“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing, because he could only do a little.” (Edmund Burke)
It’s hard to know how to help when horrible things happen far away.
Hell, it’s hard to get decent information… in spite of the 24/7 cable news channels. (I just saw a rerun of one show from earlier in the day — with no admission by the network that it even was a rerun — spreading several completely false rumors that had been debunked online when it ran the first time. I wish there was one freakin’ news source that would stop searching for the “human interest” story — or worse, grind some hack political point — and just report the goddamn facts.)
Okay, I’m an idiot for even dreaming that TV news could ever rise above sniveling mediocrity. Shame on me for wasting time trying to learn anything from the boob-tube.
In fact, I instinctively went online to get more info when news of the earthquake hit… and it was easy to follow threads to get fairly excellent info straight from the sources on the ground in Haiti.
It’s still chaos, of course. A corrupt government, a third-world country mired in poverty, fragile infrastructure… it would be astonishing if any relief efforts DID work well in the first week.
So, yes, I’m sure you’ve heard about supplies sitting on the docks while people suffer blocks away… criminals with machetes roaming the streets after the prison crumbled… embezzlement of relief funds… medical teams pulled from hospitals due to confused UN orders…
… and worse.
Some of it may be true, some of it may be partly true… and you’ve got to operate on the assumption that misinformation, false rumors, urban myths and outright lies spread faster than real information.
The relief effort will be flawed up the yin-yang, imperfect as hell, and there will be unbelievable waste and unforgivable wrong decisions.
This reality doesn’t let ANYONE off the hook.
If you can help, you need to do so now.
This is not the time to be yakking about the inefficiencies of relief organizations, or the venality of large charities, or the “futility” of throwing money at scenes of devastation.
It is not futile.
It is, in fact, a damn good place to start, when you can’t do anything else (like actually showing up to dig through rubble).
We found a good online resource listing of relief organizations here:
Just pick one, and send what you can.
This is not the time to dally over a choice — just find one that you feel can get part of the job done (medical, basic resources, humanitarian, etc)…
… and send in some money.
Yes, the world’s governments are responding. Yes, there has been a great influx of cash already.
They need more.
Of all the things money can do in your life, this is one time when closing your eyes and throwing it at a problem is absolutely the right thing to do.
If you’re hard-up, send $10. If you can swing it, send $100. If you’re flush, send more.
You can argue to your heart’s content about how screwed up the “system” is…
Right now, there are some people you’ve never met who desperately need your help. Don’t do it to feel good.
Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
P.S. If you know of an organization that isn’t on this list that you feel deserves more support, leave the URL in the comments here.
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Good call……..and well stated.
Just to add to the list slightly – copywriting colleague Brian Mcelroy has a couple of different ways we can help, either through direct donations or more creative means…
Check them at http://www.fondwa.org
I believe he’ll also let you resell his film about Haiti and donate all proceeds to the cause.
sorry… i disagree.
these are not a nice group of people.
I know people who have been kidnapped, shot at, drugged and raped on that island.
if you are an american tourist, you can’t leave the resort.
sorry john, you gotta think things through when it comes to stuff like this.
Shawn…what should we do?
Shouldn’t we as Americans strive to make
the world a better place and ease suffering
when we can?
Everyone has to make their own call on humanitarian aid.
Yes, Haiti’s a mess. So are half the cities in the US. Much of it is self-inflicted damage.
You don’t have to search far to find a reason NOT to help out, which will allow you to sleep at night.
But then, taking the easy path is almost never the right thing to do. Helping others — especially strangers and people you suspect aren’t worthy of your help — is inherently a less-than-easy decision to make.
Nevertheless, everyone I know has sent in cash, and promoted the cause. It’s in our blood to help… right next to that nagging urge to tell the world to go to hell and leave us alone.
Me? I’m helping.
You do what you gotta do, Shawn.
I’d send money if I had any, all I _can_ do is pray. If the ability to walk freely in a particular city, after dark, were the only criteria, leave the US. Most of LA, Chicago, D.C., etc., are just as bad. As long as you have that attitude, Haiti can never change. The few good guys will always lose. If you believe in an afterlife judgment, consider how will excuse that.
Walter, If your religion has conditioned you that pray is indeed ‘all you can do’ it has led you into a warm vapid soup of irresponsibility.
You have powers of various sorts you habitually fail to use because your religion appears to have erased your sense of capacity.
‘The few good guys will always lose’? Pure defeatist rhetorical nonesense. Get off your knees and do what you can to pull a few people to Johns blog post. Be that conduit.
If you beleive in a ‘God’ you probably credit Him with providing every single one of the planets billions of birds with thier daily food – Yes?
… But does He thow it in the nest?
Stop praying and do something.
You can preach a better sermon with your life than your lips
a bit racist, aren’t we, Shawn?
yes, I’m racist against evil people. Someone spank me.
I have yet to meet an evil two year old, there are good people and bad people everywhere you go and sometimes you need to help one to help the other,
Just done it
Hey Lucinda, you got balls.
I salute you for your effort.
Right on, John! Thank you for posting this. I chose to donate to Partners in Health — for their approach that puts Haitians in charge instead of running things for them. Self-reliance is a good thing.
Btw I got so much out of the Simple Writing System course you just ran. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to put more oomph in their copy. Thanks for doing it! Won’t be able to get to San Diego due to a family situation, alas.
[…] urge you to take two quick minutes to read John Carlton’s post on the situation, Help Haiti, it is straight to the point and important for anyone (with a heart that beats) to […]