Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti: Looting? Or surviving?

"Looters continue to steal over the body of a man who has just been shot and killed by police in central Port-au-Prince" [Original caption]. Interpretation: Desperate people try to feed themselves despite the danger of being shot by police acting under ill-considered orders.
Image from Los Angeles Times photographer Carolyn Cole

They are shooting "looters" in Port au Prince. . A supermarket is cracked open, there is food in there, about to rot, and starving people get shot for going in.


Because our Governments have lost sight of human reality. They have a fetish for the supremacy of private property. " What's mine is mine, and even if I am not able to use it, even if you will die if you do not have it, I will kill you if you try to lay a finger on MY PROPERTY."

Someone is responsible for this shoot-a-looter policy. He (and it probably is a he) will have the title of Security Officer. Probably the same guy that has been causing US military planes to be prioritised in the landing stack over planes carrying food and medicines.

Wait a minute! I understand now: White people find things, black people loot:
Here's a couple of photos from New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina.

That's OK then. (Thanks to Jim Jepps for the heads-up on this one)

I am not a revolutionary, I believe in radical reform. But things like this do make me wonder...
[Update: on reflection, in order to avoid any unwelcome attention from the Terrorist Thought Police, I should make it clear that I do not believe that a revolution, whether violent or non-violent, would succeed in the UK. The army and police are too well indoctrinated, and would quickly suppress it, and the most likely outcome would be a right-wing coup. Karl Marx underestimated the power of the likes of Rupert Murdoch to indoctrinate the masses.]

Here is a portal on how to help Haiti.

Link: Reconstructing Haiti


David Cox said...

Two pictures in the Times seem to illustrate the senselessness of the situation to me, one a two year old saved from a collapsed building the other a fifteen year old girl shot by police whilst looting. However I think you are projecting your views on to the situation. You are assuming an order to shoot looters was formally given, I very much doubt it was, rather shooting people fleeing from arrest is the modus operandi of the Police Nationale d’Haïti (PNd'H). Before the earthquake people were starving in Haiti , and people were shot by the police, the only difference is now the world’s media is there to film and report it.Plenty of regimes that fetishised Charlie Marx, and abolished ‘private property’ weren’t to fussy about shooting people either.

Under the Duvaliers the army undertook the role of police, of course there was also the Milice de Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale better known as the Tonton Macoutes (named after a vicious Willy Willy Winkie character from Haitian creole mythology). Haiti has no tradition of a constabulary type police service. The PNd’H was only created 20 years ago and has only recently shaken off corruption and infiltration of Tonton Macoutes, massively under strength and with high casualty rates even before the earthquake.

The thing we must do, is not forget Haiti a year from now, and help the people to build a better society for the future. Nor forget that Duvalier was elected President in 1956 on a populist and black socialist platform.

DocRichard said...

David, you appear to be defending the killings. We do not know whether or not an order was given. Either way, there should be an order NOT to kill those who are trying to survive.

Yes, we should have a long term solution, and make the reconstruction an ecological and democratic example to the world.

David Cox said...

I'm certainly not defending the killings, now or before the earthquake, I am merely pointing out that the shooting in Haiti is part of the way the PNd'H behave in Haiti and that there is a need to build a better society.
It isn't just in Haiti that starving people will be killed for trying to survive.