[permaculture] Fwd: Permaculture TV - Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with Steve Cran

Evan Schoepke thejulianeffect at gmail.com
Mon Feb 1 19:18:38 EST 2010

That's a really great question Nick I'm going to look into it!

          E v a n   S c h o e p k e

                                  Principal: Gaia Punk Designs

                                               Olympia WA

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On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 4:15 PM, Permaculture Cooperative <
permaculturecoop at gmail.com> wrote:

> it seems to me that Steve Cran could me a model for many x-military
> veterans, instead of becoming Blackwater mercenaries or joining the
> corporate workforce, they could become extreme permaculture agents.
> its also, something that the US military in Haiti and elsewhere should be
> looking at. What kind of sustainability model do they want?
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Permaculture.TV free video cooperative <permaculturecoop at gmail.com>
> Date: Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 5:09 AM
> Subject: Permaculture TV - Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with
> Steve Cran
> To: permaculturecoop at gmail.com
>   Permaculture TV - Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with Steve
> Cran <http://permaculture.tv>
>  <
> http://fusion.google.com/add?source=atgs&feedurl=http://feeds.feedburner.com/permaculture/EHmn
> >
> ------------------------------
> Warrior permaculture - Extreme Permaculture with Steve
> Cran<
> http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/permaculture/EHmn/~3/j9WS1HiMmGw/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
> >
> Posted: 01 Feb 2010 12:53 AM PST
> *Hello again from Northern Uganda <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda>. A
> lot has happened since my last blog and its hard to believe its been just
> over a week. *
> [image: steve-field-maps-600]
> Im driving the ute at speed through the bush. There’s 4 of us in the cab.
> Its getting dark and we’re late. We should have been in camp hours ago. We
> were delayed by a series of comical events but now it’s not so funny. *The
> guys with me start telling local horror stories. “If the warriors catch you
> you will surely perish” one guy says. The other guy adds *” This is the
> area
> they operate.” I press harder on the accelerator! We make it home without
> incident.
> *
> It’s easy to get complacent about security because the people seem so
> friendly and always give me a wave. *
> The Karamojong <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karamojong> have a fearsome
> reputation. They are cattle people.
> [image: tank-600]
> They love cattle because it is a symbol of wealth, prestige and they *cant
> get a wife unless they have at least 200 head.* A “Kjong” as they’re
> nicknamed can give a description of a particular cow to another Kjong who
> can walk 100 kilometers and pick that exact cow out of a herd of a few
> thousand.
> They live and breath cattle. Each Kjong male has a cow whacking stick and a
> small wooden seat which he carries everywhere. The guys and the girls have
> the same haircut and both wear a king of striped robe. The women wear a
> neck
> full of colored beads and the guys wear a colorful top hat and earrings,
> sometimes with colored feathers.
> [image: uganda-scene-600]
> *The youth are bored. They stand for hours watching their cattle, or
> somebody else’s cattle*. Their life is worth nothing until they have
> cattle.
> Where do you get cattle from if you want a wife? You get an AK47 and go on
> an organized raid and steel them from “the enemy”. There’s nothing to lose
> except a dull life. They even take on the army, a thousand young warriors
> itching to get free cattle.
> *One of my roles here is to come up with a solution to the “warriors”.*
> [image: hut-600]
> I go to a Manyatta, a stick fort surrounding a few huts. This is were the
> women live permanently while the warriors roam the land looking for fodder
> and water with their prize cattle.
> They’ve built the manyattas <http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/manyatta> for
> defense high on the slope of the valley but away from water. The land is
> drying up from over grazing, charcoal making, fence building and drying
> winds. The soil is starting to blow away. *The women have to carry water a
> kilometer from the hand pump in the valley*. I crawl through the entrance
> on
> my hands and knees. No fat people allowed! they wouldn’t fit.
> [image: crawl-hole-600]
> There’s a narrow hallway of sticks and another crawl hole. Very clever for
> defence. Any intruder would be very vulnerable to attack. I make it through
> the maze to the cooking hut. I swallow hard. *These people are starving*.
> This place reeks of extreme poverty. There’s no maize in the granary. The
> kids are slow and have distended bellies (worms).
> An old woman is sitting on a dirty cow hide. I shake her rough hand. Her
> skin is dusty and looks like leather. I smell rotting flesh. On a stick
> rack
> next to me are *2 giant bush rats *, each the size of a corgi. They have
> been gutted and are covered in blue assed flies. They have been dead a
> while.
> My translator Catherine wrinkles her nose and I point to the carcasses.
