|Coat of arms of Haiti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
From Denny: I've been writing so much about the Haiti earthquake disaster for my hard news blog, Dennys Global Politics, that I'm emotionally saturated. Of course, while preparing for today's weekly cheeky quotes post the first thing my mind turned to wondering was whether there were any quotes about disaster. Besides, with the somber mood of everyone watching the news these days for a blow by blow agonizing account of what the folks in Haiti are struggling to live through, I wondered if it was possible to find anything that was remotely humorous about the concept of disaster.
As I started combing my way through disaster quotes I was struck by how superficial our American culture can be at times, too much self-absorption, exaggerating personal issues as if they actually qualified as a disaster. When times are normal and life is easy it's funny to be cheeky about our circumstances. Somehow, right now with the Haiti situation still unfolding...
There are a few quotes that are amusing. Others I found were in reference to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, still so fresh here in south Louisiana where I live, that echo the same frustration with relief efforts as is heard about the Haiti disaster today. Governments still don't have their act together in a timely fashion.
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Excepting Israel, last night's news reported that Israel arrived with a complete mobile hospital, electronic records ability, personnel, supplies for them and the patients. These folks have all the IT equipment they need to send out X-rays of patients and talk to specialty doctors thousands of miles away to consult. Pretty cool. It's also what Americans expected how we would come into Haiti. The military machinery is good for establishing order and security but they were missing the medical component on the Israeli level who far out-shined us.
What America has done right is to staff and organize the Haiti airport. Why was that so important and such a big deal? It's a small airport and before the earthquake only managed about three flights a day. Once the American military came in they got it up to 60 flights a day and now up to 100 flights a day. The need is to get it up to 180 flights a day as that is what is truly needed. It does make you feel good to know that the whole world is flying in to help on this massive a scale. There still is so much good in the world.
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Researching these quotes also made an impression on me about how people have been making the same commments about the concept of disaster for generations in regard to war situations. What really surprised me, pleasantly, are the many inspiring quotes found that teach us how to wrap our brains around difficult times and grow from it.
Of course, my take on it too is that human nature is both terribly stubborn and often emotionally lazy. We require extreme situations like disaster to get us to change on a fundamental level as that is all that can motivate us. In this Haiti situation, the people of Haiti are tested to change but so is the world around them, every person watching the news. We all have come to the realization that our world can change in a flicker of a moment. How will we choose to react when we no longer have the familiar to run to for security?
Meanwhile, for those who are wondering, an update on my female cousin trapped in Haiti. While we still have not received word of her survival, we have heard from a number of Haitian friends and other Americans who know her that she is fine because they all have seen her in person or talked to her on the phone. She was in Jacmel and has been reported at the College St. Pierre music school area.
She's a classical trumpet player and music teacher who donates her time in Haiti several times a year. The word is she gave away all her medicine to help which is typical of her "what's mine is yours." She also was to have said she "wants to remain in Haiti in their time of need to do what she can for them." Also typical of her. So, time will tell. As the country gets dug out and communication begins to improve beyond hearsay and spotty phone lines available, we will all keep praying strength into the survivors as they journey through their ordeal.
When tough times strike it's good to have a small time to laugh, and, hopefully, to get inspired. Inspiration lifts up your spirits making you stronger to walk through the situation until it is resolved. That's why I leave so much humor on my blogs, knowing thousands of people are stressed from their jobs and life situations. A little quirky intelligent humor entertains the mind, pulling it away from the emotional stress, giving temporary relief. It's like a soothing mind bath, soaking away all the worries so you can catch your balance once again.
The quotes are arranged in a way to take you through the roller coaster of emotions we feel about the idea of a disaster, be it a personal failing of which we joke or something very serious like a natural disaster of epic proportions. Then there are the deep thinkers who wrestle with how to grow and benefit from the worst of times in our lives, inspiring us.
