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Love (and Haiti) in the Time of Cholera

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Patricia A. Smith       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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How much bad luck can one tiny island nation handle? There are reportedly in excess of 200 deaths in Haiti as the result of cholera, with five new cases of the disease being reported today in Haiti's earthquake ravaged capital, Port au Prince. What we have on our hands ladies and gentlemen is failure to communicate that there is an epidemic on our hands that nobody seems to care much about.

Where's the love?

On January 12, 2009, Haiti collapsed from a powerful earthquake that claimed the lives of 230,000 victims and injured more than 300,000 people. For weeks, the island received a fair amount of attention and goodwill. And then, like everything else, we moved on. Almost ten months later, more than one million survivors continue to live in overcrowded tent cities with minimal access to clean drinking water.

As of today, almost 2700 cases of cholera have been reported. It will take Haiti decades to recover from the worst disaster to hit the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere. To be plagued by cholera less than one year after the earthquake with few of us taking notice is this week's feel bad story about humanity.

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But compared to the trapped miners in Chile, it seems that those who are struggling and were left behind to deal with shortages of food, water, electricity and any sort of a real infrastructure or capable government are less important to the world at large and not worth saving or our trouble. Nobody cares if a Haitian survivor has one mistress or lost his entire family. Nobody seems to care at all.

When even former President Bill Clinton can't get us to continue to pay attention to an island that is wrought with continual strife and riddled with problems, it says more about us than it does about him. But cheer up. " Dancing With the Stars" returns on Monday evening with an all-new episode to take our minds off things we seem to file under "doesn't really matter."

Apparently, epidemics just don't make good television.

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I wonder what Gabriel Garcia Marquez would have had to say about all this. Since he couldn't live to write about it, I guess I had to.


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Patricia A. Smith is a writer and artist (and sometimes both at the same time). A former columnist, restaurant critic and cruise line executive, Smith has lived in London, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, Egypt, Costa Rica and France. She returned (more...)

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