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Haiti: Deconstructing a Disaster!

8 February 2010 8 February 2010 Tags: , No Comment Print This Post Print This Post

Toussaint Louverture, from a group of engravings done in post-Revolutionary France. (1802)

Haïti will still need all the help it can get for months and years to come but reporters are already taking their microphones and cameras away in pursuit of the next big story. American soldiers will stay behind though, and soon, instead of reluctantly doling out aid, they will be pointing their guns at Haitians who will grow tired of the occupation. This is what you get for having the audacity to aspire to freedom from slavery, and achieve it.

This country achieved something in its history that few others have accomplished and that is, to gain their freedom from imperialists who enslaved them by defeating them militarily. Most other countries in that situation were “granted” their freedom. The official beginning of the struggle to throw of the imperialist yoke began with a religious ceremony circa 1791.

This ceremony was conducted by the legendary priest; Boukman. By 1804, the army of Napoleon, the strongest in the world at that time, was defeated in Haïti by the Africans. That victory meant the end of one struggle but the beginning of another. The French lost on land but blockaded the new country by sea, holding it hostage for ransom. This ransom the Haitians have paid by the millions for more than a century.

The American president; Thomas Jefferson, feared that the Haitian example would replicate itself in the United States. The idea of losing land, power or easy access to raping his slaves was a nightmare for Jefferson. For these reasons, he sided with his white, colonialist brothers and worked to isolate the island. Nevertheless, the young country continued on but even an innocuous existence was intolerable to the Americans.

In 1915, Woodrow Wilson invaded the country and deposed leaders. For seventeen years he pillaged the country for the benefit of Americans. He stole land from peasants and gave them to American corporations. When they left in 1932, the Americans installed weak puppet governments whose job it was to run the country like the Americans, that is, to secure American “interests”. Their reward was a cut in the profits and entry into the economic upper class.

This long line of American puppets included the father and son tyrant tag team; Jean-Claude and Baby Doc Duvalier; the worst of the lot. The hundreds of millions that they stole from the people’s treasury could help Haïti right now. The Haitian people threw these kleptocrats out themselves and eventually elected a populist priest; Jean-Bertrand Aristede, who had headed a new party, the Lavalas party.

Twice this man was elected with more than 66% of the vote and twice he was forced to leave office, a plurality that Bush 2 could only have dreamt of getting. The first time was through a US backed military coup while Bush 1 was in office. Clinton brought him back on suicidal conditions; no grain reserves, no support for domestic agriculture, no tariff barriers to US goods. Privatise! Privatise! Privatise! The state owned communication company, flour mill, and cement factory were all sold to Americans.

In a move reminiscent of when GM bought the electric car and then killed production of it, some state owned companies that were sold were immediately and deliberately closed so that only American imports were available. Cheap US rice and Tyson chicken parts entered the country for the first time in a deluge, overwhelming the local production and driving farmers out of business. When US gunboat policies fully decimated these local economies, the imported rice and chicken was no longer cheap.

This sabotage was very reminiscent of when, in the seventies and eighties, America forced Haïti to kill all the pigs in the country. Some of the pigs were infected with Asian swine flu. These pigs were first brought into the country as far back as the 1500s by the Spanish and had become acclimated and inured to a hardscrabble existence. They were a staple in the diet of the peasants also brought in small sums of money. With the eradication of the local pigs, a new population of pigs had to be imported to replace them. Even a tyro following this narrative could guess where the new pigs had to come from.

Port-au-Prince is a city built for a population of 50,000. With peasants losing their livelihoods in the countryside, they came poring into the capital looking for work. The population ballooned to two and a half to three million. The Machiavellian plans of the Americans were working just as they had intended. Here was a poor and desperate populace who could easily be drafted for slave wages in American sweatshops.

All this happened under Aristede. His hands were tied. When he tried to untie them by doing something for the people, that is, raising the minimum wage, that was the last straw for American sweatshops owners. They complained to the White House saying that they could not freely do business in Haiti with this little priest in power, attempting to implement socialist policies.

The perfect storm of a discontented populace and an American backed insurgency cause the pretext for Bush 2 to justify the second removal of the pesky priest. Incidentally, one of the chief reasons for the disposal of Manuël Zelaya from power in Honduras last year was his proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Haiti Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince laying in ruins.The earthquake of January 12 was yet another a tragic misfortune heaped upon all the other man made and natural disasters that have befallen the people. Haïti deserves to rise up again and be free with a robust economy, a healthy and happy population, true democracy and an ability to defend themselves against invasion from foreign despots.

The only obstacle standing in the way of that is the rapacious, imperialist, parasitic superpower; the United States of America. It is obvious that the Obama government is using this tragedy to take the opportunity to make sure that Haitian aspirations are never achieved because that would be antithetical to American interests.

There are only about 300 US doctors in Haïti, but 12,000 US soldiers have invaded the country. Contrast that with the thousands of search and rescue teams and medical personnel sent by Cubans, Venezuelans, Icelanders, South Africans, Jamaicans, even Nicaraguans.

