About my Blog

I am writing this blog from a radical political point of view. To be a political radical is to examine everything critically. It is about taking today's news, today's unmentioned news, history, or even just the way we think about ideas, and adding a totally new perspective to them. If you are a radical, and a socialist, like me, you will agree with a lot of what I have to say. If not, I hope I at least make you think about things that you previously took for granted. Most of all, I hope everyone enjoys this blog.

About Me

I have just graduated from college, where I wrote opinion pieces for my school newspaper. Though I started out a liberal, I have moved far to the left since then. Despite my politics being different from most people, many people found a lot of what I had to say interesting and insightful. I hope to continue challenging people to think here on my blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Earthquake in Haiti, A Man-Made Disaster with No End in Sight

This is the First Article of a three part series.

Many of us feel terribly sorry about what is happening in Haiti. Of course, we try to give aid in this situation, hoping to do our part to help Haitians survive.

But we should feel more than pity, and sorrow, and sadness. We should be furious.

The results of this earthquake are more of a man-made disaster than a natural disaster. It goes without saying that the failure of the U.S. government and NGO's to deliver aid is a man-made disaster.

But how can there be a lack of aid, with all the giving that has been going on?

Andy Gallagher of the BBC reports that aid groups complain that it is difficult to get aid where it is needed because of the inherent difficulty in organizing such aid, and the lack of infrastructure in Haiti. These alibis seem to work fairly well, until we realize that giving aid usually involves crises in places with weak infrastructure.

A more telling comment comes from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who, according to Andy Gallagher's BBC report said that the U.S. is not dropping aid from the air because it could lead to riots. Imagine that your community was in dire straits, and someone who had the capability of delivering aid rapidly did not do so because "you might riot if we did?" You might respond "How dare you suggest that we are not 'civilized' enough for you to give us the help we need!"

Nelson Valdez, writing for Counterpunch, describes more of this racist attitude. He states that clearly, aid to Haitians is not the first priority. He quotes a Scottish reporter as saying that "aid workers in Haiti today called for more security amid fears of attacks by increasing desperate earthquake survivors." Valdez also cites a report stating that "security squads" have moved aid providers to "secure locations."

There is just one problem with this concern for security. The rioting and looting that lies beyond these concerns isn't happening. The people aren't rioting, they are begging for help.

Jesse Hagopian, writing for the Socialist Worker, has his own observations regarding this crisis. When asked "What role has the U.N. been playing?" He replied "I really didn't see them at all, even though the hotel I was staying at became a center where hundreds of people came for relief." This is more significant than it appears, since the U.N. has a large presence there. In fact, they have been occupying the country since 2004.

Of course, the U.S. marines have also arrived. Why are they there if not to help? Reading between the lines, we can conclude that they are part of the plan for "security" in Haiti. The U.S. government fears unrest. (I will get into more about U.S. imperialism later, but the U.S. would not want a new regime implementing progressive policies due to this disaster).

In addition to "aid" involving a racist fear of Haitians instead of a rapid delivery of aid, we have the U.S. government putting on a show every bit as ridiculous as Bush's disappearance during Hurricane Katrina. Hagopian explains that the airport at Port-au-Prince was shut down for three hours, preventing aid from arriving during that time. Why? So that Hillary Clinton could arrive there to show support! In addition, former presidents Bush Jr. and Clinton have been asked by Obama to help support the relief effort. Of course, this is the same George Bush that led the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. In short, this isn't about helping Haiti, it's about politicians pretending to care.

I would say that the U.S. doesn't care about what is happening in Haiti, except that U.S. actions over the last century reveal that it cares a lot. However, the U.S. cares about its own imperialist interests, not about the people of Haiti.

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