Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 2 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 9 (11 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   4 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

The Haitian Tragedy and Mainstream Media Response

By       Message Kiilu Nyasha     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 5   Well Said 4   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 1/17/10

Author 42423


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.

Time is of the essence, yet the international response has been painfully, tragically slow. Would this pace of rescue -- where every minute counts in digging people out of the wreckage been the case if the earthquake victims were European?

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.

Mainstream reporters describe this U.S.-backed coup as Aristide being ousted by rebels, implying his own people ran him out of the country. They talk about Haitians living on a dollar a day but fail to mention that part of the reason Aristide was attacked involved his attempt to double the minimum wage to about $2.50 a day; or that American factories exploit Haitian workers in underpaid, overworked sweatshops. An example of such American corporate greed is the case of Disney using Haitian labor to make their garments at 27 cents an hour. Haitians organized and demanded a raise to 50 cents. Disney threatened to move to China (where labor was even cheaper) and they did.

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.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 5   Well Said 4   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

www.kiilunyasha.blogspot.com
Kiilu Nyasha is a San Francisco-based journalist and former member of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Kiilu hosts a weekly TV program, "Freedom Is A Constant Struggle," on SF Live (Comcast 76 and AT&T 99). She writes for several publications, (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Haitian Tragedy and Mainstream Media Response

VIDEO - Phavia Kujichagulia: Fast Food or Fresh Fruit?

SF Live TV - Raj Patel: The Global Food System

A KAFKA MOMENT: Nadra Foster: Survivor of Police Abuse at KPFA

Emiliano Echeverria & Pierre Labossiere: Coups in Honduras and Haiti (video)