Friday, January 15, 2010
My beloved country, how we suffer! Natural disasters happen, but they are so incredibly devastating to Haiti for many reasons. They are so bad because of things that happened in Haiti a long time ago and things not so long ago.
It started when the Spanish came and eradicated an entire civilization of Tainos. Then Africans were kidnapped, enslaved and brought in to work the fields. Forests were demolished to make room for the bounty of crops that the "Jewel of the Antilles" produced and exported. Which led the way to the current deforestation in the country.
Haiti was the only nation whose FREEDOM was gained through a successful slave rebellion. It was the 1st post colonial black people led nation! Slaves that ended their enslavement! They created their own armies to defeat those that had chained them.
In 1825 the French demanded restitution for money loss due to the slaves taking their freedom. And they had to pay so that France would recognize them.
Then then there are the coups that destabilized the government, corrupt presidents who stole millions, brutal dictatorships, embargoes, the slaughtering of millions of pigs in the 70's and 80's that Haitians counted on for food or to trade. US gov't forced Haiti to kill all because of "African swine flu" and then they had to import American mid west pigs who were not resilient.
And then there are the hurricanes.
Forward to our current crisis in Port au Prince. So many people have lost their lives. Numbers as high as 200,000 dead.
All of my immediate family is accounted for. A lot of good friends who have family have heard both positive and bad news. Mostly positive.
In Haiti it seems these tragedies they come one after the other, not giving enough time to get even rebuilt before the next event.
What can our hands do? Yes, hands move concrete! Families and neighbors move mountain of debris off of the living.
I remember when I lived in Haiti when I was a child. My family lives in Gonaives which is in the north. I haven't been there since I was a kid. I remember freedom and security. I was only four and could walk alone or with my friend who was also four, to my aunt's house down the block.
I remember fruit trees. I remember the coral colored interior walls of our house, now broken and battered by the waters of Hurricane Jeanne that hit in Sept. 2004 and then a quadruple hit in 2008 by hurricanes, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.
Port au Prince is devastated! I am watching and reading the coverage a lot. My husband tries to stop me or he tells me to lessen the amount of media I expose myself to. It makes sense. So, I've pulled back. I want to know. I need to know. There are still so many unaccounted for. The dead lay in the street. It's so much!
I had to stop and ask what can I do?
I decided to provide links about donating, news, twitter updates and history. History is important. In the wake of the earthquake many bozos have stepped up and claimed they know why Haiti is the way it is. pat rbertson saying some pact with the devil was made. When it was the devil who had his boot on the neck of the people. But they rose up and took their place in history.
What I'm feeling is more than 420 characters. I gotta do this. For my own sanity, so I don't feel so helpless. It is the social networking sites like twitter and facebook getting information EVERYWHERE!
Here are some links-
A site where you can post names of people that are missing and where they live.
This is Wyclef Jean's website. Please donate to Yele. They are on the ground in Port au Prince. Last night Wyclef said he spent the day with his wife picking up the dead off the street. He is on the front line of this mission to save lives. He is also calling on Haitians in the US to do something!
An amazing and right on article by the great writer Farai Chideya called
"Haiti is cursed-by our ignorance."
Young Haitian film students who survived the earthquake are working on the streets to get images of the earthquakes aftermath! They are in Jacmel Haiti an area hard hit by the earthquake.
Folks who are giving information from Haiti-
On twitter- I've been following Richard Morse who is in Port-au-Prince and is trying his best to get out as much information as he can.
This twitter page gives you blogs, pix, other tweeters all dealing with Haiti.
Dr. Sanjay tweeting from Port au Prince. He is on the ground helping the injured and reporting what is going on.
There is so much work to do.