Book Review: The Big Truck Went By - How the World Came to Save Haiti And Left Behind a Disaster

  • Posted on: 20 January 2013
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is a review, from Reason, of Jonathan Katz's book on the shortcomings of the international community's efforts to "save" Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.  While no response to the aftermath earthquake, no matter how well-organized or well-resourced would have been sufficient, he emphasizes that the subsequent reconstruction effort was hobbled by a top-down approach that excluded governmental institution, weak as they may have been, local firms, and community groups.  To read an excerpt or purchase the book, take a look at  Amazon.  

Notes on Poverty Porn

  • Posted on: 18 May 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Today is Haitian Flag Day, a national holiday celebrated around the country by all. This past weekend, while travelling through the country side, I ran into many repetitions and parades with adolescents marching on the streets and stomping out lyrics of national unity. Small paper flags on splintered sticks are carried everywhere and perched in the tautly pulled back hair of young girls and woman alike. Students from all schools come together to march down main roads, and onlookers wave their flags cheerfully. Scouts-- boys, girls and adults-- take the opportunity to don their khaki uniforms and yellow scarves, among others in solid blue and red, the colors of the Haitian flag. The festivities glimmer with the same level of pride from which the country was born. It gives one a good feeling.  

Freedom of the Press in Haiti

  • Posted on: 7 May 2009
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

It takes more than elections to have a healthy democracy.  There are many other important factors, one of which is freedom of the press.  This is something that we often take for granted in the United States.  In countries like Haiti, journalism has historically been a dangerous business, especially when it informs and empowers the poor.  In the lead up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, Freedom House released its 2009 International Press Freedom report, which noted improvements in Haiti.  This is good news indeed.