How Long?: Thoughts on Haiti

Photo by Al-Jazeera

I’m usually a cold, calculating person.  If I have anything to say, usually, I will say it according to the best logic I can muster, with as little emotional envelopment as I can. On contrary, what I hear about in Haiti just about transcends all my ability to analyze, leaving me with nothing but pure emotion.

If the universally believed “God” is compassionate, it’s sure as hell hard to see in Haiti.

If he’s got a sick sense of humor, I can certainly see it in Haiti.  As if we weren’t the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere.  As if we weren’t already plagued with a largely uneducated populous.  As if we didn’t just have an earthquake.  To add on to the misery, an outbreak of cholera now spreads across the country.

I am sad and pissed, but my mind keeps returning to an ever-present thought: why do Haitians always seem to act in such ways that are usually counterproductive in distraught situations?  What I came up with:

We are a people who’ve seen hate.

And so?  We aren’t the first to feel hate.  After all, the Jews have, for thousands of years.

But one thing goes unnoticed.  There is a Haitian saying that goes like this:

Menm tounen nan Guinea, nèg rayi nèg

This translates to: “Even back in Guinea, black people have hated black people.”

The Haitian people are consisted of people who were of warring tribes back in Africa, all sold into the same boat.  They have hated each other before, and every once in a while, this surfaces.  What makes this even worse is that short after the Haitians gained their independence, they were faced with a large problem: most of the people not only had problems with each other; they were unskilled.

I’ve heard people say that the Haitians are warmongers.  This can’t be farther from the truth.  We aren’t warmongers.

We are a people who’ve seen pain

Haitians are a desperate people, not a violent people.  People with talents like every other country, but are oppressed by a heavily corrupt government.
Truthfully, a corrupt government can exist in any place; it isn’t specific to third-world countries.  The only difference is that in third world countries such as Haiti, poor people with no financial or political influence are easier to control.

After years of oppression, the average Haitian looses hope.  What usually ensues is anger, which is why after the notion that the cholera outbreak was caused not by a Haitian, but by a U.N. soldier, the protests began.  And understandably so, given the fact that prior to the earthquake, there were little cases of cholera documented in Haiti.

My biggest question now is “how long?”  How long will this country lay in ruins, eye-deep in debt, and torn by hate and poverty?

So how long?

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About Lòt Poto-a

I've taken advantage of this device to shed my view upon the universe from my spatio-temporal framework. View all posts by Lòt Poto-a

7 responses to “How Long?: Thoughts on Haiti

  • Thomas Evans

    Wow. Good post. I’ve spent most my life studying people from a wide range of backgrounds, and there is only one thing I’ve found to be true. We are indeed all the same.

    In the case of Haiti, however, it breaks my heart. The past couple of years have certainly gained the headlines, but for so long the people of Haiti have had to put up with so much. Now this.

    You ask how long? I don’t know. But I do admire that majority of Haitians who are doing their best to recover from this endless series of disasters.

    I do have a question in return, however. Is there anything more useful than sending money to aid agencies that we can do to help?

    • Lòt Poto-a

      Thank you.

      Haitians have learned the hard way that it’s impossible to help everybody. Most give money to their families in order for them to survive. For the non-Haitian, the thought of giving five or ten dollars may seem sufficient, but in reality, it usually isn’t.

      For example, not many people can be entirely sure that the money that they send will actually go to the people. People should be discreet on who they choose to donate to; some smaller companies may simply rob everyone blind, putting the money in their own pockets. If one wants to make a real difference, it’s usually best to actually go down there and help.

      However, I’m not so much of an idealist to think that everyone will simply pack up and head down to Haiti; it just doesn’t work that way. Another way to help is to spread the word.

  • Thomas Evans

    I thought of going down to help when the earthquake struck, but I have a one year old son from whom I serve as primary care giver. That being the case, I just can’t. Instead, I gave money to the UN relief agencies, but I know that it is only a drop in the bucket.

    I will again, and try to spread the word.

    • Lòt Poto-a

      I understand perfectly.

      Not everyone is free and able to just pack up and go, like I said earlier; I’m not able to either. The best thing my family and I do is send money and supplies directly to people we know, hoping that other families will do the same.

  • alilovesloki

    I understand very well what Haiti is going through. All the damage and disease carried through there. When the earthquake hit, I found this one website called http://www.freerice.com that was helping people there by donating rice free. I feel very bad for how they have the side of the fault line that hits most and the Dominican Republics have the “peaceful” side.

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