Seeking: Helicopters for Haiti
Diane had a dream this morning where she realized that the universe is sending a message to Black people. Haiti was the first place in the hemisphere that overthrew colonialism, slavery. New Orleans, of course, is Africa in the United States—it would not have existed unless Toussaint L’Ouverture had beaten Napoleon in 1803. These are both very important places in the hemisphere for people of African descent.
In the past four and a half years both of them have been hit by terrible natural disasters. The message from the water, from the steeples, from the elders, from the people floating on rafts after Hurricane Katrina was that Black people need to remember who they are, they can’t afford to absorb the values of this country—materialism, militarism and racism. The elders who refused to leave their chairs in front of their modest homes in the 9th Ward were saying we would rather die at home, on our own land, then be moved to places that are unfamiliar to us. They were refusing to be absorbed any more, staying put on the land where they belonged.
Now we watch countless photos blasting across the screens about the 200,000 people who have died in Haiti, about the hundreds of thousands now living with so little. We hear that Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere. But we are also seeing again that Haiti was the first free Black country, that Haitians will refuse to bow down.
These disasters are wake up calls, that there is something terribly wrong when the Winter Olympic officials are helicoptering in hundreds of tons of snow around the clock to keep Whistler mountain covered in white while the US priority after the quake was to send military, not food. What would it look like for food to be dropped to all parts of Haiti with the same speed and precision now used to drop snow in Vancouver?
by Becky Thompson and Diane Harriford