Conversations with the Living: The Haitian AIDS Crisis

The official blog of Conversations with the Living

Archive for May 2010

The Natives Are Restless

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I read this piece in the New York times this morning about the growing impatience and skepticism spreading through Haiti regarding rebuilding efforts post January 12th. I can’t see how this is particularly newsworthy because it smacks of common sense. Before January 12th, the country, and Port Au Prince in particular, was in very dire straits. After the cataclysmic events of January 12th, including the sloppy relief efforts, what can you really expect.

Four plus months have passed and things have not noticeably improved at all. There are questions now about whether the Haitian government is up to the task of rebuilding. There are also questions posed by Haitians on the ground as to the intent and role of  the world powers assisting in the rebuild. Given Haiti’s troubled history, can you really blame folks back home for sleeping with one eye open?

The Natives Are Restless

Gede Greg C.

Taiwan Contributes To Haiti Earthquake Relief

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Taiwanese officials have announced that they will be paying between $12 & $13 million dollars of interest towards loans to Haiti. As well, they have deferred repayment on the principal amount of $91 million for 5 years. I and the millions of Haitians back home appreciate the help, but at what cost?

Rarely are loans like this absolved so easily, and I wonder if that means repayment will come in a plethora of Taiwanese interests and initiatives in Haiti in the future. I hate to be a skeptic, but Haiti is ripe for these types of actions from the powers across the world. Let’s keep a focused eye on this issue.

Taiwan Contributes To Haiti Earthquake Relief

Gede Greg C.

Bay Area Pediatricians Go To Haiti

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Nice to see a team of pediatricians fronm the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland armed with medical supplies heading to the Adventist Hospital in haiti to perform both adult and child plastic and reconstructive surgery. A very noble gesture. A suggestion would be to also send a team of psychologists along as well to deal with the post traumatic stress disorders that I’m positive is prevalent as well. Read on.

Bay Area Pediatricians Go To Haiti

Gede Greg C.

Microfinancing in Haiti.

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The director of the film Conversations with the Living: The Haitian Aids Crisis, Marc Landas and I were having a convo about how microfinancing is helping to build up the island one loan at a time. Microfinance groups like Fonkoze are jumping at the opportunity to mete out small loans as well as provide  work and valuable skill training to disenfranhised groups; especially rural women. These practices bode well for the short term, as the cash infusion and education aspects provide an immediate and vital form of relief. On the flipside, how will these practices affect these same groups in the long run? I’m always worried when people depend on institutions like these to drag them out of poverty. I worry that they run the risk of becoming too dependent on these groups for subsistence and never learn to really break free from that cycle of dependency.

Microfinancing In Haiti

Gede Greg C.

Jail Killings Video

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Here’s the video that ties in with the previous post.

Jail Killings Video

Gede Greg C.

Haitian Jail Killings

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I just read this in this morning’s NY Times. It appears on January 19th an unsuccessful mass prison escape in Les Cayes, Haiti resulted in the murder and maiming of dozens of inmates. By third world standards, Haitian jails are noted as some of the worst, but this is surprising to me. One of the main things ingrained in my head since child hood is that my country operates on the chien manger chien principle (dog eat dog). In other words, cruelty and sadistic behavior are the norm and are often expected. There is a seething anger that boils under the skin of most Haitians ready to set out for the slightest reason. Granted, a jail riot and mass escape attempt are serious, but seriously people, do we have to conduct ourselves in such a heinous manner right after the January 12th earthquake?

Keep giving the world excuses to tie in aid with some sort of “occupation” or “supervision” to keep the savages from killing each other, and pretty soon our sovereignty will fly right out the window.

Mark my words.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/world/americas/23haiti.html?hp

Gede Greg C.

Red Tape Slows Haitian Adoptions

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Again, I have very mixed feelings about the deluge of outsiders attempting to adopt Haitian children in the wake of January 12th. On one hand, it’s obvious that these orphaned kids need families and a chance to rebuild their lives. If foreigners are sincere about wanting to help these children and it’s not because its fashionable, then I’m okay with it. If however, the adoptive parents intentions are fueled by liberal guilt or the need to rescue “savages” from themselves, then I’m emphatically against it.

I may sound like a cynic, but I know what my experiences have been as a Haitian growing up in the US for the past 35+ years. Even through my travels through the corridors of some of this country’s most prestigious institutes of higher learning, I was always met with a sense of derision from my more priviledged (read:White) counterparts. Somehow or someway, they always felt the need to “advise” me of life situations and give me “guidance” on issues that weren’t their concern or simply none of their business. I always felt their actions were due in part to my flag waving Haitian status and inevitably I would be proven right.

I don’t mean to sound like such a sour puss, especially in the face of what can potentially be one of the kindest and most humanitarian acts one can perform for a child, but I know what I’ve seen and what I believe. Anyway, please see this piece on how red tape is slowing the completion of many adoptions in and around Port Au Prince.

With the complicated history of Western powers, Imperialism, and Colonialism in the Caribbean, I think my suspicions are well founded. What do you think?

Red Tape Slows Haitian Adoptions

Gede Greg C.