“I saw on the Internet that Haiti is without a government. To help out, I am donating one Obama, one Pelosi, one Reid, one Frank and two Clintons. They may keep them permanently!”
Not only is it way, way to soon (forever, in fact, is too soon) to make jokes about Haiti, it’s also factually incorrect: Haiti is still Haiti; the country is not up for grabs.
Despite what a group of do-gooder Americans may think.
That’s the message Haitian officials, who recently jailed 10 American citizens for trafficking children after a church group from Idaho tried to cross into the Dominican Republic with 33 children, are trying to get across. “If people want to help children of Haiti,” Marie-Laurence Jocelin Lassègue, a government spokeswoman, told the New York Times in an interview, “This is not the way to do it.”
Eastside Baptist’s itinerary for their January 23rd Haiti Orphan Rescue Mission couldn’t have been more clear:
“Drive bus from Santo Domingo into Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and gather 100 orphans from the streets and collapsed orphanages, then return to the D.R.”
Never mind that many of those kids are not, in fact, orphans. Or that Haiti had already put a temporary halt to any new adoptions. Or that finding a solution to children in crisis should soundn’t like a plan for re-homing a litter of puppies.
Though the Americans claim their hearts were in the right place, their actions were misguided. Chief of the National Judicial Police, Frantz Thermilus, told the Times: “What surprises me is that these people would never do something like this in their own country. We must make clear they cannot do such things in ours.”
Haiti’s road to recovery is fraught with potential complications, but the average person’s role in that recovery is ridiculously simple: Donate money to your favorite aid organization.
That, and remember that just because a nation of people are poor, are down on their luck, and have been through hell doesn’t give us the right to quit recognizing their laws and their authority in their own country, or worse, to steal their children.
What do you think about what these Americans did?
Photo: LucasTheExperience, Flickr
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