It breaks my heart.  Just Monday, The PBS News Hour had a segment on as part of their series on fragile states, detailing how the Haitian textile industry was set for a comeback, particularly through the work of Bill Clinton.  The title of the report?  “Despite Years of Crushing Poverty, Hope Grows in Haiti.”  I can’t even bring myself to read the transcript.

I donated to the Red Cross and UNICEF.  There was no question in my mind.  In listening to wingnut radio this morning, I was happy to hear that both of the hosts were advertising a number to call for a charity to donate to.

This afternoon was quite different.  I pulled up “Katrina TrashChris Baker while I was at work and found that his producer was on the air, making jokes about having fired Baker.  (I’ll leave that to another post.)  The producer also decided that he was obligated to mention the earthquake in Haiti, but what he really wanted to talk about was how there is scientific proof that men are better than women.  How insightful producer guy!

Later, on the way home, Michael Berry wasn’t much better.  He just couldn’t decide if giving aid to Haiti was a good thing to do and asked his listeners to call in (or text or email).  Most of the arguments were about Hurricane Ike and how people are hurting here at home and that the government shouldn’t be in the charity business.  A couple of callers I heard used Haiti’s history to decide that it wasn’t a good idea to donate or help them.  Sort of like it’s their own fault that two tectonic plates decided to slide against each other.  (For example:  one caller pointed out that Haiti and the Dominican Republic are on the same island and what a difference there was between them.  How could one plate and another exist under one island?!?  How could one city get hit by a hurrican and not another? How could one part of an island flood and not another?  Gee, I don’t know!!!!)  It’s clear that neither Michael Berry or his listeners saw the News Hour piece — otherwise all of them would have been lamenting the fact that Haiti had it’s hopes dashed.

I would be irresponsible not to speculate that wingnut listeners, after having seen wall to wall coverage of poor black people (“it’s Katrina all over again!”) in a foreign country on their teevees all day, as well as yet another appearance by the president guy reading from his teleprompter, had decided by 5:00 CST that it was just not their problem.  But they have to have some excuse, so they fired up their computers and looked around Free Republic or other websites and decided that, heck, there are houses somewhere along the Texas coast that still haven’t been rebuilt since Hurricane Ike, there are Americans unemployed, our country is in debt, and you know what, fuck those Haitians.  I would be irresponsible not to speculate that many of Michael Berry’s listeners had had about enough of the blacks on the teevee for one day.  And last but not least, for every excuse each had for not giving or doing something for the people in Haiti, none of them did or will ever do a damn thing for anyone else.

It’s a no-brainer — whether or not to help.  In the aftermath of Katrina, many nations offered to help us, though that was more because they had competence in the problem areas rather than something about resources.  Those nations got burned by the Bush administration.  Again.  And wrt to Ike or unemployment, sorry, there is no equivalence.  Problems with Ike recovery are not about a lack of funds on a national level.  Far from it.  If all of Michael Berry’s callers are so worried about Ike victims (I can still hear Berry cry over the air “PEOPLE DIED!11!11!1!1!11!!), then they would have done something about it before now, dontchathink?

So, I send out a big FUCK YOU to Michael Berry’s callers.  The posse leader will keep riling up the troops no matter what I might say.


7 responses to “Haiti

  1. Bill Clinton was on NPR during the drive home. I’ll either send my donation to Red Cross or to the Clinton Foundation, which will direct it to the need in Haiti. About the wingnuts you heard, it amazes me that they always cite the need of poor Americans whenever some catastrophe hits overseas, when you know they have not and never will do a damn thing about the American poor they’re using as an excuse. Shameless.
    The Europeans are stepping up (and the Chinese, with dogs trained during their own earthquake ordeal). And the Venezuelans and Cubans and others. And Thank God we have an administration that won’t try and belittle the offers of aid from countries we might disapprove of.

    • And one other note — there is not the carping about who gives how much in this like there was with the tsunami in Asia. I wonder what has come over our journalists.

  2. Damned at Random

    I wound up donating to Hope for Haiti because

    1. They had infrastructure in the south of the country. I was afraid the bigger charities, based in Port-au-Prince might be out of commission for a while- heard specificly that Doctors withour Borders had not accounted for some of their people. Hope for Haiti had a truck headed north with supplies while the airport waas still shut down
    2. They ger a 4star (highest) rating from Charity Navigator
    3. They have been in-country for 20 years, so I think they must have local channels to work through

    That said, I was not able to donate much as I had just paid the auto insurance. I expect to do a little better in Feb

    • I’ll look that up and put in some money to them as well. Thanks for letting me know.

      I’m thinking of going to the local Hatian community center to help on Saturday. I think I can dig out some clothes I haven’t worn in a while and maybe stop somewhere and buy some toiletries to donate, too.

    • another shot to them. thanks dar.

  3. Haiti was a broken down 3rd world country before the quake and will still be a broken down 3rd world country after we rebuild it.

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