> *“You
> hungry?” I ask*. She moves away rapidly. We get the hell out of there and
> make our way to the vehicle down in the valley. How can I help these
> people?
> Their village is too far from water. They want to grow food but they can
> barely carry the water they need for survival.
> The bore pump in the valley has a strong hand pump sticking out of a cement
> circle. The girls place the gerry can under the spout and jump up and down
> holding the handle. *A group of thirsty cows jostle each other to get at
> the
> flow*. One cows tounge snakes out and slurps at the water going into the
> gerry. Slap! A girl whacks the cow on the face. It doesnt care. There’s a
> puddle below the cement ring with cow shit, flies and mud all squashed up
> into a foul soup.
> *
> I see a design in my head.* Animal trough at the outflow. Steel pickets
> with
> barbed wire surrounding a community vegetable garden with a lockable steel
> gate. I see the outflow from the trough running into the garden and fruit
> trees with heavy duty guards planted around the garden. OK I’ll try that.
> Saves the women from carrying more water.
> Im in Moroto <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moroto_Town>. It has paved
> roads!
> Ugandas third highest mountain looms over the dusty town. I see a prison.
> My
> driver says there is a farm in there. “Can we go in?” I ask. I thinking of
> a
> story I read about Idi Amin’s <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idi_Amin>
> prison
> system where *inmates were given sledgehammers to execute each other*. The
> driver nods and we turn in.
> A guard is sitting under a tree. Lazily he puts the barrel of his rifle in
> the dirt and pushes himself to his feet. He calls over a tall guy who takes
> us on a tour. The prisoners are dressed in yellow shorts and tee shirts.
> They look like a soccer team.
> Their gardens are pathetic. Only four varieties of hybrids. The same story
> everywhere. No diversity. I see these squalid huts and feel sorry for the
> prisoners. “that’s where the wardens live” says my guide. Oh dear! *I meet
> the head warden. I tell him what I want*.
> *I want to improve their gardens in exchange for them becoming a seed bank.
> He agrees. *
> Most of the 90 men prisoners and Kjong warriors caught in the field. *I
> want
> to work with them so I can understand their culture*. I cant find them in
> the bush and its too dangerous to look. Here they are a captive audience.
> I can train them and expand the non-hybrid open polinated seeds I am
> collecting. *The prisoners can make a business of it. *The warden is
> overjoyed. He takes me to meet the governor who gives me the thumbs up.
> I’ve always wanted to make a *permaculture prison* and now its in my lap.
> The inmates smile and laugh when my translator “Ram” (short for Ramadan)
> tells them what the Mazoonga will do.
> Im driving all over Karamoja <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karamoja>
> looking
> for strategies that are working so I can put them in the manual I’m
> writing.
> Sometimes I have a military escort which is a ute with 4 armed soldiers
> hanging off the back. I’m slowly coming up with a plan.
> *These cattle are killing this place. I hear of a farm where ex-warriors
> are
> growing casava and loving it. I’m headed there next week.*
> [image: seeds-600]
> *My garden at the compound is growing.* An 11 year old boy “Achilla” who I
> call Atilla waters it for me. He’s going to be a doctor when he grows up.
> This place is growing on me.
> Source: Steve Cran, Uganda
> View Larger Map<
> http://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=northern+Uganda&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=&hnear=Northern+Region,+Uganda&t=h&ll=2.877208,32.717285&spn=5.48415,6.580811&z=7&iwloc=A&source=embed
> >
> Guns or Food? Sustainability vs Sustainment in
> Haiti<
> http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/permaculture/EHmn/~3/hcZFQcwnEso/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email
> >
> Posted: 31 Jan 2010 03:53 PM PST
> *“They (the Haitians) are astonishing people. How can they be so calm in
> the
> face of such enormous loss of life and loved ones, and all the physical
> damage?”* *Bill Clinton*
> [image: clinton-crowd]
> “Actually,” Clinton told Frei, “when you think about people who have lost
> everything except what they’re carrying on their backs, who not only
> haven’t
> eaten but probably haven’t slept in four days, and when the sun goes down
> it’s totally dark and they spend all night long tripping over bodies living
> and dead, well, I think they’ve behaved quite well [...].
>  *Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)*
> The Sustainment Command is a United States Army Logistics Headquarters. The
> Sustainment Command’s primary mission is to command the Sustainment
> Brigades
> that provide combat support and combat service support in the areas of
> supply, maintenance, transportation, field services and the functional
> brigades or battalions that provide medical, general engineering &
> construction, smoke generation, biological detection and decontamination
> support. The Command is designed to deploy into a theater of operations,
> assume command of the logistical units in place and provide oversight and
> materiel management.
