HAITI, as our daily duty

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the tragedy. As an urgent call to action, I want to invoke my memory of all of the victims, of all of those who with their death (over 200,000 people) should inspire our lives.

For all of those who continue to suffer neglect, lack of affection, humiliation –injured physically, we spiritually- my attentive gaze, my outstretched hands, my remorseful heart. I ask their forgiveness for not having worked for them as they deserved, for not having echoed their cries; for not having denounced with the intensity and regularity that their suffering merits the immense injustice to which they have been subjected.

To all of those who, working to extenuation, are setting an example of true dedication, to those who for 365 days have taught us the supreme lesson of brotherly love, of selflessness and generosity, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is they –healthcare personnel, development workers, citizens of the world who daily assist those who anxiously require compassion and relief- to whom today thousands of people all over the world are sending a warm embrace, and much applause…

I wish to recognize the countries, such as Spain, which despite their severe economic crises took immediate action. But we must do more, much more, especially those of use who enjoy an enviable degree of social security, with free access to all levels of education, without nutritional or health problems, and with an excess of entertainment that prevents us from thinking of others, comparing, taking action…

A year has passed since the terrible catastrophe in Haiti. Over 100,000 buildings were destroyed and over a million people were displaced, most of whom continue to barely survive in inhumane conditions in shelters and provisional camps, in huts, in tents. It has been estimated that 3,500 have died of cholera, and epidemic that still affects 150,000 people. And after a year only 5% of the ruins have been cleared and less than 15% has been rebuilt...

On March 30, 2010 the international community pledged to provide 5,300 million dollars (a little more than what’s invested daily in military spending and weapons). Only about 40% of that amount has been received.

What a shame! What a disgrace that we continue spending to arm ourselves to the teeth… without rapidly and efficiently remedying such horrendous situations! What a disgrace that petroleum prices continue to rise, tax havens continue to operate, drug trafficking and speculation are rampant…! It is deplorable and inadmissible that the wealthiest countries continue to seek to rule the world (presently, the G-20), ignoring the United Nations, which is the only institution that, duly reinforced, could oblige countries to keep their promises, relieve so many who despair, and mitigate suffering such as the agony endured by the Haitians this year.

All have been beset by speculators, by a market that has given or consolidated power in the same few hands, wrenching it from those who sought social justice and equality. There are too many who remain silent, distracted by television and computer screens, mobile phones, video games… without the time to reflect and act freely, based on their own deliberations.

Today, the first anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, and also remembering Pakistan and all of those who die each day from hunger and neglect, many, millions of us should cease to remain silent and raise our voices in favor of Haiti.

A year later, shame and sorrow. And raised voices.

I wish for a cyberspace earthquake to demand social justice from the world’s most powerful. I hope that millions will “click” in favor of human dignity. If we reflect for a moment on how much we have and what our children and grandchildren have, we will feel the pangs of urgency of so many people like us all over the world who lack so much.

And we will be truly convinced and will affirm that the time for apathy is over.