22 January 2010

One Second of Film

I originally posted this on my Facebook.

So I forgot tonight was the big Haiti relief effort.

I turned on the CBC because I watch Jeopardy! at 7:30 every night.

There was the telethon.

The usual string of celebrity sound and video bites streamed by.

The usual musical interludes.

The usual discussion with politicians.

There were interviews with doctors in Haiti.

There were interviews with people running orphanages.

There were shots of destroyed hospitals.

There were shots of demolished orphanages.

Yet I didn't move to do anything.

Sure, I felt guilty, but I don't have much money right now, I couldn't help much.

"1-877-51-HAITI" the talking heads chanted.

I knew the number but had no motivation to dial it.

More celebrities.

More interviews.

More musical guests.

They showed people in Haiti pushing and crying.

They showed people in Haiti crying and yelling.

They showed a little boy.

One second of film.

A little boy around seven years old.

In one second of film.

He had a surgical eye patch.

I know that patch.

The soft material that tugs at your eyelashes when you blink behind it.

The flickers of light that appear in the corners.

The itch of the tape that sticks either too well, or not well enough.

The strange feeling of having one eye warmer than the other.

I hate that patch.

I hated it when I was seven.

I hated it when I was twenty-four.

I didn't want the boy in that one second of film to have to wear that patch.

He wears it outside in the sun and heat.

He wears it sleeping on the ground.

He wears it hungry, tired, and scared.

The patch is what is left of the hospital where he got it put on.

I cried.

It is a fluke of history and luck that we are born where we are.

I received free intensive surgery on both of my eyes, twice in my life.

I never had to worry about if my hospital was even standing or not.

Everyone has had a problem in their life.

Physical or emotional, everyone has one.

Think about that problem.

Now destroy every place that helped.

Everyone can relate to this.

It took major surgery and a shift in my worldview to care.

I'm ashamed of that.

It took one second of film for me to realize it.

Everyone can help.

Please do.

Dan Berger



The federal government will match dollar-for-dollar every donation made until Feb. 14th, from that number and website only.

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