Sunday, November 20, 2011

Haiti: Island of the Blamed

The Economist's online blog has addressed the cholera lawsuit filed against the UN by The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) in a blog.

Should Haitians be grateful for this belated attention to the disastrous outbreak? -- that a major U.S. publication, The Economist has seen fit to address this most inconsequential of issues -- the untimely death of thousands of Haitians?

Well, it's not such an afterthought as they would make it. The reason the issue merits The Economist's intention at all is because they calculate the death of thousands in terms of the millions of dollars such a lawsuit represents. The Economist clearly regrets the UN's impending economic loss. So it is no wonder that the writer (P.B.?) titles the blog - "The UN in Haiti - Damned if you do." The meaning is clear: the "damned" are not the over 500,000 Haitians infected by cholera, the over 800,000 The Lancet predicts will be infected, nor the (conservatively) almost 7,000 recorded dead.

The Economist admits there may be culpability on the part of the UN. It's unclear whether such clarity would be forthcoming if the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) did not exist. They have the UN's back -- though they make it clear they don't want to be downstream from that rear end.
The experts “found that it was not possible to determine conclusively how cholera was introduced,” said Kieran Dwyer, a spokesperson for the UN’s peacekeeping operations. “On the scientific evidence, we don’t know if it was the UN troops or not.”

A close read of the panel’s report, however, suggests otherwise. The experts pinpointed the origin of the outbreak to the Meille River, a tributary of the region’s main water source, near a peacekeeping base where sanitation conditions “were not sufficient to prevent faecal contamination” of the river. They noted that the battalion was deployed from Nepal shortly after endemic cholera had flared up in the Kathmandu Valley, and that asymptomatic soldiers, who can still carry cholera, were not tested. They cited epidemiological studies showing genetic similarities between Haiti’s strain of cholera and the South Asian strain endemic in Nepal. And they dismissed every other alternate theory on the origins of cholera in Haiti.

-- The UN in Haiti - Damned if you do by P.B | The Economist (blog)
More deaths in Haiti from the "peacekeeping" mission of MINUSTAH than casualties of "war" suffered by the U.S. and its allies in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The UN damned and Haitians -- blamed. How sad that some would marginalize the poor and disenfranchised. They consider them to be just so much garbage that must be swept out of parks and public squares.

What are the elements that make a disaster worst and favor the spread of a pandemic, the UN experts know -- they've conducted the studies and they've done the surveys (pdf):
"The sheer scope of the socio-economic impacts of natural disasters is at last slowly bringing about a shift in approach away from disaster relief and toward disaster prevention, with risk reduction increasingly considered as a priority development tool in its own right. There is a growing realization
in the international community that risk reduction, disaster relief and sustainable development are closely related. Vulnerability to disasters is linked to poverty, and vice versa."
-- Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation UNESCO’s role
by United Nations' Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
The UN should have tested those Nepalese soldiers, who came back from an outbreak in Katmandu, Nepal last year and evidently contaminated the Meille river with fecal matter from a leaky latrine. Since they did not, and since they continue to deny their responsibility for the cholera outbreak, one could conclude that - the UN is not in Haiti to mitigate the impact of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. It's evident from their deeds and words that the UN is in Haiti for political reasons. The protection of the people of Haiti is not of "interest" to them. The people's deaths, while inconvenient, does not pose a significant concern for the "international community" when measured against the goals of the occupation.

The place was ripe for a pandemic and the very international entity tasked with preventing such a thing shipped in a bunch of people from disparate lands and backgrounds with diseases that are not endemic to the area, and (predictably) caused the spread of a disastrous pandemic.

The UN is in Haiti to carry out the agenda of the U.S. The U.S. wishes to suppress and destroy the most popular political party, Lavalas. The Lavalas party was founded on the theory of Liberation theology. It's very dangerous to advocate a Christian belief in social, economic and political justice -- you'll be crucified.

Haitians are blamed and called "ungrateful" for seeking redress for all the injustices they've suffered at the hands of the American empire and its nation state partners who form the proxy occupying force, deployed to keep real democracy from developing a foothold in Haiti.

One is forced to conclude that there's no way to do an injustice to Haitians -- no matter that the UN military occupation has committed massacres, murders, rapes (women, children, young men... what fate has befallen the stolen goats?), and other crimes against humanity since the beginning of the occupation in 2004. Haitians are blasted for their temerity in demanding accountability and justice... even when scientific studies/medical evidence, video/audio testimonials exist, which provide abundant proof of the numerous indignities and injustices Haitians have been subjected to.

