Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Ties To Haiti

Crossposted from Quid Nunc?

At the group blog WomenOn, I have posted some links for people looking to donate financially to help with the relief effort in Haiti. However, amazingly enough, over two million in donations for aid to Haiti has already been raised through our mobile phone accounts. Information has spread mainly through word of mouth on the internet social networks; and this method of helping out is easily available to anyone with an account with a major wireless carrier. NYT article with links to all necessary info here.

If, like most Americans, readers only know the contemporary history of this island nation, they probably know it, as Robert Parry notes in the first paragraph of his brief history of our early historical connection with Haiti:
... because of some natural disaster or a violent political upheaval, and the U.S. response is often paternalistic, if not tinged with a racist disdain for the country’s predominantly black population and its seemingly endless failure to escape cycles of crushing poverty.
Parry's article gives us an interesting glimpse of our country's little known early history with Haiti, history of which I was completely unaware. Haiti and America's Historic Debt.

I know of the twentieth century connections, the occupation of Haiti by American forces, from 1915 to 1934, under Woodrow Wilson, and the "peacekeeping" military mission in 1994, under Bill Clinton, but this early history involving Hamilton, Jefferson and Napoleon was entirely unknown to me. Perhaps at this time of devastating catastrophe, we can finally repay our historic debt to this country whose history began in slavery and bloodshed and continues in poverty and political strife. The current day Bill Clinton feels that there is hope for Haiti, even after this tragedy (What Haiti Needs) Let us hope that he is right.

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