Haiti highlights need for global awareness

The Miami Student has featured quite a few articles detailing the earthquake in Haiti and the robust relief efforts by the international community and private individuals. The aid response is commendable and our shared awareness of the necessity to help those in immediate danger is truly inspiring. It is also disturbing.

Matthew Chacey put it perfectly: “It takes catastrophic events for people to realize our first and foremost responsibility is to be a good citizen of the world.” Why should disaster serve as a prerequisite for compassion? Haiti’s tumultuous history of poverty and instability rendered it wholly incapable of dealing with natural disaster. It seems as though no one gave Haiti’s social and economic situation any due recognition or concern until it was too late. This does not mean, of course, that anyone could have prevented the earthquake from happening, however, instead of preemptively allocating proper resources or delineating plans to handle the impending nightmare, the world left Haiti teetering precariously on the edge of disaster. 

The lesson of this tragedy is not that people are generous and willing to donate to a just cause (even though that is certainly true).

The real lesson – a lesson we should all recall from Hurricane Katrina – is that the world cannot afford to wait for catastrophe to make a bad situation worse.  

Roger Youngyoungrq@muohio.edu