Good wishes were never going to be enough.

The token gesture, even the heart-felt, sacrificial donation… they were always going to be too little, too late, not for that disaster area an ocean away. Thanks to television, the world suffered with Haiti. But Haiti needed far more than tears. Enter America. Never was military might put to better use. Never did an American imperial presidency respond with greater heart and promptitude to the needs of needy humanity than in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. As in the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami, it is not just the aircraft carriers, ambulance ships, thousands of soldiers or even the pledge of a hundred million dollars that makes the difference. It is also in the raw empathy and generosity of spirit from citizens on the streets (notwithstanding the ever-present lunatic fringe).

None of this is to undermine the truly international scope of the response to Haiti’s tragedy. Nor can it erase the grief of devastated Haitians. Besides, in the aftermath, we must work to keep the accelerator down, to keep the pledges from across the world flowing from press conference rooms to Haiti’s port, long after the cameras have left. There will also be time to reflect on the historical injustices suffered by that island state, and to do something about it.

But this is a moment, simply to say ‘thank you America’.

3 Replies to “America's Finest Moment (No. …?)”

  1. Lauri Kubuitsile says:

    Have you seen the kak from Rush Limbaugh about how Obama is trying to win brownie points with the darker shades of black people by giving aid to Haiti? It is shocking what this man is allowed to say. Free speech sometimes is very painful to witness (said the writer).
    Saw too that the president of PEN Haiti and his wife were killed in the earthquake. Very sad indeed.

  2. Chuma says:

    re Rush, it is for his ilk that I excluded the ‘ever-present lunatic fringe’ from my unreserved praise for America in this response. It cheapens America’s contributions to associate it with the racial affiliations of her president.
    Didn’t hear about the PEN president… may they rest in peace.


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