a nation under curse

THE world has come to a standstill in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti last week. As though that were not enough, another tremor shook the tiny Caribbean island two days ago.

THE world has come to a standstill in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti last week. As though that were not enough, another tremor shook the tiny Caribbean island two days ago.

The second quake comes as rescuers and aid workers frantically try to extricate trapped bodies from underneath the rubble and save those lives that destiny has decided should be spared.

The miraculous recovery of babies and an elderly woman surviving this cataclysmic quake is surreal and I know that believers of various faiths might attribute this to an act of God.

That might well be but what about the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in this devastation? Loved ones who were here one minute, suddenly snatched away with no warning, no sign, just a loud shattering bang. Whose act was that?

It is reported that when the frightening aftershock struck this week, many Haitians screamed in despair: "Jesus! Oh my God."

I do not know if this was an instinctive cry because even those who are non-believers seem to automatically invoke that name in times of crisis and disbelief, or there was a genuine belief that God is actually listening to their cries. If he is listening I am sure He will accept some sincere suggestions from me. Sometimes it is almost impossible to believe that God is here and if He ever was, then it feels as if He left this place a long time ago.

Apart from being prone to natural disasters, Haiti is also the poorest country in the western hemisphere. It is ranked 149th of 182 countries on the Human Development Index and it is considered "economically vulnerable" by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

On the political front Haiti is cursed. The corruption that pervades Haitian politics has marred the glory of its independence.

History books tell us that it is the only black-led nation whose independence was gained as a result of a successful slave rebellion in the 18th century. But, those glorious days are gone and each successive government has let its people down.

In 2006, the country was ranked the most corrupt nation out of 163 countries surveyed in the global Corruption Perception Index.

With all of these factors weighing so heavily against this tiny nation, I am morally bound to present my case to God.

Why does everything that could possibly go wrong go wrong?

If He were to recreate this world, could those who have been oppressed and colonised be exempt from poverty in the future. Or if they are to be poor for the rest of their lives, could they at least be rewarded with leaders of great moral standing who are not corrupt and will steer the country to greener pastures?

If that is not an option then could the poor, corruption-ridden nations of this world be spared the natural calamities that have befallen Haiti?

Surely the Almighty is a reasonable entity and can take a fair suggestion. Why else would millions of people all over the world be bowing down to Him in worship and reverence? Otherwise He must come up with a better plan because this one beggars belief.

Every day we hear of the despair of Haitians. They would not be wrong to think they have been forsaken.

There was even a horrific picture of a coffin-snatcher, throwing a corpse out and running off with the coffin. It is so frightening to see the levels of desperation the human psyche is capable of reaching.

Here in South Africa we wake up to realise the much-awaited 2010 has finally come.

Sure our country is imperfect. The burden of unemployment and disease is enough to make you want to run away and hide. But when everything is put into perspective, to be South African can never be the worst thing in the world.

To be alive at this time of rapid global development and advancement is a privilege. To wake up and see the sun, smell the flowers, feel the wind on your back and know that you possess the key to unlock the doors of your potential is so empowering.

May we never have to ask God why.