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Saturday, January 16, 2010
I don't have a television. At times like this, I am extremely grateful for that fact. It's not that I want to be ignorant to the suffering of immense proportions in Haiti. It's not that I want to turn my back and be flippant or unaffected; it's that there is nothing that invokes the feeling of utter helplessness, despair, insignificance, fear and morbidity like the news coverage of disasters. The endless loop of footage that keeps replaying again and again on every news outlet makes my heart sink into a kind of pit that has no exit. It makes my mind numb. Limbs are dusty and dead on the television. So many. Bodies are discarded and broken. So many. Rubble is endless and there are cameras poking into it, using electricity, maneuvering to get shots, not to help. People are crying. Again, and again, and again on CNN, on Fox, on MSNBC, on every channel. I don't know what to do with that information other than feel hopeless. So I turn it off. I think of healing instead. I think of help coming. I think of peace. I think of vibrancy and miracles, of color and life and I send it on over. It sounds foolish, trite, like bullshit, I know. But it feels better than staring at bodies on the beds of trucks, in the bays of bulldozers. It feels better than seeing images that again look like a tsunami/terrorist attack/hurricane/flood. Again and again.
Pain is palpable right now; it is in the air, but resilience and healing and revival are natural human qualities. I'd rather focus on them than on the mass graves. In that spirit, I offer these photos of Haiti from the archives of the New York Times, before the earth there broke.
It was this way, and will be again. My positive thoughts are with the people there and here affected by this unimaginable devastation.