âI have been told that much US media coverage paints Haiti as a tinderbox ready to explode. I’m told that lead stories in major media are of looting, violence and chaos. There could be nothing further from the truth.
âI have traveled the entire city daily since my arrival. The extent of damages is absolutely staggering. At every step, at every bend is one horrific tragedy after another; homes, businesses, schools and churches leveled to nothing. Inside every mountain of rubble there are people, most dead at this point. The smell is overwhelming. On every street are people — survivors — who have lost everything they have: homes, parents, children, friends.
âNOT ONCE have we witnessed a single act of aggression or violence. To the contrary, we have witnessed neighbors helping neighbors and friends helping friends and strangers. We’ve seen neighbors digging in rubble with their bare hands to find survivors. We’ve seen traditional healers treating the injured; we’ve seen dignified ceremonies for mass burials and residents patiently waiting under boiling sun with nothing but their few remaining belongings. A crippled city of two million awaits help, medicine, food and water. Most haven’t received any.
âHaiti can be proud of its survivors. Their dignity and decency in the face of this tragedy is itself staggering.â
David Belle, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 17th, 2010