Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Time Is It?

"It's time to find self-confident local leaders who will create No Excuses countercultures in places like Haiti, surrounding people--maybe just in a neighborhood or a school--with middle-class assumptions, an achievement ethos and tough, measurable demands."

David Brooks, "The Underlying Tragedy," The New York Times, January 14, 2010.

There's a time to be smart. And there's a time to help out as people struggle through difficult, horrific circumstances. There are times to put punditry aside and just lend a hand, knowing all the pitfalls of trying to do good from afar. Peter Singer, in The Life You Can Save: Act Now to End World Poverty, begins with the story of everyperson walking by a child drowning in a pond. Should one intervene even though there may be personal risks? Should one declaim instead upon all the contributing factors leading to this situation, like lack of parental supervision? There's a time to do the right thing.

"The recovery operation needs money in the bank -- in a single, transparent,multidonor recovery fund for Haiti and the world to see. Haiti does not need a pledging session; it needs a bank account to fund its survival and reconstruction."

Jeffrey Sachs,"How to rebuild Haiti, from scratch," The Washington Post, January 17, 2010.

Well, Haiti needs water, emergency medical aid, food, and security. And then a dose of stabilization.A bank account with the right strings is probably a good idea. But first things first.

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