Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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24

Feb

2019

Haiti’s woes as a parable

Author: Jim Taylor

Rioting in the streets of Haiti makes good video; the reasons for the riots don’t. 

            It’s been 40 years since I was last in Haiti. Recent news reports suggest that no much has changed. Haiti is, and was, a poster child for the effects of poverty and corruption. For at least a century, Haiti has been the poorest country in the western hemisphere. 

           Inspired by the revolutions in America and France, the Haitian slaves revolted -- the first successful slave rebellion anywhere in the world. Haiti became independent in 1804.

            But in one of the recurring ironies of history, Haiti’s black masters proved just as brutal as the French had been. Since independence, Haiti has had 32 coups.

            News reports blame the current riots on corruption in government. That’s too easy an answer. Every Haitian government has been corrupt. The only debate might be over which one was least corrupt.



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16

Oct

2016

Unkind fate stomps on the down and out

Author: Jim Taylor
I have to wonder -- why does fate seem to choose those who are already struggling to suffer through new disasters? I take Haiti as a case in point. It was already the poorest nation in the Americas. The UN calculates that 75 per cent of the people live on less than $2 a day. In 2004, tropical storm Jeanne caused 3,000 deaths in the northern part of the country. The 2010 earthquake left 300,000 dead, with another 1.5 million people internally displaced. International aid sent to help the country rebuild had its own setbacks -- a cholera epidemic unofficially traced to a camp for peacekeepers from Nepal has since killed 9,000 more Haitians. And two weeks ago, Hurricane Matthew scored a direct hit on the western peninsula. With at least another 1000 deaths. And an estimated 20,000 homes destroyed. If it were me, I'd be tempted to wave my fist at the heavens and scream, "Enough, already!"
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Categories: Sharp Edges

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