Haiti’s plight… I hope it’s a blessing in disguise!

What I am about to say may seem insensitive, but the truth hurts… I am happy an earthquake of that size has hit Haiti. “Wow, that is cold, what could have caused you say that?” you asked. Let me explain. When you heard some said that “Bwoy, me salt!”, that expression would have come about as a result of many unfortunate situations that have happened to that individual. Well if you can think of anyone country that is “SALT” in Caribbean region, then it would have to be Haiti! Haiti and its people have suffered at the hands of every conceivable disaster – be it man-made  or nature-made. And as a result, the people have come under extreme pressure and hardship and have suffered in ways one could never imagine. The extreme poor have been for years feeding on dirt (yes, people there have eaten “dirt cakes” for years), been  naked, and prostituting themselves (men, boys, women, girls) just to get food. Those and other dire situations, I believe, were more than enough for the world – not to mentioned its Caribbean neighbours – to respond to the plight of the a suffering and oppressed people. Early in 2008, while I was still an employee at Food for the Poor (FFP), I happened to have had to opportunity to view a video tape prepared by organistion’s Florida office. It documents a suffering people just hoping that the more affluent world would come to their help. I offered the local media copies of the CD, and there were no takers. In their estimation, that doesn’t sell newspapers or radio/TV time. Now that an earthquake has struck, killed, injured, and let thousands upon of thousands of Haitians homeless tonight – it is such guanine and legitimate news story that sees everyone scurrying about to document in a sort of “bandwagon” fashion. Now that the January 12 earthquake has turned the flood light on Haiti, I hope the media will pay more attention to bringing to light the difficulty the Haitian people have experiencing before and beyond the present disaster. Strange enough, if you aren’t the ground work with one of the relief or humanitarian organisations, like Food for the Poor and Red Cross, then devastation from the earthquake would have only been another “media moment” for many who are climbing over each other to offer help – as if they truly care. So, as I have said before, I am glad that Haiti is now getting the kind of attention it should have got all along. It’s like here in Jamaica… if the Queen or some foreign heads of state aren’t coming, then no attempt is made to fix the road and spruce up the place. I hope that from now on priority attention will be given to Haiti and its suffering people in a more developmental and caring way… especially in helping get rid of its “the poorest country in the Caribbean region” label. The assistance has to be more proactive, and less responsive, as we are all prone to be! Besides, it has to be long term and developmental approach. What say you?