I cannot remain silent in the face of so much racism and disinformation streaming over the mainstream media regarding the ongoing Haitian tragedy.
This 7.0 major earthquake of January 12 and its aftershocks have left in its wake a state of emergency unlike any of us has witnessed in our lifetime -- just 700 miles from our East coast shores.
Upwards of 50 thousand people are already counted as deceased, and many more injured and dying for lack of basic medical care. Estimates are reaching a possible 100,000 deaths, not to mention the devastating destruction of homes and buildings, including the Presidential Palace.
Blame the victims
Ignored by most commentators is the truth of Haiti's historic and ongoing poverty in classic "blame the victim" coverage. E.g., it's not mentioned that Haitians fought their way out of slavery, expelling the colonial powers of Britain, Spain and France. In fact, Haitians won their war of independence against Napoleon's crack troops in 1804, and were celebrating their bicentennial when the U.S. kidnapped and exiled (for the second time) their popular President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who won two landslide victories in internationally monitored elections. The majority of Haitians have demanded his return ever since.
On his re-election in 2000, Aristide built schools, hospitals and clinics, a medical school to train doctors with help from Cuba, and demanded restitution from France for the main reason Haiti is the poorest country in the West France's extortion of (in today's currency) $21 billion, the total paid to the French between 1925 and 1946 as so-called reparations for the financial losses Frances suffered when slavery ended and their richest, sugar-producing colony was liberated. The guns of Britain, Canada and the U.S backed France's robbery. This same quartet continues to occupy Haiti through its UN Peacekeepers, a misnomer if ever there were one. Their brutality is well known among Haitians.
Media give undue credit to Bill Clinton in both his former role as President and his current position as UN Special Envoy (a first-time post). While it's true that Clinton helped pave the way for Aristide's return in 1994 following massive international pressure, it was not without preconditions that tied Aristide's hands in solving Haiti's enormous problems. After all, it was the U.S. that backed the 1991 military coup in the first place. The regime change installed Gen. Raul Cedras who unleashed the death squads on Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party and conducted a reign of terror resulting in some 10,000 Haitians dead and countless others maimed. The U.S. arranged for the General's asylum in Panama and his golden exile, with impunity for his massive crimes.
More recently, Clinton has been busy setting up investment opportunities for Wall Street corporations to further exploit Haitian labor.
Racism in coverage
The slow response and the level of aid all points to the kind of racist attitudes we saw during the Katrina tragedy the devaluing of Black lives.
About this same time of massive death and destruction (the worst quake in 250 years), mainstream media is having a fit about racist comments recorded in a new book about the presidential campaign of 2008. Let s/he who is without racism cast the first stone.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's statement that a "light-skinned" Black who doesn't speak a "negro dialect" could win the Presidency was simply the truth. Moreover, it helps if he's male. History's lessons testify to the preference of Black men over women of any hue. In fact, Sojourner Truth warned Frederick Douglas that if he didn't stand up for universal suffrage instead of compromising to allow Black men to get the vote without women, it would be a long time before women would have equal voting rights. It took another 50 years,1870 until 1920! So it was predictable that Hillary couldn't win over Barack. But I digress.
Just how many dark-skinned Black people do you see in the media? It's kind of comical to watch light-skinned Blacks along with lighter-skinned whites attacking Reid since they'd be unlikely to have their jobs were they darker skinned. Skin color in color-struck America is nearly always the elephant in the room.
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