Friday, January 15, 2010

The Missing

I haven't blogged about the earthquake in Haiti yet, although I'm quite aware of what's happening. I'm not going to make an impassioned plea for you to donate, although I'm happy to tell you that I've sent off $25 to a charity that works in Haiti. I briefly considered sharing interesting news about the seismology of the Caribbean because this is what I do when faced with disasters that are too vast to comprehend easily... I look for facts.

But facts don't answer everything, as much as we'd like them to do so. Whether through cosmic fate or happenstance or divine vengeance, people are in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are visiting their family members; they are elderly residents who have lived in Haiti all their lives; they are children who have nowhere else to live. And now, they are the missing.

We become obsessed with the stories about the earthquake that we hear on TV: the missionary whose husband found her under rubble, the woman who runs an orphanage for 100 children, the thirteen year old redheaded boy from Virginia who was on a real estate trip/scuba vacation with his uncle. And while these news stories get repeated from channel to channel, they often drown out those whose stories are much quieter, but just as worthy of respect and hope and the urgent, pressing need to find them alive.

The New York Times has compiled a picture gallery of people missing in Haiti since the earthquake, along with descriptions and addresses from their friends and family. It reminds me eerily of what they did after 9/11, when they diligently posted mini-biographies of each and every victim, out of respect. And just like I had to read those biographies, for some reason I can't articulate, I need to read through this picture gallery.

You should too.

You owe it to the missing.

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