Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The same message is resonating from all corners of the Internet: Poor Haiti. That little, miserable island just can’t catch a break, can it? Yes, thousands are feared dead, and thepictures coming in from Haiti are heartbreaking, but no one can beblamed for an earthquake.
And sure, Haiti is the poorest nation in the northern hemisphere(more than half the population of 9 million lives on less than $.50 cents a day,) which explains the construction of those flimsy houses that collapsed like card houses during the quake (Haiti’s ambassador calls the country’s infrastructure “among the world’s worst.”)
But this is just rotten luck, or God’s work! Surely, this is one of those things we can write off as “unlucky,” or “Shit happens.”
KT McFarland asks, what will become of those impoverished, feeble
blacksHaitians when America can’t “ride to the rescue” anymore? I mean, really, when are these poor countries going to get their acts together?
In news story after news story, there are reports of Haiti’s “flimsy” shacks with no mention of why Haitians live in such extreme poverty. The impression one is left with is that these people are just inherently poor savages who don’t know how to construct decent homes for themselves (see these numerousexamples of the “flimsy” line). The language almost implies Haitians deserved to be crushed during the quake. That’s what they get for living in such squalid conditions!
The media is missing a valuable opportunity to explain why Haiti is so poor. Once again, Americans are receiving a hefty dose of miseducation. They are learning that Haiti is simply a poor country where bad things happen all the time. In reality, the country has a rich, fascinating story, but unfortunately its history is also dominated by western exploitation.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
BAGHDAD — Iraqis on Friday reacted with disbelief, anger and bitter resignation to news that criminal charges in the United States had been dismissed against Blackwater security guards who opened fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007 in a fusillade that left 17 dead.
“What are we — not human?” asked Abdul Wahab Adul Khader, a 34-year-old bank employee and one of at least 20 people wounded in the melee. “Why do they have the right to kill people? Is our blood so cheap? For America, the land of justice and law, what does it mean to let criminals go?”
The Iraqi government, meanwhile, expressed its “regrets” about the ruling.
The problem with the court case, according to the federal judge who issued the ruling, was that statements given by the five Blackwater guards had been improperly used, compromising their right to a fair trial.
The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina, threw out manslaughter and weapons charges against the guards on Thursday, ruling that the case had been improperly built, in part, on sworn statements that they had given to the State Department under the promise of immunity.
Prosecutors have not said whether they will appeal the decision.The shooting, a signal event of the war here, helped calcify anti-American sentiment in Iraq and elsewhere.
It also raised Iraqi concerns about the extent of its sovereignty because Blackwater guards had immunity from local prosecution, and stoked a debate about American dependence on private security contractors in the Iraq war.
Many Iraqis also viewed the prosecution of the guards as a test case of American democratic principles, which have not been wholeheartedly embraced, and in particular of the fairness of the American judicial system.
The ruling on Thursday appeared to confirm the feelings of some that their skepticism had been justified. For Iraqis directly affected by the violence, the result was incomprehensible.
Some victims and their families said they did not understand how charges could have been dropped despite what they regarded as overwhelming evidence.