I was fairly astonished to read in several newspapers that the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti were “getting angry” about the failure of aid workers to provide them succour. I can’t help but feel that if I were in desperate straights I would only be pathetically grateful to anybody who risked life and limb to bring me aid. But it wasn’t just one newspaper trying to cast some sort of slant on the situation, they were all saying. So I can only assume it’s true, or they’re all getting their material from the same source. However, the quotes from the people they spoke to sounded like nervous, confused survivors of something incomprehensible. None of them sounded angry. Evidently the earthquake destroyed the prison, and now all the criminals are roaming free, causing even more havoc. Consequently, I don’t think anyone is going to be angry, I think they’re going to be terrified.
I think the people who are “angry” are not the local Haitians, who, by the sounds of it, have enough to be angry about outside of the vagaries of nature. No, the people who are “angry” are people sitting in armchairs wondering why someone hasn’t cleared the airport and delivered fuel and cleared the roads so that they can get around again. And frankly, it sounds like it’s going to take a while to put it all together again.
I’ve also read a number of comments on articles about the US Marines going in. “Unhelpful” doesn’t even begin to describe it. With a gaol full of prisoners on the lam, no infrastructure, looting and frightened people, you’d think that there would only be fulsome support for these men, helping to pick up the pieces. But no, instead we have carping about how the US is taking over Haiti (even though Haiti is one of the few places that could only be improved by a takeover by even Hugo Chavez!)
And it all led me to wonder what was going on. Here we have an immense human catastrophe, the world is being mobilised, despite the economic climate, people have already dug out their wallets and are shovelling money at the Haitians. The long-suffering USMC is on hand to provide law and order and probably do all the heavy lifting for the aid agencies, clearing roads and the airport, stocking up on fuel, guarding the deliveries of aid. Yet somewhere, someone is judgementally decreeing that not enough is being done quickly enough.
It’s almost enough to make a man think: “Well, if that’s how you feel about our help, sort it out yourself!”
I wonder who would benefit from that?