Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti 1492 - 2010

As every school-child knows,

In Fourteen-Hundred-and-Ninety-Two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
And discovered…

Right? Look it up. Columbus had navigated west to his destination, the East, an untested route at best. When he arrived wherever, he called the people who already lived there "Indians," though they had never heard of India or even Spain. Within 25 years, the Spanish colonized the new land, the island of Hispaniola, shipped everything of value back to Europe, reduced the native population to virtual extinction, and began importing kidnaped Africans as slave labor.

According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, “In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean,” through slavery and environmental degradation. Nearly half a million slaves revolted, and “Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history.”

An international relief agency professional said on television that Haiti was “the saddest” place on the face of the earth, even before the earthquake. President Obama enlisted his two immediate predecessors Bush and Clinton to lead the effort to raise funds for Haiti. Pat Robertson contributed his belief that the earthquake was how God punished pacts with the devil.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published the following letter:

Dear Pat Robertson,
I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.
But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.
Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"?
If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.
You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
Best, Satan

1 comment:

Margo Williams said...

I have had a few hundred adult Haitian students in the ESL courses that I have been teaching for the last 14 years at Miami Dade College. There are certain consistencies in their behavior and their nature that I have noted and admire.

They are prepared for class.
They are seldom absent.
They are very courteous to their professors.
They have little but share what they have.

In fact, they are among my favorite students.

Regardless of their status as the poorest nation, they are rich in spirit, character, and upbringing. They value education and usually achieve much against the odds. Many of those here in the U.S., and perhaps some of my very own students, may be the leaders of their country in the years to come, or they may be those who contirubute to the economic and educational rise in the country's future. I have high regard and high hopes for these decent and hard-working people.


Hit Counter
Boden Clothes