I hate to start off a Haiti round-up with an “I told you so,” so I will wait to say it and urge you instead to go watch this very affecting video -watch the sigh of sadness this beautiful and resilient child breathes as she talks about the death around her; marvel at her composure, even as her eyes tell you the whole story- and then read the accompanying piece, and then come back, because the article touches on two things I’ve either been yammering about or praying about.
Okay, you back?
After the video we read:
Guido Bertolaso, the head of Italy’s civil protection service, said there had been a fundamental lack of leadership thus far in foreign aid missions to Haiti, warning also that the large US military mission in the country was not entirely helpful.
“The Americans are extraordinary, but when you are facing a situation in chaos they tend to confuse military intervention with emergency aid, which cannot be entrusted to the armed forces,” Reuters reported him as telling Italy’s RAI television.
Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, swiftly distanced the government from Bertolaso’s comments. . . .The Italian government does not share these statements,” Frattini told reporters in Washington.
Haiti Relief Copter, photo by Ed
Well, I don’t like anyone saying that America -and her military folk- are not doing necessary work and making a yeoman’s effort, and in fairness to our nation and every other nation that is helping Haiti (and who helped Italy, before) it must be noted that Guido Bertolaso’s work in L’Aquila involved disaster on a much smaller scale than Haiti’s.
But he does have a point, and it one that has gone overlooked in the outcry over his impolitic words; it is a point one can barely find online; the report I had saved from this morning has been changed, but this article at least alludes to it:
He called for the appointment of an international civilian humanitarian coordinator, saying the U.S. military wasn’t adept at coordinating a civilian humanitarian emergency.
Well, yeah. Some of us have been calling for the appointment of a single leadership figure -someone with international credibility, disaster experience and the ability to speak to the people of Haiti and be believed- since the first week into this story. The US Military is terrific and we need some of them to be in Haiti, (see these pics from the USN) but there also needs to be that single person, who can co-ordinate and communicate. I think -given that the US is currently in charge of the Port au Prince Airport, and is still, for now at least, the “indispensable nation”- that the American President needs to name such a leader, and that leader should be able to name his own “international team” comprised of folks he can depend on. That, I suspect, was what Bertolaso, in his clumsy way, was talking about.
Unfortunately, the current American President, who has made it clear that he does not want appear “arrogant” to anyone but the Israelis and, perhaps, his own countrymen, seems disinclined to use the depth and credibility of his office to introduce a leader into the Haiti relief efforts, and thereby help establish a body of leaders -not UN creeps, not power-mad despot wannabees, but real humanitarians- who will be happy to give up the reins when it is time to, but who will be able to help Haiti through a long, hard slog.
Pastor Frantzy with Church in Rubble by Ed
Assign Giuliani. Assign Gen. Honore. Ask someone with the know-how, the energy, the heart and the courage to take on the long, thankless task of helping a nation to rebuild itself in a manner that will nurture potentialities rather than simply prepare them for a potentate.
Alright, enough of that; let’s have a breather for something gorgeous:
Mandy Poulter and new daughter, 4-year-old Maya, Photo: Andrea Melendez, Des Moines Register
You’re free to think this story unfolded solely because of luck and determination. Matt and Mandy Poulter don’t buy it. They are a religious couple, and they see accomplishments as the rewards of faith. They also are bulldogs, who jump into challenges few others would take on.
Last Tuesday, they completed an exhausting odyssey, in which they plucked their new daughter and four other orphans from earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Who’s to say if prayers or moxie pulled them through?
The results are the same either way. Five children who otherwise would be sleeping under tarps in a hot, dusty courtyard in Haiti will be bedding down tonight with their new families in Pella.
You’ll want to read the whole, inspiring story, which was brought to my attention from Rich at The Iconic Midwest.
I think many will be thinking and praying about adopting Haitian orphans; there is cause for concern:
Haitian children made orphans by this month’s catastrophic earthquake or separated from their parents face a growing threat from child traffickers or illicit adoptions, the government and aid groups say.
An estimated 150,000 have been buried in Haiti, but no one knows how many thousands more are beneath the rubble.
Grating coconut living under a sheet photo by Ed
On the relief front, Team Rubicon has a blog now and can better detail the work that bunch of ex-marines, first-responders, medics and Jesuits, has undertaken on its own, unconnected to government efforts. They’re updating frequently, and I’m blogrolling them, so do check them out and donate if you can.
“Happy faces this morning,” says Ed
Finally, I have been remiss, a little; DeLynn has been faithfully sending me updates from Missionary Ed (who reports that even now, they are still feeling tremors that leave them unnerved), and I have not had a chance to get to them until now. With the exception of the Poulter photo, all of these pics scattered throughout the post have accompanied his notes:
Joy and sadness live next to each other. Advanced malaria, by Ed
Tent cities are growing at a rapid rate. Some already have thousands of people in them. Many people are building little shacks with scraps of tin and plastic. There are Cite Soleils beginning to pop up everywhere. [Notes DeLynn: this is a large slum, horrid, squalid conditions---people live in cardboard "homes"-- I heard a report on FNC yesterday about gangs fighting to take control there, about prisoners who have gone back there after the jails were demolished--and no one wants to help there as it is so dangerous] It is surreal to see so many people living outside.
Rice and Beans by the hundreds of platesful, by Ed
[Passing by the medical area...] They had a yard full of patients and almost no translators so I decided to stay with them. They are really doing a tremendous job and I was honored to be able to help out. These are Christian doctors and nurses here volunteering their time and working tirelessly. So many lives in the balance. I will try to post a few pictures from the day. I was too busy to take many pictures but there were a few that had to be taken.
Emmanuel born day after quake in which father died; doctors fear he will not survive
There are so many people suffering here now. There always has been but now it’s worse. Today was just a long flow of broken bones, Typhoid, Malaria, gashes, and wounds. Add to that a massive dose of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Ridiculously adorable & too young for PTSD, gets checked out in Petit Goave, Photo by Ed
Had a couple of strong tremors about an hour ago. Many folks are already headed for bed. Mostly in the streets. Things continue to get better and worse. . . .Most people are still thankful to be alive. Still, so many have lost family and homes. The future is just a big blank for most. Even for me, my heart would have fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living…
Ed with kids of Petit Goave
UPDATE: I learned this morning that little Emmanuel, the eleven day old baby, did not survive.
Linked by Instapundit! Thanks, Glenn!