Haiti reaction: observations

I thought i would write a bit about some things I have observed following the recent natural disaster in Haiti.

1. Social media funding campaigns. Many of my favourite twitter celebrities have been promoting various disaster funds in light of the event at Haiti. I’ve also noticed a new item called a ‘Haiti drum’ on a facebook game I have been playing. It seems that the mechanisms for getting funding are so diverse as to call for an appeal from all groups. Even the godless JREF and Humanists are raising special funds.

2. It is almost cliche to not this, but there has been a renewed lot of articles that basically appeals back to the old philosophical problem of evil. Namely, why would God allow disaster to happen. This seems, whether for a believer or not; a very poignant issue. I was having a conversation with an atheist lately in bringing up this issue which was far from unfamiliar to the both of us. We asked the question in a different way: does suffering serve a higher purpose or end?

Perhaps we may make positives from our experiences of calamity and make better persons of ourselves from it. But maybe they are just absurd. Maybe they have no moral standing at all and suffering is completely irrelevant to our agency, or our moral and psychological development. For someone like myself, it seems a consolation to make a phenomenon like natural disaster subsue into some greater end or telos. If there were not one, it seems almost question-begging in some way.

This natural disaster seems to evoke something very fundamental in many people. That being, sympathy as an aspect of moral character. From the atheists to celebrities; many have taken to this Haitian disaster.

3. Another point I wish to bring up is that I read Naomi Klien’s book on disaster capitalism with some closeness to the event when the earthquake happened, and I do not have much doubt that Klien’s ‘disaster capitalism’ thesis is correct. It would be interesting for the sake of scientific hypothesis confirmation to see what political and financial infrastructure is placed in Haiti.

4. Perhaps one thing people might think is: where is Haiti? I’ve been following Haitian news stories for the past two years, and always commented that they have been ignored by the international community with regard to their political and social instability. A lot of citizen journalism comes out on alternative media sources that show vigilante violence in the area and one hopes that attention to the country will bring a change to the overall instability of the country.


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