Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

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 Help seems to always come late when it comes at all. We are in deep trouble

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charlotin
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MessageSujet: Help seems to always come late when it comes at all. We are in deep trouble   Sam 23 Jan 2010 - 18:03

Why Is The Haiti Disaster Response So Screwed Up?
By Danny Schechter
Author, The Crime of Our Time



Is This Another Katrina Relief Effort In The Making?

Every disaster plan is built to some degree around the idea of triage — deciding who can and cannot be saved. The worst cases are often separated and allowed to perish so that others who are considered more survivable can be treated.

There is a tragic triage underway in Haiti thanks to screw-ups in the US and western response, and in part because of the objectively tough conditions in Haiti that blocked access and made the delivery of food, water and services difficult. But the planners should have known that!

Look at the TV coverage. “Saving Haiti” is the title CNN has given to its coverage. It shows us all the planes landing, and donations coming in and celebrity response on one hand, and then the problems/failures to actually deliver aid on the other.

Much of the coverage focuses on the upbeat — people being saved. But despite that frame, which highlights a compassionate America’s response, the reality of what’s happening in Haiti is only barely getting through. It’s not pretty.

Everyone wants to believe in the best intentions of all involved but five days after the quake, with so few being helped, we have to ask: how did this get so badly done?

It’s like Obama’s plan to stop foreclosures through modifying loans. Great idea, but only a handful of homeowners have benefited. There is a yawning gap between the idea and its execution.

So what happened in Haiti? The short answer: it is too little and in many cases, much of it too late. A natural disaster has been compounded by a well-intentioned man-made one.

Why? One global report explained:

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon emphasized the importance of the first 72 hours following the 12 January disaster. But already much of that crucial time has been spent attempting to assess the situation. The structures usually responsible for dealing with civilian emergencies have been unable to respond effectively due to widespread destruction of national and international power structures.

(This means the UN and the Haitian government as well as the US effort).

Lacking outside support, civilians have worked communally to try to save their own families. Supplies were sent but many have yet to get out of the airport. Troops have not been assigned to help deliver water or guard medical facilities. There is a fear of the wrath of a people that are pissed off at hearing about aid and money donated, and then seeing nothing trickling down into their neighborhoods.

And there is a deeper fear — a political fear. With President Aristide, the man the US considers too radical for its tastes, anxious to return, there is fear that a possible revolt against the lack of help could turn angry and political.

Hillary Clinton keeps telling the Haitians that we are their friends — but many doubt it. They know that Aristide’s Lavalas party is the most popular in Haiti and wants a more profound transformation than the US wants to allow. It had been banned from taking part in scheduled elections next month, that are likely to be canceled now. Haiti’s president Preval is weak and dependent on US largesse.

They also know that in the aftermath of earthquakes, like the one that rocked Manaqua, Nicaraga in the 1970s, there can be revolution. They don’t want that to happen in Haiti. They also know how volatile the country is, in part because of neglect by the West over the years.

Private help is not getting through either. Western Union offices are still closed in a country that relies on foreign remittances as a lifeline. The media is finally admitting the aid mission is failing, although that’s not the word used — they say the relief effort is “troubled!” Here’s the headline in the NY Times: “Officials Strain to Distribute Aid to Haiti as Violence Rises.” The piece continues: “A sprawling assembly of international officials and aid workers struggled to fix a troubled relief effort.”

The Guardian/Observer focuses on a water delivery crisis. The article doesn’t ask why armed troops were not assigned to protecting drivers:

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are in desperate need of drinking water because of an earthquake-damaged municipal pipeline and truck drivers either unable or unwilling to deliver their cargo.

Many drivers are afraid of being attacked if they go out, some drivers are still missing in the disaster and others are out there searching for missing relatives,” said Dudu Jean, a 30-year-old driver who was attacked on Friday when he drove into the capital’s sprawling Cite Soleil slum.

The lack of water has become one of the greatest dangers facing Haitians in part because earthquake survivors stay outdoors all day in the heat out of fear of aftershocks and unstable buildings.

But there is something else going on.

The disaster planners have an agenda that goes beyond just saving lives. They want to use the crisis to rebuild Haiti along lines they support. (ie. Support of property rights etc) So far they have not spoken about how policies backed by the United States through the Caribbean Basin Initiative were responsible for uprooting peasants from the countryside to move them to the city to be a cheap labor reserve. In that Reagan era effort, pigs were killed and imported food replaced home grown varieties to benefit US suppliers. Debt dependence grew — classic imperialist policies.

