The twenty four hour news cycle has done wonders at focusing issues of human suffering like Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti Earthquake, and the African famine for people throughout the world. In the immediate aftermath of catastrophe when we have news cameras affixed to the scenes of destroyed buildings and abject human misery, its’ easy to rouse money and donations for the cause of relief and rebuilding. But the twenty four news cycle remains stationary for no more than a few moments and the tragedy of one moment is quickly shuttled to the background as another more gruesome event takes its’ place as the lead story.
This masks the truth about natural disasters…they aren’t over and done with during the span of a newscast or whenever the media gets tired of them. Six years after Katrina, houses are still being rebuilt and citizens are still living in temporary housing. Haiti is the same disaster of governance and infrastructure it was, before the earthquake flattened everything and after the cameras fade from Africa, there will still be crises of bad governance, lack of resources, crop failure, and whatever else contributed to the problem in the first place.
It’s great that global citizens are so reactive when there’s a crisis, but if we’re going to do better for humanity, than we need to think about what happens when its’ not such a sexy news story.