Racisme i dækningen af jordskælvet på Haiti

På videoen ser man blandt andet, hvordan almindelige mennesker i Port-au-Prince hjalp hinanden og forsøgte at grave overlevende ud af ruinerne, mens FN og det internationale samfund pillede sig i …

Lidt inde ser man en dame, der spørger: “Jeg kan ikke se, at FN  er kommet for at hjælpe os? Hvor er de?”

Nu hopper Politiken så også med på historien om de plyndrende horder, der giver “sikkerhedsproblemer”, mens landets befolkning er dybt taknemmelige over hjælpen udefra. Men det er løgn. En amerikansk læge på et haitiansk hospital understreger, at der ikke er nogen “security issues” – overhovedet:

Two days ago, we began operating. We had four operating rooms up as quick as possible and have been using them ever since. We don’t have full proper anesthesia. We’re missing many of the materials we need. But that has been working. As of last night, we have some electricity on the campus, and we’ll be able to start operating twenty-four hours a day through this night and on through tomorrow.

I think, you know, the singing and the [inaudible], I know, is clear to many, certainly anyone who has followed Haiti and cared about this special country. One thing that I think is really important for people to understand is that misinformation and rumors and, I think at the bottom of the issue, racism has slowed the recovery efforts of this hospital. Security issues over the last forty-eight hours have been our—quote “security issues” over the last forty-eight hours have been our leading concern. And there are no security issues. I’ve been with my Haitian colleagues. I’m staying at a friend’s house in Port-au-Prince. We’re working for the Ministry of Public Health for the direction of this hospital as volunteers. But I’m living and moving with friends. We’ve been circulating throughout the city until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning every night, evacuating patients, moving materials. There’s no UN guards. There’s no US military presence. There’s no Haitian police presence. And there’s also no violence. There is no insecurity.

Men det er jo ikke helt, hvad der fremgår af de historier, vi får serveret i den danske presse. Og hvorfor? Formentlig for, at vi kan få bekræftet forestillingen eller myten om, hvor “gode” de vestlige lande er, når de “hjælper” – mens kyniske og store økonomiske interesser møver sig ind ad bagdøren for at udnytte situationen, det bedste de har lært.

Som Lenin observer på sin grav, bliver disse løgne misbrugt til at forlange en undtagelsestilstand, der reelt vil give de amerikanske styrker i Haiti diktatoriske beføjelser:

This ‘security’ mytheme has also been used to justify the imposition of martial law, at the behest of the United States, which will be enforced by the US military:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had demanded the imposition of the emergency decree during her visit to Haiti on Saturday. “The decree would give the government an enormous amount of authority, which in practice they would delegate to us,” Clinton declared.

Haitian police and UN troops have already been firing at crowds characterised as ‘looters’, even if they didn’t necessarily have any purloined goods on them at the time. However, the US government is profoundly aware of its PR predicament, inasmuch as many people may refuse to be dazzled by the propaganda and notice the fact that the US has actually just invaded, taken control of the aid, blocked the entry of field hospitals and aid equipment on spurious grounds, and is now in the position of using its immense military advantages to impose martial law on an occupied country. So, the military bosses are telling anyone who will listen that “we’re not in Haiti to fight”. Well, of course they’re not. They genuinely expect people to do as they’re told without the question of a fight coming into it. Commentators can fulminate about machetes in Haitian hands, but 82nd Airborne has assault rifles and, if they consider it necessary, helicopter gunships, missiles, fighter jets, and behind them the entire galactically enormous arsenal of US imperialism. They are in a country whose GDP is a mere 1% of the US military budget in a single year. They are in a country that they have already tortured with death squads and terrorised under a UN mandate. Of course they don’t expect a fight.

Er der da ingen grænser for, hvor dybt danske journalister vil synke, og hvor grove og racistiske løgne, de vil lade sig misbruge til uden at stille selv det mindste lillebitte spørgsmålstegn? Man undres (desværre ikke helt så meget længere).

Via Lenin’s Tomb.

Krydstogtskib gør holdt ved privat strand i Haiti, nyder livet få kilometer fra katastrofen

Fra Boing Boing, uden yderligere kommentarer:

The Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ ship Independence of the Seas went ahead with its scheduled stop at a fenced-in private Haitian beach surrounded by armed guards, leaving its passengers to “cut loose” on the beach, just a few kilometers from one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the region’s history. The ship’s owners justified it as a humanitarian call, because the ship also delivered 40 palettes of relief supplies while its passengers frolicked on zip-lines and ate barbeque within the 12-foot-high fence’s perimeter:

The Florida cruise company leases a picturesque wooded peninsula and its five pristine beaches from the government for passengers to “cut loose” with watersports, barbecues, and shopping for trinkets at a craft market before returning on board before dusk. Safety is guaranteed by armed guards at the gate.

The decision to go ahead with the visit has divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. But many passengers will stay aboard when they dock; one said he was “sickened”.

“I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water,” one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum.

“It was hard enough to sit and eat a picnic lunch at Labadee before the quake, knowing how many Haitians were starving,” said another. “I can’t imagine having to choke down a burger there now.”

Cruise ships still find a Haitian berth

(Image: Frontal view, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from Bernt Rostad’s photostream)

Jordskælv i Haiti, made in USA

Ikke selve jordskælvet, naturligvis, men de ødelæggelser, det skabte. Hvis bygningerne havde været bygget ordentligt, var det ikke gået så galt. Men det kunne jo kun lade sig gøre, hvis landet ikke var så fattigt. Men hvorfor er det mon det?