About the soldiers, are these people who have been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq multiple times? Are they capable of turning off their killer instinct to help Haitians? What does this opportunistic occupation mean for the people? What is it exactly that they are “securing”? Why are American soldiers standing guard at the entrances of hospitals?

The militarization of the relief effort had the effect of slowing down and under-serving the victims. Many survivors died because of this. This can be nothing but deliberate. Soldiers have NO BUSINESS doing this kind of work. That’s what charities and non-governmental organizations are for. Soldiers have taken over the airport. They decide who can land and who can not.

Aid agencies who have been allowed to land with their supplies are being told to off load, but to turn over distribution to the US army. Why can they can not distribute it themselves when this is what they are accustomed to do? In the meantime, the Americans are not distributing the aid in an efficient manner. Is this deliberate? Why? Will aid spoil in the hot tropical sun on a hot tarmac the way food aid intended for Katherina victims was left to rot in warehouses? Who will benefit from this? It is outrageous that the first truckload of bottled water to leave the airport was transported to, are you ready for this? the US embassy! I did NOT send my donations for the benefit of US embassy staff.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Haitians are leaving Port-au-Prince for their home towns and villages without getting even one sip of charity water. Aid agencies are now landing in the Dominican Republic and trucking their supplies across the Dominican border as a way to avoid the Americans in Port-au-Prince.

Amputations are being performed at an alarmingly high rate. Many of them could have been avoided if US soldiers were not performing the role of obstructionists. Survivors with compound fractures and broken bones sticking out out of their bodies were left to a horrible fate by the criminal inaction of the Americans. Amputations are being performed without anesthesia! and with hacksaws bought at hardware stores which are then “sterilized” with rum or vodka.

In the meantime, medical supplies such as anesthetics are piling up on the tarmac. It’s Obama’s right to decide that he does not want an influx of refugees flooding his country. US Navy ships and helicopters have been surrounding the country, patrolling the waters, broadcasting messages saying that anyone who tries to leave by boat will be caught and brought back to Haiti but what if Haitians decide to take a boat to Cuba or Venezuela? Will they also be returned? Are Haitians not free to leave their country at all? Is Obama trying to make Haïti into a Gaza?

Despite this new blockade of people, Americans are seizing the opportunity to kidnap children out of the country. Some Haitian children have already been “adopted”. Others have been missing from Haitian hospitals. Have they been sold on the international market? Will they end up as sex slaves or work slaves? Will they be killed for the international trade in internal organs? All of this is possible because all of this happens everyday the world over.

Ten people from the American state of Idaho were arrested yesterday trying to steal children across the Dominican border. How clueless can these dumb asses be? First of all, the Dominican Republic is the LAST place one should take “orphaned” Haïtian children. The visceral, virulent racism that these people display to anything African would put Bull Connor to shame.

In 1937, Trujillo; the Dominican dictator, tried to cleanse his country of Haitians by massacring thirty thousand! Many people think that they can tell the difference between Haitians and Dominicans just by looking at them. They will disabuse themselves of that notion if they knew that Trujillo himself could not.

Parsley and scissors were used as part of the litmus test to differentiate the peoples. If you could not pronounce “perejil” or “tijera” properly, you were Haitian. Thus did all those people perish. The legacy of that continues up to today and can be seen in no better example than Sammy Sosa whose new white skin typifies the Dominican attitude.

The leader of this band of Bible thumping savior of overseas black humanity, is a woman whose profile needs to be exposed. Laura Silsby lost her home to foreclosure in December 2009. According to state records, her internet “business” has had fourteen complaints against it for unpaid wages. Employees won nine of those complaints and the state had to put a lien on the company’s bank account to secure the money to satisfy the judgments. She is currently involved in two more lawsuits as the defendant. This person is unfit to adopt even a goldfish.

Oh, but God [there he/she/it goes again] told her to go to Haïti and rescue these poor, starving African orphans. This conflicts with the message I had with God who told me that this woman and her accomplices are CRIMINALS! who saw $$$ in this tragedy. Just imagine, a major catastrophe hits some white state in this country, and many white children are homeless, hungry and maybe, orphaned. A group of Koran thumping Arabs barges into the country and tries to steal white children over the Mexican border with the ostensible plan to set up an orphanage there. How would European-Americans react? Exactly!

Meanwhile, conversations with ordinary Americans prove to me what I have always suspected, and that is, deliberately mendacious and Bismarkian media reportage have had the desired effect of allowing the dumb masses to smugly feel that they are the only ones that are helping and that these “poor, poor people” are really cursed.

Who knows what the denoucement of this tragic saga will be but right now the situation stinks to high heaven, in more ways than one.

Written by Akenataa Hammagaadji.
Akenaata Hammagaadji is an African music expert and cultural critic. He is the radio host of First World Music; an African music programme broadcast from WVKR. His insightful music reviews, which goes beyond music into cultural dissections, can be found in his weekly First World Music Newsletter, now a blog on afrobeatradio.net.

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