Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thank you, Michelle Obama (and Oprah, too)

First Lady Michelle Obama's bilateral High Five on the front page of the New York Times this morning will draw you into the picture of pig-tailed Haitian children greeting her during a surprise visit to Port au Prince yesterday. But take a look at her furrowed brow, and you can only imagine what is going through her mind. I think it might be a mix of sorrow and admiration and a desperate wish to help in some way.

My first response when I heard she had decided to visit Haiti was "it's about time." I have wanted to see Barack's face on the front page of the paper walking in boots among the rubble. Ever since my visit in January I have wanted him to go there to lend support to the Haitian people. I have wondered why he has not gone personally to this amazing country where slaves overthrew their French oppressors only to go on to oppress their own for generations that have followed. Maybe the security concerns extend to a fear that the man would be swamped and exalted as a new savior for the Haitian people.

In any case, if there is one thing Michelle (and Jill Biden, too, by the way) can do it is to provide a photo op, even without stylish clothes, to remind us all that the plight of Haitians is still very much alive. With time, the needs are evolving and the call is more sophisticated and sometimes harder to negotiate as described yesterday in the New York Times article about the dancer/amputee who is a pawn in an international struggle over goodwill.

One more person has been keeping Haiti on the front burner. That is Oprah who is sponsoring a Mother's Day walk in New York City to help a number of charities, including Partners in Health, my Haitian favorite. I plan to be there.

Thanks, Ladies!

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