Sunday, January 24, 2010

Authoritarians Seek Endless Enemies

They see them everywhere because they need them. It justifies everything they do. And then people die.

The myth of Haiti's lawless streets - To withhold aid because of the 'security situation' is a miserable excuse for agencies' failure to deliver desperately needed help

"As a member of the media covering the tragedy in Haiti, it's with a sense of alarm and astonishment that I've witnessed how some senior aid officials have argued for withholding aid of the utmost urgency because of sensational claims about violence and insecurity, which appear to be based more on fantasy than reality.
John O'Shea, who runs the well-known
Irish aid agency Goal, has joined this chorus, telling the Guardian he couldn't get his trucks from the Dominican Republic to Haiti because he had no guarantees his drivers wouldn't be "macheted to death on the way down". He added that Goal has no plans to deploy its much-needed doctors and nurses on the streets of Port-au-Prince.
From what I've observed, such chilling claims do not match the reality on the ground; and by trumpeting a distorted and sensational picture about the violence, some senior aid officials may be culpable of undermining the very aid effort they are supposed to be promoting. When I traveled into Haiti's disaster zone last week from the Dominican Republic, I did so alone and on a bus, whose passengers were mostly Haitians, including some living in the US. Since then, whether on the road to Port-au-Prince or within the city, I have not witnessed anyone wielding a gun, a machete or a club of any kind. Nor have I witnessed an act of violence. (I have seen one badly wounded man who had been shot in circumstances which were unclear and who was eventually rescued by US soldiers after an American reporter sought help.)
Any violence is localised and sporadic; the situation is desperate yet not dangerous in general. Crucially, it's not a war zone; it's a disaster zone – and there appears to have been little attempt to distinguish carefully between destructive acts of criminality and the behaviour of starving people helping themselves to what they can forage. For Haitians and many of those trying to help them, the overriding sentiment is that a massive catastrophe on this scale shouldn't have to wait for aid because blanket security is the absolute priority."


Blogger stardad9591 said...

"We have always been at war with Eastasia."

This one line from '1984' has never been more prescient and true.

25/1/10 2:47 AM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

We're really descending into the pits of hell with this, stardad. When the fascist mentality realized they could get away every time with immense profit by creating bogeymen, create them they do. All the time now, everywhere, from airports to Iraq to justifying the military takeover of Haiti to drug war hysteria to 9/11.

The thing is, despots and manipulators have always done this, nothing new. However the current crop of hi tech criminal scum have found that keeping most of us in a confused state of perpetual fear isn't only possible, a la 1984, it's the preferred method now of enriching themselves. It's a job. So the most accomplished are rising to the top to make all our lives that much more miserable.

25/1/10 4:24 PM  

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