> Source: Wikipedia<
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainment_Command_(Expeditionary)>
> *Securing Disaster in Haiti*
> Nine days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12,
> 2010, it’s now clear that the initial phase of the U.S.-led relief
> operation
> has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more
> general course of the island’s recent history.
>   1. It has adopted military priorities and strategies.
>   2. It has sidelined Haiti’s own leaders and government, and ignored the
>   needs of the majority of its people.
>   3. And it has proceeded in ways that reinforce the already harrowing gap
>   between rich and poor.
>  *All three tendencies aren’t just connected, they are mutually
> reinforcing.
> These same tendencies will continue to govern the imminent reconstruction
> effort as well, unless determined political action is taken to counteract
> them.*
> I
> Haiti is not only one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also one
> of the most polarized and unequal in its disparities in wealth and access
> to
> political power.1 A small clique of rich and well-connected families
> continues to dominate the country and its economy while more than half the
> population, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), survives on
> a household income of around 44 U.S. pennies per day.2
> Mass destitution has grown far more severe in recent decades. Starting in
> the 1970s, internationally imposed neo-liberal “adjustments” and austerity
> measures finally succeeded in doing what no Haitian government had managed
> to do since winning independence in 1804: in order to set the country on
> the
> road toward “economic development,” they have driven large numbers of small
> farmers off their land and into densely crowded urban slums. A small
> minority of these internal refugees may be lucky enough to find sweatshop
> jobs that pay the lowest wages in the region. These wages currently average
> $2 or $3 a day; in real terms they are worth less than a quarter of their
> 1980 value.
> Haiti’s tiny elite owes its privileges to exclusion, exploitation, and
> violence, and it is only violence that allows it to retain them. For much
> of
> the last century, Haiti’s military and paramilitary forces (with
> substantial
> amounts of U.S. support) were able to preserve these privileges on their
> own. Over the course of the 1980s, however, it started to look as if local
> military repression might no longer be up to the job. A massive and
> courageous popular mobilization (known as Lavalas) culminated in 1990 with
> the landslide election of the liberation theologian Jean-Bertrand Aristide
> as president. Large numbers of ordinary people began to participate in the
> political system for the first time, and as political scientist Robert
> Fatton remembers, “Panic seized the dominant class. It dreaded living in
> close proximity to la populace and barricaded itself against Lavalas.”3
> Nine months later, the army dealt with this popular threat in the
> time-honored way—with a coup d’etat. Over the next three years, around
> 4,000
> Aristide supporters were killed.
> However, when the U.S. government eventually allowed Aristide to return in
> October 1994, he took a surprising and unprecedented step: he abolished the
> army that had deposed him. As human rights lawyer Brian Concannon (director
> of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti) observed a few years
> later, “It is impossible to overestimate the impact of this accomplishment.
> It has been called the greatest human rights development in Haiti since
> emancipation, and is wildly popular.”4 In 2000, the Haitian electorate gave
> Aristide a second overwhelming mandate when his party (Fanmi Lavalas) won
> more than 90% of the seats in parliament.
> II
> More than anything else, what has happened in Haiti since 1990 should be
> understood as the progressive clarification of this basic
> dichotomy—democracy or the army. Unadulterated democracy might one day
> allow
> the interests of the numerical majority to prevail, and thereby challenge
> the privileges of the elite. In 2000, such a challenge became a genuine
> possibility: the overwhelming victory of Fanmi Lavalas, at all levels of
> government, raised the prospect of genuine political change in a context in
> which there was no obvious extra-political mechanism—no army—to prevent it.
> In order to avoid this outcome, the main strategy of Haiti’s little ruling
> class has been to redefine political questions in terms of “stability” and
> “security,” and in particular the security of property and investments.
> Mere
> numbers may well win an election or sustain a popular movement but as
> everyone knows, only an army is equipped to deal with insecurity. The
> well-armed “friend of Haiti” that is the United States knows this better
> than anyone.
> As soon as Aristide was re-elected, a systematic international campaign to
> bankrupt and destabilize his second government set the stage for a
> paramilitary insurrection and another coup d’etat. In 2004, thousands of
> U.S. troops again invaded Haiti (as they first did back in 1915) to
> “restore
> stability and security” to their “troubled island neighbor.” An expensive
> and long-term UN stabilization mission, staffed by 9,000 heavily armed
> troops, soon took over the job of helping to pacify the population and
> criminalize the resistance. By the end of 2006, thousands more Aristide
> supporters had been killed.
