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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,TJ in San Diego Music benefits for Haiti (29) RE: Music benefits for Haiti 03 Feb 10

Here in our Navy town, we have just welcomed back a number of rescue, medical and military folks who spent time in Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. The reports they bring back are of a chaotic crime and incompetence plagued island where those things urgently needed by the people are backing up in warehouses, on wharves and other temporary locations for want of a way to distribute them or a system by which to do it. Roads and other transportation arteries are clogged or unusable in many cases. Worse, government incompetence and/or graft is preventing any workable solution.

I have worked in the non-profit health and human services world for many years. What I am saying to you is that I understand and applaud your heartfelt need to contribute. People in the world of arts and entertainment are often the most generous of souls. But, before you give, or encourage others to give, make sure you have some assurance that the money will be put to good use and not lost to graft or incompetence, both of which are a huge problem in Haiti right now. At least one aid convoy has been openly attacked by armed thieves.

Haiti is both a beautiful country with rich traditions and a place that has never learned to govern itself since achieving independence from France in around 1804 or so. Despots have often controlled the populace with terror and sucked it dry with graft. Most of the populace is poorly educated and unable to lift itself out of grinding poverty. It was the absolute worst place on earth for this earthquake to have occurred. Millions have been given by people around the world. But when aid money comes to this island, it often disappears into official pockets or is simply never accounted for.

When I hear a song such as "Haiti," which Belafonte did in his calypso days, it speaks to the haunting beauty of the place but always reminds me of the heartbreak and want which is the average Haitian's daily diet.

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