Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti, With Tears

The emerging horror in Haiti has caused countless Americans to reach for their wallets and purses. I made my donation to the earthquake relief fund set up by Yele Haiti, the foundation established by the Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean. Small foundations sometimes grapple with the problem of seemingly excessive overhead -- it's a matter of scale -- so if that concerns you, MSNBC.com has provided a list of charitable organizations active in Haiti.

The avoidable part of the butcher's bill is coming due as I write. The real story of Hurricane Katrina was the failure of the levees. Now, Haiti's abject poverty and the destruction of what little infrastructure that it had will become frightful players in the tragedy. Port-au-Prince has little water, no hospitals, no fire stations, and no electricity. The rest of the country will be unable to handle the demands put on what little infrastructure it has. Haiti has no significant internal means of disaster response. So, despite what Rush Limbaugh has to say (which is that Americans support Haiti through their taxes), that poor country is going to need help and lots of it...

As probably everyone knows by now, Pat Robertson claims that the earthquake is divine retribution for a pact that Haitians made with the devil during their long struggle for freedom (1791-1804). What Robertson didn't mention is that the French colonial slavemasters were among the most hardened of that despicable breed, infamously dispensing gruesome tortures for the most trivial offenses while working their slaves to death on sugar plantations. If any Haitians made a pact with the devil, it's because they had good reason to think that God had deserted them...

Haitian art, Haitian music, Haitian culture, Haitian religion, Haitan people...

Spike Lee has begun production on a sequel to When the Levees Broke, his superb documentary about the personal impact of the levee-failure flooding induced by Hurricane Katrina. The new film will expand the scope to the entire Gulf Coast and revisit many of the people who appeared in the original film. Also, PBS has a number of Katrina-related projects in the works and director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married) is in preproduction of animated version of Dave Eggers' book Zeitoun. More here...

I've got 200 more miles of rain and asphalt and light before I sleep...

R. I. P., Bobby Charles...

The great Fats Domino sings Charles' immortal "I'm Walking to New Orleans":

6 comments:

willow said...

Pat Robertson is CCFCCP.

Annette said...

Robertson and his ilk are despicable and Limpballs just fits right in with the rest of them. May they all rot in hell.

My heart and soul aches for the people of Haiti. There is so much needed and so little I feel I can do... but money is the one thing we can do. With it, things they need can be provided. Thankfully, we now have a President who knows how to react in a major disaster.

K. said...

The scary thing about Robertson is that he actually believes what he says. Limpballs (I like that one!) is a cynical huckster who will say anything to call attention to himself.

Roy said...

I saw that about Bobby Charles yesterday on the website for The Swell Season, Glen Hansard's and Markéta Irglová's band, on their home page. I didn't realize he'd written "I Don't Know Why I Love You (But I Do)"; I was sure ol' "Frogman" wrote it. Live and learn! But Bobby will be missed.

Man, it's been a sad week for us old rock'n'rollers! Teddy Pendergrass and Bobby Charles, just days apart. Is it time to drive the Chevy to the levee and tip a bottle of rye with the good ol' boys?

As for Pat "Gomer" Robertson and Limpballs (love that one!), I've already ranted all over the Internet on those two and their cohorts and defenders. My objection to their very existence is on the record!

Wow! That's the longest word verification I've seen yet: redobjec.

Roy said...

K, it looks like there may be problems with donating to Yele Haiti.

K. said...

So it seems. No one else has picked this up -- at least that I could find -- nor does the Yele website address it. There's a raging if unhelpful debate on Yele, but it's mostly noise that comes down to whether or not you like Wyclef. Along with the Red Cross, he's getting a lot of positive press for the innovation of texting to donate. It does seem that Yele needs to address this.