A Whirlwind of Hope

February 16, 2010
By javajournalist GOLD, Leawood, Kansas
javajournalist GOLD, Leawood, Kansas
11 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Just when it seems that Hollywood has dug itself into a bottomless hole of ridiculous scandals, some of the stars manage to show that we’re all in it together after all.
Coverage of the earthquake in Haiti has taken over nearly all the news outlets in the U.S. The devastation in mind-blowing—over 200,000 dead so far, countless homes in shambles and no end in sight— but what really amazes me is the reaction. Maybe people are trying to avoid the stunted aid sent in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But Hollywood is mobilizing with benefit concerts, funds and aid programs. Brangelina and Sandra Bullock both donated $1 million to Haiti relief efforts. Considering the stunning amount of cash most of these stars have, it almost seems like a given. And yes, many take on philanthropic projects anyway. But it still lights a spark of hope that America isn’t as selfish as it’s sometimes made out to be, that there are those who know how to put money to destinations other than Prada and Burberry, that people care about those outside the American bubble.
The upside to having a culture focused on celebrities is that all eyes are on those stars when they actually do something admirable. Though there would have been altruistic souls who rushed to Haiti’s aid anyway, the flood of celebrity action certainly didn’t hurt the cause.
Seeing this response to Haiti’s plight gives me hope that people’s minds are focused on more than simply their own concerns. Kansas City area schools have jumped on the bandwagon by creating care packages for Heart to Heart to take to Haiti. Donations by text currently add up to over $25 million.
It’s going to take many more millions of dollars and long months of work to get Haiti up on its feet, but at least it’s not alone. And it’s comforting to see that despite nationality, race, ethnicity and all other differences, people can work together after all.

The author's comments:
As horrible as it sounds, I'm glad that I have no personal connection to Haiti. That doesn't mean that I don't care about what's going on there; I'm just lucky enough to be sitting at my computer in my safe suburban house writing about this disaster rather than living it. But I see selfishness and corruption everywhere, and sometimes I just worry a bit about mankind. I write a lot of opinion pieces criticizing society and its problems. When I saw the response to the hurricane in Haiti, I was happy to have something to praise.

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