> Over the course of 2009, a suitably stabilized Haitian government agreed to
> persevere with the privatization of the country’s remaining public assets,5
> veto a proposal to increase minimum wages to $5 a day, and bar Fanmi
> Lavalas
> (and several other political parties) from participating in the next round
> of legislative elections.
> When it comes to providing stability, today’s UN troops are clearly a big
> improvement over the old national forces. If things get so unstable that
> even the ground begins to shake, however, there’s still nothing that can
> beat the world’s leading provider of security—the U.S. Armed Forces.
> In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake that struck on Jan. 12, 2010,
> it might have seemed hard to counter arguments in favor of allowing the
> U.S.
> military, with its “unrivalled logistical capability,” to take de facto
> control of such a massive relief operation. Weary of bad press in Iraq and
> Afghanistan, U.S. commanders also seemed glad of this unexpected
> opportunity
> to rebrand their armed forces as angels of mercy.
> That was before U.S. commanders actively began—the day after the earthquake
> struck—to divert aid away from the disaster zone.
> As soon as the U.S. Air Force took control of Haitian airspace, on
> Wednesday, Jan. 13, it explicitly prioritized military over humanitarian
> flights. Although most reports from Port-au-Prince emphasized remarkable
> levels of patience and solidarity on the streets, U.S. commanders made
> fears
> of popular unrest and insecurity their number-one concern. Their first
> priority was to avoid what the U.S. Air Force Special Command Public
> Affairs
> spokesman (Ty Foster) called another “Somalia effort”6—presumably, a
> situation in which a humiliated U.S. Army might once again risk losing
> military control of a “humanitarian” mission.
> As many observers predicted, the determination of U.S. commanders to
> forestall this risk by privileging guns and soldiers over doctors and food
> has actually provoked some outbreaks of the very unrest they set out to
> contain. To amass a large number of soldiers and military equipment “on the
> ground,” the U.S. Air Force diverted plane after plane packed with
> emergency
> supplies away from Port-au-Prince. Among many others, World Food Program
> flights were turned away by U.S. commanders on Thursday and Friday, the New
> York Times reported, “so that the United States could land troops and
> equipment, and lift Americans and other foreigners to safety.”7
> Many other aid flights met a similar fate, right through to the end of the
> week. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) alone has so far had to watch at least
> five planeloads of its medical supplies be turned away.8 On Saturday, Jan.
> 16, for instance, “Despite guarantees given by the United Nations and the
> U.S. Defense Department, an MSF cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical
> hospital was blocked from landing in Port-au-Prince and re-routed to
> Samana,
> in Dominican Republic,” delaying its arrival by an additional 24 hours.9
> Late on Monday, Jan. 18, MSF complained that “One of its cargo planes
> carrying 12 tons of medical equipment had been turned away three times from
> Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday,” despite receiving repeated assurances
> they could land. By that stage, one group of MSF doctors in Port-au-Prince
> had been “forced to buy a saw in the market to continue the amputations”
> upon which the lives of their patients depended.10
> While U.S. commanders set about restoring security by assembling a force of
> some 14,000 Marines and soldiers, residents in some less secure parts of
> Port-au-Prince soon started to run out of food and water. On Jan. 20,
> people
> sleeping in one of the largest and most easily accessed of the many
> temporary refugee camps in central Port-au-Prince (in Champs Mars) told
> writer Tim Schwartz, author of the 2008 book Travesty in Haiti, that “no
> relief has arrived; it is all being delivered on other side of town, by the
> U.S. Embassy.”11
> Telesur reporter Reed Lindsay confirmed on Jan. 20—a full eight days after
> the quake—that the impoverished southwestern Port-au-Prince suburb closest
> to the earthquake’s epicenter, Carrefour, still hadn’t received any food,
> aid, or medical help.12
> The BBC’s Mark Doyle found the same thing in an eastern (and less badly
> affected) suburb. “Their houses are destroyed, they have no running water,
> food prices have doubled, and they haven’t seen a single government
> official
> or foreign aid worker since the earthquake struck.” Overall, Doyle
> observed,
> “The international response has been quite pathetic. Some of the aid
> agencies are working very hard, but there are two ways of reporting this
> kind of thing. One is to hang around with the aid agencies and hang around
> with the American spokespeople at the airport, and you’ll hear all sorts of
> stories about what’s happening. Another way is to drive almost at random
> with ordinary people and go and see what’s happening in ordinary places. In
> virtually every area I’ve driven to, ordinary people say that I was the
> first foreigner that they’d met.”13
> It was only a full week after the earthquake that emergency food supplies
> began the slow journey from the heavily guarded airport to 14 “secure
> distribution points” in various parts of the city.14 By that stage, tens of
> thousands of Port-au-Prince residents had finally come to the conclusion
> that no aid would be forthcoming, and began to abandon the capital for
> villages in the countryside.
