There's an apt Creole proverb, "Deye mon gen mon," or "Beyond mountains there are mountains." It is not about despair, but a brave and perpetual resolve to cope with misery after misery. It suits this tragic moment perfectly.
Since Haiti won independence from France in 1804, one constant has been calamity: dictators, coups, hurricanes. Now an earthquake has hit a weakened nation, killing thousands - simple citizens, peacekeepers, an archbishop. Tragic stories have begun reaching relatives here. More are yet to come.
By responding swiftly and generously, the United States will show the world what we're about. Individually, we can all give money. But we can go further. Haitians are not a faraway people, but a complex and vibrant community right here on Long Island. So we can reach out personally, face-to-face, to those we know, and offer help, even if it's only a hug and a "Deye mon gen mon," whispered gently in sympathy and solidarity. hN