Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pancakes and Earthquakes

As I write this there are 40 thousand fresh dug graves in Haiti, at least a hundred thousand more people unaccounted for, thought to be buried in the rubble of what was once Haiti’s capitol Port-au-Prince. The pictures of devastation and destruction streaming into my safe little world are apocalyptic for sure. And I know the worst is to come; that the children and women and the feeble will be exploited for months, even years to come. Port-au-Prince looks like a war zone. And as with any war the collateral damage is always the innocent. The human traffickers will have thousands of orphans to choose from. The gangs will take their spoils of the desperate girls.

Last night, my friend Sam and I went to IHOP. They are running their annual all you can eat pancake special. For a meager sum hot, fresh, butter oozing pancakes can be had until the most ravenous of appetites is sated. All the while your cup does not empty as an attentive wait staff keeps your glass full of free ice water, clean as it is cold. People are dying for lack of water in Haiti. Gangs are killing for food.

Then Sam and I went to see the new Denzel Washington post nuclear apocalypse film The Book of Eli. It was unnerving at how the images could have been of Haiti. How gangs had taken over and resources we now take for granted were the very things that men killed for. While in Haiti, officials are watching as thugs terrorize the already devastated population. And while Sam and I sat safe and warm in a theatre, bellies bulging with buttermilk goodness.

Then we went to a rock and roll show at The Thirsty Hippo, our friend Ben Shea was debuting his new album Red Sunshine. Instead of a backing band he had a “robot”. The flashing red-eyed robot gave a running editorial on the end of the world in between songs and handled the rhythm tracks while Ben sang his angst ridden neo-grunge anthems and conjured the rock demons on his SG. When I closed my eyes, images of the gray post nuclear world and Port-au-Prince mixed with the robot’s deep mechanized diatribe and Ben’s dark, droning soundtrack. It was all a bit surreal. But I was still safe, still full.

My prayers are with the quake survivors in Haiti; with those who will be exploited for years to come. They are also with the brave aid workers from all over the world trying to mend the broken bodies, the broken hearts, and the broken spirits of those dear Haitians. Nothing like a catastrophe of biblical proportions to bring the lens of perspective sharply into focus. Nothing like a little apocalypse with a side of pancakes to make one ever grateful for even the smallest of things. And nothing like a makeshift robot to remind you what it means to be human.


1 comment:

  1. Just ran across your blog...

    As I sat safely inside my house and watched the rain beat down oustide today, I could not help but think of all the people in Haiti right now, toughing out the rainy season under sticks and sheets....I give and I pray, but it just doesn't seem like that is enough.

    Anyways, that was a side-thought. The main thing I wanted to say was that you may be interested in checking out ...right now Anne, the blogger, is in Moldova and Russia raising awareness about sex trafficking. I'll have to go check out your website as well. God Bless!