We need to evacuate Haiti

Saturday, January 16th, 2010 · 34 Comments »

Across Port-au-Prince, the dead litter the streets, stripped of human dignity, decomposing and covered in flies:

Every five minutes, a vehicle pulled up to the gates of Port-au-Prince’s cemetery, delivering another corpse to a mass grave dug by authorities trying to clear the broken city’s streets of the dead.

“We have lost any dignity in death,” said Mezen Dieu Justi, an old man barely able to contain his nausea and tears before the grim spectacle.

The massive earthquake that struck Haiti on Tuesday has produced a steady stream of bodies, with estimates of the death toll well into the tens of thousands.

Many families confronted with their final glimpse of a loved one simply lost control.

“It’s my father, my dear father,” screamed one young woman, who fainted at the sight of the mass grave filled with human bodies.

One woman, as though possessed, lowered herself into the grave saying she felt more comfortable among the dead. Bystanders eventually forced her back out again.

“We have lost our senses. Death has driven us insane,” said one Haitian, whose relative’s body had been transported to the grave for burial.

I hate national borders. I don’t believe in them. That’s one of my ultra-lefty things, so leftyish that I don’t even blog about it. Like animals: I think they should be represented at the U.N.

National borders are artificial lines on the map. Mostly they’re used to keep poor people out, sometimes out of their own land. Like the U.S.-Mexican border, which is designed to keep the indigenous inhabitants of the Southwest out of the Southwest so rich fat white Anglos can enjoy the land they stole in 1848 from the Mexicans who got it from the Spaniards who stole it from the Pueblos. Yeah.

Anyway: Haiti. See, what ought to be happening right now is an airlift. Plane after plane after plane needs to be lifting those people out and flying them to cities in the United States — we’re the closest rich country — and any other place that could handle some refugees. France. Anywhere.

We ought to be able to help each other. We ought to be able to cross the artificial lines on the map.

The world is totally fucked up.

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34 Responses to “We need to evacuate Haiti”

  1. bluelyon says:

    I was just thinking along these lines today. So, we get them food? And then what? How long before the roads are cleared? The houses rebuilt? Where do they sleep? Work? Go to school? The doctor? Will Haiti become one giant refugee camp?

  2. Petro says:

    I completely agree with you on the “borders” concept, and the ills it creates. You’re right about the ultra-lefty thing, too – I really have to refrain from discussing this in “polite” company lest I become too quickly marginalized.

    I become, inevitably, eventually marginalized anyway, and then I’ll bring it up… :)

  3. Adrienne in CA says:

    I say we give them Utah.


  4. ugsome says:

    National borders exist only to restrict the flow of labor, *not* capital. That alone makes them nothing more than glorified prison fences. I am so anti-nationalist, I won’t stand for our national anthem at sporting events.

  5. Sasha, CA says:

    Totally agree with you about both national borders and representation for animals. What always gets me is that the people most irate about illegal immigration generally aren’t legal immigrants who spent years waiting for visas and jumping through INS hoops. No, with rare exceptions the anti-immigrant crowd consists of folks who were born in this country and whose parents came here many generations ago. In other words, people whose American citizenship is merely an accident of birth. Which makes their self-righteous anger and hatred of undocumented immigrants downright bizarre. It’s not like they did anything to become American citizens. They were simply lucky to be born in a wealthy first-world country, so why the hostility towards people who were born into less fortunate circumstances? What would they do if they had been born in a poor country with zero employment opportunities and no social safety net? Let their family starve? I’ll never quite comprehend the level of anger and outrage directed at undocumented immigrants by so many on the right (and even a few on the left). A lot of it, I’m sure, is racism. People like Pat Buchanan are pretty upfront about that with their yammering about high Latino birth rates, etc.

  6. Briar says:

    I agree with you. I hate borders, especially the ones guarded by armed troops, like I hate racism. There are no races – we are all (very closely) genetically linked to one another, one species, and in fact genetically linked to every other living thing on earth – dogs, lizards, daffodils. And we all live on one earth, which we colonised by walking out of Africa, one step at a time – one globe, one future, one fate. National borders are an abomination, as racial discrimination is.

  7. Dongi says:

    I think you people are the salt of the earth and the hope for humankind. The nation state may be the greatest challenge facing humanity since the onset of the glaciers so many millennia ago. But with pluck and luck the species will prevail. What a magnificent cause it is fighting all future generations.

    Say, Adrienne, if the Haitians go to Utah, will they have to become Mormons?

  8. Dongi says:

    I mean fighting for all future generations. My bad.

  9. bob coley jr says:

    You got it, Violet.
    “Imagine all the people sharing all the world”
    Thanks John…

  10. shoes says:

    I do agree with the fact that animals should have a seat at the UN and until we stop overpopulating the planet, and devastating the earth’s natural resources, nothing can be solved.

  11. Swannie says:

    while I comepletely empathise with the feeling …perhaps just evacuate the ones who want to go … Haitians have fought and died for their country too .. and now their beloved dead are there I am sure many would want to stay..

  12. Branjor says:

    Totally agreed about animals and national borders.

  13. bob coley jr says:

    “Niki Nana”

  14. slythwolf says:

    National borders are artificial lines on the map. Mostly they’re used to keep poor people out, sometimes out of their own land.

    This, and to provide artificial distinctions between human beings so that the rich assholes in charge can send those poor people across them to kill each other, making it just a little bit easier to brainwash us all into believing that’s okay.

  15. Alison says:

    Ah, I have my own things that I don’t usually discuss with good company, like the evil CDC and the vaccine industry!

    But back to the subject at hand…Yes, borders are a crappy thing to do to people but I frankly don’t know what a world without them would look like.

    Still, I like your idea of airlifting Haitians into the United States, France etc. They are refugees. Many will need a new home and we should be willing to provide.

