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16277: Shadlen: Re: 16274: Karshan: First Step Towards Victory: IDB Loans Released! (LET HAITI LIVE campaign) (fwd)

From: Marie-Florence Shadlen <mshadlen@u.washington.edu>

It is not the choice of outsiders, including the OAS, US government or
international community to link the distribution of the country's
resources to politics. That responsibility rests solely on ourselves.
What Haitians have done to their fellow Haitians is an outrage against
humanity on the scale of that seen in Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, etc. when
viewed over the span of our neocolonial history. We have a 200 year
legacy of dictatorship, political repression and kleptocracy. I find no
comfort in blaming imperial manipulations for our suffering or for
President Aristide's incompetent and dishonest administration. We are our
worst enemy.
I am heartened to hear that $35 million will be disbursed to Haiti's
treasury but am skeptical that the health and wellbeing of Haitians on the
street will improve once the fat cats (including the president) have their
take. The tragedy is that in a land of no accountability, no judicial
discipline, no compromise, we will never know what happened to that loan.
That said, I don't want Haitians to suffer from American sanctions (a la
children of Iraq) if these political measures do not have the desired
effect (of getting rid of Aristide and enabling the groundwork for a clean
government). Is anybody paying attention to the Dominican Republic? How is
it that they're making progress in GNP, improved literacy, reduced infant
mortality, etc? Why is the US not getting in the way of the politics of
the DR? Haitians are quick to cry foul when we attract the attention of
outsiders, but can you blame outsiders for taking notice of the spectacle
of suffering we have produced in the Western Hemisphere.
The writer below says that her organization does not support US
interference in Haitian politics. This sounds great in principle. Of
course according to this logic of no accountability, there is no end
to loans and handouts that must be distributed to relieve the all too
obvious suffering. What next? Do we cover the cesspool of corruption
destroying the lives of our brethren and our future with a trail of
This cliche is worth repeating: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a
day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The fish is the loan,
the lesson is the functioning government that doesn't exist. Stop
protecting Aristide.

Marie-Florence Shadlen, MD                Office Phone: (206) 341-4513
Assistant Professor                       Fax: (206) 731-8753
University of Washington
Department of Medicine
Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine        Email: mshadlen@u.washington.edu
Harborview Medical Center
325 9th Avenue BOX 359755
Seattle, WA 98104-2499