I am sending out many prayers constantly to Haiti, to the world, to the forces of nature. Please help us help our people. What is happening to the earth? Why are you so violently opposing us? We are only human beings. What have we done? Do we not worship you enough? It’s probably true. We don’t. As inhabitants of a great and vengeful mother, we abuse her love constantly. Do we give thanks to the air we breathe? I don’t. Do we thank her for water as it pours down in vast, unending grey sheets and leaves my tiny California town awash in mud and blinking traffic lights? I am not thanking her for that, as I watch the soil slowly break and melt away from the roots of the mighty trees that have lived for maybe a century behind the new apartment complexes being built on my block.
We try to build up, continue construction, try to act as if the ground will hold us, when it will never promise to. It will shake us off any second. It’s a wonder anyone anywhere is alive ever. The way we treat the planet, we truly don’t deserve to live on her. The way we treat each other, it is as if we act like we aren’t all in this together. This life. The world is you, the world is me. When one place hurts, everything hurts. In Haiti, when people are still dying underneath the rubble of the terrible earthquake, cruise ships are still docking, with rich tourists trying to act like death isn’t surrounding them. Just because they are just out of earshot of the screams, isn’t the smell of death permeating the air?
Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson are using the horror of this tragedy and the suffering of human beings to make political points about race and ‘the devil.’ I don’t understand why Rush Limbaugh still insists on speaking publicly while he is high. I have nothing against drugs really, but I do think that when you are high, you should keep your dumb, drug-addled thoughts to yourself. And Pat Robertson, well, he should just be put down. He clearly needs to be put out of his misery, so we can be put out of ours for having to hear anything he has to say. How dare he call this tragedy a result of ‘a pact with the devil’? Who is the devil? You, Pat Robertson, are the devil. Or in the service of one. Go to him. He needs you back.
When I think about Haiti, the little I know, I know that the people are resilient. They must be, to have endured such poverty and political upheaval and strife and tragedy and everything. And everything. Voodoo/Santeria is not devil worship. Many of the religious traditions of Haiti have a deep connection with Africa, as the slaves brought over so many years ago continued to worship their gods under the constant gaze of their masters and the clergy trying to convert them to ‘christianity.’ They kept their deities – throughout the utter dehumanization of slavery and the insanity of people thinking they can own people and that they can somehow save them through this ownership – cannily cloaking them in the faces, statues, images and garb of Catholic saints. I just think that is so damn cool.
I want to pray to Yemaya and Oshun, or Erzuli as she is called in Haiti – orishas that I have only a passing acquaintance with. I don’t know them well enough to say they are my goddesses. I only know them enough to say hi sometimes, when I see them. But those who do know tell me I am under the watch of both of these beautiful mothers. For some reason, they share me. They have joint custody. And even though I belong to them, I don’t know all their Haitian names. They have different ones sometimes in Haiti, as they do in Nigeria, as they do in Brazil, as they do in Cuba, as they do in Mexico, as they do in Los Angeles. But when I call them, I know they know I am calling them, even if I have the name wrong in my phone book, even though the letters are misspelled in my haste and sometimes include numbers.
Oshun – I know, is said to answer prayers very quickly, like me with my emails. Oshun has a Blackberry Storm, made of gold and honey and vanilla beans and peacock feathers and the love of humankind, and it’s always on, and you can text her anytime and she will get back to you as soon as you have hit ‘send.’ She is always in range, although now, I am sure she is very busy, saving people, helping people save people, helping people send love and money and support via her care, saving lives, sparing lives, comforting those who have lost.
Yemaya, the orisha of the sea, and the mother of all humanity, is probably perplexed by the cruise ships docking on her Haitian ports. She is probably only allowing them to stay there as long as they are delivering much needed aid to her people. They fucking better be. Seriously, they better be.
I want Chango to strike down all those who use this pain to further their ‘political’ agendas. I want Oya to guide the dead swiftly to the afterlife. I want to ask the earth for mercy. And I want Pat Robertson to shut the fuck up.
Haiti Earthquake Relief: How You Can Help