The UN has a budget of over $800,000,000 in Haiti -- this is a profitable occupation for their member states... a chance to make a substantial profit and at the same time pander to empire's wishes. In Brazil's instance (they've lead the occupation from the start), it's a bid to be invited to join as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Has a single dollar of this UN occupation been spent to find a sustainable solution to the cholera outbreak? The solution seems too obvious; send the troops home and provide sustainable clean water infrastructure. However, this would mean that the Clinton Foundation would not make a profit from "cholera insurance," the pharmaceuticals could not make millions from selling a "cholera vaccine" and countless NGOs would not make a living from providing social services (socialized medicine? How ironic!) for a preventable and curable water-bourne disease.

The UN has spent resources to assure that they have clean water in their self-contained tribal compounds. There would be no lawsuit if the UN had made an effort to mitigate the effects of the cholera infection -- if they had, the outbreak would not be the worst in the world. Instead, Edmond Mulet said the Mirebalais Nepalese base had disposed their waste in a manner that was not only up to international standards, but to EPA standards, a baseless lie.

It's ironic that this occupation is being lead by Brazil. This time the descendants of the indigenous natives of South America and Black Africans who make up the military force are playing the role of the settlers, cowboys... of the European immigrants. Do they know that Francisco de Miranda and Simon Bolivar came to Haiti for help in mounting the South American revolutions that liberated four countries from colonial occupation? Haiti made just one stipulation for providing help - Bolivar must also free the slaves. There's a statue of Simon Bolivar in the Haitian capital -- it survived the earthquake, as did all the statues in the capital. But did Bolivar deserve that honor? It's doubtful. Bolivar turned his back on Haiti. Bolivar, very crudely, did not invite Haiti to the Congress of Panama. The good news is that Brazil has announced they are leaving and ending their leadership of the UN occupation of Haiti. It can't happen too soon for Haiti's sake.

MLK said: "the arc of history bends toward justice... and injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Those are not platitudes. They ring true today. There is hope for a better future. There is hope in the Occupy movement - which is why the police have acted like stormtroopers to protect the interests of empire.

On a lighter note, it's heart warming that worldwide people are rallying to protest social-economic inequities, injustice and political corruption. Hopefully, it signals the beginning of a new way of sharing ideas and building concensus -- horizontal leadership, general assemblies and people over profit.

There is also hope in the announcement that the US occupation of Iraq may be ending soon -- haven't heard how many "advisors" will stay. The U.S. decided to leave because the Iraqis would not give them immunity from prosecution. The circumstances are similar to those in Haiti -- the other regime change.

Haitian should not be bound by the SOFA agreement, which purports to give the UN immunity -- or is it impunity? It's so hard to distinguish the difference. Wasn't this document first signed by the Bush installed puppet government of Gerard LaTortue? As a so-called "interim" president, Latortue did not have the constitutional right to commit Haiti to such a contract. The other sticky matter is that Haiti's first democratically elected government was removed in U.S. backed coups in 1991 and 2004. Can a country like Haiti where the "international community" wields so much socio-economic and political power be said to be sovereign and independent, especially in light of the outside interference by those who plotted the coups? It's a question of legitimacy. Haiti should not be held to agreements made under an illegal occupation.

1 comment:

Sequoyah said...

The Glam is gone but the people of Haiti still need your help
Soon after the earthquake shook Haiti on January 12, 2010, a photograph of a mountain of dead bodies gripped Candice Anitra. The shared humanity screamed out, and raw emotion compelled Anitra to compose a song as a reminder that we are all connected and vulnerable, living on one shared earth, and responsible for supporting one another. On the second anniversary of the devastation, and in advance of the release of Anitra's sophomore album, Big Tree, Candice is releasing the track, "Today," with a video for the song, in order to raise still-much-needed funds The video pairs images from Nadia Shira Cohen's post-quake Haiti photo-essay, "Exodus" (Harper's, May 2010), with footage of Candice's performing the driving, melodic, pleading track, while editors Karim Lopez and Simon Doolittle have enhanced the piece with a retro-film aesthetic and a motion to the images that conveys the lyrics -"the way you shook this place, this rock in space." The song and video invoke a sense of urgency, and viewers are encouraged to name their price to download the song from The song is exclusively available on BandCamp only. http://​ , from which the proceeds will benefitthe people of Haiti, via Partners in Health's construction of the 180,000 square foot, 320-bed Mirebalais National Teaching Hospital that will change the face of public health care in Haiti. The Global Syndicate's http:// "Shine a Light" Campaign to provide solar-powered lights to subsistence wage earners -who otherwise pay up to 30% of their income for kerosene to see at night -improving education, productivity, and the environment, while reducing violence against women and children.

Find Candice Anitra on Twitter @candiceanitra Facebook at : candiceanitramusic Reverbnation: http://

Related Posts with Thumbnails