"Looters" in Haiti

Browsing through the photos of Haiti weeks later, I clinch my teeth at captions reading "looters," underneath photos of those searching for any means to survive. Bodies have been crushed by brick and mortar, burned by suspicious fires and piled high in makeshift graveyards. Yet, in all of the sadness for the many lives lost and disrupted by the quake of January 12, overzealous security guards still have the mind to protect things of no value.

Appliances, electronics, furnishings: all have trade value in Haiti's desperate climate. Some call it burglary, saying they could excuse the "looting" if people were solely looking for food. But many of those passing judgment have never had to consider the choice between starvation and finding a way, by any means necessary, to feed their family. Many of these people can only sit upon their plush sofas and shake their heads at the disenfranchised citizens of Haiti, thinking how these people "have nothing better to do than steal." They have never been in a position where the scraps from a dishwasher are as precious as rice, water and bread. They assume that "looting" is a selfish act carried out by opportunistic people who feed off the remnants of disaster. Wake up and jump off of that high horse of yours. There are methods behind the madness... inconceivable to people of privilege.

Haiti is virtually out of clean water, power and the scarcity of food looms overhead like vultures. The only things our brothers and sisters can count on is help, hope and faith. They don't need pity or ridicule. I feel sorry for those who cast stones when they see dozens of cuffed brothers, face down, being dehumanized by men who have decided to pick up where nature left off.

The pictures are clear, Haiti is in a mode of survival. This is not a time for politicos, morality police or legal eagles. This is purely a time for understanding, love and humanity.

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