LINES OF THE DAY

". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why No Aid Distribution in Haiti

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates states that he is refusing aid air drops in Haiti because they would cause rioting.  He says further that nothing is going on via the airport etc. for reasons of  'security.'  So it is better that Haitians dies of thirst, starvation, exposure and injury than the 'peace' be disturbed by giving them the same.  And that looting thing I was writing about in the previous post, well though Gates seems profoundly to be promoting riot and looting by denial of aid, so far, nothing remotely like that is going on among the Haitian people.  Gotta do something about that, by golly, thinks our Sec of State, or else Cubans gonna be bringing in even more of themselves, and then, Chavez will arrive, and the satan of communism will invade Miama!

Remember people, so called primary media reporting by U.S. A. sorts for U.S.A. outlets must be regarded as extremely unreliable sources for providing your information needs -- until proven otherwise.

You can find it here, as well as below.

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WHERE IS THE AID IN HAITI?

By Roger Annis

January 15--Evidence of monstrous neglect of the Haitian people is mounting following the catastrophic earthquake three days ago. As life-saving medical supplies, food, water purification chemicals and vehicles pile up at the airport in Port au Prince, and as news networks report a massive international effort to deliver emergency aid, the people in the shattered city are wondering when they will see help.

BBC World Service reports that Haitian officials now fear the death toll could rise to 140,000. Three million people are homeless.

BBC reporter Andy Gallagher told an 8 pm (Pacific Time) broadcast tonight that he had traveled “extensively” in Port au Prince during the day and saw little sign of aid delivery. He said he was shown nothing but courtesy by the Haitians he encountered. Everywhere he went he was taken by residents to see what had happened to their neighbourhood, their homes and their lives. Then they asked, “Where is the
help?”

“When the Rescue teams arrive,” Gallagher said, “they will be welcomed with open arms.”

CBC Radio One’s As It Happens broadcast an interview this evening with a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said he spent the morning touring one of the hardest hit areas of the city (the district was not named), in the hills that rise from the flat plain on which sits historic Port au Prince. “In three hours, I didn’t see a single rescue team.”

The BBC report contrasts starkly with warnings of looting and violence that fill the airwaves of news channels such as CNN and are being voiced by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He was asked by media in Washington why relief supplies were not being delivered by air. He answered, “It seems to me that air drops will simply lead to riots.”


Gates says that “security” concerns are impeding the delivery of aid. But Gallagher responded directly to that in his report, saying, “I’m not experiencing that.”

Describing the airport, Gallagher reported, “There are plenty of materials on the ground and plenty of people
there. I don’t know what the problem is with delivery.”

Nan Buzard, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, was interviewed on the same BBC broadcast about the problem with aid delivery. She implied that there were not, in fact, many supplies at the airport to be moved, that many of the planes that have been landing were filled with people, not supplies.  When pressed by the BBC host why aid was not being moved into the city, Buzard conceded she was “surprised” that it was not being airlifted in.

The BBC’s is not the only report to contradict exaggerated security concerns. The daily report on the website of Doctors Without Borders one day after the earthquake said, “Some parts of the city are without electricity and people have gathered outside, lighting fires in the street and trying to help and comfort each other. When they saw that I was from MSF they were asking for help, particularly to treat their wounded. There was strong solidarity among people in the streets.”

An e-mailed report received by the Canada Haiti Action Network describes a city largely bereft of international aid. “Thus far,” it reports, “the rescue teams cluster at the high profile and safer walled sites and were literally afraid to enter the barrios. They gravitated to the sites where they had secure compounds and big buildings.

“Meanwhile, the neighbourhoods where the damage appears to be much wider, and anywhere there were loose crowds, they avoided. In the large sites, and in the nice neighbourhoods, and where the press can be found, there would be teams from every country imaginable. Dogs and extraction units with more arriving, yet with 90% or more of them just sitting around."  “Meanwhile, in the poor neighbourhoods, awash in rubble,
there was not a foreigner in sight.

“News crews are looking for the story of desperate Haitians that are in hysterics. When in reality it is more often the Haitians that are acting calmly while the international community, the elite and politicians have melted down over the issue, and none seem to have the remotest idea what is going on.”

The report says that most of the staff of the U.S. embassy and US AID complex (located a stone’s throw from the oceanfront) have fled and buildings are largely empty, even though the streets in the area are clear.

Yesterday, BBC broadcast an interview with Mark Stuart, a director of an orphanage in Jacmel, a city of 50,000 on Haiti's south coast, 50 km south of Port au Prince. Aerial footage showed catastrophic damage. Stuart appealed for international relief, saying that food and water supplies would soon run out and no aid whatsoever had arrived.

An article on the website of a Chicago publication says a trickle of aid arrived today but the road between Port and Prince and Jacmel is impassable.
Roger Annis is a coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network in Vancouver. He can be reached at
rogerannis(at)hotmail.com.

1 comment:

Torsten Mandal said...

Good article!

In a LinkedIn group on Haiti Earthquake Relief we also wonder why supplies are not dropped from air. You are welcome to join us.

A fuel truck convoy by road arrived from Dominican Republic protected by their homeguard so all methods of transport should day by day be considered.