The tragedy unfolding in Haiti is a natural disaster which we could not have prevented. But, the destruction of its natural habitat before the earthquake, over-population and chronic poverty could have been prevented, or at least lessened in scope, by us. We, the people of the world, especially the United States, bear a collective responsibility for this mess. We sat silent apathetically while trees were uprooted, vegetation trampled and environmental sustainability suffocated. We allowed the construction of unsafe dwellings to go on for decades while we devoted trillions of dollars to fund un-necessary wars. We let this former paradise to become a trash land and sub-human conditions there to linger on. We supported gangsters named Papa Doc and Baby Doc who sabotaged the country’s progress and emptied its treasury. And, when they chose a democratically elected leader, we forced him out because he had “socialistic” ideas. Well, what a surprise!
President Obama’s emergency $100 million contribution to cope with the chaos now could have been spend methodically in the past 2 or 3 decades to build the infra structure and establish building codes. With the multiplier effect that investment would have produced several million dollars of development in that small country. And, an earthquake of that magnitude would have resulted in much less damage and saved thousands of lives (remember the recent California quakes?). If the United States Government under President Bush had enough clout over there to tell Haiti’s President Aristide to take a hike, then it surely had the power to aid and steer that miserably failed state into order and reconstruction.
Why did we not do it then? And, who exploited the resources of that once self-sufficient island to the point of extinction? Did our giant multi-national corporations with their yes-men in Washington have anything to do with it? Did great power rivalries between France, Britain and United States play a role?
I am saddened to predict that Haiti is not the last “mistake”. We are creating other Haitis around this planet at alarming rates. We are getting close to the point of no return. We must stop this wanton destruction of the land. We must stop it in Brazil, in Indonesia, in China, U.S. and Africa. We cannot go on puncturing more holes in this one and only one ship we have. Sooner than later, we will all sink.