Scathing commentary by Charlie Hinton of the Haitian Action Committee. Click on image for article.
I have been very busy with work and travelling this week, however two stories caught my attention. Although they involved Black children, what I found interesting and most revealing was the reaction of the African American community to both stories.
The first story had to deal with FOXNews personality Glenn Becks spoof of a conversation between President Obama and his daughter Malia on plugging the hole of the oil leak in the Gulf. During a press conference on Thursday, Obama stated: “When I woke up this morning and I’m shaving, and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, ‘Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?’ “ Beck did a skit on his radio program mocking what this conversation would sound like (here). When I first heard of this story, I thought “hell no, let’s kick Glenn Becks azz!” I read headlines in the MSM such as, “Beck Attacks Obama’s Daughter!” and “Glenn Beck Crosses Line, Teases Malia Obama!” etc. As far as I’m concerned, children are (should be) off limits in political debates. Unfortunately that is certainly not the case in American politics.
However, once I read these articles I thought to myself, there has to be more to the story than this. What Beck did may be considered in bad taste and juvenile, but it was pretty tame, I would even say “inconsequential”, when compared to what was said of Sarah Palin’s children during the 2008 presidential campaign. Still in my “as a father” induced rage, I went to where I would hope to get the real story, a true perspective of what was said and in what context: the African American media and blogging community. Imaging my (non) surprise when I found a parroting of the MSM reports: theloop21, theRoot, the Field Negro. Maybe a little more of an emotional response, understandable since Beck mocked the Black Messiah and the First Daughter, but I found nothing more of any value.
The second story that caught my attention this week involved an RCMP officer who returned from Haiti and reports that orphans are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic to be used as sex slaves and in child sex videos (read article here). Once again in my “as a father” induced rage, I went to where I would hope to get the real story, a deeper perspective of what was actually happening: the African American media and blogging community. Imaging my (non) surprise when I found nothing at all in regards to this story.
So what ignites African American pseudo-intellectual rage? Glenn Beck’s childish antics or the worldwide phenomenon of sexual exploitation of Black/African children? I saw on Field Negro’s blog, a call to boycott Beck’s sponsors. Really!? Does Glenn Beck have that much power on the quality of life in the African American community!? How about calling for a boycott of the corporations that fund the militias in the Congo that rape women and girls, so that these corporations can control the mineral resources of the country (here).
I’m sure the Obamas, especially Malia Obama, isn’t losing any sleep over the comments of Glenn Beck. She will do more than “okay” in this life. With the prestige and privileges now associated with the “Obama” name, her life will be more like the black princess in the Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog. In contrast, there will be soon be the release of countless sex videos starring nameless Haitian orphans for the African American media and blogging community to ignore, while eagerly waiting to report and comment on the next Glenn Beck fiasco.
The world is still grappling with what happened in Haiti recently. On 12 January, 2010 Haiti was hit by a killer earthquake that left tens of thousands dead and millions either injured or their properties destroyed.
After the quake struck, the world, led by US, was racing to Haiti to help the victims. This is a good thing indeed. However, some African countries used it to show their hypocrisy and disregards of their people and their constitutions.
The first African country to chip in was Senegal. Whilst other countries were trying to bolster quake efforts, some African rulers displayed poor and bad judgements. Senegalese president, Abdulaye Wade, interestingly came in with the offer of land or houses to Haitians that were ready to return back home-Africa. How much money or soldiers did he send to help the victims? Zero. Is this what really Haitians need now? Nay!
Senegal’s president says he’ll offer free land and “repatriation” to people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. “The president is offering voluntary repatriation to any Haitian that wants to return to their origin,” said Mr Wade’s spokesman, Mamadou Bemba Ndiaye.
Many people who know Africa well were dismayed and buffed by this make-believe generosity aimed at gaining international notoriety and pizazz. Questions on this were many more than answers. Why should he wait for the calamity to strike? Why promising to offer houses to Haitians whilst many Senegalese have no houses? Was this a political capital or what? Does the constitution of Senegal allow president to offer part of the land to anyone he deems fit? Did he consult with the people? Can this help Haiti and Senegal altogether?
What appalls, those Senegalese suffering from all miseries including having no houses, unluckily, are the ones that voted for Wade apart from their tax giving him the guts of thinking about unthinkable. This proves how Wade has become myopic and a dictator, despite being a professor of law that he’s breaking. Does Wade regard Senegal as his private estate he can offer to anyone? He is totall off rails.
By and large, Haiti is even better than Senegal with the GDP per capital of $1,066 (as per IMF economic outlook database) compared to Haiti ’s GDP per Capital was $1,300 (2008). As of 2008 the population of Senegal was 12,211,181, whilst Haiti was 9,780,064.
One of the advantages and dangers of the cyber age, is that anyone can post their opinion for the world to ingest. One of the things I sometimes struggle with is whether or not to post and/or comment on an article which I find incredibly distasteful. In a way I am giving that person a platform to spread their message further. However there are times when I know I must confront a train of thought based on total ignorance.
“Dear Haitians, First of all, kudos on developing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Your commitment to human rights, infrastructure, and birth control should be applauded. As we prepare to assist you in this difficult time, a polite request: If it’s possible, could you not re-build your island home in the image of its predecessor? Could you not resort to the creation of flimsy shanty- and shack-towns? And could some of you maybe use a condom once in a while?
