Friday, February 12, 2010

Baptist Missionaries Jailed in Haiti: When the Shoe is on the Other Foot

(Photo credit)
A distressed Laura Silsby currently pleads from captivity in Haiti that she and the 9 other members of her Baptist-church-based group "did nothing wrong." She claims that they came out of love in their heart for these children. She tells an interrogator "we did not understand all your rules."

She is upset by the fact that the laws in Haiti are so confusing and that the Haitian lawyer appointed to her does not even speak English. She thought that her group could come in, take children out of Haiti for adoption, and that her benevolence was enough to conquer any details she had missed.

These children, many of which were crying out for their mothers in a language their 10 Baptist "rescuers" couldn't understand, were were taken with the intention of being adopted to families in the U.S.  Clearly lacking humility and a respect for another culture, they sought to take these children out of their Haiti without looking for their Haitian parents first.

For Silsby and her group, the shoe is now on the other foot, so to speak.  She is in a foreign land, away from her family, confused and feeling helpless, and unable to communicate because of a language barrier.  Rightfully so, she feels scared and overwhelmed, much like the children probably felt as she told them they must board her bus and go with her.

Silsby had forgotten a primary principle of her faith, to treat others how she would want to be treated.  To be returned to her family and the culture familiar to her.  To be around people whose language she speaks and can understand.  Now she cries out to national television about her plight.  In a quiet moment, I pray she sees the irony and becomes a culturally competent advocate for the best interests of these lost children and their parents instead.

2 comments:

Von said...

Absolutely excellent post here Amanda where you've hit it on the head exactly and so eloquently.The very best I've seen written about this situation.

Amanda said...

Thanks Von :-)