Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti: Disaster Made Worse

Shocking devastation grips Haiti. Reeling from a 7+ magnitude earthquake which trapped, crushed and killed as many as 200,000 people, Haitian cities like Port-au-Prince resemble a dismantled heap of rubble much more than the familiar likenesses of themselves.

For the earthquake which ocurred one week ago, supplies to help the surviving and save the missing are still amassing and coming in. The woeful delay however is not due to any failure of logistics or lack of aid, but rather top-down mismanagement that is strangling the island to a standstill and failing to help those in need.

As the U.S. military heads up the United Nations rescue program, more emphasis is being placed on who's in charge of the rescue effort rather than who the rescue effort is hoping to help. Sadly, little aid has reached Haitians who are being kept increasingly behind automatic M4 rifles for 'protection' and also behind any credible chance of actually stemming the damage of the horrendous disaster.

While much of the management failure can be intuited by a half-asleep observor, hard evidence also confirms the failure.

On Saturday, as the wrtech stench of flesh and death still simmered in Port-au-Prince, the U.S. government delayed multitudes of aid supply planes containing valuable medicines and food for reeling inhabitants of the now toppled island. And why? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needed the landing space and a massive security-based no-fly zone to give an address not to Haitians, but the world, in an effort to grandstand America as the almighty good-intentioned giant eager to assist the helplessly depraved Haitians.

This sort of diplomacy may have worked with President Kennedy in Berlin ("Ich bin ein Berliner"), but is far distant from achieving any world harmony and peace today.

Even worse, as reported in The Telegraph by Laingo and Leonard, French Minister of aid recovery to Haiti, Alain Joyander, recently accused Clinton and the Americans of turning the rescue effort into a subtle blueprint for occupation and a deliberate means of restoring American-enforced 'law and order' to the long ignored and impoverished nation.

To those who view Haiti as small, vulnerable and amenable to United States wishes, we must remember that Haiti stands as our greatest ally in the long historical struggle for freedom, autonomy and political independence. After becoming the second real western democracy in 1798 and overthrowing and expulsing imperial France from their island, we have many more reasons to praise Haiti than most think.

Thus, in the endless history of nations, it is essential to remember the past struggles and honor them with due respect. While more and more aid is needed desperately for Haiti, we should continue to help. But also to make sure recovery is the real goal and overlording and hoarding condemned as the most dreadful sin.

No comments: