The Haiti Effect: Oscar and Grammy for Charity

“Death of a person is a tragedy. Death of millions is a statistic.” The cynicism of a 20th century Russian, in case you have forgotten Stalin, seems to have disappeared from today’s American agenda. The Haitian apocalypse has mobilized the whole world and has also inevitably generated a mega show. On Friday night, dozens of channels throughout the world were transmitting the show hosted by George Clooney. It is true, George was not the only one behind the show; he benefited from the MTV Network’s initiative and support from international organizations.

The two hours of live transmission depicted a type of Grammy and Oscar nominations special with a charity section. Jack Nicholson, along with Robin Williams and Mel Gibson were in charge of responding to the donors’ phone calls. Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Muhammad Ali and Bill Clinton were appealing to the general public for support for the oppressed in the Caribbean. Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Bono, Sting, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé all sang for Haiti. Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts and Leonardo DiCaprio were in charge of telling the stories of the few survivors. More than 100 Hollywood stars were gathered together for the same cause, and in the most authentic Hollywood style – impeccable, magnificent and modest. Could it be said that there was pathos? No, in no way. All the elements were perfectly calibrated. The chosen songs followed the same script, containing emotional verses and encouraging messages. No one allowed themselves to derail with inappropriate jokes. This was not the moment. Even the comedians that participated in the show adjusted themselves to the sadness of the catastrophic cause. Ben Stiller, a man that brings smiles and laughter with his mere appearance, was more serious than anyone could have ever imagined.

The show generated $58 million worth of funds for the oppressed in Haiti. This represents the largest amount of funds generated by such a show. Clooney donated $1 million from his own funds. The example was followed by Brad and Angelina, DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock (Madonna donated $250,000 before the show). Shakira will sponsor the construction of a school in Haiti. The collection of funds continues because the musical pieces included in the show can be purchased on iTunes. Eighty Haitian children, whose adoption processes were delayed due to the earthquake, have finally reached the houses of their new parents in the U.S. After all the help the Hollywood stars have provided, it would not be surprising if, in the families of Jolie-Pitt or Madonna, a new Haitian child will become a member.

The Haitians are no longer afraid of the afterlife hell’s menace. They have gotten a snapshot of hell in the last days. The rest of the world has the responsibility to remind Haitians how life is supposed to be. The “Hope for Haiti” show represented the first big step. And at the same time it represented reality’s confirmation that nothing is free for Americans, but when money is donated or spent, something comes back as remuneration. In the case of the $58 million donated, the donors’ remuneration was a guilt-free conscience and a mega Hollywood show.

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