Friday, 15 January 2010

Communities at their best

The situation in Haiti goes from worse to worse as a fuller picture emerges of the devastation caused by the earthquake. Today's news concentrates on two aspects; the fact that the Haitian infrastructure, or lack of it, is hampering relief efforts and the great surge of aid donations from around the world. It's the latter aspect I'd like to comment upon.

Common wisdom says that the worst events bring out the best in people. Undoubtedly, there will be many individual acts of humanity between the Haitian people but I'm thinking about the wider community here. It is times like these that people really pull together and help each other out. We act as we should - we are all joined by our common humanity.

To a much lesser extent, we see the same thing happening in the UK when we have adverse weather conditions. Witness how people really came together and acted for the common good during our recent snows.

When we show our collective positive side, it gives me heart that it is possible for us to work together as a community - local in the case of the snow in the UK and internationally in the case of the Haitian earthquake. I wish I knew how this goodwill could be harnessed as our normal way of doing things. Whatever the answer, I'm convinced that the present free-market/consumerist philosophy is not it!

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