The children standing at the tent beside the filthy pool of water put their needs simply when asked what they wish for: “à manger; l’école,” they said, practically in unison. In English, “We want to eat; we want to go to school.” […]
Rea Dol is the Director and co-founder of Society of Providence United for the Economic Development of Petion-Ville (SOPUDEP), a grassroots organization in Haiti offering education for children and adults and a micro-credit program for women. Her work in the aid effort following the January 12th earthquake in Haiti was the subject of a New York Times documentary. While in Haiti in July, Montreal freelance journalist Darren Ell asked her about the impact of the earthquake.
Grassroots groups in Haiti are developing strategies to respond to one of the greatest lingering crises of many after the January 12 earthquake: homelessness for 1.9 million people whose houses crumbled or were too damaged to occupy. […]
Last week, the United Nations peacekeeping mission fired tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowded refugee camp, leaving at least six hospitalized and others suffering respiratory problems. Citizen organizations plan demonstrations for today, the sixth anniversary of the U.N. armed presence in Haiti. The march is part of growing protests against the military forces which have amassed in Haiti since the January 12 earthquake and the lack of attention to displaced people’s needs.
Brazilian anthropologist Omar Ribeiro Thomaz has spent long periods of time in Port-au-Prince as a teacher over the last ten years. Despite being white and foreign, he speaks Haitian Creole and interacts with Haitians as an equal. His vision of the country after the earthquake and of international aid challenges ideas and images propagated by the media.
“It’s a nightmare from which you never wake up,” said a coordinator for Partners in Health in Port-au-Prince, referring to the January 12 earthquake and its social aftermath. The ‘nightmare’ has long roots in structural violence, the set of national and international systems and policies that have left the majority in Haiti (and the world) neglected and resource-poor.
It’s been eight weeks since the devastating earthquake in Haiti and familiar patterns of interference and neglect by the major powers that dominate the country are firmly entrenched. Meanwhile, the direction of Haiti’s reconstruction remains entirely undetermined.
In post-quake Haiti, an emphasis on militarization delayed the provision of relief to Haitians. Was militarization based on a racist belief that Haitians were going to riot and had to be controlled? How does the Haiti’s history of international intervention shape the challenge it faces today? Noam Chomsky is an acclaimed analyst, activist and author.
What would it take to transform Haiti’s economy such that its role in the global economy is no longer that of providing cheap labor for sweatshops? What would it take for hunger to no longer be the norm, for the country no longer to depend on imports and hand-outs, and for Port-au-Prince’s slums no longer to contain 85% of the city’s residents? What would it take for the hundreds of thousands left homeless by the earthquake to have a secure life, with income?