The footage from Haiti is absolutely heartbreaking.

If you’ve got a loved one in Haiti, my thoughts are with you. I can only imagine the anguish you must feel today.

Every person there is precious. Every injured person and every fatality represents a disaster for a family. I can only hope that rescuers arrive swiftly to save all those who can be saved, and that relief arrives promptly with food, clean water, and hospital supplies.

I’m donating, as I’m hoping you’ll do, too. Every little bit helps.

And I don’t want to fixate on the casualty figures, as Wolf Blitzer is doing. He acts like he’ll be sorely disappointed if it doesn’t exceed 100,000. He’s turning himself into a pornographer of disaster, a carnival barker of death.

And I don’t want to hear, as I did on the Weather Channel, of all places, about how pathetic Haiti is, and always was. Nor do any of us need to hear the rantings of Pat Robertson blaming yet another calamity on the victims.

I had to turn to BET to hear some welcome insight about how Haiti has a rich history of fighting for freedom and how its art, music, religious practices, and literature add tremendously to the world’s cultural stockpile.

What I want to hear, now, is how the people in Haiti themselves are fighting heroically to save lives.

And I want to know, now, is that our government is doing all it can in this regard, too.

We are not Americans. They are not Haitians. We are all human beings.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine. To subscribe for just $14.97 a year, just click here.

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Forty years ago the UN General Assembly passed a resolution against "hostile environmental modification techniques...

The beauty and the tragedy of everyday life in a war zone.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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