More sobering news about the earthquake in Haiti this morning, with reflections on what should be done in its aftermath.
Naomi Klein, whose The Shock Doctrine documented the way that aid was highjacked after the tsunami five years ago to privatize water and electricity supplies and to use them for hotel development rather than power and safe water for villagers, has already pointed out the danger of using this disaster as a way to manage the region for ends that may not really help Haiti at all.
In The New York Times, Tracy Kidder, deeply involved in an NGO in the mountains, offers some interesting thoughts too. "The ultimate goal of all aid to Haiti ought to be the strengthening of Haitian institutions, infrastructure and expertise," he writes.
Yes, indeed. One of the tragedies of Haiti is that for at least 45 years the country has suffered an enormous loss of its best and most energetic minds and hearts, as governments supported by the US and powerful internationial interests, made life impossible for them.
Among the Canadian/Haitians killed is Georges Anglade, who came to Quebec in 1969 during the Duvalier era and subsequently became a force here for education reform. A geographer, he helped found the flagship of the Université du Québec, UQAM, where he taught until he retired recently.
How Anglade could have helped change Haiti's education system had he stayed, we'll never know. But it should be noted that he returned during the Aristide years of the 1990s with high hopes of helping out, but after the US forced Aristide to resign, he returned to Canada. His family says that he and his wife, who was also killed, had been in Haiti for a family celebration.