Monday, September 13, 2010

Haiti: Six months on - Fault Lines - Al Jazeera English

Haiti: Six months on - Fault Lines - Al Jazeera English

I just attended a Transafrica Forum event at which I was privileged to watch a powerful short documentary on post-earthquake Haiti produced by Al Jazeera. As I watched the real story behind what is happening in Haiti camps, I kept thinking, "what can I do about this...I mean really...what can I personally do about this?"

Of course, this might seem like a slightly crazy question, since my full-time job at ActionAid centers most of its attention on Haiti advocacy. Herein lies my life and career dilemma, though. Advocacy sometimes feels like a slow and clumsy beast...so very distant from real life people. And it's real life people that I want to engage with. Yet, where would we be without big picture changes? I suspect that we'd be stuck in the mud somewhere...trying to get the same metaphoric disaster truck with only two wheels on it out of the mud yet again.

I guess this is why I've always gravitated towards film and documentaries. They can tell a personal, real life human story, but in big picture ways that can have positive ripple effects over time. I love that.

Haiti has an important story to tell...a deep, rich, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes inspirational story. I only hope that we can find authentic ways to share this story, and to especially bring it to big picture policy makers. So, to all of us advocacy and policy folks out there, let's try to remember that Haiti's story is first and foremost a human story.