Before I begin with the bluntness that is my hallmark, it is my hope that everyone has kept the Haitian people in their thoughts and their prayers, and have donated where they can.
So if you haven't done so, the Red Cross is accepting donations. Click here for their site, or if you just want to donate $10.00 from your phone, text "Haiti" to 90999.
I've been following the Haiti situation peripherally, as my knowledge of the conditions in the country before the earthquake is of a land of destitution, violence, lawlessness, and misery. So add a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and the suffering is damn near unimaginable. So if I skip going into details, it's because we're going to see waves of human misery for at least the next month, until the media finds a newer disaster or the notoriously short attention span of Americans takes over. And the misery will continue.
And I'm not going to really get into the political sniping going on in this country, because it's the same old shit. So this is a caution that I will be deleting if you just want to rant about
The fact is that Haiti has been a disaster area for a long time, and recovery for them will be a return to a destitute status.
So let's look at their history and the state of their county (as condensed as I can make it) before the quake:
The population has shifted over centuries from native tribes to a large number of descendants of slaves from Africa. The island (shared with the more prosperous Dominican Republic) was first visited, explored, and used up by the Spanish. then the French settled and established colonies. Haiti first achieved independence in the wake of the French Revolution. Between shifting powers and various incursions by various other countries, including the United States, and issues with the Dominican Republic, the country has changed its border, populations, and government regularly, usually with bodies stacked to the ceiling.
From 1957-1986, Haiti was ruled by the corrupt Duvaier family. They were overthrown by the corrupt military. More slaughter ensued. They have tried to have some elections in the 90's, but any corrupt elected government failed without support from us. Politically, corruption is standard procedure for Haiti. And *raucous laughter* the (also inherently corrupt) UN is there to help stabilize the country.
The country suffers from disastrous infrastructure (imagine the tangle under your computer desk times a gazillion) and massive deforestation as wood was cut for fires, which has led to mudslides, killing thousands.
Their health care makes our horror stories look good by comparison. 40% of the population has NO access to health care in any way. Sadly, that's probably improved as a result of the earthquake.
Poverty and instability in the country (the worst on this side of the world). It was so bad that in 1992, when then-candidate Bill Clinton indicated he would not turn Haitians away, and was then elected, the people tore the roofs off their shacks and tried to sail here. President Clinton was then forced to change direction lest the island empty, thousands more die, and illiterate people with no marketable skills flood into a country where their standard of living would be improved by raiding our garbage.
I hear enough talk from people about people in this country who don't have hope. Bullshit. Even with every real and/or imagined disadvantage still affords the most desperate in this country massive opportunity compared to Haiti. Their government's budget is 30-40% foreign welfare.
And remember, this is before the earthquake.
So while we are in the process of helping Haiti recover (more or less (mostly less) from the latest and worst disaster to hit them in recent times, we must consider what we can (and cannot) do to help them in the long term. I'll be honest when I say I don't have any answers. But beyond the needed humanitarian aid that is rushing into the country now, we must consider whether or not anything further we do will help, or just be a part of our need to throw money at problems.
At least I didn't say anything really stupid, unlike our the following asshats:
I don't know which of these bastards is stupider, so I'll lay it out and let you all decide.
Pitiful Pat sees the Devil in the details again (a recurring motif). Strangely, his assessment is that the Haitians have had disaster after disaster (including the quake) because they made a deal with the Devil:
The best response was a letter to the editor at the Minneapolis-St Paul Star-Tribune, from "Satan" that read, in part:
I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake.... If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.Of course, the ill-named Mr Robertson (drop my sacred name mothafucka!!!) has made a career out of discovering the Devil / blathering this shite. He has a clarifying statement on his site, but compare it with the clip. Even sending money and prayers doesn't override asshattery.
Dumbass Danny, showing his grasp of global climatology, meteorology, geology, and PLATE TECTONICS, was able to surmise, in his near-infinite wisdom *cough, bullshit, cough*, that global warming was responsible for the earthquake (his blather begins at around 9:00):
Hell, even MMGWH devotees like fellow blogger Satyavati are calling him out on his rank asshattery! There's more stupid shit he said in the preceding clip, but I'm not even going to waste my time on his rantings further.
So who's the bigger asshat, Robertson or Glover? And how stupid a buddy movie would they make?
I'm giving Rush an "honorable" mention this week, because while he is trying to make a valid point about the tendency of government aid to get wasted like a Limbaugh on an Oxy farm, he keeps going back to the Whitehouse.gov website. Last week, it was linking to the Red Cross and giving out their donation text number (which is where I've been linking to). Now it's linking to ClintonBushHaitiFund.org. But either way, it's not donating to the federal government.
Rush, read the actual fucking site! You keep repeating it and are now sounding like an asshat!