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Friday, January 15, 2010

I can't stand it

This is the time
this is the time
This is the time
because there is no time


The NYT hosted a 'debate' today about what "we" should do about Haiti, in which a bunch of Americans exchanged airy views about impossible changes that should be magically implemented in the near future, or a decade from now, etc.

In actuality, the future is fucking now, and what we should be asking is why, if we have ability, as any half assed surfer of the net has, to pinpoint hundreds of situations in Port Au Prince, and we have the equipment - why we aren't taking advantage of that. Why is there not a heavy helicopter traffic over the skies of Port au Prince? Why is it that the incredibly simple tools that are needed aren't being distributed, as the Newspaper gathers tres tres interesting opinions about Haiti's economic future?

From Le Monde:
On the corner of Capois and Cameau streets, the moder bank Unibank building is half collapsed. With naked hands, a group of twenty youths are extracting great blocks of concrete at the base of the edifice.

"There are two persons alive," cries one of them. With the aid of a long plastic tube, the improvisatory rescuers begin to exchange some words with the survivors who ask for water. At the end of two hours of effort, two men are taken out. The first, an employee of the bank, 26, is unharmed; the other can barely stand.

Au coin des rues Capois et Cameau, l'immeuble moderne de la banque Unibank est à moitié effondré. A mains nues, un groupe d'une vingtaine de jeunes dégagent de gros blocs de béton à la base de l'édifice.

" Il y a deux personnes en vie ", s'écrie l'un d'eux. A l'aide d'un long tuyau en plastique, les sauveteurs improvisés parviennent à échanger quelques mots avec les survivants qui demandent de l'eau. Au bout de deux heures d'efforts, deux hommes sont dégagés. Le premier, un employé de la banque, âgé de 26 ans, est indemne, l'autre, un agent de sécurité a du mal à se relever.

These twenty guys seem to have understood more in their lifetimes than the whole of the NYT editorial office if given the power of infinite recycling through time by the compassionate Buddha. I can't stand it.

I, a scrawny nothing in Austin, merely by scanning blogs, facebook, twitter, can find a hundred, two hundred descriptions of what is happening, and where, in Port au Prince. I know exactly who has set up a rescue station in Jacmal. So where the fuck is the U.S. rescue mission? Do they have nobody fucking doing the same thing? Boom, we have a rescue center in Jacmal already, they need tents, medical tents, fly them the fuck in. Information is pouring out into the air, and being absolutely ignored by the powers that be. USE YOUR INFORMATION!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

From NYT

“There are some things that only we can do,” Mrs. Clinton said to reporters on her plane en route to Port-au-Prince. “Our highest and best use is to identify those needs that only we can meet.”
[...]
Even as the United States took a leading role in aid efforts, some aid officials were describing misplaced priorities, accusing United States officials of focusing their efforts on getting their people and troops installed and lifting their citizens out. The United States is now managing air traffic control at the airport, helicopters are flying relief missions from warships off the coast, and 9,000 to 10,000 troops are expected to arrive by Monday to help with the relief effort.

Four critical days after an earthquake flattened Haiti’s capital, the World Food Program was able to land flights of food, medicine and water, desperately needed by tens of thousands of victims.

The World Food Program flights tried to land Thursday and Friday, an official with the agency said. But they were diverted so that the United States could land troops and equipment, and lift Americans and other foreigners to safety.

“There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti,” said Jarry Emmanuel, the air logistics officer for the agency’s Haiti effort. “But most of those flights are for the United States military.

He added: “Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync.”
[...]
“We’re all going crazy,” said Nan Buzard, senior director of international response and programs for the American Red Cross. “You don’t have any kind of orderly distributions of food, water, shelter, clothing. The planes are in the air, the materials are purchased. It remains a profoundly frustrating situation for everyone.”

France complained to the United States that two of its aid planes had been turned away from the airport by the American military, The Associated Press reported Saturday. One plane was carrying a field hospital, Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet said.
....

Priorities? Rather than "securing" the country shouldn't they be about saving lives, helping people?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMrZxLwQB4Y

Amie

roger said...

Amie, I believe that this is about a clumsy, unresponsive top down organization that is planning a rescue mission like it is invading a hostile country - instead of a country in which the rescuers are the people. This is literally killing people, who knows how many. I can actually understand the 'our people' thing - for instance, with Hotel Montana. France isn't the only country interested in French survivors - even the Fillipino peacekeepers saved some Fillipino housekeepers. But the whole point here is that with little, very little, so little, Haitians can save each other! This should be a dance, not an invasion, this should be about continuous helicopter overflight finding spontaneous centers of rescue and using them as hubs for the resurrection of P-au=P, of Jacmal, of Petionville, etc.
No matter how I scream, I feel like a fly in a bottle. But I'll still fuckin' make a racket. This is mad.

roger said...

I am incredibly... I am, to start over, sort of astonished by the major major lack of response to Haiti on the theory blogs. I make fun of them, but basically I have thought that the apocalyptic tone on cultural studies and theory blogs was a necessary amphetimine - wake up, was the underlying message. But I've noticed, going down the list of blogs in Infinite Thought, that more thought and print was spilled about Michael Jackson's death than the death of 50,000 Haitians. Apocalypse hits them on the head, and all they can do is spew out another post on Lady Gaga and Avatar as insidious ideological artifacts?

My god, the stupidity, the sheer stupidity of the intellectuals kills me.

alan said...

"Securing" (private property, a state to preserve that property) is always the priority, whether in New Orleans 2005 or Port-au-Prince 2010, and that always means hindering the people who are actually trying to help as well as those desperately struggling to help themselves. Imperialists out!

I thought this article made some important points: THE HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE: MADE IN U.S.A. by Ted Rall.

Anonymous said...

LI, it is a bit striking isn't it, the lack of response on the theory blogs to Haiti. I won't be surprised though if sometime in the "future", one will find there edifying discussions of the "disaster", and its "meaning" throughly explained, savant discussions about capitalism, colonialism, hauntology, realism, revolution, etc, etc, maybe even an entire issue of the journal Collapse will be devoted to the "topic" - all of it entirely disconnected from a sense of traces.
I don't want to go about the the theory blogs right now, they are other more important things deserving attention, but there is a relation between the lack of response on the theory blogs and the "disaster response" to the earthquake in Haiti led and managed by the experts and authorities of the West. It is going well isn't it?
What relation? The "know it all" self-conception, and self-relation. We are the ones with knowledge and science and expertise. So the disaster recovery in Haiti doesn't listen to the voices of Haitians themselves, to their countless voices and efforts to save people, even though some of them can be heard by anyone on the internet. That hospital there, that school there, that neighborhood there, where people are living and dying and needing urgent help. Why do these voices or traces not count?
Hardly surprising then to see an absence of response on the theory blogs, who for all their "radicalism" are still deeply tied to authority, expertise, knowledge as their "own". And to whom I would like to politely say, fuck you.
Amie

roger said...

Amie, I revere you for your mind, but I love you for your insolence!
Exactly exactly - it has always bugged me that the pop cultural stuff - which I admit I don't know much about, I'm the last person to "analyze" Avatar or Lady Gaga - never surrenders to the object. They fill it with meaning before it can mean, and even if the meaning is mean, or low, or stupid, or reactionary - to hurry past the moment of surrender is just the kind of thing I - can't stand.

And of course I think, too, that - since we are dealing with human beings here of course - that this dissociation is itself a helplessness.
But I have to save that for another time. Still, I'm stunned mmyself by the lack of response.