Beer and Pavement


Posted in Activism by SM on January 20, 2010

I tried to approach the Haiti earthquake disaster on this blog, but I couldn’t find a way to do it without making light of the situation. Rather than offend or knock a people down some more now that they’re already so low, I opted to wait. I waited for the right message that somehow tied indie rock and craft beer to this devastating event in Haiti. Of course, there really is no way to do this smoothly, but I’ll try.

People all over are doing what they can to help the people in Haiti. It’s much like the outpouring that resulted after the Katrina or the tsunami disasters. When a disaster hits, we look out for our fellow man and donate what we can to help the recovery efforts.

Indie rockers are no different. Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne made a plea for her former countrymen in an online newspaper. Paste and a bunch of bands released some free music in exchange for donations to the relief effort. In an email I received from Port O’Brien today, they had music to donate as well…

TODAY – January 19- we are releasing a new EP called the Pan American Sessions. 100% of the proceeds are going to Doctors Without Borders and their relief efforts and aid in the wake of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. Its a devastating time. And we need to give. The EP is available via our myspace and for $4.  It contains 4 alternate versions of “My Will Is Good”, “Oslo Campfire”, “Calm Me Down”, and “Leap Year” all of which were recorded with Jason Quever at his Pan American Studios in San Francisco. For more information on Doctors Without Borders, go to our website.

Even craft brewers are getting into the act. Donations and benefit events are going on all over the beer world. has a full rundown here.

So, everyone’s getting in on the act.

In case you needed another reason, there’s this…

Now that I’ve given the disaster its proper time and respect, let me tell how I really feel. It’s too little, too late. Sure, we should all give to whatever Haiti relief effort we feel is best, but what have we all been doing for the past several decades? It’s not as if Haiti was a thriving nation with a pristine health care record and solid infrastructure. Nope. Haiti was a mess before this earthquake, is a more of a mess because of this earthquake, and will continue to be a mess long after this earthquake. The earthquake just called new attention to Haiti’s plight. We’ll give and give to Haiti…that is, until the next disaster.

How do I know this? Look at the areas affected by the tsunami. Look at New Orleans.

We’ll fall all over ourselves to help these people. We’ll save some lives. We’ll build some shelter. We’ll send a lot of food. However, when it no longer becomes cool to support Haiti, we’ll leave it as it was before the earthquake, worse even.

I know this is a big box of cynicism in a time we should be pulling together, but what evidence is there that Haiti will be different from disasters of the past? We’ll do what we can for a few weeks, then it will be time for those Haitians to fix their own country. As a friend paraphrased comments from Fark said, “They’re going to need a whole lotta bootstraps.”

That’s how we roll in the US. We have enough to get by, maybe even a little extra. There’s enough extra to give a little here, text something to give a little there, and maybe send a little more over there. Then, we pull out and expect that it’s fixed, because we have our own problems. We have to take care of our own. We have car payments and mortgages for homes we can’t afford and iPods to buy, etc.

I’m no better. This is just how I see it. Call me a cynic all you want, but it doesn’t make what I say any less accurate.

Maybe this disaster will be different, but I somehow doubt it. In the meantime, at least give something to the numerous causes linked above. Thanks.

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