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haiti

Why I Don’t Have Haiti Fatigue

More than 3 months have passed since 200,000 people were killed and a million people were displaced in Port-au-Prince.

For a news item that’s an eternity ago. It’s just how we’re hardwired. We hear a news item, we are shocked by it, we do a fundraiser, we move on. And we want to block it out until late December of that year when our favorite news agency does “2010: A Year in Photos.

For lack of a better term I’ve been calling this “Haiti fatigue.” The news cycle has passed. People are thinking about economic recovery. Health care reform. Earthquakes in San Diego, Chile, and China. Larry King and Tiger Woods sex lives. iPads. On and on. Anything to distract ourselves from the good and bad that is happening just a few hundred miles south of Miami.

Talking about what’s happening in Haiti just isn’t that interesting to people any more. They are sick of it.

But I’m not fatigued.

I’ve not forgotten.

I’m praying about how to wake up those echoes. Stay tuned.

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haiti news item

Fear Makes You Stupid

Yesterday morning I woke up to the news of a massive earthquake in Chile. The world seemed to hold its breath and wonder how bad the damage would be. “If a 7.0 earthquake killed 200,000+ people and flattened Port-au-Prince, Haiti– what would an earthquake 500 times stronger do?

Those fears and concerns were legitimate.

Fortunately, as news reports flooded in, we later learned that while there is widespread damage and hundreds of thousands displaced– Chile was well prepared for such an emergency. In fact, it appears that Chile may be able to handle the relief efforts largely on their own. The New York Times is reporting, “Although the United States had offered aid, Chile‚Äôs government had not yet requested assistance. All international relief groups were on standby, and the International Federation of Red Crosses and Red Crescents said the Chilean Red Cross indicated that it did not need external assistance at this point.

Chile’s disaster was not equal to Haiti’s disaster– and as those fears began to ease and you could see the media looking for a story to scare people.

Later in the morning, the media attention shifted from the earthquake in Chile to a tsunami the earthquake spawned. This is when the full on fear mongering went nuts.

  • Fact: 750,000 people in greater Port-au-Prince are starving and homeless while billions of dollars of aid sits on tarmacs because NGOs and governments are paralyzed.
  • Fact: The president of Haiti has said it will take 1,000 trucks 1,000 days to clear the rubble from Port-au-Prince. The muscle part of recovery hasn’t even begun.
  • Fact: 46 days after the earthquake in Haiti, starvation and disease are happening just 2 hours south of Miami by plane. Thousands of orphans are undocumented and at risk of being trafficked. Widows and elderly have no protection.
  • Fact: 2 million people in Chile were displaced as their homes were destroyed.

And twelve hours after the Chile quake all of the news media’s attention shifted from actual news stories to a potential tsunami in Hawaii.

Fact: Tsunami warnings had gone out for more than 4 hours all over Hawaii. There was no danger to life.

Fact: A potential tsunami is not equal to an actual tsunami. A potential tsunami was used to cover up the real story in Haiti. (The real story is that the church is meeting people’s needs while the NGOs and governments have meetings at the airport.)

Fact: The news was reporting on lines at Costco/Wal*Mart/Safeway, showing live video of a camera pointed at a computer screen of a Ustream.tv feed, and anchors desperately trying to convince experts that although scientific instruments were saying the tsunami was only creating a 2-3 foot wave– the wave must really be 30-50 feet.

Fact: This was worse than Geraldo opening Al Capone’s secret vault.

And yet every news agency was showing live video from all over the state, showing sunshine and waves, interviewing tourists on vacation– all for a natural disaster that had not even happened yet! One reporter asked a tourist, “What is the situation like up at Diamond Head?” The tourist, confused, looked at the reporter and told the truth. “It’s a party up there.They couldn’t go to commercial fast enough.

Something is wrong with us. The fear of a natural disaster outweighs an actual natural disaster? The fear of damaged vacation property outweighs the reality of millions of people’s homes in Chile and Haiti? The fear that a tsunami might hit outweighs the reality that a significant disaster has actually happened.

Fear makes us stupid.

When will we recognize that fear is our god? When will we stop living in fear? When will we be motivated by compassion that overcomes fear?

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news item

The Future of Journalism

Man, this is good stuff. Arianna Huffington absolutely takes MSNBC to school on how journalism works today. Great, great clip here. This is a clash of “old world” journalism and “new world” journalism.

I know some were sad when I left Romeo because there wasn’t anyone left to do front row coverage of local school board stuff. Imagine a world with hundreds of thousands of Adam McLane’s? It’s my hope that many more people will take up their notepads and just report the news. I hope/pray the same is true at churches and denominations around the world. I can’t wait to see the whole world change to this new citizen paradigm. We’re smart… let us tell the news.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

What I’ve learned with the stuff in Romeo is that where there is silence there is unchecked corruption. With the demise of the daily newspaper, we depend on raw news from people like you.

HT to Peggy