Christian Aid In Haiti

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Empress Verite

Christian Aid In Haiti

Post by Empress Verite » Fri Dec 03, 2004 4:59 pm

One and Respe!

I am not a Christian nor do I believe in prosletizing but can this work? Have they contributed without asking for full cooperation in terms of complete conversion of the needy? What would Jesus, Iyesus Kristos say about this. At least they are looking and checking the problems.

Don't turn away from Haiti
03 Dec 2004 16:52:00 GMT

Source: NGO latest
Christian Aid


Christian Aid - UK
Website: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/news
Haiti suffers from such a daunting catalogue of seemingly intractable problems that it takes an enormous effort of will not to turn away in despair. Those who can bear to look are often tempted to oversimplify.

Policemen beheaded. Former soldiers still using their guns to wield power unchecked. A population without access to reliable democratic institutions.

It may sound like post-invasion Iraq, but Haiti is much nearer the US an
d has a much longer history of military intervention.

After a violent uprising in February forced former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to flee the country, fresh elections are now planned for November 2005.

But again like Iraq, warring among dozens of violent factions in Haiti leads many to fear that free and fair elections will be impossible.

To make matters worse, the country's moribund economy suffered another blow in September, when Haiti was struck by Tropical Storm Jeanne.

More than 1,500 people are thought to have died in the flooding that followed. Thousands more lost the livestock and crops they depend on for survival.

No easy answers Aristide, currently living in exile in South Africa, has influential friends around the world who argue that the solution to Haiti's problems lies in his speedy return, with outside military support, if necessary.

It is certainly true that Aristide is Haiti's elected president and the circumstances of his departure were
far from democratic. It is also appealing to conclude that, if the US and France wanted him out, he must have been doing something right.

But that explanation is far too crude.

Aristide's regime, full of promise at the outset, failed to deliver real economic and social improvements for the vast majority of the Haitian people.

And worse, towards the end of his tenure, many believed he used his power and connections to incite violence.

Poverty and violence As in so many violent conflicts around the world, the root cause of Haiti's lawlessness is extreme poverty. It is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Helen Spraos has lived in Haiti since 1997, overseeing development programmes funded by Christian Aid.

‘People are not born gang-members,' she says. ‘A lot of young men are full of energy that they want to channel into contributing something valuable to society. But there are no jobs for them.'

Alas, where there is a scarcity of employment, ther
e is an abundance of weapons.

The Haitian army was disbanded in 1994. At the time, the move was seen as a bold, necessary step after decades of military coups and human rights violations.

But a decade on, the country is awash with rifles, pistols and shotguns that were left in the hands of unemployed ex-soldiers.

This profusion – combined with the economic and social pressures to join a militia or paramilitary group – is the main factor in the escalating violence.

‘If you give a young man from the slums of Port-au-Prince a gun, he suddenly has a sense of power. The opportunities for legitimate work just aren't there,' explains Helen Spraos.

Looking toward the future The factors contributing to Haiti's current predicament can be fairly easily identified. The path to a better future is more difficult to see.

Years of deprivation have left both judicial and democratic institutions emasculated. There is little incentive for an individual to play by the rules, if no
one else is.

Christian Aid's work in Haiti supports fledgling economic initiatives like livestock cooperatives to demonstrate that, through community cooperation, ordinary Haitians can influence the forces that govern their lives.

This is the first step to rebuilding civic institutions. In a country so fractured by violence and poverty, it is a start. It is better than turning away in despair.


[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]

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