Vi giver ordet til Ted Rall:

As grim accounts of the earthquake in Haiti came in, the accounts in U.S.-controlled state media all carried the same descriptive sentence: “Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere…”

Gee, I wonder how that happened?

You’d think Haiti would be loaded. After all, it made a lot of people rich.

How did Haiti get so poor? Despite a century of American colonialism, occupation, and propping up corrupt dictators? Even though the CIA staged coups d’état against every democratically elected president they ever had?

It’s an important question. An earthquake isn’t just an earthquake. The same 7.0 tremor hitting San Francisco wouldn’t kill nearly as many people as in Port-au-Prince.

“Looking at the pictures, essentially it looks as if (the buildings are of) breezeblock or cinderblock construction, and what you need in an earthquake zone is metal bars that connect the blocks so that they stay together when they get shaken,” notes Sandy Steacey, director of the Environmental Science Research Institute at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. “In a wealthy country with good seismic building codes that are enforced, you would have some damage, but not very much.”

When a pile of cinderblocks falls on you, your odds of survival are long. Even if you miraculously survive, a poor country like Haiti doesn’t have the equipment, communications infrastructure or emergency service personnel to pull you out of the rubble in time. And if your neighbors get you out, there’s no ambulance to take you to the hospital–or doctor to treat you once you get there.

In Haiti this week, don’t blame tectonic plates. Ninety-nine percent of the death toll is attributable to poverty.

So the question is relevant. How’d Haiti become so poor?

The story begins in 1910, when a U.S. State Department-National City Bank of New York (now called Citibank) consortium bought the Banque National d’Haïti–Haiti’s only commercial bank and its national treasury–in effect transferring Haiti’s debts to the Americans. Five years later, President Woodrow Wilson ordered troops to occupy the country in order to keep tabs on “our” investment.

From 1915 to 1934, the U.S. Marines imposed harsh military occupation, murdered Haitians patriots and diverted 40 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product to U.S. bankers. Haitians were banned from government jobs. Ambitious Haitians were shunted into the puppet military, setting the stage for a half-century of U.S.-backed military dictatorship.

The U.S. kept control of Haiti’s finances until 1947.

Still–why should Haitians complain? Sure, we stole 40 percent of Haiti’s national wealth for 32 years. But we let them keep 60 percent.


Men der er mere – meget mere, så hop endelig over og læs det hele. Et godt supplement til indlægget om samme emne for et par dage siden.

Link: The Haitian earthquake: Made in U.S.A.

Haiti: Lad os ikke glemme historien

Mens man forsøger at få overblik over antallet af døde i Haitis hovedstad Port-au-Prince og verdens regeringer er ved at falde over deres egne ben for at love hjælp til den nødlidende befolkning, var det måske en idé at huske på, hvorfor Haiti er så fattigt et land, som det er, og hvordan den hjertensgodhed, som diverse regeringer pludselig har fundet frem, ellers plejer at vise sig.

Peter Hallward opsummerer i dagens Guardian:

The noble “international community” which is currently scrambling to send its “humanitarian aid” to Haiti is largely responsible for the extent of the suffering it now aims to reduce. Ever since the US invaded and occupied the country in 1915, every serious political attempt to allow Haiti’s people to move (in former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s phrase) “from absolute misery to a dignified poverty” has been violently and deliberately blocked by the US government and some of its allies.

Haiti is now a country where, according to the best available study, around 75% of the population “lives on less than $2 per day, and 56% – four and a half million people – live on less than $1 per day”. Decades of neoliberal “adjustment” and neo-imperial intervention have robbed its government of any significant capacity to invest in its people or to regulate its economy. Punitive international trade and financial arrangements ensure that such destitution and impotence will remain a structural fact of Haitian life for the foreseeable future.It is this poverty and powerlessness that account for the full scale of the horror in Port-au-Prince today. Since the late 1970s, relentless neoliberal assault on Haiti’s agrarian economy has forced tens of thousands of small farmers into overcrowded urban slums. Although there are no reliable statistics, hundreds of thousands of Port-au-Prince residents now live in desperately sub-standard informal housing, often perched precariously on the side of deforested ravines. The selection of the people living in such places and conditions is itself no more “natural” or accidental than the extent of the injuries they have suffered.

Maggie Korth-Baker går et skridt dybere i et indlæg på Boing Boing, hvor hun korrekt identificerer den egentlige synder i landets nuværende, miserable forfatning: Pengeafpresning og mellemfolkeligt gældsslaveri:

Haiti was forced to pay France for its freedom. When they couldn’t afford the ransom, France (and other countries, including the United States) helpfully offered high-interest loans. By 1900, 80% of Haiti’s annual budget went to paying off its “reparation” debt. They didn’t make the last payment until 1947. Just 10 years later, dictator François Duvalier took over the country and promptly bankrupted it, taking out more high-interest loans to pay for his corrupt lifestyle. The Duvalier family, with the blind-eye financial assistance of Western countries, killed 10s of thousands of Haitians, until the Haitian people overthrew them in 1986. Today, Haiti is still paying off the debt of an oppressive dictator no one would help them get rid of for 30 years.

The rest of the world refuses to forgive this debt.

Så næste gang du hører om den franske og amerikanske regerings gode vilje til at hjælpe, så husk baggrunden. Baggrunden for, at Haiti er så fattigt, at man overhovedet har brug for hjælp til at håndtere katastrofen, for det er naturligvis ikke nogen naturlov.

Og spørg også, hvordan den “hjælpende” Ulla Tørnæs mon presser på for at få verden til at eftergive Haitis udlandsgæld. Lidt mere end to hundrede år efter selvstændigheden er det vist på høje tid.

Link: Our role in Haiti’s plight