Two Sides to Every Story; Missionaries Arrested in Haiti

I’ve been out of the loop a bit recently. I’ve been traveling and busy at work and away from the fray of politics, media, and especially Haiti. At a dinner last night, there was talk about the missionaries from the good ole US of A who went into Haiti, took 100 children and were “going to the Dominican Republic with them to set up an orphanage.” They had no paperwork for the kids, no proof the kids were orphans, and no proof of their mission (their website is in the hopper and not up yet). The woman in charge is quoted as saying she was going to get the kids settled in a hotel and then go back to Haiti and do the paperwork. They were arrested and still sit behind bars.

There were two sides to the debate last night. One diner was outraged that Haiti would arrest these “well-meaning” individuals and the other person wasn’t so sure it was turning out that they were well-meaning at all. Diner number two mentioned the “church” from which they came from might be suspect. The other countered that they were obviously middle Americans trying to help, you could tell by “just looking at them.”

So, me being totally out of the loop, spent some time reading about it all when I got home, and guess what? I have no idea what their intentions were/are. I have no idea if those kids were orphans. I have no idea if they should be behind bars or get the Nobel Peace Prize. And, at this point, neither does anyone else.

Here is the thing that really kills me. When did we become people who believe that we know something because of a three-minute sound bite we see on TV? CNN telling me what’s real? Fox? Not so much. When did our reality move outside our own personal purview? When did the movies we see on TV news, and in print in the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, turn out to be our personal truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

The debate should be about what it all might be, not what it is. This is becoming more and more true as media presents more and more information long before it’s really information. Get the news out fast and worry about whether it’s fact-based later. We must stop believing we are part of a community outside our own personal community and really recognize what we know to be true, rather than what feels to be true from the outside looking in.

I will follow the Haiti story in the news now and watch it unfold. I hope their motives were as they presented them. But knowing their reality now? I don’t think so.

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