Archive for the ‘Haiti’ Category

One Fucked-Up World

October 22, 2010

A week after the Chilean miners surfaced, the mainstream media is reporting that at least 142 Haitians have already died from cholera.  While this information would be disheartening enough, the internet readers’ comments are infinitely more distressing.  One particularly disgusting entry traces Haiti’s history from the French point of view (e.g., the slaves revolt ruined the beautiful paradise that the French planters had created, never mentioning the word “slavery”) and asserts that all efforts to help the Haitians, including the US military’s occupation, were to no avail because the Haitians are stupid and lazy.  Most of the comments operate from the assumption that the earthquake aid was delivered to Haiti and squandered, but in the case of the U.S. government, this is simply not true.  Almost none of the promised aid has arrived.  As for squandering the aid raised by NGOs, it’s the NGOs that are to blame, as they used the funds for such things as covering their operating expenses.  None of the readers making insulting generalizations about the Haitian character has taken the trouble to find out the streets of Port-au-Prince are still choked with rubble,  that no reconstruction has begun, and that almost every refugee camp is packed, offers no toilets, no tents and no food.  Families are sleeping on dirt floors underneath sheets and shitting in bags.  It’s a minor miracle that it has taken this long for an epidemic severe enough to qualify as news in the U.S. media, itself a finely-tuned instrument when it comes to the micro-movements of DWTS and Jersey Shore.

Certainly was easier to cheer the miners who only had to survive a few months underground  (most of that time having food and diversions shuttled to them), and whose successful rescue managed to quiet any unpleasant questions about corporate, national and even international complicity in using cheap assets (e.g., a miner’s life) to extract valuable resources like coal.  Just like it’s easier to mouth off on the internet, taking the time to type in a comment that the Haitians are too stupid not to know one shouldn’t shit from the stream one drinks from than it is to search out an alternate news source that would report on the horror of what’s happening to millions of people.  Come to think of it, it looks as if the laziest denizens of the Western Hemisphere might not be located in Haiti but in a more populous country to their north.