> On Sunday Jan. 17, Al-Jazeera’s correspondent summarized what many other
> journalists had been saying all week. “Most Haitians have seen little
> humanitarian aid so far. What they have seen is guns, and lots of them.
> Armored personnel carriers cruise the streets and inside the well-guarded
> perimeter [of the airport], the United States has taken control. It looks
> more like the Green Zone in Baghdad than a center for aid distribution.”15
> Later on the same day, the World Food Program’s air logistics officer Jarry
> Emmanuel confirmed that most of the 200 flights going in and out of the
> airport each day were still being reserved for the U.S. military: “… their
> priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed.”16 By Monday, Jan.
> 18, no matter how many U.S. Embassy or military spokesman insisted that “we
> are here to help” rather than invade, governments as diverse as those of
> France and Venezuela had begun to accuse the U.S. government of effectively
> “occupying” the country.17
> IV
> The U.S. decision to privilege military over humanitarian traffic at the
> airport sealed the fate of many thousands of people abandoned in the rubble
> of lower Port-au-Prince and Léogane. In countries all over the world,
> search
> and rescue teams were ready to leave for Haiti within 12 hours of the
> disaster. Only a few were able to arrive without fatal delays, mainly
> teams—like those from Venezuela, Iceland, and China—that managed to land
> while Haitian staff still retained control of their airport. Some
> subsequent
> arrivals, including a team from the UK, were prevented from landing with
> their heavy lending equipment. Others, like Canada’s several Heavy Urban
> Search Rescue Teams, were immediately readied but never sent; the teams
> were
> told to stand down, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon
> eventually explained, because “the government had opted to send Canadian
> Armed Forces instead.”18
> USAID announced on Jan. 19 that international search and rescue teams, over
> the course of the first week after the disaster, had managed to save a
> grand
> total of 70 people.19 The majority of these people were rescued in specific
> locations and circumstances. “Search-and-rescue operations,” observed the
> Washington Post on Jan. 18, “have been intensely focused on buildings with
> international aid workers, such as the crushed UN headquarters, and on
> large
> hotels with international clientele.”20
> Tim Schwartz spent much of the first post-quake week as a translator with
> rescue workers, and was struck by the fact that most of their work was
> confined to certain places—the UN’s Hotel Christophe, the Montana Hotel,
> the
> Caribe supermarket—that were not only frequented by foreigners but that
> could be snugly enclosed within “secure perimeters.” Elsewhere, he
> observed,
> UN “peacekeepers” seemed intent on convincing rescue workers to treat
> onlooking crowds as a source of potential danger, rather than assistance.21
> Until the residents of devastated places like Léogane and Carrefour are
> somehow able to reassure foreign troops that they can feel “secure” when
> visiting their neighborhoods, UN and U.S. commanders clearly prefer to let
> them die on their own.
> Exactly the same logic has condemned yet more people to death in and around
> Port-au-Prince’s hospitals. In one of the most illuminating reports yet
> filed from the city, on Jan. 20 Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman spoke with Dr.
> Evan Lyon of Partners in Health/Zamni Lasante from the General Hospital—the
> most important medical center in the country.
> Lyon acknowledged there was a need for “crowd control, so that the patients
> are not kept from having access,” but insisted that “there’s no insecurity
> [...]. I don’t know if you guys were out late last night, but you can hear
> a
> pin drop in this city. It’s a peaceful place. There is no war. There is no
> crisis except the suffering that’s ongoing [...]. The first thing that
> [your] listeners need to understand is that there is no insecurity here.
> There has not been, and I expect there will not be.”
> On the contrary, Lyon explained, “This question of security and the rumors
> of security and the racism behind the idea of security has been our major
> block to getting aid in. The U.S. military has promised us for several days
> to bring in machinery, but they’ve been listening to this idea that things
> are insecure, and so we don’t have supplies.”
> As of Jan. 20, the hospital still hadn’t received the supplies and
> medicines
> needed to treat many hundreds of dying patients.
> “In terms of aid relief the response has been incredibly slow. There are
> teams of surgeons that have been sent to places that were, quote, ‘more
> secure,’ that have 10 or 20 doctors and 10 patients. We have a thousand
> people on this campus who are triaged and ready for surgery, but we only
> have four working operating rooms, without anesthesia and without pain
> medications.”22
> In post-quake Haiti it seems that anyone or anything that cannot be
> enclosed
> in a “secure perimeter” isn’t worth saving.
