Disaster in Haiti: Solidarity needed more than ever
Waking up this morning, the news from Haiti is almost too much to take.
The Haitian people have suffered enough throughout their history. Having giving humanity the gift of turning the words liberté, égalité, fraternité into reality with a heroic and successful slave rebellion in the late 18th century, they have been punished, scorned, exploited, and abused ever since.
Most recently, in 2004, their democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown, with the U.S., France and Canada engineering this regime change that has systematically targeted the political expression of the poor majority.
And now this. A devastating earthquake has levelled the capital of Port-au-Prince. Whatever the death toll, and initial reports sound catastrophic, let us never forget that this natural disaster is all the more deadly because of the social, economic and political disaster that has befallen Haiti.
Its causes are to be found not in the heavens but in the halls of power in places like Washington D.C., Paris and, yes, Ottawa.
There are already a number of appeals for emergency donations and aid. I hope that there is a massive and generous response. But I also hope that Haiti is not forgotten, and that people learn about the historical causes of the country's ongoing plight.
I would urge people to visit the Canada Haiti Action Network's Web site, and to look out for events and appeals from local chapters of this grassroots network.