Friday, November 19, 2010
The news article here is fine. Succinct, good reporting. The comments! Who are these people? Why do they feel qualified to pronounce on Haiti? I can't help but think a race issue is at play here. People who have no idea about Haitian history feel comfortable announcing that they are "sick" of all their "tax dollars" going to ungrateful Haitians who should be working to fix their country instead of protesting the UN mission that, in all likelihood, brought cholera to Haiti in the first place. The media reporting around this is interesting - I caught a CBC Newsworld broadcast that implied the "rioters" - note the use of the term rioter, not protester, which already sets up in the reader's mind an expectation of legitimacy - were deluded by thinking that the UN had anything to do with the cholera outbreak. The Haitian rumour mill is an effective communication instrument. The UN steadfastly maintained that the Nepalese had nothing to do with the outbreak until the AP's Jonathan Katz physically inspected the septic system at the headquarters near the mouth of the Artibonite River. Instead of the contained tanks buried in the ground that he was assured existed, he found open pits of decomposing human waste, mere meters from the riverbank. It is possible that the two occurrences are merely coincidental. It seems a bit of a stretch - cholera not being seen in Haiti for at least two hundred years, the genetic typing narrowing the current strain to a South Asian strain, outbreaks this summer in Nepal, that humans can carry cholera in their guts and pass it into their excrement even if they didn't get sick... Is the possibility that this might be true so inconceivable that it warrants this outpouring of disdain for the Haitians protesting it? Is this an automatic writing-off of protesters? Why? Why is this so hard to believe? If Haitians were white, would people believe them?