Sincerely, The Rest of the World”
This diatribe is from an article by former NBA player and blogger Paul Shirley (read the whole article here). I heard about the controversy and after I read the article for myself, I know that Mr. Shirley is not alone in his beliefs. There are lots of people, White and Black, who agree with him. He is not simply a “cold-blooded bastard” or a “White right-wing racist”. What struck me first and foremost about Mr. Shirley in reading his article, is that he is an ignorant. Not just simply ignorant of history and facts in regards to the Haitian people. Ignorant is fundamentally who and what he is, the essence of his being, the substance of his DNA. His ignorance is born of arrogance and is nurtured by privilege. His type of ignorance is one that manifests itself in rational, intellectual arguments. He equates his ignorance as intelligence… as being clever. According to the Word of God, he is a fool. According to my life experiences… what I have read, heard and seen… he is not the only one.
So how does one respond to a “Paul Shirley”. One fights darkness with light. Educate. Provide information. Share knowledge. And pray for them. They will not always see the errors of their thoughts. In fact their arrogance, like the condom which Mr. Shirley references, prevents the conception of wisdom (read here). But I must respond as futile as it may seem.
“I am very keen to provide an input into this exercise because for too long there has been a popular perception that somehow the Haitian nation-building project, launched on January 1, 1804, has failed on account of mismanagement, ineptitude, corruption. Buried beneath the rubble of imperial propaganda, out of both Western Europe and the United States, is the evidence which shows that Haiti’s independence was defeated by an aggressive North-Atlantic alliance that could not imagine their world inhabited by a free regime of Africans as representatives of the newly emerging democracy.” By Sir Hilary Beckles (read the rest of his article “The hate and the quake”)
As I watch the news coming from Haiti, the death, destruction and the rising chaos, my heart truly breaks for the people. Last night I watched as volunteer doctors and nurses delivered babies, performed amputations as well as other life saving operations, and dressed serious wounds on cots in the middle of the street… on men, women and children… without little or no anesthetic, sterilized equipment or clean bandages. A reporter pointed out that about 200 meters away from this street hospital, on the other side of a wall, was the airport where the much needed medical supplies were sitting on the tarmac.
There are the few stories of what could only be described as “miracles”… where babies and the elderly, have survived days under the rubble of a demolished building, without food or water and were rescued. Another reporter brought home a chilling fact though. After they are rescued, had their wounds treated and given some water and food , they are sent out to “nowhere” to fend for themselves… to make room for the other casualties streaming in. It’s become a revolving door of misery… a living nightmare. It’s been estimated that up to 200,000 are dead, hundreds of thousands more injured, up to 2 million homeless and millions more without adequate food and water.
While millions of dollars are being donated by governments and ordinary people to help the people of Haiti, at the same time 16,000 U.S. marines and paratroopers are now on the island to provide “security”. The U.N. has authorized an increase in their international “peacekeeping” army and police forces. The Obama administration has made it clear that any Haitian refugees after January 12th will be sent back to Haiti and already have tents prepared at Guantanamo Bay for Haitian “boat people” (economic terrorists) intercepted at sea by the U.S. Navy in case of a mass exodus (read here).
As I watched and reflected on all this drama, I started thinking about Pat Robertson and his statement that Haiti is cursed because the slaves who had fought and gained their freedom from the French, had succeeded due to making a pact with Satan. Looking at the current carnage and following the recent history of the social, political, economic and environmental calamities in Haiti, it’s difficult not to conclude that the Devil is indeed at work in the island… and has been for a long time. But it’s not the “Satan” that Pat Robertson was referring to.
I started researching the history of European and U.S. foreign policy in regards to Haiti. And as a Christian, I also wondered where did this propaganda that Robertson spews about Haiti originated. It’s all well and fine to rage against him, to clamor that he is an “old White racist”, or a “Christian”, or a “Christian Right Fanatic”, or an “old White racist Christian Right Fanatic”, but to really counter his arguments, to “nip it in the bud”, I wanted to get to the “root” of that poisonous plant.
I want to share a few articles which I found to be quite informative about Euro-American foreign policy in Haiti:
1. The Incapacitation of Haiti: Before and After the Quake by Ashley Smith
2. Why the U.S. owes Haiti billions by Bill Quigley
3. Profiting from Haiti’s Misery by Benjamin Dangl
4. Haiti 2010: An Unwelcome Katrina Redux by Cynthia McKinney
I also found this 3 part indepth article on Black and Christian.com, explaining how the story that the leaders of the Haitian revolution made a pact with Satan originated. “God, Satan and the Birth of Haiti” was authored in 2005 by Dr. Jean R. Gelin, a Haitian Christian minister.
The Haitian people will survive and overcome this latest catastrophe. They have God and history on their side. As they recover and once again move forward, they need to “stay alert and be vigilant, because their adversary the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour!” 1 Peter 5:8.
“The repeated calamities that befall Haiti prompt me to propose a radical solution — to take measures to create somewhere in Africa… the conditions for Haitians to return,” Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade told France Info radio today.
He is offering Haitians who want to return to their original homeland housing, a plot of land or a region of the country, depending on how many accept his offer.
“They did not choose to go to that island,” he said referring to the mass deportation of African slaves to Haiti, some most likely from Senegal, both former French colonies. “It is our duty to recognise their right to come back to the land of their ancestors.”
This is an excellent and timely idea. I doubt that it will gain any support from the international community though, who have so much invested in Haiti, especially the U.N., aid organizations and ngos. However it’s better than going through this again:
Photo from Tafari’s Mindspill.