Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dirt Cookies in Haiti

The desperation of the world's poorest citizens is well illustrated in this AP article on hunger in Haiti.

We won't dare to offer a comprehensive solution to the profound problems of the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. We agree with the opinion offered several years ago in the Atlantic by a former US State Department official who said that Haiti's economic problems are rooted in the worldview of voodoo, which creates the social chaos that makes even a subsistence economy impossible. Hence, opined the retired diplomat, the only solution to Haiti's problems is religious conversion.

We do suggest, however, that those who believe that because they have received the grace of God, they must live graciously can alleviate some of the problem, at least for many, with their generosity. We can't make Haiti "work," but we can feed some suffering Haitians.

As is our habit, we recommend gifts to International Disaster Emergency Services, which regularly funds feeding programs administered by churches in Haiti. You gift will have tremendous impact if channeled through that highly efficient organization.

Update: The article we referenced is Lawrence E. Harrison, "Voodoo Politics," Atlantic 271:6 (June 1993) 101-07. For those with access to EBSCO Host (CCU library users and others with similar access), the article can be accessed here (from outside CCU's network) or here (from within CCU's network). We have discussed the article with our most excellent Haitian friends, who agree heartily with its conclusion, though we recognize that not all are persuaded. Harrison is more recently the author of The Central Liberal Truth, which argues that culture is the primary determinant of a country's prosperity. Harrison's is not a popular position in the circles he frequents, but he has the advantage that evidence seems to favor his conclusion.


Curtis Rogers said...

I wholeheartedly agree with SWNID on this one. IDES is a great organization, one that has helped out the organization that I work for in Haiti as well. The situation in Haiti is dire right now and groups like IDES make a real difference. These dirt cookies are a sad reality in Haiti and they have been for a while, and the people of Haiti need our help. For more info on our work in Haiti see the link on my name above.

Ronel said...

We all have sinned in the face of God. We are all sinners. By trying to compare the situation in Haiti is rooted in vodoo is absolutely ludicrous.Guns kill someone in the United States every five minutes,does that make us a different nation? When some one in the country side of HAITI has a sick child and have to work 2 hours to get to a make shift clinic and the sick child die in transit. When that same child is taken to a vodoo priest next door and is being cured by probably an herbal over the counter type remedy, Who will you choose first to cure your child. A lot of things going on in Haiti are rooted in conspiration and at the same time corruption where people for too long have looked the other way...Haiti has had so much economic and political envoy,that you can help to wonder ,where all those monies have gone?