Thursday, September 30, 2010

Haiti ... back in July this friend wanted action!

Dear Colleagues

Back in July a friend copied me on an email about Haiti. She knows of my interest in Haiti.

Readers of this blow known I am appalled ... disgusted ... furious ... at the cavalier attitude that exists towards the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake last January, almost nine months ago.

Within hours of the earthquake I tried to put an "accountability" dimensions into the post-disaster activities of rescue, relief and rebuilding. I was not entirely surprised that none of the big organizations and high profile people showed any interest whatsoever in "doing" accountability, though they have, in some cases, acknowledged conversationally that accountability is important.

My impressions is that talk is all the accountability there is going to be unless we really stand up and insist. There was a little bit of good news. Many small organizations are very much in support of accountability and are completely prepared to be in an accountability mode. Some small organizations are doing amazing work with almost no resources ... in contrast to the big organizations with hundreds of millions of dollars flowing, and not really clear at all how well they are performing. How can there be ... meaningful metrics are missing!

This is the email ... it is worth reading! She is not happy! It was in response to the slow pace of everything in the 6 months to July ... and now we are coming up to 9 months in October.
Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 3:41 PM
subject FW: Bill Clinton as Envoy to Haiti

We met at the State Office Building this past Friday. Here is a communication that I sent to the Black Caucus.

Subject: Remove Bill Clinton as Envoy to Haiti
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 18:56:08 -0400

Greetings all Congressional Black Caucus Members, please ask President Obama to remove Bill Clinton as the Envoy to Haiti.

I plead with you this critical hour six months and one day after the devastating earthquake in our First Independent Nation, Haiti. After watching "Democracy Now" and other Independent News (Non Commercial) account of a 6 month follow-up on the clean up of Haiti, I thought, with the a combination of the humidity and the shock of what I was witnessing on the TV, I thought I would expire.

The Parishes that the Host of Democracy Now visited looks the same as they did the day after the earthquake (Six months ago).

What kind are people are we? That can watch so much misery and we act as if it's normal? Have we become so with complaisant with devastation caused by Nature; because of the devastation we have caused in other parts of the world?

With over Five Billion Dollars that was supposedly collected, none of the Earthquake victims have benefited. One resident said no one had visited his parish with help. Buildings still in rubble bodies still under the buildings, people living in tents with no protection from the sun, rain and disease.

Two weeks ago while the people in Haiti was digging themselves out of the mud, during the rainy season, Bill Clinton was sitting at the World Cup in South Afrika telling Wolff Blitzer of CNN, that President Obama should blow up the BP gas spill.

Sean Penn, "He was among 23 honorees, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton and CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, lauded on the site of the presidential palace in Haiti's capital of Port-Au-Prince on Monday (12Jul10)". (I Googled Sean Penn)

I see the work that Sean Penn is doing, pray tell me what has former President Bill Clinton done accept ware the title, "Envoy" and check on his sweat shops that he has set up in Haiti a few weeks before the earthquake. According to another Actor, activist, that appeared on "Democracy Now earlier", the sweat shop workers are not paid enough to afford transportation to and from work.


Give thanks.
In January and February of this year there was an amazing outpouring of support for Haiti ... and hope that the silver lining to this dark experience would be some new possibilities for the people of Haiti. Coming up on 9 months later, there is a lot of "the same old same old".

It is very difficult to understand the disconnect between some of the very big numbers that have been pledged ... some of the very big numbers associated with money raised ... and the disbursement of these moneys ... and the effectiveness of the expenditures.

Every person I know who has recently visited Haiti has stories that make my blood boil ... some relief workers are doing great things in not very good conditions ... others are doing very little and living very comfortably thank you. Without accounting and accountability this cannot be managed ... there is a need to differentiate between the baby and the bath-water.

At the moment ALL the big institutions need to get their acts together to facilitate accountability ... starting off with the Haitian Government and its advisers, and including the UN operations, the activities being handled by the UN Special Envoys, and the activities of many other bi-lateral actors. At the moment there is really nobody that seems very interested in the welfare of more than 1 million people who are displaced both physically and economically.

I am appalled ... disgusted ... furious! But I am also energized to get a handle on this problem. There is a rapidly growing community that are on the same wave about progress and performance in Haiti and about getting some meaningful metrics in play and using resources to do things that have beneficial impact for people in Haiti.

Peter Burgess

No comments:

Post a Comment