Thinking of Haiti, Remembering New Orleans


Forget what Pat Robertson said. Forget what the Red Cross is or isn’t doing. Forget >Wyclef, and why we have heard more from him than the actual prime minister of Haiti.

Forget all that for a moment.

And remember New Orleans. Remember Katrina. Remember thousands of people, mostly poor, mostly black, who were abandoned by their government in the wake of an unimaginable natural disaster. Made worse by manmade disasters. By the Superdome. By the media referring to fathers trying to get food for their hungry children as ‘violent looters.’ By corporations and their bought-off politicians using the hurricane as a ‘great opportunity’ to destroy New Orleans’ public housing, privatize its schools, and turn the city into a playpen for the rich that is about to elect its first white mayor since the 1970s.

The destruction in Haiti is beyond words. The earth quaked, and just like that, hundreds of thousands were gone. As our hearts, our prayers, and our donations to go the relief effort, let us remember the past, and ask: what does relief really look like? Does it look like U.S. Marines handing out water bottles while pointing their rifles at the crowd? Or does it look like reparations, like the kind Haiti was forced to pay to France after their successful revolution against the colonial power?

Yes, Haiti was forced to pay France after winning their freedom. The equivalent of what is now billions of dollars. And that debt was enforced until the 1930s by, you guessed it, the U.S. Marines.

I send my prayers to the people of Haiti, and I extend my support and my dollars to these progressive aid organizations:

* Grassroots International:
* Doctors Without Borders:
* Partners in Health:

No to the IMF, no to a U.S. occupation! Yes to reparations and real relief for the people of Haiti!

And the people of New Orleans.