Bias in the Press
By Anonymous on Sunday, February 4, 2007.
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Today, Google Alerts sent me an article published by Workers World entitled "UN Occupation of Haiti Intensifies". Usually, I would not open such an email, because who is Workers World? But the headline grabbed me, two words inparticular: occupation intensifies.
I am dumbfounded by that statement as the UN stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has had no recent deployment of troops; instead, it continues to be undermanned with only 7400 troops and 1600 or so civilian police in a COUNTRY of more than 8 million. The Haitian Police (PNH) has had staggering job loss for many reasons, not least of all the UN vetting process.
I am tempted to debunk each paragraph as they are written, but I will spare the world the bulk of my rant. I will point out Workers World has no room to comment, so I am forced to do it here at Haiti Innovation. Talk about transparency.
I will also point out that in this article there is no mention of the atrocities being carried out by the drug traffickers and gangs. It shifts near complete blame of the countless kidnappings, rapes, tortures, and murders on the PNH, UN, and people other than the gangs responsible.
The word kidnapping, for example, is mentioned 4 times; once in reference to former-President Aristide (who, by the way, is being investigated for ties to drug trafficking, misappropriating government coffers to his private charities, and extorting money from IDT, a US based international telecommunications provider); twice, as if an ephemeral phenomenon not directly responsible to anyone, and lastly in an accusatory manner seemingly implicating the PNH. But where is the data? I ask: how many kidnapped victims have been found dead or tortured? How many rescued, by whom and from what neighborhood?
I am most incensed by the suggestion that the UN is “just a thin cover for the role of the United States, France and Canada”. Foremost, the US has given Haiti nearly $2 billion in aid and transfers since 1990. Yet, what is there to show for it? Moreover, Pres. Prèval has explicitly requested that the UN presence in Haiti be one for the long haul.
It is an article such as this, that is divisive and manipulative of peoples’ emotions towards Haiti (surely I’m frustrated by it, to say the least) that does the worst kind of damage. It undermines the earnest efforts of donor nations and the Haitian government, and depreciates the lives of the civilians, PNH, and UN officers who have died in this struggle. It lends to greater partisanship and detracts from compromise, which is what Haiti needs most.
I am keenly interested in drawing out this discussion. If you’ve got questions, comments, concerns, let’s post them and make them public. One sided op-ed pieces that do not engage in discussion must be a thing of the past. Workers World, I would love to make this a dialogue. I look forward to hearing your remarks.
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