Letter to the Editor

Response to Jake Hawkins’ “Maintain Compassion for Haiti”

Dear Editor,

Last Thursday, the Rambler published an article by Jake Hawkins about Haiti that compares the questioning of Haiti relief efforts to denying the Holocaust. That comparison is ludicrous. We are a school that prides itself on the practice of liberal discourse, yet Jake’s article engaged in the casual comparisons characteristic of a yellow press.

Jake’s article fails to note one striking difference between the Holocaust and the earthquake in Haiti: There was an active agent behind the Holocaust. Unless we believe Pat Robertson’s retributive theology, we cannot ascribe the catastrophe in Haiti to any such malice. Moreover, those who question the extreme focus on Haitian relief don’t deny that there was an earthquake. Additionally, their logic concerning responsibility (it is logic, despite Jake’s dismissal) has enough merit to deserve consideration as suits a civilized, liberal society.

Criticizing the charitable process is legitimate because most Hope for Haiti initiatives have not specified where the aid would be going. Because that issue is unclear, I personally have instead donated through other channels. Criticizing media coverage is also legitimate. The coverage has been heavy, but that doesn’t necessarily make it laudable, nor is the media above criticism – even in times of crisis. We who have been educated in thought should especially be the voice that questions in crisis, when the natural impulse is towards heedless action. We should provide a considered response, not one laden with inaccurate comparisons between a natural disaster and one of the defining crises of human history, cheapening both.

–Lyman Stone ’13

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