Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pat Robertson on Haiti's earthquake

Large scale natural disasters force us to reevaluate our view of the world. Voltaire's Poem on the Lisbon Disaster still resonates with us 250 years after the devastating earthquake that leveled the Portuguese capital in 1755. "All" is not well in Haiti . To donate, here is a link to American Red Cross International Relief Fund for Haiti and here is one for UNICEF).

Pat Robertson, predictably, has made idiotic statements about the Haiti earthquake. Here is a short clip where he sees massive rebuilding of Haiti as a blessing in disguise:


In case you are wondering about Robertson's statement about the Haitian pact with the devil, here is a bit more from CNN:
The legend of a Haitian deal with the devil dates back to the decades following its independence in 1804, Ramsey said. It began with a Roman Catholic campaign against Vodou, the Afro-Haitian religion widely practiced in Haiti, and spread as anti-slavery movements gained ground in the Caribbean, Europe and America, she said.

"They did become mobilized to discredit what was called the first black republic by outsiders, especially in the context of debates over abolition in the Caribbean and elsewhere," Ramsey told CNN.

European colonists in the Caribbean and the Americas believed that the Haitian slaves "could not have possibly pulled this off themselves" and must have had outside help, Ramsey said. Evangelical Christians have evoked the Haiti legend more recently and elaborated on it, "but it's drawing on a much longer history," she said.

"It's utterly a fabrication, and it's an extremely offensive one," she added.

There is no point in wasting more time on Pat Robertson. Here is an oped piece in NYT today, Haiti's Angry God, that is looking for a God - perhaps in hiding:

The day after, as the sun exposed bodies strewn everywhere, and every fourth building seemed to have fallen, Haitians were still praying in the streets. But mostly they were weeping, trying to find friends and family, searching in vain for relief and walking around in shock.

If God exists, he’s really got it in for Haiti. Haitians think so, too. Zed, a housekeeper in my apartment complex, said God was angry at sinners around the world, but especially in Haiti. Zed said the quake had fortified her faith, and that she understood it as divine retribution.
...

No one knows where to go with their injured and dead, or where to find food and water. Relief is nowhere in sight. The hospitals that are still standing are turning away the injured. The headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping force, which has provided the entirety of the country’s logistical support, has collapsed. Cell and satellite phones don’t work. Cars can’t get through many streets, which are blocked by fallen houses. Policemen seem to have made themselves scarce.

“If this were a serious country, there would be relief workers here, finding the children buried underneath that house,” my friend Florence told me. Florence is a paraplegic who often sits outside her house in the Bois Verna neighborhood. The house next to hers had collapsed, and Florence said that for a time she heard the children inside crying.

Why, then, turn to a God who seems to be absent at best and vindictive at worst? Haitians don’t have other options. The country has a long legacy of repression and exploitation; international peacekeepers come and go; the earth no longer provides food; jobs almost don’t exist. Perhaps a God who hides is better than nothing.

Read the full article here. I'll leave you here with the opening of Voltaire's poem - perhaps a stronger indictment of an absentee God:

UNHAPPY mortals! Dark and mourning earth!
Affrighted gathering of human kind!
Eternal lingering of useless pain!
Come, ye philosophers, who cry, "All’s well,"
And contemplate this ruin of a world.
Behold these shreds and cinders of your race,
This child and mother heaped in common wreck,
These scattered limbs beneath the marble shafts—
A hundred thousand whom the earth devours,
Who, torn and bloody, palpitating yet,
Entombed beneath their hospitable roofs,
In racking torment end their stricken lives.
To those expiring murmurs of distress,
To that appalling spectacle of woe,
Will ye reply: "You do but illustrate
The Iron laws that chain the will of God"?
Say ye, o’er that yet quivering mass of flesh:
"God is avenged: the wage of sin is death"?
What crime, what sin, had those young hearts conceived
That lie, bleeding and torn, on mother’s breast?
Did fallen Lisbon deeper drink of vice
Than London, Paris, or sunlit Madrid?
In these men dance; at Lisbon yawns the abyss.
Tranquil spectators of your brothers’ wreck,
Unmoved by this repellent dance of death,
Who calmly seek the reason of such storms,
Let them but lash your own security;
Your tears will mingle freely with the flood.

Read the full poem here.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPoWOw8Jm5w

Salman Hameed said...

Thanks - I did not know of the Limbaugh comments.

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