Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Earthquake in Haiti: Reflections and Responses

Like most people, my thoughts are on the suffering of the people in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there. Given my interests, I've been researching religious discourse about this catastrophe and am preparing a post compiling some of what I've found and offering reflections of my own.

In the mean time I wanted to provide a space for reflections and responses that Baha'i Thought readers might want to share at this time. The comment section is wide open. What are you thinking about right now related to Haiti?

I'll close with this quote from Shoghi Effendi that has been shared among many of my friends on Facebook:

When such a crisis sweeps over the world no person should hope to remain intact. We belong to an organic unit and when one part of the organism suffers all the rest of the body will feel its consequence. This is in fact the reason why Baha'u'llah calls our attention to the unity of mankind. But as Bahá'ís we should not let such hardship weaken our hope in the future... "


  1. Anonymous10:14 AM

    I keep wondering about the Domnican are they doing?

    A new thought is, is this fault line capable of creating a carib. tsunami?

    An older thought is, not to be suspicious or anything...but the timing of it so closely coinciding with the facade of justice on human rights denials in Iran.


  2. I have also been reflecting a great deal on the plight of the Haitian people. As we witness the outpouring of aid, I wonder if anyone is looking for the lessons to learned from this catastrophe. Clearly, the response confirms the reality of our organic oneness; however, this event must move us to recognize the need to accompany the Haitian people who, for more than 300 years have endured their systematic exclusion from the community of nations, as they rebuild both the infrastructure of their country and their culture. This unprecedented crisis presents an equally unprecedented opportunity. In the same way that U.S. and the victors in WWII systematically and the long-term underwrote and assisted the reconstruction of Europe, we must do the same for Haiti. We can no longer afford to view this vibrant country as a pit of poverty and backwardness. Our challenge at the moment is realize that the Haitian people have always been contributing members of the human race, and that the intention they are now getting must be continued and refined. We must, at the appropriate time, foster Haitian leadership in their recovery and draw upon the rich cultural strength of the people in the process. As Baha'is we have the unique responsibility of helping to breathe the spirit of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah into the process. We must prayerfully consult on the best way to do so.
    Finally, we must be ever mindful that this catastrophe and those that will come in the future, both natural and man-made, are for our learning and are helping to reshape the reality of this world into the Kingdom of God on earth.


  3. Anonymous4:24 PM

    If we had a truly effective and trusted international relief agency, the extreme loss of life and great suffering in Haiti could have been greatly reduced. It is my hope that the Baha'i world will produce such a service in the future.

    Rich Young

  4. I've been thinking it's a good time to organize a change-donation drive in our community, and keep it going into Ayyamiha - since that's the Baha'i holiday for giving and it's only 5-6 weeks away.