Thursday, January 21, 2010

Empathy for Haiti's sake. Empathy for Humanity's sake

As you may know, it's a hot field day for the media with the earthquake devastation that has taken place in Haiti. With over 200,000 dead, millions wounded and/or homeless, reporters and journalists are flying in from all over the world to cover the debacle that will guarantee them sensational imagery of the chaos that they see before them.  Eight such sensational images stand before you now.

Now I ask of you to look at each and every one of these pictures but forget what the media is trying to tell you. I ask you to forget any notion that may be in your head that these poor Haitian people demand your sympathy. I ask you to drop any prejudiced thoughts you may have when you look at the pictures of looting and violence and think that this is the inherent nature of black people. I am not saying that you as the reader may actually have these thoughts, but if you do, I ask you to look at this from a different perspective.

I ask that you approach these pictures with the mindset that these Haitian people are no different than you. They may have a different skin color than you, speak differently than you, and live in a world far away from you, but they are your brothers and sisters, your mothers and fathers, your sons and daughters. They are us and we are them and simply put, when any of us are put in a situation like they have, don't tell me that you won't consider looting so that you can get food and water for your starving family. Don't tell me that you can be so high-minded that you won't resort to anger and violence when you've lost everything and everyone. We are all one and in times of crisis, we must never forget that.

To respect Asiamerican Pride's agenda by dealing with media representation responsibly, I have decided to not put up a picture of a Haitian mass grave. Because what good can that possibly do? We KNOW there are hundreds of thousands of people who are dead...why must the media blast us with gruesome sensational images to scream at our faces what we already know? If this was to happen in America, in a particularly well-established city, I highly doubt there would be countless images of dead Americans, especially white Americans, flying around as if it was a massive circus act. But when it's in a foreign area (or hell, even IN American soil with the case of Hurricane Katrina) with non-white folks, it seems to be high game to take snapshots of dead bodies and have reporters standing 4 ft away from them and talk about the devastation as if it was their trophy prize.

For the reporters, if you are standing next to a rubble where you KNOW there are people still trapped inside...what are you doing? Why don't you actually help out with the relief at hand instead of looking all pretty and glamorous for the camera and hope that this will give you a chance for a career jump? If you are surrounded by screaming and crying children, what are you doing? Help them, please help them, or at least talk to them, damn it, and do your part as a fellow human being.


Maybe I am asking for too much. Indeed, I may even be a fool myself for sitting in my room, writing this silly blog entry, and not actually HELPING anyone who is suffering in Haiti, let alone anywhere. But I can't help these tears that come out of my eyes when I think about the people who are having it so much worse than me, who have lost everything, who have lost all reasons to hope. Maybe I feel so much because there was a time when I lost all reasons to hope for even being alive. When I was able to come out of the deep end because of the few that took time and love to see me through, I know I needed to pay it forward. I want to spread the hope that no matter who you are, tomorrow is a better day. I am not naive that I can solve all their problems with a magic Band-Aid but at the very least, I just want those who have lost all hope to start believing again that there IS hope.

But how do I accomplish that?

1 comment:

chaska said...

Thanks for this, Eddy.