Saturday, 23 January 2010

Well, Andy, Maybe Some Of Them Shouldn’t Take The Opportunity To Behave That Way…

Andy Kershaw in the ‘Indy’ asks that we stop treating Haitians like savages:
There has now solidified a consensus among aid organisations that the relief they are bringing is itself a liability; that distributing what Haitians are dying for – literally – will bring on a second nightmare. So, supplies pile up at the airport because, apparently, the Haitians need to be fed and watered at gunpoint.
Do they?

Well, as an infamous picture earlier in the week showed, yes, they do:


But Andy is the typical armchair general, convinced he can do better.

He does have some good points to make:
The crisis, for more than a week now, has been not about the shortage of donated food, water, fuel and medicines but the distribution of those essentials that are piling up, obscenely, at Port-au-Prince airport. On Monday evening's Channel 4 News, Jon Snow, at that same airport, interviewed the head of Oxfam in Haiti. Snow remarked that he and his team had been to areas around the capital that had not had any NGO visits, never mind material aid. The Oxfam woman spoke authoritatively, but emptily, about how her teams were all over the city conducting "assessments".
Sounds a lot like any local council or major government department to me. All they are missing is the PowerPoint seminars…

Andy, from the comfort of his air-conditioned office in the UK, decries the aid agencies for thinking of their own safety:
The alarmingly unanimous priorities of the spokesmen and women of aid organisations and the military, have been with "issues" (for they love that word) of "security", "procedures", and "logistics" (what we used to call "transport" or "trucks"). These obsessions indicate not only a self-serving and self-important careerist culture among some, though not all, aid workers (although wide experience of the profession in Haiti and across Africa tells me it is more common than donors would like to think), but that the magnitude of the crisis has paralysed them into a gibbering strike force of box-tickers.
And what are you doing to help alleviate the crisis, Andy?

Oh. That’s right. Nothing. Just suggesting that they be left to sort it out themselves…
This self-imposed blockade by bureaucracy is a scandal but could be easily overcome. The NGOs and the military should recognise the hysteria over "security" for what it is and make use of Haiti's best resource and its most efficient distribution network: the Haitians themselves. Stop treating them as children. Or worse. Hand over to them immediately what they need at the airport. They will find the means to collect it.
And if they don’t?

If the strong rise to the top, and the weak go without, as happens in every single disaster known to man where discipline isn’t enforced, what then? Will Andy be screaming from the safety of his newspaper that the West should ‘do something!’ again?

Of course he will…

And I’m struck by the difference in this article (which basically claims that Haitians are pure, noble souls beset by evil circumstance) and all those articles on the film ‘The Road’, which was lauded by many for the way it ‘showed the true reality’ of global warming and how it’d turn us all into ravening cannibals scrambling for survival…

And oh, look what's in the news today...

9 comments:

indigomyth said...

He seems to have a problem with aide workers drawing up a logical and well-thought out system of providing help, and wants to just have them running in willy-nilly. Given that the armed forces provide aide, but do it in a thoroughly ordered manner, and they are generally successful, one would think that it would be obvious that good organisation and "logistics", and even "risk-assessment" (of the military kind, not the health and safety kind), are conducive to helping the most people.

dr cromarty said...

Is that Andy Kershaw of the restraining orders and the multiple convictions on the Isle of Man? I suppose he's particlularly well placed to talk about Haitians' terms of "the amazing self-control of these desperate people".

He could almost be talking about himself. Almost.

Sue said...

They have now raised in excess of $305 million for Haiti.

What are they doing with it? Don´t they have helicopters to drop parcels to the areas that can´t be reached?

It would also be an ideal way to make sure the machete wielding, voodoo savages get what they want without killing anyone (except each other, fighting over the stuff).

Still, I suppose the UK could always offer a couple of million of them homes with benefits! It´s not like we´d notice an increase in diversity!

I´m feeling particularly bitter today. I´m sick of politicians and sick of the righteous! If it were me going in to help, I shoot the bastards with weapons.

Sue said...

BTW. I thought The Road was crap. I much prefer Sherlock Holmes. There´s a very chilling resemblance beween Lord Blackwood and Mandelgit.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

It's easy to understand this sort of drivel. First of all, Haitians are black, and therefore incapable of committing any sin in the eyes of the Independent.

Secondly, the Independent know more about everything than anyone; more about banking than bankers, more about medicine than doctors, more about climate change than anyone sane, and so on.

If we let Indy people rule the world it would be a paradise, and of course earthquakes, and particularly racist earthquakes like this one, would be forbidden.

brickyscum said...

Sue I wholeheartedly agree shoot the fuckers.And The Road is a great book but a mediocre film

JuliaM said...

"...one would think that it would be obvious that good organisation and "logistics", and even "risk-assessment" (of the military kind, not the health and safety kind), are conducive to helping the most people."

Indeed. I'd expect that to be the norm here, should this type of disaster ever happen, let alone a third world country...

"Is that Andy Kershaw of the restraining orders and the multiple convictions on the Isle of Man?"

The ex-DJ? I did think the name was familiar, but I don't think it's the same person. Unfortunately, the 'Indy' doesn't seem to do biogs on its comment articles like 'CiF', so I guess we will never know.

"They have now raised in excess of $305 million for Haiti.

What are they doing with it? "


Good question. I think everyone believes it's as simple as shipping food and water and saying 'Job done!'. But in a country with the sort of infrastructure that can be wiped out completely, that's never a realistic prospect.

"I´m feeling particularly bitter today. "

Having read the news, me too!

JuliaM said...

"If we let Indy people rule the world it would be a paradise..."

Well, it would indeed, if you read the 'Indy'. No bad news would ever get reported!

dr cromarty said...

The ex-DJ? I did think the name was familiar, but I don't think it's the same person.

I think you'll find it is that Andu kershaw. Read the article closely. the references to buying records in Haiti. Do you know anyone else called Andy Kershaw who would travel to a Third World Voodoo Hell Hole to buy records (and then do an op-ed piece in The Indy berating Whitey about his attitude to the Noble Savage/Haitian)