Take a look at what I found:
Photo of Greece, a country no stranger to earthquakes
First the amusing; Oscar Wilde is always good for a grin:
* The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster. - Oscar Wilde
* I attended a very small junior high and specially in the end that became a disaster. The principal was pretty senile and a drunk, so the children more or less ruined the school. - Jonathan Brandis
* I don't admire Freud as much as some people do. Imagine Shakespeare being aware of the Oedipal complex when he wrote Hamlet. It would have been a disaster. - Nathalie Sarraute
* If you put yourself in a group of people you cannot work with it's obviously going to be a disaster. - David Cronenberg
* It is always one's virtues and not one's vices that precipitate one into disaster. - Rebecca West
* There are two sighs of relief every night in the life of an opera manager. The first comes when the curtain goes up. The second sigh of relief comes when the final curtain goes down without any disaster, and one realizes, gratefully, that the miracle has happened again. - Rudolf Bing
* Society is not a disease, it is a disaster. What a stupid miracle that one can live in it. - Emile M. Cioran
* Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster. - Jim Wallis
* The pursuit of approval usually ends in disaster. - Chris Morris
* Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster. Otherwise, why do so many people walk upright and with open eyes into their misfortune? - Elias Canetti
* France, and the whole of Europe have a great culture and an amazing history. Most important thing though is that people there know how to live! In America they've forgotten all about it. I'm afraid that the American culture is a disaster. - Johnny Depp
* Those who mistake their good luck for their merit are inevitably bound for disaster. - J. Christopher Herold
* We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. - Carl Sagan
* We not only romanticize the future; we have also made it into a growth industry, a parlor game and a disaster movie all at the same time. - Eugene Kennedy
* I think the inherent right of the Government is to lie to save itself when facing a nuclear disaster is basic. - Arthur Sylvester
* If a poem is each time new, then it is necessarily an act of discovery, a chance taken, a chance that may lead to fulfillment or disaster. - A. R. Ammons
* If a sufficient number of management layers are superimposed on top of each other, it can be assured that disaster is not left to chance. - Norman Ralph Augustine
* The bosses of our mass media, press, radio, film and television, succeed in their aim of taking our minds off disaster. Thus, the distraction they offer demands the antidote of maximum concentration on disaster. - Ernst Fischer
* One person cooking at home cannot pay attention to too many things. If a woman makes three dishes, she will get nervous on the first, the second will suffer and the third will be a disaster. - Rene Veaux
Photo by subflux @ flickr
Now the serious quotes that deal with the anger and frustration we all feel after a disaster of epic proportions has struck be it a war or an earthquake:
* A great power has to have the discipline not only to go when necessary but to know when not to go. Getting involved in ethnic, religious civil wars is a recipe for disaster. - John Kasich
* Americans rightly asked, if this is the way our government responds to a natural disaster it knew about days in advance, how would it respond to a surprise terrorist attack? How would it respond to an earthquake? - Russ Carnahan
* Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster. - William Tecumseh Sherman (American Civil War in 1860’s)
* First, those images help us understand the general and specific magnitude of disaster caused by the tsunami. The huge outpouring of aid would not have happened without those images. - Bruce Jackson
* Get off you’re a$$ and get down here to fix the g. d. biggest disaster in the nation's history. - Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, whose calls for help were ignored by the White House, President George Bush, for the first 3 days and longer after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, flooding the city, stranding residents who died from lack of rescue, food and water that could have easily been provided by the federal government in a timely fashion.
The military blocked the interstates so those of us who wanted to drive into New Orleans and get them were turned back. Then the FEMA head, Brownie, overruled the Governor of Louisiana when she tried to send in buses to gather up the stranded at the Superdome.
You know why she was denied from helping her own people? Brownie declared those buses were not air-conditioned and, therefore, could not be used. He hung up his cell phone and ordered off the high-priced restaurant menu to settle in for an expensive meal on the taxpayers' dime. All the while people were dying in New Orleans. Unbelievable arrogance and insensitivity while the whole world watched. Hopefully, America has learned from that disaster to help those to come.
* My heart goes out to victims and survivors of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and to their families. This disaster will go down in history books as one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history. - Ellen Tauscher
* Never in our country's history have we witnessed a natural disaster that has impacted so many people in such a wide area. In fact, as of the writing of this column, millions of people along the Gulf Coast have been displaced from their homes in a period of only five days. - Jo Bonner
* This is a Disaster. This isn't something somebody can control. We ain't stuck on stupid. - General Russel Honore, commenting at Bush’s terrible handling of relief effort to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit.
