In Haiti, as is always true in the aftermath of a major disaster, in addition to the urgent need for what we traditionally consider the pillars of immediate aid — food, water, shelter, medical care — there are needs that are specific to women, particularly for pregnant women and mothers with new babies and the need to address the added vulnerability to violence that women face when government infrastructures are dysfunctional.
[T]here are an untold number of people who are newly disabled due to the catastrophe and its aftermath. Most of the injuries are open compound fractures, where broken bones have penetrated the skin. These require immediate surgery to re-set the bone and close the wound to prevent infection – which injured patients haven’t been able to get. These people haven’t gotten food and water, much less antibiotics.
The Pursuit of Harpyness: Stop using the word “looting!”
The implication is that Haitians are ungrateful, uncivilized thieves. Right now, this is the top story over there. “Looters roam Haiti streets as aid trickles in.” Is that so? To “loot” is to rob. What constitutes “looting” in an area that has been reduced to rubble? Not waiting in front of a collapsed grocery store for the cashier to return?
Is it appropriate for a very rich corporation to “rent out” sections of the poorest country in this hemisphere? My mother tried to placate me by saying that at least the money is going back to Haiti and that Royal Caribbean is employing Haitians who might not otherwise have decent paying jobs. But this kind of “benevolence” is ridiculous. It is the same “benevolence” Europe used to justify colonialism – Europeans believed they were taming savages and bringing God to their lives. Does this make colonialism benevolent? Absolutely not.
More links after the jump
Feminist Peace Network: The Women of Haiti–Beyond The Immediate
Vs. the Pomegranate: In His Own Words: Pat Robertson on Haiti (And Almost Everybody Else)
Régine Chassagne via The Guardian: I let out a cry, as if I’d heard everybody I loved had died
The Angry Black Woman: Why is American tv coverage of the Haitian disaster driving me to drink?
Reclusive Leftist: We need to evacuate Haiti
Our Bodies Our Blog: Responding to the Needs of Women and Girls in Haiti