Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hope for Haiti: Former Haitian Prime Minister

"Former PM: Haiti 'not doomed' "
CNN (January 27, 2010)

"Although Haiti's capital is in ruins and hundreds of thousands are homeless, a former prime minister of the earthquake-ravaged country vowed 'this country is not doomed.'

"In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Haiti, former Haiti Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis said there must be hope for her country, especially as the world considers a massive recovery program.

" 'Port-au-Prince is destroyed, the few cities around Port-au-Prince are destroyed, but the whole country is not destroyed. It's important that life goes on in the other parts of the country,' Pierre-Louis said.

"Haiti needs to be the 'co-pilot,' along with the international community, of a major reconstruction effort after the devastating earthquake that leveled large parts of the country exactly two weeks ago, she said.

" 'People are still in dire need of support, but at the same time we want to give some hope that Haiti, which has been the country where the universality of human rights gave its true meaning in the 19th century, can be (a) global nation today.'..."

As a rule, the Lemming doesn't quote that much of an article. This time, some very important points were made, which I want you to have up front. Besides, it's a long article - which I suggest you read. Moving along, with what the former Prime Minister said:

"...'We have 9 million Haitians here that need to know what to do, mostly the 2 million that are in Port-au-Prince and around Port-au-Prince and that were the victims of that earthquake.'

"Interactive map: Where to find aid
[link is to a CNN/Google map of Haiti, showing where to find medical aid, shelter & suppies, and - of course - CNN reports]

"The January 12 earthquake killed at least 150,000 people. Some estimates go as high as 200,000. Some 194,000 people were injured. The United Nations said Tuesday that a million Haitians are in urgent need of temporary shelter before the rainy season begins in May...."

What's at the end of the article could be taken as a threat. I don't. I see it as a statement. Or, as CNN put it, a warning.

"...Pierre-Louis acknowledged the importance of institutional reforms in Haiti, particularly in the judicial system. 'The justice system has to work. We cannot live in a country with no sanctions. There is corruption in this country.'

"She also had a blunt warning for the world if it does not take action to help Haiti.

" 'If Haiti does not see how to get out of poverty, how to get out of disease, how to get out this situation that the people are living in, we are going to be trouble for the whole world," she said."

I do not think that poverty causes crime. On the other hand, I think it's a good idea to help people work their way out of poverty. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (January 7, 2010), "Experts: Bad Economies Don't Cause Crime Waves," Laura Sullivan, National Public Radio (November 20, 2008))

I don't see Haitians, a decade or so from now, electing a 21st century analog of Chancellor Hitler. On the other hand, a nation with a corrupt government and desperately poor people is not the sort of neighbor anybody would want to have.

As an American, I don't mind Haitians coming to this country. But, on the whole, I'd just as soon see affluent Haitians on vacation, spending money over here; than poor Haitians struggling to get themselves and their families out of poverty. (January 20, 2010)

"Haiti is Not Doomed!

Hats off to Former Prime Minister Pierre-Louis, for declaring that Haiti is not doomed. I think she's right. Even worst-case estimates of the death toll have nine out of ten Haitians surviving. That's still a horrendous loss of life, and there's an enormous amount of work to do, putting Haiti's major city back together.

But, the vast majority of Haitians are still alive. Given leadership, and a bit of help, I think that a hundred years from now Haitians may see the quake of 2010 the way people in the San Francisco Bay area remember the 1906 earthquake. These are disasters, but not the end of the world - or even of the city or nation.

Finally, in case you missed it at the top of this page:

A list of charities you've probably heard about already, with links and some contact information: Also a list of posts in this, and two other blogs, about Haiti.


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