Compassion fatigue? Short attention span?

Haiti Grunge Flag

Image courtesy of domdeen/

I don’t know what to call this but it makes me very sad. I’ve lamented in the past that the emergency world (especially, social media) seems to move too quickly to the next shiny new thing, losing sight of the very long and not so glamorous recovery work that could last years.

A couple of days ago I ran across this blog post about Haiti.

Did you text ten dollars to the American Red Cross after the earthquake? Half of U.S. households “gave to Haiti” then, an astounding factoid about what was not only a shocking natural disaster but also a phenomenon of 21st-century communications technology and global electronic interconnectedness. Americans do deserve credit for empathy and generosity, but we’re too quick to congratulate ourselves on that point. The phrase “self-indulgent overkill” may be harsh, but it sprang to my mind fairly soon after the earthquake, and it took on an especially pointed significance half a year later, when the annual monsoon hit Pakistan late and with unusual and abrupt severity, at one point leaving some two million people homeless and 20 percent of that large country underwater – and the American public scarcely noticed or, to the extent it did, felt free to dismiss human suffering in that case as unimportant or somehow deserved. (If you think I’m overstating this, read some of the comments on the Huffington Post version of my article “Pakistan Floods: Why Should We Care?”)

Source: Has Our Interest in Haiti Peaked?

I do occasionally see posts about Haiti still, notably from @iamvatoni) but, for the most part, the world seems to have moved on.


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