“On The Ground in Haiti,” by Alpha Unit

New Alpha Unit on the Haiti catastrophe. I like Doctors Without Borders. A great organization.

Fractures. Burns. Open wounds. Amputations. These are some of the injuries and surgical necessities being dealt with in Haiti by Doctors Without Borders. They are reporting that they are now treating gunshot wounds. Understandably, violence has been on the increase in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck on January 12.

Not only has Doctors Without Borders set up hospitals in Port-au-Prince, they have paid special attention to western Haiti, location of the quake’s epicenter, where the devastation has resulted in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. People are sleeping in the streets. So far there is very little help for them.

It’s all over the news that Doctors Without Borders, which already had a presence in Haiti, has had difficulty landing some of their cargo planes carrying surgical equipment and surgical teams. Apparently there is great confusion in giving planes the necessary clearance. According to Benoit Leduc, operations manager for Haiti, there isn’t a “smooth liaison” in decision making between the United States military and the United Nations.

Doctors Without Borders has been in the middle of humanitarian crises like this one since its founding in 1971. A group of French doctors created it after the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970. The southeastern region of Nigeria had broken off to form the independent nation of Biafra.

France had been the only major country to support Biafra (France wasn’t exactly neutral in all this; it had its own interests in the conflict.) Some French doctors had volunteered with the Red Cross to work in hospitals in the region. But the volunteers found themselves under attack by the Nigerian army, and also saw abuses against civilians.

A principle dear to the Red Cross was neutrality. It did not allow itself to take sides in any hostilities or inject itself into religious, political, or ideological disputes. These doctors wanted to focus solely on the needs of victims, without being beholden to appearances of “not taking sides.”

The group, in fact, does not take sides. But as they learned long ago, unfortunately, humanitarian groups have been attacked if ruling powers perceived them to be doing so.

Of course, Haiti is a different story. The enemy here seems to be the chaos following the devastation of last week’s earthquake. Life-saving endeavors proceed in spite of it.

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12 thoughts on ““On The Ground in Haiti,” by Alpha Unit”

  1. “Understandably, violence has been on the increase in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck on January 12.”

    Why is violence in these situations understandable now? Have you noticed the similarity between the aftermaths of the Katrina hurricane and the Haiti earthquake? TV films show hordes of Blacks just standing around or looting and hurting each other, doing nothing except complaining about the lack of aid forthcoming from the rest of us. There are more troops there than Do Doctors Without Borders. They could be cleaning up, digging out bodies, burying their dead, helping each other, as seen in similar disasters at other times and in other places, but apparently they are incapable of it unless the media has set out to make them look extra helpless.

    1. Any time you have masses of desperate people in a situation where normal society has collapsed around them, you’re going to get some violence.

      Some people will engage in violence to get what they need, and authorities probably have to engage in violence to try to control the situation.

      I don’t think this only applies to Black populations. Do you?

  2. I haven’t really looked into it, but I don’t recall reports of anarchy breaking out after the recent floods and hurricanes in Bangladesh, India and that huge tsunami that hit Thailand. No mayhem. No machetes. No whining that the help wasn’t arriving fast enough and no orphan airlifts. An immediate amnesty was declared on illegal Haitians in the US. The INS will certainly look the other way as more refugees pour in now. Why won’t Israel take some orphans? Their state-of-the-art emergency medical response teams have been featured a lot on the news. Geeze, maybe they’re there to harvest organs.

    1. As a matter of fact, in Thailand, the situation was quite calm. No violence, no looting, nothing of the sort. Thai IQ is 90. US Black IQ (Katrina) is 87. “Low IQ” is not sufficient to explain violent Black behavior after catastrophes, and I for one am getting tired of hearing about it. While we are at it, Bangladeshi IQ is 81, 6 points lower than the 87 of Katrina Blacks. Blacks don’t behave anarchically and violent so often because they are stupid! There must be something else going on here.

      I will give the Haitians some credit. The violence level in Haiti has actually FALLEN since the earthquake. So all of the violence you are seeing in those pics, that’s actually Haiti on a GOOD day. Good God.

  3. What I’m finding out from a quick search of post-tsunami violence in Thailand and Sri Lanka is that much of it was domestic violence. Women experienced an increase in violence, including sexual violence, much of it brought about by increased alcohol consumption by men.

    There are apparently cultural differences at work here. It’s true that this isn’t the same thing as people running amok in the streets.

  4. I heard today that Senegal is granting free land to Haitians that want to emigrate. At this point, I don’t think there’s much solution to the Haitian problem then for Haitians to just vacate the island. Some to the U.S., some to Jamaica, some to Cuba, some to Barbados, some to Columbia, some to W. Africa. Just leave the damn island. All 10 million of them, just disperse and move elsewhere. Maybe give the western part of Hispanola to the Dominican Republic and let the land lay fallow for 50 years to restore the forests.

  5. Haitians seem to do well, or at least better, as long as they aren’t in Haiti. Every Haitian I’ve met on this side of the pond seems nice, hardworking, often educated or in the process of getting an education. And none of them are part of the light skinned aristocracy, if that’s what you’re going to ask next.

  6. When civil society collapsed in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, there was also violence, and substantial looting. A Human Rights Watch report issued in 2003 documented an increase in violence against women, including rapes and abductions.

    This is just one example. Anyone who wants to can find accounts of disorder and violence in the aftermath of wars and other disasters. It’s happened throughout history, and all over the world.

    For some reason, people insist that there is something “Black” about this kind of behavior.

    1. There were riots among evacuees and looting after 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and there were riots and looting after TangShan, China earthquake in 1976. Definitely not a “Black “thing.

  7. I’ve read a lot of criticisms of both the Red Cross and especially Doctors Without Borders re ‘impartiality’. I can’t link to anything offhand, but I wouldn’t assume they’re saints; all these NGOs are heavily compromised by US govt funding.

    As to what seems to be criticisms here of the reaction of the Haitians. The criticisms seem to be based uncritically on the media presentation, which reminds me of the coverage of New Orleans post Katrina – ‘black gangs looting etc’. I, ME PERSONALLY, knew there was a desperate shortage of water in Haiti within 12 hours. How long do you think it was before US intelligence knew that? Greg Pallast points out that FEMA has had EVERYTHING ready in Florida since Katrina – bottled water, medical supplies etc – all ready to go practically at a moment”s notice ; they could easily (well, with some effort anyway) have organised drops of bottled water all over the country withing 12 hours. All those that needed water desperately are dead now, within the first 48 hours. More than a week later we’re just hearing on the MSM that ” aid is beginning to get through to limited areas ” . We still don’t hear about bottled water being dropped by helicopter. Instead we hear about the US takeover of the airport, planes carrying aid being turned away, tens of millions of dollars being spent to send aircraft carriers and destroyers, and ten thousand troops on the way. We get the excuse that they can’t send out the heavy digging equipment because of ‘security concerns’ i.e. they’re demonising the Haitians as violent animals like they did to New Orleans, as an excuse to let them die, to cull the population in preparation for a US invasion, to have a solid base to fuck up Cuba and Venezuela and fuck up all those coloured people who thought they were going to have schools and health-care and all that. The history of what the US has done to Haiti over the years is readily available for those who care to check it out – this ‘aid effort’ is the coup de grace.

    I have to say the blatant racist gloating in some of the comments here is particularly nauseating, and just downright cowardly. Kicking people while they’re down is not very attractive, but hey that’s the way our culture is going. Maybe I’m old fashioned.

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