“Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

 (Since publication, I have since been informed that this image is actually from a 2010 movie, After Shock. Now I’m perplexted as to whether or not I should delete the image since it is produced. Does that make it less powerful? Thoughts?)

” . . . but when the pain is unmerited, the grief is resistless.” ~ Ovid

I have not been this haunted by a photograph since I saw the photograph of an old man carrying his starving child on his shoulders in Ethiopia.  I still have this curled, yellow newspaper image somewhere in my collection of clippings and pictures.

I am reminded of Kate Daniels’s poem “War Photograph,” which references the Pulitzer-Prize winning photograph by AP photographer Nick Ut. The iconic 1972 image depicts a naked, burned child (nine-year-old Kim Phúc) running away from her village, which has been napalmed.

Following is information that I have culled from various sources regarding yesterday’s events in Japan and the Pacific:

Japan was hit by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded on Friday. The magnitude-8.9 quake spawned a deadly tsunami that slammed into the nation’s east coast, leaving a huge swath of devastation in its wake. Hundreds of people are dead and many more are still missing or injured.

Japan has often donated when other countries have experienced disasters, such as when Hurricane Katrina impacted the United States. Below are organizations that are working on relief and recovery in the region.

AMERICAN RED CROSS: Emergency Operation Centers are opened in the affected areas and staffed by the chapters. This disaster is on a scale larger than the Japanese Red Cross can typically manage. Donations to the American Red Cross can be allocated for the International Disaster Relief Fund, which then deploys to the region to help. Donate here.

GLOBALGIVING: Established a fund to disburse donations to organizations providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Donate here.

SAVE THE CHILDREN: Mobilizing to provide immediate humanitarian relief in the shape of emergency health care and provision of non-food items and shelter. Donate here.

SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army has been in Japan since 1895 and is currently providing emergency assistance to those in need. Donate here.

AMERICARES: Emergency team is on full alert, mobilizing resources and dispatching an emergency response manager to the region. Donate here.

CONVOY OF HOPE: Disaster Response team established connection with in-country partners who have been impacted by the damage and are identifying the needs and areas where Convoy of Hope may be of the greatest assistance. Donate here.

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS
: Putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities. Donate here.

SHELTER BOX: The first team is mobilizing to head to Japan and begin the response effort. Donate here.

Yuki Kajiura, “Hear Our Prayer”

“I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” ~ Elie Wiesel

Woman Looking at Wreckage after Haiti Earthquake, photo by Gregory Bull/AP

“Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed.” ~ Haitian President Jean Preval on Tuesday’s earthquake.

Homes Affected by Earthquake, image by Jorge Cruz/AP

I could not write my regular post today as I cannot get out of my mind the heart-wrenching images of the Haitian quake victims: building totally demolished, the dead lining the streets of Port-au-Prince, some draped with bloody sheets, others left open to be victimized yet again by scavengers; an injured father standing with the body of his dead infant daughter in his arms, tears streaming down his face; hundreds of ramshackle houses flattened; even the Presidential Palace sits in ruins. The U.N. headquarters was decimated; fourteen bodies have been pulled from the building’s rubble, but another 150 are unaccounted.

The news coming out of Haiti continues to be horrendous. So far, tens of thousands have perished died as a result of the massive earthquake and the dozen aftershocks that struck on Tuesday, the worst earthquake to hit Haiti in over 200 years. The brutal magnitude-7 quake demolished structures, trapping many beneath the rubble. The real toll will not be known for days.

Haiti, a greatly impoverished nation of approximately 9 million people, has no infrastructure and is ill-equipped to handle a natural disaster of such proportions. President Jean Preval told CNN, “A lot of houses destroyed, hospitals, schools, personal homes. A lot of people in the street dead . . . I’m still looking to understand the magnitude of the event and how to manage.” In another interview, Preval stated that “he had been stepping over dead bodies and hearing the cries of those trapped under the rubble of the national Parliament building, describing the scene as ‘unimaginable.'”

According to the MSNBC article (link above), “The quake struck at 4:53 p.m. on Tuesday, centered 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of only 5 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti.”

“As we struggle to make sense of things, life looks on in repose. ” ~ Author Unknown

World-wide aid efforts are underway, but of course, there are those out there who would take advantage of the suffering of others: Looting began in Haiti’s capital almost as soon as the quake subsided, and several news sources warn those who want to make donations to help in the recovery effort to be careful of scammers, those claiming to collect money for a charitable organization that does not exist. When in doubt, the Red Cross is always a good bet.

For those of you who need to take your mind of the immensity of the unfolding tragedy, click on the link below to watch Lorenzo Fonda’s “Ten Things I Have Learned About the Sea.” The video is about 10 minutes long, but it is incredibly soothing. (http://www.cerberoleso.it/videos/personal/ten-things-i-have-learned-about-the-sea).

More later. Peace.

Eric Clapton (unplugged), “Tears in Heaven.” Seems appropriate.