Thursday, January 21, 2010

Security? Occupation? Humanitarianism?Imperialism?

We saw and read about it when Hurricane Katina hit New Orleans . The poor rioting and looting and rampaging and raping that required the National Guard to go in and restore law and order . However, such a scenario was far from the truth as the real facts emerged and the only trigger-happy out-of-control people turned out to be the National Guardsmen .

We now have a repeat perfomance in Haiti . Desperate people whose priority is to survive being castigated as looters and criminals , and the necessity for the US Marine Corp to assume command of the situation.

“There are no security issues,” says Dr. Evan Lyon of Partners in Health, reporting from the General Hospital in Port-Au-Prince in Haiti, where 1,000 people are in need of operations. Lyon said the reports of violence in the city have been overblown by the media and have affected the delivery of aid and medical services.
"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."

David Pierre-Louis, Haitian-American , said "People are hungry and needy and yet they're being portrayed as savages..."

Reports about marauding, machete-wielding gangs taking over Port-au-Prince are very wide of the mark , according to the Guardian . The people are welcoming and helpful to those who come to help them and, if anything, go out of their way to ensure you are safe.

To quote Dr Evan once more "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."

Again according to a Guardian journalist , it is "Washington's fear of democracy in Haiti [that] may explain why the US is now sending 10,000 troops and prioritising "security" over other needs."

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