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He issued a proclamation declaring, "we have repaid these cannibals, war for war, crime for crime, outrage for outrage."
[...]
White men were forbidden from possessing property or domain on Haitian soil. Should the French return to reimpose slavery, Article 5 of the constitution declared: "At the first shot of the warning gun, the towns shall be destroyed and the nation will rise in arms."
My linking to Monbiot's take on Avatar lead [livejournal.com profile] loolica to read up History of Haiti. Since her entry on the topic is locked, let me pass on her topical links here:

When the media is the disaster
Great article by Rebecca Solnit about the media's obsession about "looting", which asks the question, What would YOU do? She goes from there and criticizes the media's widespread ethical breakdown in its coverage of the crisis.
Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences.

I'm talking, of course, about those members of the mass media whose misrepresentation of what goes on in disaster often abets and justifies a second wave of disaster. I'm talking about the treatment of sufferers as criminals, both on the ground and in the news, and the endorsement of a shift of resources from rescue to property patrol. They still have blood on their hands from Hurricane Katrina, and they are staining themselves anew in Haiti.
[...]
The great majority of what happens you could call emergency requisitioning. Someone who could be you, someone in the kind of desperate circumstances I outlined above, takes necessary supplies to sustain human life in the absence of any alternative. Not only would I not call that looting, I wouldn't even call that theft.

If you grab that stuff are you a criminal? [...] Should you end up labeled a looter in the international media? Should you be shot down in the street, since the overreaction in disaster, almost any disaster, often includes the imposition of the death penalty without benefit of trial for suspected minor property crimes?

Or are you a rescuer? Is the survival of disaster victims more important than the preservation of everyday property relations? Is that chain pharmacy more vulnerable, more a victim, more in need of help from the National Guard than you are, or those crying kids, or the thousands still trapped in buildings and soon to die?
This article was preceded by an introduction at TomDispatch which described the initial media response to the earthquake.

More commentary about looting in this arty:
Thirdly, people generally don't panic, and looting is not as common as sometimes people think. On the whole there is a good deal of neighborhood solidarity and mutual aid. Self-provisioning to meet basic needs (see my comments on food above) are sometimes mistaken or misrepresented as "looting." This was big mistake by the media covering Hurricane Katrina, for example.


[personal profile] ironed_orchid linked to a World Bank statement where it says Haitis debt payments will be delayed for 5 years, and "we are working to find a way forward to cancel the remaining debt." Grant you (hah!), WB debt is only 4% of Haiti's external debt, but it's a start.

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