Writing on the Wall

How Haiti affects us all



It’s a strange feeling to have to report on major disasters — how do you keep your personal feelings out of it?

Well, you don’t. Sometimes the best stories are written from the heart.

Being caught between writing a weekly newspaper but still getting breaking news up on a timely basis on our web site, and being a super-local source, we hope that no one we know has been affected by these disasters, and yet we have to wish for a source to tell their story to the community through us.

I don’t know anyone in Haiti. And until this week, I didn’t know anyone personally who was connected to the country. In my ensuing interviews, I realized that we are all involved in some way.

This is about humankind, not about news, not about a culture and a way of life that none of us may ever experience. It’s a horrible experience for Haitians, but hopefully a learning experience for the rest of us. The Herald is not reporting the news about Haiti — you already know about that. We are, however, doing a community service by supplying you with as much local information as we can. Who has organized a fund raiser? When and where are they? What can you do to help?

Human catastrophes bring people together. If there was ever any imaginable good that comes out of these things, it’s the good it brings out in people (and yes, unfortunately, the self-serving bad, too). It’s also gives us appreciation of what we have, what our lives are like, relatively. I know many of us will go back to our lives as usual, but for now, we want to look outside of ourselves and reach out to help.

The problem is, how? We have listed what we know to be reputable charities on our editorial page. I have reported on a handful of local fund raisers that you can physically, if not financially be a part of.

This is what we were meant to do: look outside of ourselves and help those in need.

Even if it’s just educating your children on the meaning of humanitarianism, that’s something that can be handed down, and it will last for generations to come.

Comments about this column? Mmalloy@liherald.com or (516) 569-4000 ext. 202.