Editor, Daily News

It was heartening to see, in the past couple of issues of the Athol Daily News, that people in this community are rallying around the American citizens in Puerto Rico that are struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Local folks, young (ARMS students) and older (members of the Petersham Town Democratic Committee), have recognized a pressing need and have moved their neighbors and friends to help them to “take action to help others.” These actions are motivated by compassion for people who are separated from the North Quabbin by geographical distance, language, culture, and ethnicity. Yet the fund raising and clothing drives are a success.

I wonder, and maybe you do too, why it is necessary for local people to raise funds for Puerto Rico after this storm. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, although not represented in Congress, and are deserving of the same treatment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as Houston, Florida, New York, and New Orleans. But instead, on that island, many people are still without electricity, clean water, housing, and schools. Some are fleeing to the mainland because they cannot survive in their communities.

Could it possibly be that the bosses behind FEMA, the current federal administration, are not interested in the well being of the people of Puerto Rico? Perhaps there is no money to be made by themselves and their friends on that island. How else to explain that the current leader of this administration felt empowered to throw paper towels at the leaders of Puerto Rico in a gesture that said, “Good luck, clean up for yourself?”

So there are two ways of approaching the situation of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. One is to have compassion and to work to help the people there and the ones who are arriving here, knowing that we are all part of the human community. The other is to be so lacking in compassion as to be morally bankrupt. What kind of person are you? What kind of person do you want your children to be?

Diane Nassif


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Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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