Seeing the images on Al-Jazeera of the devastation in Haiti, a country repeatedly labeled as one of the most unfortunate places in the world, one cannot help but notice that most the anger that’s coming out of the tiny country in the northern Atlantic is increasingly being directed at the United States of America.
Strange icons of religion, the superstars of the American Right like Pat Robertson are not making things any easier by rambling on about irrelevancies, talk about singing to a hungry man! I mean, we all know about that old story of Haiti being the Devil’s backyard but do we have to bring up fire-and-brimstone sermons at a time when the most important thing on the minds of the Haitians is to get their loved ones from under the concrete slabs?
In the few hours after the 7.0 earthquake hit, officials put the death toll at 100,000. This number has been rising steadily. On the news, by the time I left home, the number being bandied around was 300,000. The America Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she feared more people were going to turn up dead.
The Americans, on the face of it, seem to be responding to this tragedy with all the appropriate moves. They were first on the scene; the president, Barack Obama has expressed his government’s commitment to help as much as possible and the country is leading the efforts to help the poor nation.
But after years of meddling in the affairs of Haiti, it is perhaps not so surprising that analysts and talking heads are making it a point to lash out at America, blaming it for this catastrophe. Never mind that nature’s not to be trifled with and as humans, we can only do so much to stop nature from wrecking havoc, America is being blamed for the breakdown of structures that has put Haiti in the cross hairs like a sitting duck.
And what did they do? They returned twice deposed president Jean Bertrand Aristide to power and arm-twisted him to accept policies that many of the commentators are saying were not favourable. In short, Aristide sold his soul for the presidency; he accepted to be a puppet and valuable time in which changes in structures; regulation in construction, empowerment of the rice farmers and so on, was lost.
It’s the tear-jerking pictures on the tube of bodies lying on top of the rabble and women crying beside the bodies of their husbands that will force the world to look at these accusations with another mind.