Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dispatches from the End of the World

The President of Haiti, René Préval, is homeless. Despite our own meltdown, we are a nation in which our President can afford to spend $4000 a day on a Hawaiian retreat and unfaithful senators pay a mere $600 a month to live in a cushy room on C Street during their extramarital dalliances.

It's impossible to adequately appreciate what happened in Haiti last Tuesday evening because we can't imagine such a depth and all-pervasiveness of poverty that, for these people, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, is not merely an everyday fact of life but part of their very culture and history.

I can only reiterate facts that are filtering in from the Caribbean: Anybody and everybody native to Haiti, save for ordinary citizens using just their bare hands, is completely incapable of helping. In the photos that you see, there are no police, no firefighters, no paramedics, no UN peacekeeping forces, nothing. That is because the UN HQ in Port-au-Prince was completely flattened. The UN death toll stood at 17 as of last night, but 150 are missing and the head of the UN in Haiti guarantees the death toll will be much higher.

The police are paralyzed, as is any other first responder. The government had collapsed with its buildings. Churches have been destroyed or damaged. In order to find the victims under the rubble, rescue workers have to follow the flies. There are many, many hot spots in the world that also deserve our help. There's crushing poverty and oppression in Darfur, Myanmar. Yet right now, even they have to take a back seat to Haiti since their need is so immediate.

Yet people like Rush Limbaugh have the nerve to criticize our President for doing his duty to humanity by coordinating a rapid response. Limbaugh is saying that we shouldn't help these people because he and we gave at the office. Our income taxes will cover the response so fuck Haiti. Let's get back to attacking the president. We throw money at the problem, they'll grow dependent on our help. These are black people, after all, ergo we're talking about 3,000,000 potential welfare queens.

But I say we're better than this. The right wing had no problem accepting the help of half the nations on earth in our direst hour of need on September 11th. They had no problem rallying around a president who sat paralyzed on a chair for seven minutes after hearing about the 2nd jet then disappearing like a coward for a whole day. He could have broadcast reassurances to us on national television from Air Force One. But he didn't.

Anything and everything to the endlessly, bottomlessly despicable right wing is a partisan issue.

But every dollar you send, any supplies you donate to be airlifted to Haiti, is a way of telling hateful bigots like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson to shut the fuck up. What's below is an expanded version of the list of aid agencies that I'd posted yesterday:

Doctors Without Borders needs help not just for the Haitians but themselves. Their own buildings have been devastated by the earthquake. makes it wicked easy to donate $5. Just text "Yele" to 501501. This is done through Wyclef Jean's organization Yele Haiti so I know it's legit.

Partners in Health (PIH) is also looking for help, as is Mercy Corps. Their toll-free number is 1-888-256-1900.

You can also donate to DirectRelief online through this secure server.

Oxfam America also provides a secured server if you wish to donate to them.

International Medical Corps is also putting together a response effort to help the victims.

Here's the link to Save the Children's website.

This is the official Facebook page for the relief efforts.

Google has set up a crisis response page where you can donate.

UNICEF is also looking for help.

The Registered Nurses Response Network (or RNRN), is looking for both nurse volunteers to go to Haiti and for donations. RNRN's hotline # is (800) 578-8225.

Peter Rothberg of The Nation offers a wealth of other links to charitable organizations in this article. For up-to-date news, you can follow Mr. Rothberg's Twitter account here.

AmeriCares is another legitimate organization that has joined the international relief effort.

MSNBC has put up a massive page linking other charity organizations (all with phone numbers) in the United States that have committed themselves to helping Haiti.


At January 14, 2010 at 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck Haiti ok? Let that entire country perish forever along with it's people. Good riddance!

At January 14, 2010 at 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JR,when will you be leaving for Haiti to assist in the rescue operations?

If you're not going,how much have you given to help?

At January 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you two anonymous assholes shut up.

At January 14, 2010 at 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does the truth always piss off the pinkos?

At January 14, 2010 at 9:47 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Hey anonymous's because Joe Schmoe trying to get down there is just going to get in the way. The best way to help right now is to send money to organizations whose staffs are TRAINED TO DO EXACTLY WHAT IS NEEDED DOWN THERE. It accomplishes nothing for ordinary citizens to shlep down there, it's just more people walking around looking for orders. And if you had half a brain you'd know that. So go back and listen to Rush tell you that he, with his $400 million contract that bankrupting ClearChannel, has given enough. He'll make you feel better, I promise.

At January 15, 2010 at 3:38 AM, Blogger Beau said...

Nice show of compassion anon assholes. Everyone wants to be a Pat Robertson.

What's your contribution to your fellow man or are you another Rush, pissed because you have to find a different island to enjoy your sex vacation this year.

At January 15, 2010 at 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The billions that have been sent there the past 15 years sure has been money well spent.

If I want a sex vacation I just go see your wife while you arent home

At January 15, 2010 at 10:37 PM, Anonymous watchdog said...

A bunch of pathetic anon trolls come here to spout the usual hate-filled shit they probably got from Limbaugh and Beck. That suggests to me that the commentors are just like their leaders....fucking loudmouthed cowards whining about things they dont understand.
And no doubt like Limbaugh and Beck I seriously doubt you dittiots have ever done a single thing for your country or even to help out those less fortunate than you. You're selfish assholes lead by selfish pricks and thats all you parasites will ever be.

At January 16, 2010 at 6:06 PM, Blogger Beau said...

If I want a sex vacation I just go see your wife while you arent home

Same as Rush huh? Why am I not surprised.

My 'wife'is my husband who'd fuck up your ass pretty quickly. I'll take the pictures for JP to post.

At January 16, 2010 at 8:59 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

And I'd do it, too.

At January 17, 2010 at 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Israeli search and rescue team at work.

At January 17, 2010 at 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A child is born in Haiti.


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