learned I hope.

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  28. Well said Doug. Perhaps this is the catalyst for improving things long term in Haiti.

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  29. Very true....Doug I think it's within the planning stages as we speak.

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  30. Jeffers I think this is the ultimate plan and I think this may very well be done in stages rather than something all done at once for nothing...

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