Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti Proves God's Soveriegnty

Unless You Are Blind

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas.  This is not a new development.  It's population is about 10 million, and its Gross Domestic Product is about $2 per person, per day.  Because of national poverty, the land has been about 98% denuded of foliage, so that people could feed themselves and keep warm.  Much of the pillaging of the land has been due to corrupt government, such as the government of "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his equally corrupt son "Baby Doc". 

All of the poverty and economic challenges, along with the spiritual challenges of this land predate the earthquake of January 12, 2010.  That the earthquake and its aftershocks has destroyed significant parts of the country, while killing 200,000 people or more, is indisputable.

In my opinion, God has finally allowed something to occur in that nation, with this earthquake that has brought the attention of the world to the plight of the people there.  The world ignored mostly, that the poverty and corruption that existed in Haiti was there, and even though there are nearly 1,000,000 Haitian immigrants in the US and Canada, we have all been blind to the conditions of a nation that is just off our shores.  Missionaries went there to help out, as best they could.  In fact, the United Nations has also been present in the country since 1993, and before the earthquake had approximately 9,000 peace keepers and police from many countries around the globe on site.  In fact, without those resources on the ground already, the effects of the disaster would have been magnified.

Now, as a result of the earthquake, and the release of news of this disaster, there is a giant bandwagon forming that will provide much needed relief to the people of Haiti.  Last night, there was a major telethon, which will add hundreds of millions of dollars to the relief efforts that have been going on already.  The turning of our hearts to the plight of our brothers and sisters in their hour of need is an important one, particularly while many in our own nations are hurting economically, due to the recession.

The addition of American and Canadian and other nation's troops to assist the people, along with specialists from Mexico in earthquake rescue has already impacted the situation, and will continue. 

The people of Haiti need us to turn out hearts to them, but they needed us to do it 50 years ago, and instead we turned our backs on them.

Many Haitians gave their lives in the last 10 days or so, so that we would see the need.  They are martyrs to the cause of fighting poverty in our world, and God will reward them for it.

May God Bless the people of Haiti, and bring renewal to their country, through the aid of their sisters and brothers throughout the world.  We are all One Body.


Simon S. said...


I agree with your sentiments vis-a-vis Haiti. However, I must take issue with you when you write that "...they (Haitians) needed us to do it 50 years ago, and instead we turned our backs on them."

In point of fact, Michael, Quebeckers have been providing aid and charity to Haiti for well OVER 50 years. Every year that I spent in a Quebec school was characterized by a "Haitian charitable drive." Michael, I am almost 60 years old. Haiti has been on Quebec's radar for well over 50 years.

Coincidentally, just before the Haitian earthquake struck, I was involved in a very heated discussion about Haiti with some friends and family (all Quebecois). The sentiment these people shared was that "this isn't working since we've been sending aid for half a century and it never gets to the people for whom it was intended."

Truer words were never spoken.

I was located in Haiti for professional reasons for a period in excess of three years. Duting that time, I learned that Haitians have no greater enemy than other Haitians (i.e. government, institutions, banks etc). Indeed, Haiti was so corrupt and contradictory/hypocritical that my wife - for the first and only time in our marriage - returned to Canada without me. She simply couldn't TAKE Haitian hypocrisy and the suffering that it engenders.

I'm afraid, Michael, that I, too, withheld my monies this time around. Haiti has NOT been forgotten, as you allege. But what we HAVE been doing for the past 50 years didn;t work BEFORE the earthquake. As such, we've no reason to believe it will work any better now.

I would add at this point that MANY colleagues from my Haitian days have been in touch with me about this. Some have returned to help, but NONE are opening their wallets. Haitian charitable institutions are bay and large NOT what they claim, and many of our own conduits for charitable funding are less than exemplary.

I know it's a bitter pill to swallow, but I simply couldn't stay silent. Also, I have several Chriustian missionary uncles and aunts who have spent their entire lives working in Haiti. They privately agree that what Haiti needs is a benevolent occupation by a foreign jurisdiction. Crime and corruption have become woven into the very fabric of Haitian "culture" such as it is.

I agree that we should help Haiti, but refuse the implied guilt that comes with assertions that we "turned out backs" on Haiti for half a century. Nothing could be further from the truth in my experience. But the "old solutions" haven't, don't and will never work in Haiti.

Joshua S. said...

Michael, BTW, it is spelled "sovereignty. It's that "i" before "e" rule, to which there are more exceptions than you can wave a stick at! No wonder English is known as the most difficult of all languages to learn (as a second language and as an adult). I honestly wish people - especially Canadians - knew that. If they did, many immigrants to Canada would be spared much sorrow and unhappiness.

Joshua S. said...


Maybe English Canada "turned their backs" on haiti, but Quebec has been supporting Haiti since I was knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper. That means WELL OVER 50 YEARS of Quebec goodwill and charitable support - and I'm talking millions and millions over the years, Michael.

The fact that the charitable dollars rarely make it to poor Haitians is the "Haitian" part of the "Haitian problem".

I worked for a significant period (i.e. years) in Haiti. My experience there brought me to the same conclusion that every other person whom I kniow who has LIVED in Haiti can tell you - Haitians have no greater enemy than Haitians themselves.

My family - like many families in Quebec - now counts several members of Haitian origin. These will tell you that "charity" simply doesn't work by itself beyond creating dependency.

Anyway, Michael, you are doing a disservice to half a century of Quebec activism on the Haitian front. I don't think that is a very just thing to do.