Pat Robertson thinks that Haiti is poverty stricken (and earthquake-stricken) because the country made a deal with Satan to help them overthrow the French.
Back in May, the Times Online provided some slightly better insight into Haiti’s past. Beyond a vague assumption that Imperialism had probably screwed Haiti somehow, I didn’t know much about the country’s history. Reading this story has been nothing short of nauseating.
Summary: Haiti was forced to pay France for its freedom. When they couldn’t afford the ransom, France (and other countries, including the United States) helpfully offered high-interest loans. By 1900, 80% of Haiti’s annual budget went to paying off its “reparation” debt. They didn’t make the last payment until 1947. Just 10 years later, dictator François Duvalier took over the country and promptly bankrupted it, taking out more high-interest loans to pay for his corrupt lifestyle. The Duvalier family, with the blind-eye financial assistance of Western countries, killed 10s of thousands of Haitians, until the Haitian people overthrew them in 1986. Today, Haiti is still paying off the debt of an oppressive dictator no one would help them get rid of for 30 years.
The rest of the world refuses to forgive this debt.
So, in a way, maybe Robertson is right. Haiti is caught in a deal with the devil, and the devil is us.
As is always the way. NEVER FORGET it is us that’s in debt to the world we fucked over.
You can help by donating money to MercyCorps‘s Emergency response team. I donated $6. Big whoop. I actually thought twice about it, as I still haven’t paid my phone bill, and am still cut off, then I chastised myself for being a fucking massive tosser. I spent 50p on a fucking Coke this morning.
It’s easy to not think about the FACT that thousands of people are suffering as a direct consequence of our inaction RIGHT NOW… while I watched that Jay Reatard documentary and ate my tea, people were digging through rubble trying to find their children. Horrible things are happening every day to more people than they’re not. One of the reasons I do not doubt the sincerity of Andrew W.K. is that backstage at the Gonzales show we were speaking about the future, and how excited we were about The Singularity, about what the acceleration of technology meant for humanity and mass consciousness. I said something about how I thought that despite all that, there’d always be poor people getting fucked on. Andrew looked genuinely saddened horrified at the thought, and told me he truly believed that that was not the case, that soon, maybe within our lifetimes, we would see and end too all human suffering. I looked in his eyes and he was not lying.
It’s easy to shut off, and out. But I Don’t Wanna Know About Evil does not mean I Don’t Wanna Know About Suffering. It doesn’t mean I Don’t Wanna Know About My Brothers And Sisters. I think part of the reason I was so affected by what went down in New Orleans 5 years ago was that I was close. I was in the same country. But the world’s not so big, and borders are only imagined. Those people looking or their loved ones in the rubble are just like me. Sometimes, TV and movies can be great. They can help us to understand that fact. This is one of rare instances of truly great, important film making.
WATCH: Ghosts of Cité Soleil
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my friend Colin in Ireland, who gave me this film a few years ago. Peace, brother!