“Why?”

All this news and chatter surrounding NBC’s broadcast television programming changes seem almost trivial compared to what’s happening in Haiti. I’d think most people would agree.

Until I watched Katie Couric’s appearance on Charlie Rose yesterday, I had yet to really feel the pain and anguish of the tragedy. When you watch the interview, you’ll want to fast forward to about he 6:30 mark to get the full story.

The clip itself is on her blog

But the most harrowing moment of all was when I bent down to ask a thirteen year old boy his name. The flesh on his forehead had been scrapped away and his leg, the doctors told me, was broken. He reached up and grabbed my hand. “I have to pee,” he said, in perfect English. He became more emphatic. “Please, I have to pee!” I told him, hold on…I think he was embarrassed at the thought of just peeing in his boxer shorts.

A woman, I’m not sure if she was a doctor or a nurse, told him she would bring him a bottle. The doctors began to work on his leg and he held my forearm tighter.

What is your name, I asked him. “Pierre Larousse” he answered.

Where is your family?

My father is morte, or dead, he told me.

Your mother, I asked as Sebastian, our driver, translated. “Morte,” he said. Dead.

Then, it was as if the anguish and pain of an entire country took over his body. A powerful, piercing scream exploded from his slight physique. It seemed to fill the tent and to last forever.

“Why? Why,” he wailed. He screamed Papa, but Sebastian told me he was screaming to God, not his dead father.

“Squeeze my hand,” I told him, with the sudden feeling that this was my child.

He told me he was too weak to squeeze it hard. “Breathe, just breathe,” I implored him, softly but firmly.

“Stop pulling,” he yelled to the doctors who were resetting his leg. His screams became whimpers. He raised his body slightly and put his arm around my neck and brought me closer. I never wanted to leave him.

“Please, just get me a plaster cast,” the anesthesiologist asked me. “Where? Where can I get a plaster cast,” I asked. “I don’t know, just get some, please,” he responded.

They needed to move Pierre. I stroked his head before getting up. I wanted to take him home, take him to a hospital in New York, rescue him from this place and this life.

It moved me, too.

Aide à Haïti

Text “Haiti” to 90999, and $10 will go to the Red Cross. You’ll get billed by your mobile service provider.

Or help Luke