I have to be honest here, my knowledge of world affairs is shaky at best.  Prior to this if you asked me about Haiti I’d have struggled to say more than, er it’s a dictatorship, um,  shaky economy and er, nice beaches? – and do they speak French?  I’m sure my ignorance puts me below average but I’m equally sure that I’m not alone.

So why should we help when there’s so much going wrong in our own back yard?

Because right now we’re lucky that we still have a back yard, and a car that keeps going wrong and a crippling mortgage – yes we’re lucky to be here at all.  An accident of birth that placed us somewhere that doesn’t tend to suffer such monumental shifts in fortune.  So we should help because we can.

It’s hard though isn’t it?  Maybe it’s because when the numbers reach the hundreds of thousands  compassion fatigue sets in?  Compassion Fatigue?  What a horrible couplet that is – how did we allow this to become part of our vernacular?  Surely we’re not really able just to stop caring?  We can feel useless and guilty and ashamed that we can’t do more but we can’t resign ourselves to simply not caring anymore.

The compassion conundrum reminded me of an extraordinary book: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s masterpiece, Half of a Yellow Sun tells the story of the Biafran War in the ’60s, putting it in a perspective that we could all understand.  By the time you reach the unfurling decimation of a country you’ve already fallen in love with it’s people, identified with it’s characters and understood that ‘there but for the grace of god…’.

That’s what’s missing when a tragedy like the Haitian earthquake first takes place – we have so little perspective on the situation.  So I’ll try and help: the people there are mothers, fathers, children, artists, teachers, architects, bloggers, actors, priests and so much more.  They do the most amazing and the most mundane things, they live their life the same as you – only right now they need help.  And you can help them!

Bloggers for Haiti is a group set up to support the work of Shelterbox, a British charity already on the ground in Haiti trying to provide support where it’s most needed.  There’s a page set up at JustGiving to make donations towards shelterboxes that provide all the vital components for basic shelter including cooking equipment, tools, and blankets for warmth. Each box costs £490 and so far there’s £2000 in kitty but we need more.  Please take a moment to go online and pledge even the smallest amount – make a difference today!

Thanks for reading….

compassion fatigue?
Tagged on:                     

2 thoughts on “compassion fatigue?

  • January 18, 2010 at 11:01 am

    We have a lot to be thankful for, it’s only when disasters like these happen do we realise. And you’re not ignorant at all, you’re kind and compassionate to be relaying this wonderful post out in the first place. I wouldn’t have know where Haiti was either.

    CJ xx

  • January 18, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Thanks CJ, feels better to know I’m not the only one :0)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *