I think that Father Tom Reese’s new piece for the Wash Post’s OnFaith blog probably captures well what a lot of people are feeling about Haiti.
Here’s the beginning:
As I was thinking about this column, there was a part of me that knew I had to write about Haiti and there was another part that simply wanted to ignore it.
On the one hand, we are faced with a humanitarian disaster in Porte-au-Prince that cannot be ignored. An estimated 200,000 people have died. Thousands have been traumatically injured, and many of them will die of their injuries or disease. These people are not just statistics, they are men and women and children with faces and names and feelings. Those who survive will be living in a ruined country without hospitals, utilities or housing. Finding water and food is a daily struggle. Haiti was a basket case before the earthquake and now there is not even a basket.
On the other hand, I want to ignore Haiti. I am suffering from what has been called compassion fatigue. Or maybe it is simply despair. The economy of the world is in the toilet. Unemployment in the U.S. will stay around 10 percent for the rest of the year. Wars are going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over Africa. There are millions of refugees around the world. Because of global warming, humanity is heading pell-mell toward an ecological cataclysm that will make the Haitian disaster pale to insignificance. And partisan politics has created gridlock in Washington making it impossible to deal with any of these crises.
As a political scientist, journalist and priest, I have followed and commented on the tragedies of the world for the past 30 years, and I am tired and ready to despair. Living in a global village sucks. The problems are too big and we appear powerless to do anything about them. St. John of the Cross would call this the “Dark Night of the Soul.” I think it is what Jesus experienced in the agony of the Garden.
How do we get out of this dark night, how do we get out of this despair?
To read the rest, go here.