Thursday, January 14, 2010

“the common humanity that we all share”

At the moment (Friday, 1/15), officials say that the earthquake may have killed two hundred thousand. “This is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share,” President Obama said Wednesday morning.

But a reminder is soon forgotten, because our attention has to be centered on managing our own lives. Time, energy, and resources are probably already fully encumbered, because the world works with little slack, especially in recessionary times.

So, keep this in mind: Your tax dollars support the large share of humanitarian work that governments are best placed to provide, and government support for international agencies (such as U.N. agencies, supported by governments’ support of the U.N. itself) is the central reason that vastly more persons survive catastrophes than otherwise.

Politics is too often an ugly battle of self-interests against taxation, as if the incomes we’re awarded are fiercely earned. But most of life—in the U.S., at least—is a very comfortable gift of an economy that awards more than many deserve, relative to the struggle for existence in developing regions.

Americans proudly feel their solidarity in the face of catastrophe.
But it’s largely ephemeral.

Even for humanitarian activists, there’s a point of compassion fatigue that arrives eventually.

There is too much senseless suffering and death to bear appreciating
for long.

Often, the best we can do is to go on with our lives the best we can, try to give that some exemplary effect, put time into keeping informed about what our elected officials really do, and support the struggle of humanitarian work at least through helping the electoral campaigns of officials who support humanistic union that makes a durable difference.

Share what really matters when you have good chances. Keep real value alive through the days. Show care as much as you really can.

Thursday, 1/21 — 9:51 am

One Haitian, writing to the New York Times, says “I marvel at the signs of humanity” and that, in the end, “I am busy loving life and my country.”