Read this report in coded uncritical top-down language from the Washington Post:

Even as rescuers are digging victims out of the rubble in Haiti, policymakers in Washington and around the world are grappling with how a destitute, corrupt and now devastated country might be transformed into a self-sustaining nation.

Development efforts have failed there, decade after decade, leaving Haitians with a dysfunctional government, a high crime rate and incomes averaging a dollar a day. But the leveled capitol, Port-au-Prince, must be rebuilt, promising one of the largest economic development efforts ever undertaken in the hemisphere — an effort “measured in months and even years,” President Obama said Saturday in an appeal for donations alongside former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And those who will help oversee it are thinking hard about how to use that money and attention to change the country forever.

“It’s terrible to look at it this way, but out of crisis often comes real change,” said C. Ross Anthony, the Rand Corp’s global health director. “The people and the institutions take on the crisis and bring forth things they weren’t able to do in the past.”

The Rand Corporation is a military contractor primarily, a center for spooks and covert strategies. The fact that they are being quoted as saviors is scary in itself. In other words, Haiti’s future is being planned outside of Haiti and will be imposed step by step.

I don’t know about you but anything that George W. Bush is supporting, I tend to be skeptical of, to say the least.

Let’s admit it, this disaster response is itself a disaster. And it’s helping promote a new disaster to come.

Greg Palast points to some of the many contradictions that the TV networks that are milking Haiti’s pain in an orgy of self-congratulatory reporting have yet to explore:

*China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. US bases in Puerto Rico: right there. [Greg, make that 25,000 miles away!]

* Obama’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, “I don’t know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has.” We know Gates doesn’t know.

* From my own work in the field, I know that FEMA has access to ready-to-go potable water, generators, mobile medical equipment and more for hurricane relief on the Gulf Coast. It’s all still there. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who served as the task force commander for emergency response after Hurricane Katrina, told the Christian Science Monitor, “I thought we had learned that from Katrina, take food and water and start evacuating people.” Maybe we learned but, apparently, Gates and the Defense Department missed school that day.

* Send in the Marines. That’s America’s response. That’s what we’re good at. The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson finally showed up after three days. With what? It was dramatically deployed — without any emergency relief supplies. It has sidewinder missiles and 19 helicopters.

* But don’t worry, the International Search and Rescue Team, fully equipped and self-sufficient for up to seven days in the field, deployed immediately with ten metric tons of tools and equipment, three tons of water, tents, advanced communication equipment and water purifying capability. They’re from Iceland.

[Hillary Clinton said proudly on Saturday that there are now 30 teams in place. No one asked, why only 30?]

* Gates wouldn’t send in food and water because, he said, there was no “structure … to provide security.” For Gates, appointed by Bush and allowed to hang around by Obama, it’s security first. That was his lesson from Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater before drinking water.

* Previous US presidents have acted far more swiftly in getting troops on the ground on that island. Haiti is the right half of the island of Hispaniola. It’s treated like the right testicle of Hell. The Dominican Republic the left. In 1965, when Dominicans demanded the return of Juan Bosch, their elected President, deposed by a junta, Lyndon Johnson reacted to this crisis rapidly, landing 45,000 US Marines on the beaches to prevent the return of the elected president. “

And Greg asks the question that our media heroes have yet to explore:

How did Haiti end up so economically weakened, with infrastructure, from hospitals to water systems, busted or non-existent – there are two fire stations in the entire nation – and infrastructure so frail that the nation was simply waiting for “nature” to finish it off?

Good question. One of the many we should be asking. In the meantime, we need the press to start asking tougher questions and exposing a Katrina-like response that is still losing countless lives.

A country in pain deserves relief. Not more pain.

If you lived there, wouldn’t you be pissed and ready to explode?
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Sasaye
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MessageSujet: Re: Help seems to always come late when it comes at all. We are in deep trouble   Sam 23 Jan 2010 - 19:07

Konpatriyot,

Mesi pou tèks saa ke w poste laa.
Mwen deja li l, men mwen pa t gen tan pou mete l sou sit la.

Mwen deja poze menm kestyon sayo tou.

Sa ki ironik sè ke gen meriken tankou Danny Schechter.
Meriken natifnatal ki kapab wè move jwèt Etazini, peyi yo, epi yo kritike l e denonse move zak ak move politik.

