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  • Writer's pictureJoel Brown

Thoughts and Prayers

"At least 304 people have died, with 1,800 injured and hundreds missing after Haiti was struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that reduced churches, hotels and homes to rubble, in the latest tragedy to hit a Caribbean nation already mired in profound humanitarian and political crises and still reeling from the recent assassination of its president."

My heart breaks yet again for the beautiful and resilient people of Haiti and I'm left conflicted about how to effectively respond to the real issues at stake. I'm even more frustrated by the responses to this which range from victim blaming Haiti for her demise to a varied assortment of thoughts and prayers. There is an understandable anxiety, helplessness, that leads us to resort to our well rehearsed routines of "thoughts and prayers".

I have to admit it bothers me.

While I understand the impulse to pray is genuine for many, and one might argue we should allow folks to express their *support* for Haiti in whatever way they see fit, but knee-jerk, digitally advertised prayer pleas just feel like the least effective response for this unfolding scenario in the light of history of its futility.

I personally refuse to join the "Pray for Haiti" bandwagon that ensues everytime Haiti hits the headlines after yet another episode in her eternal saga of tragedies.

Prayers abound often aimed at deities who are worshipped by the very oppressors of Haiti and are expected to achieve what exactly?

All this religious shadowboxing seems to be self comforting at best and at worst a substitute for robust redress of the socioeconomic disenfranchisement caused by French and American imperialism.

Haiti's predicament is not a spiritual problem to be fixed by prayer.

Haiti's disasters seem to attracts more prayer because it remains in the world's cultural imagination that her affinity to witchcraft has brought a curse on her that needs to be broken.

Another 🐂💩 colonizer lie.

Folks are free to offer thoughts and prayers if that helps them assuage their personal powerlessness, but let's not pretend this offers any real solutions for the underlying reasons that Haiti lacks the infrastructure, political stability and economic security to handle her impending cascade of disasters.

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