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Some Points to Ponder

March 27, 2013

While cleaning up the files in my laptop I came across scraps of information I had collected over time that provoked a bit of thought.  To these I have added a few current “issues”.  I know some will raise some hackles, but I hope most will raise some questions and get you thinking.  So here goes.

 

When I buy imported items here marked “For Export” does that mean they didn’t meet the health/safety regulations in their country of origin and therefore were shipped to Haiti?

 

Many of the used items donated to thrift stores in Canada and the US arrive in Haiti often to be sold for more than their new price, regardless of condition.

 

Why are expired medications out of the question for Canadians and Americans, but quite all right to distribute to Haitians?

 

Canadians or Americans consider it unthinkable to expect their citizens to work for less than minimum wage, but are okay purchasing clothing from Walmart, produced by Haitians earning $3.50 per day, $1.50 of which is clawed back for transportation to and from work and for lunch?  (I include myself in this, although now I would have serious second thoughts about any buying any garment labeled “Made in Haiti”.)

 

How can super-wealthy multinational corporations be so comfortable taking from the extremely poor to give to their rich investors?  (I know, I know, corporations have no conscience.  But what about the people that run them?)

 

How can the powerful countries of the world justify the right they claim to interfere in the affairs of other nations while vociferously rejecting any interference into their own affairs?

 

Why are the powers that be in world health seeing cholera, brought to Haiti by UN troops, as a development problem to be solved over many years, rather than an emergency medical problem about to again take Haitian lives during the rainy season that will soon be upon us?

 

Foreigners are doing almost all of the reconstruction work in Haiti, while two thirds of Haitians do not have formal jobs.

 

Vehicles taken off America’s roads as unsafe are routinely shipped to be sold in Haiti.

 

Why is it that other countries can protect their markets, but Haiti has been forced into relinquishing those protections for itself as a predication of continuing aid?

 

Apple advertises “global repair service” while denying repair service to me when I am in Haiti.  A form of doublespeak, methinks.

 

Despite the fact that the wealthiest 1% of Haitians owns half of the country’s wealth, their assets having doubled since Aristide’s ouster in 2004, much of the aid money flowing into Haiti is going toward economic development that hugely benefits this tiny sector while continuing to exploit the vast majority of Haitians who live in poverty.

 

How is it that I learned nothing about Haiti in all my years of education, despite the fact that this country played such an pivotal role in world politics?

Haiti:

  • was the site of the first European settlement in the New World;
  • became the richest colony in the world;
  • imported more slaves from Africa than any other nation;
  • defeated Napoleon’s army;
  • drove out both the British and the French, then arguably the most powerful nations in the world;
  • became the second nation in the West to gain its independence;
  • was the first black-led nation in the world;
  • was the first nation in the world to officially grant equality to all regardless of race, creed or sex.

Surely a little of that should merit some mention in our history books.

 

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