I KNOW that it's not easy to be a 'do-gooder' in a desperate area, especially in a disaster zone. Relief workers must contend with governmental red-tape (their governments and others, in this case the 'recipient' government, or what there is of it). Relief workers must contend with interagency as well as intraagency squabbles. And relief workers often suffer from a disconnect within the ranks, between their 'leaders' and themselves and supporters back home. It can be very confusing and disheartening as all the confusion that flows down the ranks to 'front line workers'. What I tell you here is from my own experience and I pray you will accept what I say at face value.
Nothing in a disaster zone prepares the relief worker for what he or she must face personally. In a case like Haiti, self-survival is a major issue considering the grave shortage of food and water. Many of the intracacies of non-profit operation are lost in the shuffle under the 'best' of conditions and in Haiti some are just lost. One of these is the proper utilization of a standard protocol for DISTRIBUTION of relief supplies, which should be pretty uniform and pretty obvious...Shouldn't it?
Well, if you've read this far, you know that there is a problem with 'male thugs' as the media calls them, forcing their way to the front of lines and commandeering relief aid. So...someone came up with the not-so-brilliant idea of only allowing FEMALES to receive distributed supplies. This is a very foolish idea in my opinion.
The idea is foolish because females are more easily assaulted and robbed AFTER they take receipt of their family's relief supplies. There will be women murdered over this.
The idea is foolish because females will be FORCED to acquire supplies by men who threaten them and their families. There will be women murdered over this.
The idea is foolish because females will collude with other females in order to 'cheat the system' for personal gain. There will be women murdered over this. And women are much more fierce and nasty 'fighters' than men can ever imagine.
The idea is foolish because (some) females gravitate towards 'thug mentality' every bit as fully as men do. There will be men AND women murdered because of this. Relief workers will not be safer, but will be less safe!
The bottom-line: believing that females, for some reason, are the meeker and weaker sex is just not true and relief non-profits who employ the distribution strategy above are being foolish.
Stick with martial law and military intervention to get supplies delivered. If the U.N. and other countries don't assist the United States, let us do what we can and then get out. Reasonable law and order should be restored by Haiti's government, not by the U.S. alone. It is a fruitless undertaking. Sad to say, lawlessness has taken over in that country and ultimately compassionate air-lift drops of supplies may be the only safe and sane way to 'help'. In the end, of course, we'll be supplying 'the thugs', as we always seem to end up doing in any number of countries, all our 'good' intentions be damned.
Revelation is the beginning of wisdom for those who would be wise by striving to understanding this: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise." Psalm 111:10 (NIV)
I just don't see much true wisdom around us. That is the real problem in the world today, in Haiti and in our own country.
Written With A Prayer for Wisdom that our Good Be Truly Good,
Reverend Barbara Sexton "The Biblical Biochemist--Where Science Meets the Cross" February 1, 2010