A brief commentary on the Nepal Earthquake

The Sixth Opinion, my oft mentioned joke about any group of experts espousing more opinions than members of the group, is an inherent undercurrent in ours the world of rugs. Is a rug this? Is a rug that? What is the best quality? What makes a rug authentic? Crossed vs Uncrossed – if just to bring back to mind a fiery topic?  All great questions, some with definitive answers, others with, how do you say, more nuanced positions. It’s the nature of our existence as humans, especially creative humans. There are billions of us, yet we all seem to think we each know the solution to every problem, we all know “what’s right”, we all know what’s best for mankind. Well definitively, with 100% certainty (outside of scientifically provable facts – and even that is somewhat iffy depending on how advanced our knowledge is) I can tell you that position is wrong. Just try to get a group of friends to decide where to go to dinner, and you’ll see pleasing everyone just isn’t possible.


So here we are, in the midst if you will, of our industry responding to the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the questioning of motives has already begun. Hopefully you’ve read my previous article on the Nepal Relief Effort, and if so, you’ll note I included the phrase: If you pray. It reminds us there are those amongst us who do pray, and it reminds me that there is so much we do not yet know. We do not know the full extent of the devastation, we do not know how long it will take to rebuild, we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We do know however that it will take a lot of hard work, resources and the most precious of human commodities: patience. Something I have been told I have a lot of, but I do not believe that to be the case. This morning, I have but very little.
Have you ever been to church? Or a synagogue? A mosque? A temple? Have you ever spoken with a religious figure? How about that great teacher (see the play on language)? The good ones (in my opinion), don’t give you the answer. They guide you to find the answer for yourself. So, use this as a guide. Read between the lines, paying close attention the sections in bold.
From my previous article:
“For years our rug industry has benefited from the hard work, skill, and culture of the people of Nepal. So many of us and so much of the high end of the contemporary market owe their success and existence to this magical place, that it is imperative, both from a business and financial perspective and from the simple fact that we are all humans, that we take action to help those in Nepal. Now is the time when we collectively give back. No me, no you, just us! People helping people. 
The enormity of the situation in Nepal defies a single solution. No one organization, no one group, no one person, ideology, religion (or not), country, or effort is going to accomplish all that must and will need to be done. I’m not proposing we try and rebuild the entirety of Nepal, I’m proposing that we help were we can. And that’s within our extended circle of friends, colleagues, suppliers, and the like, all of the people who make what we do possible. Let’s work together (however that is) as an industry to make possible their lives and future livelihoods. Let’s “Give back to Nepal.””

Perhaps not as subtle as it could have been, but so many people want to help, and so many people are helping, each in their own ways. As long as good is being done (emphasis on this), whom are we to critique the methods? Time, as it always is, will be the final arbiter. 
For what it is worth, I have personally (other than putting time and money into this monstrosity that is The Ruggist) have donated to Doctors Without Borders here in the short term. Further, I wholehearted support a broad industrywide effort to help the entire rug weaving industry in Nepal rebuild, and as time progresses I will make my own determination (and tell you all about it with glorious unabashed praise) as to what effort is best. Of course, as a rug aficionado you’ll disagree, but let’s keep the focus on DOING the good. 

One final note: Please remember that while some of us are quite vocal and pronounced, others prefer a more somber approach and I know they are doing good as well, just outside of the spotlight.

So. Give!

As always, I appreciate your readership.
Thank you, and good-bye.