* The one thing that I have been struck with, after coming here to Congress is, how many people in Washington, D.C. talk about job loss like they are talking about the weather, or a natural disaster like an earthquake. - Stephen F. Lynch
* If you have a major disaster involving hundreds of thousands, or in this case millions of people, whether it be a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, the first 72 hours are going to be totally chaotic no matter what you plan to do. - Warren Rudman
* In the past, people worked together only when some great disaster threatened. - Walter Ulbricht
* It is imperative that when thousands of selfless volunteers respond to those who have incurred the wrath of a natural disaster that legal liability need not be hanging over their heads. - Jon Porter
* I can only hope the federal aid made available today will be sufficient in our recovery efforts, and pray that our citizens continue to be safe from the fallout of this dangerous natural disaster. - Mike Rogers
* Only disaster can follow divided counsels and opposing wills. - Thomas John Barnardo
* Pride and excess bring disaster for man. - Xun Zi
These are the delightful quote gems I found that inspire us to think differently and do differently:
* I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity. - John D. Rockefeller
* I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity. - Edgar Allan Poe
* Today, as never before, the fates of men are so intimately linked to one another that a disaster for one is a disaster for everybody. - Natalia Ginzburg
* I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster. - Queen Catherine II
* I didn't lead a very wise life, myself, but it was a full one and a grown-up one. You come of age very quickly through shipwreck and disaster. - Philip Dunne
* If I could learn to treat triumph and disaster the same, then I would find bliss. - Kathie Lee Gifford
* The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. - Elizabeth Bishop
* I believe that if you think about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience. - Eddie Rickenbacker
* To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster. - Stirling Moss
* Trust your hunches. ... Hunches are usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level. Warning! Do not confuse your hunches with wishful thinking. This is the road to disaster. - Dr. Joyce Brothers
* Trusting our intuition often saves us from disaster. - Anne Wilson Schaef
Photo by romarosa @ PhotoBucket
* If I'm interrupted, it's just a minor inconvenience, but not a disaster, because it's easy to get back where I was: that is, the paint has not changed consistency; the light has not moved. - Buffy Sainte-Marie
* There is humor in the specter of the worst disaster in our nation's history. All I have to do is sweep away the debris of shock to find it. - Will Durst
* Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. - Sun Tzu
* Knowledge is going to make you stronger. Knowledge is going to let you control your life. Knowledge is going to give you the wisdom to teach their children. Knowledge is the thing that makes you smile in the face of disaster. - Avery Brooks
* Much as we may wish to make a new beginning, some part of us resists doing so as though we were making the first step toward disaster. - William Throsby Bridges
* My mother was a phoenix who always expected to rise from the ashes of her latest disaster. She loved being Judy Garland. - Lorna Luft
* Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow. Retire when the work is done. This is the way of heaven. - Tao Te Ching
* There is such a thing as tempting the gods. Talking too much, too soon and with too much self-satisfaction has always seemed to me a sure way to court disaster. The forces of retribution are always listening. They never sleep. - Meg Greenfield
* The most dire disaster in love is the death of imagination. - George Meredith
* The formula for achieving a successful relationship is simple: you should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster. -
And, for the People of Haiti:
* Noble souls, through dust and heat, rise from disaster and defeat the stronger. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
* Many a happiness in life, as many a disaster, can be due to chance, but the peace within us can never be governed by chance. - Maurice Maeterlinck
And a wonderful poem from Rudyard Kipling:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give away to hating
And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two imposters just the same,
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss . . .
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
*** ALSO at Dennys Global Politics is something life affirming -
2 Inspiring Haiti Stories: Woman Pulled From Wreckage, New Baby Born on USS Carl Vinson
*** ALSO at Dennys Funny Quotes the latest political cartoons on one weird election -
Its Official: Folks Bring Back Thiefing Republicans, Hand Senate Seat to Them
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