January 12 marked one year since the disastrous earthquake in Haiti. As we remember the thousands of lost lives, the injured and now the recovering citizens in the face of a cholera epidemic, I wanted to share their voices.
I recently attended a lecture at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Human Rights Coalition meeting in Washington, D.C. by Dr. Fritz Deshommes (University of Haiti), Vice Chancellor of Research. Filled with emotion about the loss and devastation after the earthquake last year, he emphasized the importance of science and technology in dealing with a natural catastrophe. Unfortunately, the Haitian government offered little support for this; as Dr. Deshommes said (translated):
...there is a silencing of science...putting it on the scrap heap..."
I learned of a blog that has been maintained by citizens living in the refugee camps where the availability of clean water, electricity and security can mean the difference between life and death.
Here are some anonymous sample postings, as recent as December 2010. There are many more postings just like these. To me, these tell a compelling story that can sometimes be missed in the broader news media. I sincerely hope that this terrible situation will be far better by next year and that they will emerge stronger.
The women of Haiti will never stop suffering until they put their heads together in solidarity and bring a woman into power. If we look at how women everywhere are suffering, we suffer from every kind of ailment. And when I say ailment I don't mean just those that cause us physical harm, but every kind of problem - disappointment, misery, unemployment, rape, violence, discrimination, etc. If we take the example of the elections that just took place, the government and CEP are trying to make us swallow the most bitter medicine but we refuse to take it. They want to control the situation in order to get the result they want. This is why they have put a woman into the run off, because they see women as soft, as weak, as soon as they begin to pressure her she'll retreat. And when she does they have the opportunity to put in power candidate they really want. As a result women will suffer even more. Women's rights are not respected and that's why we need a strong woman in power. If it's this man, Jude Celestin, who becomes our president, the women of this country will become the dirt under his feet. We want the entire world to know that he will not help our country and least of all its women.
Publié par Fanm Pale à l'adresse 11:21
December 9, 2010
Our situation deteriorates
We women in the camps have seen that since the elections results were released our situation has only gotten worse. The children of Haiti continue to die, government offices in many provinces are being torn down and it means we are back in the position of starting over, over and over again. Each day, the struggle of women in the camps gets harder. After the electoral results we feel the blow of every rock that's thrown, every bottle. The tattered tents we sleep in are torn as they fight for power and we the women continue to be victims. The country has come to a halt. We have nothing to give our children. The question we ask is, are politicians fighting for power to change the situation for the people of Haiti or merely to fill their own pockets?
Publié par Fanm Pale à l'adresse 05:35
November 30, 2010
A version of this article was originally published at ScienceBlogs.