Please go to my previous entries, Haiti Child Evacuation: A New Operation Pedro Pan (my keystone Haitian entry) and Pat Robertson and Adoptee Rights for the context of this entry.
Juan Cole, in his Informed Consent blog, has written an excellent review of the Haitian slave revolts and the 1804 Revolution, with a rebuttal to Pat Robertson’s racist dullwittery. It was published Wednesday but I found it only today. Here is an excerpt:
Pat Robertson’s Racist Blaming of Haitian Victims; Televangelist Misuse of History
So Robertson’s account sees the assertion of African religion in 1791 against slaving Christianity as a ‘pact with the devil’ that then led Haiti to be cursed ever after. But even in his own terms, how does he account for the multiple steps by subsequent Haitian states reinstating privileges for Christianity? Even if he does not count Catholicism as Christianity, what about the fact that about a quarter of Haitians are now evangelical Protestants? Didn’t the earthquake hit them? And, why is West Africa where the initial African version of voudoun originated and is still practiced by a minority, among the least earthquake-prone regions in the world?
Ultimately, Robertson’s version of Haitian history as cursed replicates the old racist anti-Black ‘curse of Ham’ theme in White American popular religion. Is he saying that Haitians had less right to revolt against European colonialism than did white Americans? (Only about 16% of colonial-era Americans belonged to a church, so it isn’t as if they were more pious). And, ultimately, his account fails to deal with the sins of slavery and racism in which Southern US Christian traditions– Baptism, evangelicalism, etc., were deeply implicated. There is a Southern Baptist church to this day, almost all-white, precisely because it split from the national organization to protect the enslavement of African-Americans.
Evil and the devil are tricky. Robertson projected them on a revolt of African slaves asserting their African traditions against oppressive white colonial society. But they lurk in the traditions of his 700 Club, in the exaltation of irrationality, in blaming the victim, in a subtext of racism, and in a failure to repent for White Christian enslavement of Africans for centuries.
Bloggers are starting to pick up on the Pedro Pan scenario:
Baby Love Child writes in Haiti’s Children and the American Adoption Market:
People still trapped in the rubble, hunger, death, and complete social collapse.
What’s the story here in America?
Natural disaster, for some, spells an opportunity to extract Haiti’s children.
Haitian adoption used to take roughly two to two and a half years. Some will use this as an excuse to call for efforts to fast track resettling these kids into new families internationally.
Claire Medina writes in Waterblogged Stories: Removing Haiti’s Future
These are complicated issues in which an immediate crisis response must be addressed, but let us not forget the long term affects and continue to support a better future for Haiti. I believe permanently removing their children is not the answer.
Removing children permanently from their culture, their families and their country is a very bad idea. To take in a mother and child is one thing, but to separate them permanently because of poverty or disaster is an unjust way to deal with this tragedy. There is no way to quickly place any of these children without making serious mistakes. Every effort must first be made to deal with the crisis and meet the needs of all Haitian’s before we consider removing the most precious resource Haiti has, her children.
At this time, I am unable to find any other adopta bloggers writing on Haiti, at least through Google, though there are scads of blogs dealing with pap and adoption earthquake angst. I hope more adoptbloggers pick up on the now-called Pierre Pan movement soon.
Finally, Andy Borowitz reports that God held a press conference re: Pat Robertson. A nearly unprecedented event. According to The Borowitz Report, God told reporters:
I pray that his TV show would just go away, but of course, when you’re me there’s no one to pray to,” God said, to the laughter of the packed room of reporters.
While God held out no hope that Rev. Robertson’s “700 Club” would be cancelled any time soon, He did say, somewhat ruefully, “If Pat Robertson were on NBC he’d be replaced by Jay Leno by now.”
I am writing an update tonight on the Pierre Pan childlift and plan to have it up in a couple hours–with luck.
Also, be sure to read the comments. Additional information can be found in them.
Update from miamiherald.com about the Pierre Pan plan:
“At a second news conference at the offices of immigrant rights advocate Cheryl Little, McGrorty said the project is still in a “very preliminary stage” and may take several weeks to launch. He also said that by the middle of next week he may have additional details as Archdiocese officials turn over the plan to logistics experts in the Catholic Church.
A temporary shelter in Broward County has already been identified to immediately house the children, McGrorty said.
He also said the people behind the effort have been in contact with the Obama administration to assist in bringing the children from Haiti under a “humanitarian parole” — a special immigration category that enables foreign nationals to stay in the United States under special circumstances even if they are not necessarily eligible for a visa.
The LATimes notes:
“If Haitians eventually do travel to Florida en masse, officials here say they are ready. They are already familiar with the realities of mass migration.
Memories linger here of the 1980 Mariel boatlift, in which more than 100,000 Cubans arrived in Florida after fleeing the Castro regime. Much of the preparation since then has been in anticipation of refugees who might flee Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro or some similar disruption.
In Miami-Dade County this week, officials held numerous meetings to tweak what is officially called the “Change in Caribbean Government Plan” to provide medical aid, screening and temporary housing to large numbers of Haitians.
The county school district has worked up a plan that would include opening three large refugee acceptance centers and converting a district-owned hospital building to a live-in center for up to 500 refugee children. Separately, the Archdiocese of Miami has proposed establishing a program to bring large numbers of Haitian orphans to the area.
Alberto Carvalho, the county schools superintendent, said the district’s plans would be contingent upon millions of dollars in federal reimbursements that have yet to be promised.
“The willingness of the people of Miami to accept those in need is evident,” he said. “The cost, however, is a worry.””
Looks like they need some time to get someone to foot the bill.
Check out letter number 2, a Minneapolis reader’s reply to Pat Robertson:
Hello this is Carrie Medina. Thanks for the link back. What we DONT see in any of this Pedro Pan Planning is a focus on REUNITING children with their families, specifically their mothers who may be searching in the chaos for them right now. An unnamed small child being removed from Haiti is unlikely to be found by ANY family, but rather presumed dead. This open us the children to (illegal) adoption in the USA. An efficient way to deal with a ‘problem’ island with a ‘troubled’ past is to remove their children. Bonus points, USA, for looking like humanitarians in the process.