A BIG HOORAY to George Clooney who organized the Hope For Haiti fundraiser Friday night. Not only was it for an important cause to aid the devastated earthquake survivors, but it was massively entertaining, as well. And salutes to Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, CNN's Anderson Cooper, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira and Sting. Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews, John Legend Stevie Wonder, and so many others.
How can any of us ignore the suffering in Haiti? The brave people who scraped out a country for themselves after defying their French slave masters and escaping to an place they came to call Haiti.
Those who think there’s been too much media coverage about the crisis in Haiti has never been in a severe earthquake. Or had family members and friends buried under mounds of rubble, and no one to help get them out. Or been thirsty and the only available drinking water was in a filthy ditch. Or hungry and not been given bread. If it were you or your child or husband or wife making feeble cries to let you know they were still alive (one man was rescued after being buried for ten days) but you couldn’t reach them, I doubt you would lambaste the media for informing the world of your plight if that would attract the help you so desperately needed.
After a devastating earthquake in Armenia in 1989, I got a middle- of-the-night phone call from Alevitina Fedulova, head of the Soviet Women’s Committee, telling me about the earthquake and asking me to help. She said it was the first time that the Soviet government had ever asked for help from the West. I was the best they could do I guess. The Armenian church in San Francisco quickly donated boxes of new clothing, toys, and all kinds of needed supplies for me to take to Armenia. Others also made donations. A few days after Alevitina’s phone call, with four Armenian speaking American children in tow, a ton of supplies, my group landed in Yerevan the capitol of Armenia. We were treated with amazing hospitality even with devastation everywhere. In the town of Spitak we were shown an elementary school, papers and books scattered to the winds but incongruously with a red piano standing unscathed in the debris, had no survivors. Parents and relatives were still combing through the cement dust hoping to find a fragment of their child.
Railroad boxcars had been sent from Britain and were being used as schoolrooms. Inside, children were huddled in heavy coats ready to flee at the slightest motion of the earth. The teacher a young, worn looking woman, had lost her entire family in the earthquake; husband, four children, mother, father, sisters, aunts, uncles. She had no living relative and yet she was trying to help these frightened children. They needed her. She needed them.
And now, we are needed by the people of Haiti as they try to rebuild their lives; to heal their physical wounds and learn to live with the wounds of loss that can never be healed.
Causes Pat Montandon Supports
PETA, Women for Women, Amnesty International, Children as the Peacemakers, Peace to The Planet