Day: January 14, 2010

Pat Robertson’s “Fallacy” v Historical Record

Televangelist Pat Robertson was telling a young woman on his show, a story about Haitians selling their souls to the devil and what happened to them regarding the latest earthquake disaster as well as previous disasters was merely God’s wrath.  This is Robertson’s story:

Transcript:

And you know Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, uh you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said we will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French. True Story, and so the Devil said OK it’s a deal. And they kicked the French out. You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they’ve been cursed by one thing after the other desperately poor. That island is Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On one side is Haiti on the other side is the Dominican republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc.. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island

Robertson, as usual is blaming the victims of this disaster for their fate because they disobeyed God.  Juan Cole speaks out on Robertson’s “Racist blaming of Haitian victims”.

Dr. Raymond Joseph, Haitian Ambassador to the United States was on  the Rachel Maddow Show  last night.  Dr. Joseph appeared  quite upset about the segment Rachel showed on Robertson’s version of history:

Dr. Joseph’s history lesson was impromptu but needed to be heard and Rachel allowed him to tell her viewers the historical background of Haiti’s revolution from slavery to independence.  In addition, Robertson’s distorted allegorical fantasy was revealed for the hateful metaphor that it is.

To blame the people of Haiti, who by the way, according to the  CIA World Fact Book  is 80% Catholic, for their plight is absurd!  One has to wonder just how long this malicious falsehood  has been out there?  

Historically, here in the United States,  Haitian refugees were refused entry to the United States when seeking asylum from brutal dictatorships while Cubans were allowed entry almost 100% of the time.  This has always been a glaring double standard of our country’s immigration policies against Haitians.

Mother Jones excerpts an article on how the Bush Administration flawed policy toward Haiti undermined democracy in that country.  The magazine quotes Walt Bogdanich and Jenny Nordberg  from their story “Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos.” Here’s their account of the events following Aristede’s 2004 departure:

The Bush administration has said that while Mr. Aristide was deeply flawed, its policy was always to work with him as Haiti’s democratically elected leader. But the administration’s actions in Haiti did not always match its words. Interviews and a review of government documents show that a democracy-building group close to the White House, and financed by American taxpayers, undercut the official United States policy and the ambassador assigned to carry it out.

As a result, the United States spoke with two sometimes contradictory voices in a country where its words carry enormous weight. That mixed message, the former American ambassador said, made efforts to foster political peace “immeasurably more difficult.” Without a political agreement, a weak government was destabilized further, leaving it vulnerable to the rebels.

Mother Jones continues:

While it can be counted on not to engage in these kinds of deadly shenanigans, the Obama administration hasn’t taken much meaingful action on Haiti in the past year. It did pull back on some of the harshest deportation policies of the Bush years, which affected Haitians fleeing their country’s shores. But it has implemented few of the recommendations, for example, put out by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network after Obama’s inauguration, which included canceling debts and increasing trade.

 Juan Cole  has a message to President Obama.  In my opinion it is an excellent modest proposal.