Looking at TV news in the US and in France reporting on Haiti after the January 12 earthquake, we can wonder sometimes if they are reporting on the same events. Here, there is more accent on Bush and Clinton’s visit and what they can contribute to alleviate the disastrous situation as interpreted by President Rene Preval, and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Bellerive, USAID and the ONGs. There, they accentuate the destitute, hungry, thirsty population under the tents, in the mud’s, with limited sanitary facilities. They report on the miles of rubbles mingled with abandoned cadavers on both side of open roads and insist on the misery of some people still abandoned to survive the best they can by themselves.
Talking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Haiti, former Haiti Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis said, “I believe that this country is not doomed.” And, echoing Brazil Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, who told Amanpour on Monday that the current Haitian government must become much more visible to the country’s people, the former Haiti PM added, “What I would have done — because the national palace is a very symbolic place in Haiti — I would have asked the international community, the Americans, whoever, to give us (government officials) six tents and put them right here in front of the national palace.” In our opinion, it might be the occasion to change the majestic name to “Kay pèp-la” [the people’s home].
Pierre-Louis, an economist, was heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to plead with the international community to keep its focus on Haiti and support its reconstruction. “Job creation is the key to the country’s recovery so Haitians do not remain dependent on international aid,” she said. However, she did not say where or what kind of enterprises would be either easier to establish and/or more productive to the investor or the involved Haitian communities. At the same time The United Nations said Tuesday that a million Haitians are in urgent need of temporary shelter before the rainy season begins in May. Unfortunately, like the current Haitian prime minister, Mrs. Pierre-Louis did not suggest any concrete initiative that could contribute to the preparation of a coordinate program of action that could involve the Haitians at various level of competency now, and the formation of subsequent generations to insure the enduring positive results of today’s efforts.
It is reported that “the city’s biggest tent camp, with more than 40,000 displaced people, sprawls over the hills of the Petionville Club, a country club with a golf course …” Near by, “boutiques and restaurants stand in stark contrast … and throughout its maze of tents, merchants sell dried fish and yams for a fraction of what the French cuisine cost in exclusive restaurants like Quartier Latin or La Souvenance. Moreover, while a Florida-educated owner of a trendy bar in Petionville “put music, but really low so like the people walking outside the street don’t hear,” in a night club called Barak located above a casino music is blaring and Miami-priced cocktails cater to well-to-do elites. Simon Romero of the New York Times called this situation a chasm, it could be called a monstrosity.
Mrs. Pierre-Louis made an obvious conclusion she will probably share at Davos, “If Haiti does not see how to get out of poverty, how to get out of disease, how to get out this situation that the people are living in, we are going to be trouble for the whole world,” she said. She could add, unless our civil society learn to have more compassionate behavior. The Haitian Family is in need of considerate and efficient parents