Haiti: Time for a new Marshall Plan

Since I first heard new of the earthquake in Haiti, I could not get the people of that island nation out of my mind. I try to imagine what it must be like to be injured and bleeding – with no doctors in sight, and the hospital collapsed.

I think about wandering streets without a home, only in this instance, I’m joined by hundreds of thousands on the same journey. I hear the screams of those still trapped under rubble. I wonder where to find drinking water, food, a place to lay one’s head. And I fear the next shaking of the earth.

These musings, this prayer, have convinced me that the United States -- in concert with the developed nations of the world -- needs to launch a Marshall Plan for Haiti. We can’t be satisfied with a patchwork of aid that will slowly dribble to an end once the most pressing needs are met and disaster passes from the headlines.

We cannot aim for simply a return to the “status quo ante” in Haiti. Catastrophic destruction makes it imperative to start anew. It is time to join with the people of Haiti to help build a new Haiti, a society where the structures of education and economic opportunity are as strong as the new building construction must be.

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