Monday, May 20, 2013

US out of Haiti!

This photo, submitted to the National Geographic Traveler Magazine for its annual competition, is showcased as one of their favorite entries this week under the category “Sense of Place.” The titles & captions are written by the entrants so National Geographic doesn’t have to take the rap on this ignominy.

The photographer was part of a Christian mission group called Healing Haiti whose mission statement says that for between $700 & $950 airfare you can have the life experience of “delivering water in Cite Soleil or helping in orphanages & holding sick & dying babies.”

The title was “How Great is Our God” & the caption read: “As our mission group was singing "How Great is Our God" at one of the poorest cities in the world, I turned around & saw this man. This was his reaction to our singing & services that day. I'm still speechless, this moment of my life brought tears to my eyes. Delivering free water to the villages in Cite Soleil, Haiti. Mission trip with Healing Haiti, April 2013.”

What kind of insularity does it require to stand there singing “How Great is Our God”? while viewing this measure of squalor, running with pools of putrid water in a country reeling from a cholera epidemic!? Who knows what the hell the man in the photo was trying to say with this gesture? He may have been symbolically trying to shield his community from the idiocies of western missionaries & do-gooders--& with 10,000 NGOs in Haiti, God knows Haitians have plenty of experience with that type.

It’s good sister Covairt had a life experience in Haiti that brought tears to her maudlin eyes “that cannot see,” as the Bible describes. But feeling good about doing good combined with pity & political naiveté is a toxic brew, not an inspiring one.

There are many things we can do in solidarity with the Haitian people, including financing, joining, & supporting solidarity groups in this country. But they might most appreciate if we can just force the posse of exploiters like Paul Farmer, the two Clintons, & Sean Penn out of Haiti & shame the armies of do-gooders back to just praying for them.

US hands off Haiti! Haiti is not your sweatshop!

(Photo by Paulette Covairt/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

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