> In their occasional forays outside such perimeters, meanwhile, some Western
> journalists seemed able to find plenty of reasons for retreating behind
> them. Lurid stories of looting and gangs soon began to lend “security
> experts” like the London-based Stuart Page23 an aura of apparent authority,
> when he explained to the BBC’s gullible “security correspondent” Frank
> Gardner that “all the security gains made in Haiti in the last few years
> could now be reversed [...]. The criminal gangs, totaling some 3,000, are
> going to exploit the current humanitarian crisis, to the maximum degree.”24
> Another seasoned BBC correspondent, Matt Frei, had a similar story to tell
> on Jan. 18, when he found a few scavengers sifting through the remains of a
> central shopping district. “Looting is now the only industry here. Anything
> will do as a weapon. Everything is now run by rival armed groups of thugs.”
> If Haiti is to avoid anarchy, Frei concluded, “What may be needed is a full
> scale military occupation.”25
> Not even former U.S. President (and former Haiti occupier) Bill Clinton was
> prepared to go that far. “Actually,” Clinton told Frei, “when you think
> about people who have lost everything except what they’re carrying on their
> backs, who not only haven’t eaten but probably haven’t slept in four days,
> and when the sun goes down it’s totally dark and they spend all night long
> tripping over bodies living and dead, well, I think they’ve behaved quite
> well [...]. They are astonishing people. How can they be so calm in the
> face
> of such enormous loss of life and loved ones, and all the physical
> damage?”26
> Reporters able to tell the difference between occasional and highly
> localized incidents of foraging, and a full-scale “descent into anarchy”
> made much the same point all week, as did dozens of indignant Haitian
> correspondents. On Jan. 17, for instance, Ciné Institute Director David
> Belle tried to counter international misrepresentation. “I have been told
> that much U.S. media coverage paints Haiti as a tinderbox ready to explode.
> I’m told that lead stories in major media are of looting, violence, and
> chaos. There could be nothing further from the truth. I have travelled the
> entire city daily since my arrival. The extent of the damage is absolutely
> staggering [but...] NOT ONCE have we witnessed a single act of aggression
> or
> violence [...]. A crippled city of two million awaits help, medicine, food,
> and water. Most haven’t received any. Haiti can be proud of its survivors.
> Their dignity and decency in the face of this tragedy is itself
> staggering.”27
> But it seems that to some, dignity and decency are no substitute for
> security. No amount of weapons will ever suffice to reassure those
> “fortunate few,” whose fortunes isolate them from the people they exploit.
> As far as the vast majority of people are concerned, “security is not the
> issue,” explains Haiti Liberté’s Kim Ives.
> “We see throughout Haiti the population organizing themselves into popular
> committees to clean up, to pull out the bodies from the rubble, to build
> refugee camps, to set up their security for the refugee camps. This is a
> population that is self-sufficient, and it has been self-sufficient for
> many
> years.”28
> While the people who have lost what little they had have done their best to
> cope and regroup, the soldiers sent to “restore order” treat them as
> potential combatants. “It’s just the same way they reacted after Katrina,”
> concludes Ives. “The victims are what’s scary. They’re black people who,
> you
> know, had the only successful slave revolution in history. What could be
> more threatening?”
> “According to everyone I spoke with in the center of the city,” wrote
> Schwarz on Jan. 21, “the violence and gang stuff is pure BS.”
> The relentless obsession with security, agrees Andy Kershaw, is clear proof
> of the fact that most foreign soldiers and NGO workers “haven’t a clue
> about
> the country and its people.”29 True to form, within hours of the earthquake
> most of the panicked staff in the U.S. Embassy had already been evacuated,
> and at least one prominent foreign contractor in the garment sector (the
> Canadian firm Gildan Activewear) announced that it would be shifting
> production to alternative sewing facilities in neighboring countries.30
> The price to be paid for such priorities will not be evenly distributed. Up
> in the higher, wealthier, and mostly undamaged parts of Pétionville
> everyone
> already knows that it’s the local residents “who through their government
> connections, trading companies, and interconnected family businesses” will
> once again pocket the lion’s share of international aid and reconstruction
> money.31
> To help keep less well-connected families where they belong, the U.S.
> Department of Homeland Security has taken “unprecedented” emergency
> measures
> to secure the homeland this past week. Operation “Vigilant Sentry” will
> make
> use of the large naval flotilla the U.S. government has assembled around
> Port-au-Prince.
> “As well as providing emergency supplies and medical aid,” notes The Daily
> Telegraph, “the USS Carl Vinson, along with a ring of other Navy and Coast
> Guard vessels, is acting as a deterrent to Haitians who might be driven to
> make the 681-mile sea crossing to Miami.”
