Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Day After and the Day After That

Support Doctors Without Borders

I am as much of an ass as the next person, when it comes right down to it. I give to charity, but I spend money on countless doohickies that I don't need at the Target. I have more than one rain coat and enough shoes to outfit a centipede. I want to do good, but not too much, not so much that it's uncomfortable. I've heard the saying give until it hurts, and I talk a good game about charity to my six year old, but I'm average at best. I'm lazy.

I was eleven when the Day After mini-series, about life after nuclear war, came on TV but I wasn't allowed to watch it. I was shooed upstairs repeatedly until my parents, too engrossed in imagining the Russians at our doorstep, didn't hear my tread down the steps. I sat on the third step down from the top, so I had to crouch and look through the slats of the banister to see the TV. I don't know how long I watched for, but I only remember one scene. There's a woman and she's sitting in a chair. Maybe she's crying, I don't know, but she's wearing a white skirt. Suddenly, her skirt turns red, a blossom of blood leaking through her clothes. I ran upstairs and huddled in my bed, afraid and strangely ashamed.

What's happening in Japan now is horrific and what could happen is catastrophic, but from working in the non profit world, I know that disaster-fatigue is a real thing. People can't be horrified, shocked, saddened, appalled and galvanized into action over and over again. But that's what our world is demanding. Bad shit keeps on happening, to people just like us, no better no worse.

I need to remember that. I have to pull my head out of the apathetic hole it's lodged in - the equivalent to sticking my fingers in my ears - and do something.

We do that something with the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. Whatever it is that you can do, do it.


  1. Magpie,
    Thank you.
    I go between rage and guilt, and this post is just honest and level-headed. Beautiful.

  2. It's true. Every time I turn the TV on there is some disaster, mostly from Mother Nature, that devastated a country or city. The guilt weighs me down because I don't want to donate my money. I don't want to uproot my life to travel to the disaster area to help. In the end, I feel like a bad person. I'm not. I'm just honest. One thing I do to keep the guilt from swallowing me whole is to give blood. I fear needles, but set my issues aside to donate in hope of helping someone in need. It may not be huge, but it's something.


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