  16. jackyt says:

    Here’s a link to an article about Canada’s response. Canada already has quite a large Haitian community, primarily in Quebec, and the government has announced they will speed up apps for Haitians in the wake of the quake.

  17. jackyt says:

    Sorry, I forgot to attach the link:


  18. Violet Socks says:

    I didn’t mean emigration, though that too. I mean we have the hospitals and the water and the food right here. We could be airlifting Haitians into the U.S. or Canada or France or anyplace to get care. The only reason we can’t do that is because they’re “foreigners.”

  19. ErikZ says:

    A world without borders would mean constant unending warfare.

  20. Tanya Derbowka says:

    Let me just say, I love you Violet. The sentiments that you have expressed about borders makes so much sense to me and I couldn’t agree more. But I had never read it articulated so eloquently before. That this is a new idea to me kind of makes me depressed.

  21. jackyt says:

    I agree, Violet. There is no reason I can think of that evacuations for medical care would not be implemented asap.

  22. Keri says:

    Send this to idea to Hillary Clinton pronto. It might just get acted on.

    I noticed that in an interview Hillary did on CNN yesterday morning she point blank mentioned the history Violet talked about in her earlier blog post on Haiti- and said we shouldn’t just be helping Haiti for humanitarian reasons, but because of that history of not helping Haiti, we owe Haiti.

  23. janet says:

    Watch, we will only take their children to raise them in Iowa and other such white bastions so we can “integrate” them into white culture and teach them right.

  24. Kali says:

    The idea of getting rid of national borders is too forward for our backward times. I think the idea of temporarily dissolving borders during times of humanitarian crises might be able to get some acceptability if we fight for it.

  25. votermom says:

    I’m with you on borders. I started thinking that as a kid.
    Borders are pretty much the same as those gates you see in rich gated communities — there to keep the scary hordes out.

  26. angus says:

    I mean we have the hospitals and the water and the food right here. We could be airlifting Haitians into the U.S. or Canada or France or anyplace to get care. The only reason we can’t do that is because they’re “foreigners.”

    You could do that, but it would be really expensive. For the same amount of money as it would cost to airlift 1 out for treatment you can treat perhaps 4 Haitians in Haiti.

  27. angus says:

    We ought to be able to help each other. We ought to be able to cross the artificial lines on the map.

    Some places will not like Americans crossing their borders at a whim.

  28. julia says:

    I feel absolutely sick.

    This is just like New Orleans, when the levies broke. We sent in the military, turned away aid, let people die and live like dogs. Worse than dogs.

    Here it is MONDAY – we could have sent tons of food and water drops by air on day one – we’re only 90 minutes away. China sent a plane that got there first – China! We could send doctors by jet boats, send aid in cruise ships.
    Instead, it seems our philosophy is ‘let them die’. The private contractors are already rubbing their hands, as Haiti will need to be rebuilt.

    Brazil and France have complained that doctors and food have not been allowed to land (Medcins sans Frontiers), to hear live reports on Free Speech Radio News and Informativo Pacifica make me want to crawl under the ground.

    We have the money, the technology, the brains, the people, we have everything but we don’t use it.

    Just like in 2000, when we ‘couldn’t’ count the election results. Just like in 2005, when we ‘didn’t’ know how to help our own people, in our own National Heritage site.

    Just like always under greedy empires.

  29. Toonces says:

    julia, I have been wondering aloud why we aren’t air-dropping food/water/medical supplies like we’ve done in military operations (remember when we sent the Iraqis poptarts?) since the first day. I thought maybe there was some reason we could only get to people by road, since I haven’t been paying more attention to Haiti than I can stand without developing a heroin addiction.

    Does anyone know if there’s some real reason we can’t do flyovers/air-drops?

  30. Jeff says:

    @Toonces – They’ve started.

  31. Violet Socks says:

    Okay, this is the WRONG kind of airlift: John Travolta Says He’ll Airlift Scientologist “Volunteer Ministers” to Help Earthquake Victims in Haiti.

    Goddamn Hollywood billionaire twits flying their Scientology buddies down to Haiti to give mental “assists” to injured thetans. Jesus. My head is just going to EXPLODE.

  32. Dark Angel Cryo says:

    There is a reason why Scientology critics have labeled them “Vulture Ministers”. They done this same thing at places such as Virginia Tech and 9/11.

  33. Toonces says:

    Thanks, Jeff.

    I have to wonder why they didn’t do it sooner but hopefully it will help get people what they need now.

  34. julia says:

    I thought I might have been kicked off the blog for my last post….glad to see this is a truly democratic place! Isn’t it odd that I have to worry so much about upsetting people for speaking out?

    I’m lucky to be in California this week and able to get KPFA and Free Radio Santa Cruz (a fabulous pirate station) and from what I hear the US is not helping at all- they continue to tuen aid away and have set up great aid and food stations at the airport but will not take it to the people.
    For anyone interested, DemocracyNow is in Haiti and did an excellent report today.

    It seems that the US is taking advantage of the disaster to set up a military base in Latin America from Haiti. There are now 10,000 troops there, and when they bring food out to the ‘dangerous areas’ (i.e., poor towns and parishes) they have soldiers on the trucks with guns and helmets, turn on the sirens, dump the food and leave. Boy this sounds a lot like what Naomi Klein writes about.

    I have never felt so ashamed. Maybe only when I heard what really happened in New Orleans. How can anyone say that the Obama administration is any different that the Bush one now? Look at the continued and escalated occupations, the drones,
    the extraodinary renditions and now this.

    I know many of you are Democrats and while I respect all of you (I was one until 2008), doesn’t it seem like the system is corrupt, and even if Hillary Clinton were president, we’d have the same policy?

    Cheers to everyone and thanks for your ear.