Dr. Fogg & Sir Daniel presents..

One Year After…

In Daniels articles on January 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm

An earthquake had just leveled Haiti and everything on the news had to do with bringing relief..  I wondered what we would be thinking about 12 months later..   so one year ago, almost to the day, I wrote this speech…

 

 

 

 

 

“Come December…”

   It is with a heavy heart that the nations of the world unite today.

   Only a little more than a week ago, Mother Nature, in her fury, moved buildings and walls, opened up the earth and claimed for God almost a quarter million of his children.  These last seven days, the World has held it’s breath as it waits for miracles that are less likely each passing minute.

As we dig through the rubble, we stand together.  Not as opposing countries, not as rich and poor, but as humans mourning the loss of humans.

Collectively, we raise our voices and ask God why?

God doesn’t need to provide us with an answer.   We never ask him why he sends the rain to make the flowers grow.   No one questions why the sun continues too rise.. so what right do we have to put the blame on God?

No, brothers and sisters,  we must look into our mirrors if we want to place blame.

These people we mourn today were born in poverty, raised in despair and died in the rubble of what was their homes.  Not one of these people awoke knowing they were breathing their last breaths, none of them got the chance to say goodbye.

Let us take a minute and take a closer look at this nation, proudly existing as the result of a revolution.  Back in 1794, these slaves faced an army 20,000 strong with only their hands and a belief in God.  This faith was not misplaced as the opposing army was hit with yellow fever.  Future attempts to enslave them cost more than 50,000 men to die until finally, in 1804, Haiti raised it’s proud flag for the first time.

God was on their side.

This new country, only twelve years later, would help liberate five other countries held under the malicious grasp of slavery.

God was on their side.

So I ask you today, how does a country go from Independence to poverty?  Why do only forty percent of Haiti citizens have access to public health care?  Why do ninety percent of the children suffer from waterborne diseases and intestinal parasites?

The answer is still in your mirror..  it is still in your wallet and pocketbook..

It is because we, you and me, allowed it too happen to our fellow man.  We paid no attention to them because we were all caught up in our own protective world.  We didn’t see the children begging for food because we were too busy standing in line at the local buffet.  We didn’t hear the old man cough up blood because we were too busy taking a pills for our headaches.

The people of Haiti needed our attention last year, and last week they got it.

2010 has yet to unfold it’s news stories, it’s surprises, it’s promises..  but for one small island 2010 has made it’s mark on every living person.  This is the year they lost a brother, a sister, both parents, friends, loved ones.   This is the year the world fell down on top of them.  This is the year they counted their blessings to still be alive at the same time they counted their tears.

This is their year.   We owe it too them.

Come December, as we sit in our chairs and couches and reflect back on 2010, I hope we remember those who are still struggling to put their life back together, as much as is left.  I hope we remember what we, as a World, did to help those survivors.  I hope we remember that what starts off as an unstoppable revolution, a desire to control our own destiny, can, if ignored, fall too the ground in a pile of debris.

If we can remember these things come December then there is a hope for us, all of us, regardless of race, wealth or religion.  We will go into the future knowing if our buildings, our lives, our societies fall, that our fellow man will be there to help pick us up.  We will no longer be strangers on the outside looking in, but friends on the inside helping out…

As the months have passed, I admit Haiti has been on my mind very little..  The economic situation has made it so people have no money for others, it’s sometimes more than we can do to pay our own bills.

2010 has personally been both good and bad, I’ve lost a couple good friends and almost fallen in over my head in debt but managed to just stay one step ahead.   I’ve discovered facebook, and friendships and I’m lucky enough to have switched jobs into an environment that makes work a joy.   However, rarely have I thought about what was happening over in Haiti..

Then, with the one year anniversary, the media started reporting again and much of what they say is not good..

Many of the tents sent to Haiti to house those who lost their homes are sold to the highest bidder, many of those living in the tent cities that have sprung up lost nothing in the earthquake, they lived in the slums, yet they heard there was relief money/food in the tent cities so they moved there.   Making the tent cities look exactly like the slums.

Only 15 percent of the building of the many homes destroyed has even been started..  When the earthquake hit, more than 4000 criminals escaped from the local jail, very few have been re-captured..

 This fact alone has placed the very future of Haiti’s reconstruction in the balance, because it threatens the one thing Haitians most desperately need. More than tents, or houses, or money, or bags of rice, they need the rule of law.

 Edmond Mulet, a wiry, bespectacled lawyer originally from Guatemala, oversees the United Nations mission in Haiti from a Portakabin by the airstrip in Port-au-Prince. He says his 12,000 peacekeepers are all that currently stands between the Haitian people and total anarchy. 

“They once had courts and the rule of law, government ministries, hospitals and schools. None of those exist any more. If the UN mission left, the whole country would just fall apart.”

Why is this?  Why can’t the Government just step up and enforce this law?  It seems Haiti has no real leadership so lets look at it’s past choices..

#1 – President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was the first democratically elected President.  He was forced to exile in 1991, re-elected President in 1994, exiled again in 1996, re-elected again in 2001 and then once more forced to exile in 2004.   He increased healthcare and education and is the people’s sentimental choice..  however he is not allowed to leave South Africa and there are many charges of embezzlement from his administration..

#2 – Rene Preval, the current President, who has been anything but quick to help his fellow country pick up and recover from the earthquake. 

  He however can not continue as President past Feb. 2011 due to a two term limit.

#3 – Boniface Alexandre, acting President from 2004-2006. 

However in his term, Amnesty International reported “excessive use of force by police officers”, extrajudicial executions, a lack of investigations into these, escalation of “unlawful killings and kidnappings by illegal armed groups”, failure of officials to prevent and punish violence against women, dysfunctionality of the justice system, and forty or more people imprisoned without charge or trial..

and I thought America had bad choices for it’s Presidents..

Another problem currently facing Haiti is kidnapping, there are between 6 and 12 people kidnapped every day.  Many of them poor people who can not afford to pay to have their loved ones returned.  I read about a man who started a business in Haiti to put people to work and his wife and child was kidnapped as a result.   He paid to have them returned but then he had them move to the USA while he stays behind in Haiti without them.

So is there any hope for Haiti?  The former Haitian ruler Jean Claude Duvalier once said, “It is the destiny of the people of Haiti to suffer..”

Even the man in charge of the Police force doesn’t believe there is hope unless there is a “revolution”..  He believes Haiti currently has too much corruption to be saved by money and tents.

“What we need most is jobs..”   where have I heard that?  I know, right here in America.  One of my good friends has been out of work for over 4 years..  jobs are made when businesses move in and invest.  However, considering the current lack of law in Haiti, why would they do that?

How can we help others stand up if we ourselves are down?  Last year, it was nice to see the World come together last year and send so much relief to Haiti but now that we know how it was miss-used, should we stop?

I believe in the end Haiti has to help itself first.  Somewhere in that country is a leader, a person who sees what is wrong because they are currently living it. 

I do believe we have attempted to help Haiti, as we should have, but I’m not so sure it worked.  I believe there are many in Haiti who want things to stay the way they are..

Come 2012, the year many seem to feel the world will end, how much better off will Haiti be than they are today, one year after the earthquake?  Will more houses be built?  Will they have a leader who can bring much needed law and order?  Will anything change?

Will anything ever change?

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