Usually I write here to develop characters for books, but today, there is little else on my mind other than Haiti. The images coming through on Television and over the Internet bring me back to those shown of New Orleans just after Katrina.
The problem exposed there was that there had been, and continues to be, a large group of humans who have been neglected and not thought about, but who were living well below the poverty line. So low, in the case of Haiti, that the very foundation of many of their buildings crumbled when natural disaster hit. There are no back-up funds, no bank accounts to draw on.
Even before the quake, only 30% of Haitians had access to clean drinking water and close to 120,000 were living with AIDS (Source: United NAtions) The infrastructure of the government has been corrupt since the days of being colonized. It’s long been one of the poorest counties in the Western Hemisphere, and the reason for that poverty is, for a large part, because the people that have colonized these islands have taken out all of the resources, infused their religion, and left the people there to fend for themselves on scraps.
Now, a country that was already poor and struggling to live, is going to have to depend on even less. I am looking for ways to help and donate money, but I am unsure of the best place to do so. Last night on Hardball with Chris Mathews, the former Prime Minister was on and he hinted that much of the money would not be able to get through.
If there are any suggestions about ligit places to donate, please let me know. I will gladly spread the word.
The point here is that the poverty caused by colonization once again is right in front of us. Had this happened in a Western country, there would have been contingency plans and relief efforts set up right away (though the Katrina response might say otherwise). We need to take a long look at what we are doing to other countries by, well, not doing anything.
The story here is that there is now going to be a country poor, desperate, and unflinching in their need to survive after facing so many deaths all at once. To say that it’s not our responsibility is false.
The United States, I saw we because I live here, but the United States was one of the main players in the slave trade, who along with Spain helped to create western Hispaniola (now Haiti), a place where thousands of Africans were brought to either pick sugar cane or were sent on to the New World to develop the most powerful country in the world.
The poverty, political chaos and void of roads, sewage and proper education are all products of what was created by slavery. Turning your back and watching your favorite TV show is easy when it’s not on the news, but now it’s in front of us, so it’s important to understand the history of Haiti and how they got to this point.
CLICK HERE for a brief history so you can see what lead to the situation they are in now. The earthquake opened up the the gates of hell, but that situation had been there for a long time already.
More to come as I find information.