Jan 26, 2010

Stop the Insanity

This post is appearing on Facebook statuses, and I'm sure you've seen it yourself as well:

America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost this!!

So I did some research to compare it to other devastating disasters:

2011 September 11th Terrorist Attacks
Death toll: 2976
Donations: $1.4 billion

2004 Asian Tsunami in Indian Ocean

Death toll: 230,000
Donations: $7 billion

2005 Kashmir Earthquake
Death toll: 79,000

2005 Hurricane Katrina
Death toll: 1836
Donations: $1.3 billion (not including $62.3 billion from Congress)
Countries that pledged donations: over 70 (including Cuba and Venezuela who were the first, despite both countries known to be hostile to US government)

2008 Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar
Death toll: 146,000

2008 Sichuan Earthquake
Death toll: 87,400
Donations: $457 million (from 19 countries)

2010 Haiti Earthquake
Death toll: 150,000 (so far, expected to reach 200,000)

Countries that pledged donations:
over 17 so far (Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, France, Guyana, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, UK, US)
Donations: $189.9 million (so far)

My opinion: we should donate to Haiti because they have all the problems that we do in the US (poverty, hunger, homelessness) and became victims to a natural disaster on top of all that. They do not have a government that provides them with Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment, Foodstamps, WIC, or allocations from Congress. These are ongoing problems that every country deals with and will never go away (although we all wish they would, don't we?). But when a country as poor as Haiti is hit with such tragedy on a monumental scale, they need help. And they need it wherever they can get it, from whoever is willing to give it.

Facts about Haiti:
  • Poorest country in the Western Hemisphere
  • Second oldest country in the Western Hemisphere
  • Population: 9.7 million
  • Size: 10,714 sq. miles (about the size of Maryland)
  • 1/3 of newborns are born underweight
  • 1 in 8 children die before age of 5
  • 1 in 5 die before age of 40
  • Life expectancy for women 62, for men 59
  • Adult literacy rate is 56%
  • 76% live on less than $2/day, 56% on less than $1/day
  • Over 80% live in abject poverty
  • The only successful slave revolt in history (Haitian Revolution)
  • Haiti remains a food deficit country, relying heavily on imported food (48% of national consumed food is imported, 47% is produced locally while food assistance fills 5% of the national needs. From: http://www.wfp.org/countries/haiti)
Haiti declared independence in 1804, after being crippled by years of war, its agriculture devastated, its formal commerce nonexistent, and the people uneducated and mostly unskilled. Haiti agreed to make reparations to French slaveholders in 1825 in the amount of 150 million francs (equivalent to $1.1 trillion in today’s dollars, http://historicalnote.com/blog/2010/01/15/haitis-historic-debt-load/), reduced in 1838 to 60 million francs, in exchange for French recognition of its independence and to achieve freedom from French aggression. This indemnity bankrupted the Haitian treasury and mortgaged Haiti's future to the French banks providing the funds for the large first installment, permanently affecting Haiti's ability to be prosperous. Yeah, even to this day. (from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Revolution, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1982.htm and http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/haiti/intro.htm)

The Haitian Revolution (one of the most remarkable events in human history) initiated change that led to the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War - 2 of the most significant events in American History.
The Haitian Revolution defeated Napoleon's goal to re-colonize Haiti which led to the sale of and purchase of Louisiana. This allowed the American colonies to double in size and no longer have the threat of another nation laying claim to their territory.

We are all entitled to our own opinions and freedom of speech. But what is the point of this Facebook status? To stop or prevent donations to Haiti? To feel bad if you donated or watched the telethon? If you don't want to donate or don't want to watch telethons, you don't have to. If you want to donate to domestic issues, then go ahead. Should countries around the globe not help other countries? The US should not help others until it is perfect (this is subjective and therefore impossible, so what's the point of foreign relations and allies and the UN)? Or is it ridiculously simpler than that, like proving you have the "guts" to post that message? Do people do it because they think it's a cool social network thing to do? Are they doing it because one of their friends did? Do they know what it means?

Clearly I don't understand why this Facebook post is circulating (and it bothers me that it is grammatically incorrect). Feel free to enlighten me.

What are your thoughts on this?

1 comment:

  1. Similar post: http://cloudya.tumblr.com/post/353520780/shame-on-you-america-the-only-country-where-we-have