> While Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade offered “voluntary repatriation to
> any Haitian that wants to return to [the land of] their origin,” American
> officials confirmed that they would continue to apply their long-standing
> (and illegal) policy with respect to all Haitian refugees and asylum
> seekers—to intercept and repatriate them automatically, regardless of the
> circumstances.32
> Ever since the quake struck, the U.S. Air Force has taken the additional
> precaution of flying a radio-transmitting cargo plane for five hours a day
> over large parts of the country, so as to broadcast a recorded message from
> Haiti’s ambassador in Washington. “Don’t rush on boats to leave the
> country,” the message says. “If you think you will reach the United States
> and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case.
> They
> will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came
> from.”
> Not even life-threatening injuries are enough to entitle Haitians to a
> welcome in the United States. When the dean of medicine at the University
> of
> Miami arrived to help set up a field hospital by the airport in
> Port-au-Prince, he was outraged to find that most seriously injured people
> in the city were being denied visas to be transferred to Florida for
> surgery
> and treatment. As of Jan. 19, the State Department had authorized a total
> of
> 23 exceptions to its restrictive immigrant and refugee policies.
> “It’s beyond insane,” O’Neill complained. “It’s bureaucracy at its
> worst.”33
> V
> This is the fourth time the United States has invaded Haiti since 1915.
> Although each invasion has taken a different form and responded to a
> different pretext, all four have been expressly designed to restore
> “stability” and “security” to the island. In the wake of the earthquake,
> thousands more foreign security personnel are already on their way, to
> guard
> the teams of foreign reconstruction and privatization consultants who in
> the
> coming months are likely to usurp what remains of Haitian sovereignty.
> Perhaps some of these guards and consultants will help their elite clients
> achieve another long-cherished dream: the restoration of the Haitian Army.
> And perhaps then, for a short while at least, the inexhaustible source of
> “instability” in Haiti—the ever-nagging threat of popular political
> participation and empowerment—may be securely buried in the rubble of its
> history.
>  Peter Hallward is a Canadian political philosopher. He is currently a
> professor of Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University. He is the
> author of Damning the
> Flood<
> http://www.amazon.com/Damming-Flood-Aristide-Politics-Containment/dp/1844671062
> >
> .
> Source: Americas Program <http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6665>
> End Notes
> 1. See Pål Sletten and Willy Egset, Poverty in Haiti (FAFO, 2004), 9.
> 2. IMF, Haiti: Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (November 2006), 7.
> 3. Robert Fatton, Haiti’s Predatory Republic (Boulder: Lynne Rienner
> Publishers, 2002), 86-87, 83.
> 4. Brian Concannon, “Lave Men, Siye Atè: Taking Human Rights Seriously,” in
> Melinda Miles and Eugenia Charles, eds., Let Haiti LIVE: Unjust U.S.
> Policies Toward its Oldest Neighbor (Coconut Creek FL: Educa Vision, 2004),
> 92.
> 5. See for instance Jeb Sprague, “Haiti’s Classquake,” HaitiAnalysis,
> January 19, 2010.
> 6. BBC Radio 4 News, January 16, 2010, 22:00GMT.
> 7. Ginger Thompson and Damien Cave, “Officials Strain to Distribute Aid to
> Haiti as Violence Rises,” New York Times, January 17, 2010.
> 8. “Médecins Sans Frontières says its Plane Turned Away from U.S.-run
> Airport,” Daily Telegraph, January 19, 2010.
> 9. “Doctors Without Borders Cargo Plane with Full Hospital and Staff
> Blocked
> from Landing in Port-au-Prince,” January 18, 2010, .
> 10. “America Sends Paratroopers to Haiti to Help Secure Aid Lines,” The
> Times, January 20, 2010.
> 11. Email from Tim Schwartz, January 20, 2010.
> 12. “No aid [in Carrefour]. In the morning at UN base they said they would
> distribute there, but it didn’t happen” (Reed Lindsay, Honor and Respect
> Foundation Newsletter), January 20, 2010,
> http://www.hrfhaiti.org/earthquake/).
> Cf. Luis Felipe Lopez, “Town at Epicenter of Quake Stays in Isolation,” The
> Miami Herald, January 17, 2010.
> 13. BBC Radio 4, News at Ten, January 18, 2010.
> 14. Ed Pilkington, “We’re Not Here to Fight, U.S. Troops Insist,” The
> Guardian, January 18, 2010.
> 15. “Disputes Emerge over Haiti Aid Control,” Al Jazeera, January 17, 2010.
