What if…? Short Takes 1/21/10

1. As detailed by Cynthia McKinnery here, what is happening in Haiti will likely promote justification for turning increasing US militarization of Haiti (a trend with precedent, as noted at HaitiAction here). She reports that the US military, with echoes of Katrina, have turned away planes trying to deliver humanitarian assistance from “CARICOM, the Caribbean Community, Médecins Sans Frontieres, Brazil, France, Italy, and even the U.S. Red Cross.” As she warns,“All of us must have our eyes wide open on Haiti and other parts of the world now dripping in blood as a result of the relentless onward march of the U.S. military machine.”

2. In more great writing on Haiti, Renee of Womanist Musings examines the phenomenon of “the people of Haiti continually being referred to as looters.” As she writes, “The idea that these people are looters is ridiculous when you consider that Western nations have had no problem stealing from them for centuries.” In another echo of Katrina, this language frames people of color as “looters” and fortifies the positioning of white westerners as the saviors, or, as the infamous copy from below maintains, as the “finders.” Kind of like how white people “found” all the land the now occupy as theirs…

3. In more Haiti news, the wonderful Naomi Klein shares how the Haiti disaster is only partly natural, detailing how the entrenched poverty in Haiti is far from natural and how corporate capitalism has played a big part in impoverishing this and other nations. Check out the clip here.

4. One of my favorite blogs, Shakesville, posts thought provoking quotes of the day regularly. Check out this one:

Guided by our values, we endeavor to have our products used wherever precision aiming solutions are required to protect individual freedom.”—From the website of Trijicon, a gun sight manufacturer with “a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army,” which inscribes “coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ” on its rifle sights.

Wow, quoting Jesus on rifles? What a concept!

4 thoughts on “What if…? Short Takes 1/21/10”

    1. Good question, Jon. And I think (as evidenced both by your links and Dante’s comments) that aid agencies sometimes act like corporations…

  1. this is something that I’m posting everywhere I go – and it’s very important.

    To the people who are donating to relief in Hati – please do your homework before offering up your money. There are hundreds of outright scams, and legitimate scams out there that are taking advantage of your generosity.

    Many people donated via sending a text message from their phone – without knowing that fees applied. when people screamed about this several cell carriers dropped the fees – some retroactively, but many did not.

    Research the charities you donate to and see how much of your donation actually results in assistance and how much is lost in ‘ overhead ‘ like operational costs, salaries, and so on. A charity that just popped up a week ago should be held to much more scrutiny – they do not have annual reports or a history to go by. Likewise if a charity does have reports and a history to go by take a good hard look at them.

    Donations of physical goods like clothing, non perishable food items, and so on are less likely to shrink than cash donations.

    Finally consider that there have been over 170 million dollars donated towards Hati relief. Can you imagine what could be done here in our own back yard with that kind of money? We are the first to jump to the aid of another country , but what if we put that same effort into our local needs as well? For example when you are making your $10 donation to Hati, make a $10 donation to your local food bank, or Lambda Legal, or some other such local need.

    Just my $.02 , adjusted for inflation.

    1. Thanks Dante. I think it is indeed important to do research before donating — to many organizations have been shown to be corrupt and/or to enact discriminatory practices.
      I also like your points regarding the fact people tend to donate to “disasters” (especially foreign ones) and ignore problems in their own backyard. Your suggestion to match Hatit donations with local needs is a great one!

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