Monday, January 18, 2010

A Couple of Things I Don't Understand

Why is Haiti still the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the poorest in the world?  It's been this way ever since I can remember, and I remember writing a paper on the subject in high school.  Back then we blamed it on the dictator, "Papa Doc" Duvalier.  But he's long gone.  Also, there have been many hundreds of charity organizations at work in Haiti for decades now, and I know they have been working hard.  I remember organizing the youth group at my church to smuggle in packets of much-needed goods for the Haitians.  (I can't remember why smuggling it was necessary, but it was.)  We sent everything from sewing needles and thread and safety pins to toiletries and Bibles and underwear, and members of our (Episcopal) congregation took them in.  That was in the mid-seventies. 

So why hasn't there been any progress to speak of, even before this latest series of disasters?

Another thing I do not understand, and neither do the Haitians:  why has God let this happen?  I don't think anybody knows.  (Pat Robertson for sure doesn't.)  But faith in the Christian God means trusting against appearances that He had some good, kind, and loving reason, even if we cannot fathom what it is.  One day we will, or may, know.  Meanwhile, we know Him, and that is enough to sustain our trust.

The thing to worry about is our own sins. This is from Luke, Chapter 13:

There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

4 comments:

margaret said...

I suppose the problem is in attempting to build an economy. Charities can hold things together to an extent and try to stop them getting worse but for people to become even moderately prosperous there has to be a working economy and that means dealing with entrenched corruption *and* convincing investors to hand over money.

orrologion said...

Why is Haiti still the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the poorest in the world?

Well, if you don't go in for the Pat Robertson theory, you may want to take a look at David Brooks' op-ed piece in the NYTimes on Friday:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/opinion/15brooks.html

He doesn't really answer the question, but he touches on many of the issues you raised.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Margaret, you'v eno doubt put your finger on a couple of jmajor factors. People in the word, historically, have suffered more from their own governments than anything else.

Christopher, I just read that op-ed piece and it's good! Thank you. Yes, we need to raise probably more than one "cultural" issues. Some systems we call cultures are only called that for the sake of political correctness.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Well, who knows? It may turn out that this catastrophe ends up being the only way Haiti can ever emerge from the ashes. Sometimes it's back to the drawing board...