> 16. Ginger Thompson and Damien Cave, “Officials Strain to Distribute Aid to
> Haiti as Violence Rises,” New York Times, January 17, 2010.
> 17. “Haiti Aid Agencies Warn: Chaotic and Confusing Relief Effort is
> Costing
> Lives,” The Guardian, January 18, 2010, .
> 18. Don Peat, “HUSAR Not up to Task, Feds Say: Search and Rescue Team Told
> to Stand Down,” Toronto Sun, January 17, 2010.
> 19. USAID, http://www.usaid.gov/helphaiti/index.html, accessed on January
> 20, 2010.
> 20. William Booth, “Haiti’s Elite Spared from Much of the Devastation,”
> Washington Post, January 18, 2010.
> 21. Tim Schwarz, phone call with the author, January 18, 2010; cf. Tim
> Schwartz, “Is this Anarchy? Outsiders Believe this Island Nation is a Land
> of Bandits. Blame the NGOs for the ‘Looting,’” NOW Toronto, January 21,
> 2010.
> 22. “With Foreign Aid Still at a Trickle, Devastated Port-au-Prince General
> Hospital Struggles to Meet Overwhelming Need,” Democracy Now! January 20,
> 2010.
> 23. Stuart Page is chairman of Page Group,
> http://www.pagegroupltd.com/aboutus.html.
> 24. Gardner then explained that, with the police weakened by the quake,
> “Thousands of escaped criminals have returned to areas they once
> terrorized,
> like the slum district of Cité Soleil [...]. Unless the armed criminals are
> re-arrested, Haiti’s security problems risk being every bit as bad as they
> were in 2004″ (BBC Radio 4, Six O’clock News, January 18, 2010). In fact,
> when some of these ex-prisoners tried to re-establish themselves in Cité
> Soleil in the week after the quake, local residents promptly chased them
> out
> of the district on their own (see Ed Pilkington and Tom Phillips, “Haiti
> Escaped Prisoners Chased out of Notorious Slum,” The Guardian, January 20,
> 2010; Tom Leonard, “Scenes of Devastation Outside Port-au-Prince ‘Even
> Worse,’” Daily Telegraph, January 21, 2010).
> 25. BBC television, Ten O’clock News, January 18, 2010.
> 26. BBC Radio 4, News at Ten, January 18, 2010. It sounds as if Clinton, in
> his role as UN special envoy to Haiti, may be learning a few things from
> his
> deputy—Zanmi Lasante’s Dr. Paul Farmer.
> 27. David Belle, January 17, 2010.
> 28. “Journalist Kim Ives on How Western Domination Has Undermined Haiti’s
> Ability to Recover from Natural Devastation,” Democracy Now! January 21,
> 2010 . Ives illustrates the way such community organizations work with an
> example from the Delmas 33 neighborhood where he’s staying. “A truckload of
> food came in in the middle of the night unannounced. It could have been a
> melee. The local popular organization was contacted. They immediately
> mobilized their members [...]. They lined up about 600 people who were
> staying on the soccer field behind the [Matthew 25] house, which is also a
> hospital, and they distributed the food in an orderly, equitable fashion.
> They were totally sufficient. They didn’t need Marines. They didn’t need
> the
> UN. [...] These are things that people can do for themselves and are doing
> for themselves.” Kershaw makes the same point: “This self-imposed blockade
> by bureaucracy is a scandal but could be easily overcome. The NGOs and the
> military should recognize 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. Fill up their trucks and cars with free fuel. Any
> further restriction on, and control of, the supply of aid is not only
> patronizing but it is in that control and restriction where any ’security
> issues’ will really lurk. And it is the Haitians who best know where the
> aid
> is needed” (Andy Kershaw, “Stop Treating these People Like Savages,” The
> Independent, January 21, 2010).
> 29. Andy Kershaw, “Stop Treating these People Like Savages,” The
> Independent, January 21, 2010.
> 30. Ross Marowits, “Gildan Shifting T-shirt Production Outside Haiti to
> Ensure Adequate Supply,” The Canadian Press, January 13, 2010.
> 31. William Booth, “Haiti’s Elite Spared from Much of the Devastation,”
> Washington Post, January 18, 2010.
> 32. Bruno Waterfield, “U.S. Ships Blockade Coast to Thwart Exodus to
> America,” Daily Telegraph, January 19, 2010; “Senegal Offers Land to
> Haitians,” BBC News January 17, 2010.
> 33. James C. Mckinley Jr., “Homeless Haitians Told not to Flee to United
> States,” New York Times, January 19, 2010.
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