Epi w jwenn ayisyen pitit adoptif ki pi meriken pase meriken tout bon, ki estomake paske yon nèg mete yon atik ki kritike meriken. Menm lè se yon meriken ki ekri l.

Yap mete baton pou Ayiti ak Ayisyen parèy yo, men pinga moun pale meriken mal.
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OBSERVER KEEN
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MessageSujet: Re: Help seems to always come late when it comes at all. We are in deep trouble   Dim 24 Jan 2010 - 15:19

Charlotin, This guy does not respect haitians! this guy does not respect human dignity! why??? because apparently, he thinks that the international community has a HIGHER moral responsibility toward us than our own elected government. You see, he thinks that the adults did not come fast enough because they should have known that these kids in Haiti could not handle anything.
any westerner in my book who criticizes the international community before the Haitian government to me is a racist. you can be racist while being generous and paternalistic. a failure to even criticize the haitian government is to me an implicit recognition that they did not expect even the minimum competence from a black government; and I see that a lot from liberal commentators, they completely fail to assess the local government in any constructive criticism as if these people could not have done any better, therefore it is the responsibility of the wise and the better world to intervene at all time at any cost.
my reason to criticize Preval is because I did expect a certain level of competence from his government!
Of course, they could not deal with this catastrophe on their own, but i did expect some creativity, and some quick thinking, some smart response, some out-the-box thinking!
you do not understand my point, and it is okay!
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MessageSujet: Re: Help seems to always come late when it comes at all. We are in deep trouble   Dim 24 Jan 2010 - 16:07

Keen,

You are not alone, I was pissed off when I read this text, and even felt even worse when Sasaye thanked the poster for the beautiful article so I logged out to calm myself. It seems our citizens are somehow still under emotion and cannot understand when someone is putting them down.

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Comme toi, il n'en est qu'un, deviens donc qui tu es.

"Ceux qui ont le pouvoir de faire le mal et qui savent ne pas le faire sont des Seigneurs" (Shakespeare)
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MessageSujet: Re: Help seems to always come late when it comes at all. We are in deep trouble   Dim 24 Jan 2010 - 18:54

I do understand Keen's reaction and comprehend where his position is situated.
I also realise that there can be different interpretations to an article.

I fully recognise the right of anyone to differ and express their disagreement and opposition to a point of view.

But I also maintain my right to express my opinions whether they meet other's agreement or not.

This is a basis of discussions and debates in any forum: different, not convergent opinions that can be debated for the information and the enlightenment of the participants.

And the fact that one posts an article of interest is not indicative that this person concurs with the opinions expressed by the author, unless the poster writes some comments to endorse the points being expressed.

We do need to hear what different authors say and think of the situation of Haiti.
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charlotin
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MessageSujet: Re: Help seems to always come late when it comes at all. We are in deep trouble   Lun 25 Jan 2010 - 17:58

Sasaye a écrit:
I do understand Keen's reaction and comprehend where his position is situated.
I also realise that there can be different interpretations to an article.

I fully recognise the right of anyone to differ and express their disagreement and opposition to a point of view.

But I also maintain my right to express my opinions whether they meet other's agreement or not.

This is a basis of discussions and debates in any forum: different, not convergent opinions that can be debated for the information and the enlightenment of the participants.

And the fact that one posts an article of interest is not indicative that this person concurs with the opinions expressed by the author, unless the poster writes some comments to endorse the points being expressed.

We do need to hear what different authors say and think of the situation of Haiti.

Mwen pap pase pa 4 chemen pou eksplike reaksyon veuve ak orphelin yo (lol): yo jis dekonsete le yo li atikl sa a ki ofon se yon konsta. Sipozon ke ta gen yon ton inakseptabl, mwen oblije sonje ke tout moun pa gen background e menm fason yo antre lan yon problematik. Se menm janr mwen kon trouve Keen gen yon kote chimer le li ap pale de gran proje li yo kom si Ayiti se yon lot planet ke li ap planifye pou l'al kolonize. Li pa ka di mwen pa ba'l van'l pou l'al la Gonave. (lol)

Se pa yon ger ke nou vle antame men Keen pa yon bon debateur. Li met pran tout affection an pou li. Keen se yon lot neg ki ap kouri deye fleur. Mwen regret sa pou Keen se pa brik mwen vinn pran lan men moun bor isit.
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