The Haitian Scramble

Less than 24 hours after the announcement of a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, the global fundraising machine has begun turning it’s wheels.  Those companies and NGO’s in the business of disaster are licking their chops to make Haiti the next massive disaster-relief Ponzi scheme for the rich.

Haiti’s democratic revolution, inspired the by ideals of Republicanism in France and the United States, saw black slaves revolting against their French slavemasters; since then,  successive US governments have attacked, embargoed, sanctioned, sabotaged, and meddled in Haitian politics for over two centuries.  This international skullduggery was motivated partly by racism and partly by a desire to preserve the ideological fabric of a democratic slave society.

Even today, US policy towards Haiti is no different from the imperial mindset of the 19th century.  Naomi Klein’s book the Shock Doctrine could not be more relevant, and a fascinating discussion on the C-Realm Podcast this week touches on this theme as well.  But the question Klein’s book does not answer is this: How many times can a society be shocked and neo-liberally restructured before despairing helplessness and total genocide commence?  Perhaps with Haiti, we are about to find out.

That said, and notwithstanding the utter grimness of the situation, there is still much we can do.  Donate to good organizations that are small, on the ground, have local liasons, and represent your ethics.  I donated to Architecture for Humanity, a small open source architecture NGO that has been doing phenomenal work for many years now.  And pray for the families so that their suffering is eased.

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