LONDON — In 2002, [artist id="1111141"]Coldplay[/artist]'s Chris Martin went to Haiti. What he saw there — proud-yet-poor people facing overwhelming odds — has remained with him ever since. And it's made watching the footage streaming out of the earthquake-ravaged nation over the past few days even more difficult.
"I went there to do a project with Fair Trade, so I was on about 15 farms in Haiti, and Port-au-Prince, these places you're seeing on the news," Martin said. "Sometimes when you see things like this on the news, there's an easy disconnect, because you think 'Well, I've never been there, I'm never going there, someone else will sort it out.' But when you've been there, it's a little bit more real."
So, when the organizers of tonight's "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon reached out to Martin and his Coldplay mates, they were more than ready to help out.
"When something that terrible and tragic happens, you have to play to your strengths, to do anything you can to help," Martin said. "We're useless on the ground, as it were. So the best thing we can do is what we do. It's the same as if you're a shop assistant: you go on the Internet and donate. Everyone's got their small part to play on this."
Which is why, as Martin and drummer Will Champion went to great lengths to point out, it doesn't matter if you've ever been to Haiti or not. Everyone can relate to the suffering and immense recovery facing the Haitian people. And everyone can do their part to help.
"When someone mentions that there's been a disaster or something awful, your mind always downplays how bad it is, and it's not until you actually see images, desperate images, that you can understand," Champion said. "It's terrifying. And then it hits you. I have children, so to see pictures of the children, it's too much. It should be too much for anyone."
Learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, and for more information, see Think MTV. Join George Clooney and Wyclef Jean for MTV's "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, airing commercial-free Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET, and visit HopeForHaitiNow.org or call (877) 99-HAITI to make a donation now.