Monday, 18 January 2010

What is to be done?

Every time you pick up a newspaper or switch on the television, you are confronted with some form of bad news.

Currently and rightly so, the news is full of the appalling tragedy taking place in that luckless country, Haiti.

President Obama, before the current disaster, had put this country near the top of his list of places that needed some serious support.

History has dealt the Haitians a bad hand, going back to their original declaration of independence from France.

This was achieved through a pretty violent rebellion by the African slaves, before the European powers had got to the point of considering the abolition of slavery.

As a result this little country found itself without friends for the better part of it's first 100 years of existence.

In it's history, it has suffered no less than 32 coups, with each successive administration ripping the heart out of the population.

It may not be politically correct to suggest that the poor people of this land, need maybe fifty years of outside management, a polite way of saying some form of Western rule.

I know I will be shot down in flames for suggesting it, but the corruption that has prevailed, since independence has spoilt any chance that the 98% of the population, who live on $2 a day, can hope to aspire to a better life.

However there is a modern example of how deprived communities can be given security and a chance to rebuild their lives.

Sierra Leone, a former British Colony, collapsed into civil war chaos in the 1990's.

The butchery and bloodshed in that country was beyond belief, with gangs of children running around with Kalashnikovs.

Society had completely collapsed and no-one was safe.

At the request of an embattled government, Britain sent in the Royal Marines and within a relatively short period of time, law and order was re-established.

The local population welcomed these soldiers and a very small UK presence exists in the country today.

As a result of this action, investment is now poring into the country, creating employment and financial security for the people.

Is this neo-colonialism by a white European power? I don't think so, nor do the people of Sierra Leone.

They know that Britain will support their own self determination and indeed this is in Britain's interest.

I believe that Sierra Leone, may be a model for Haiti, if the people of that country are prepared to accept some element of outside control, until such time as institutions have been established, that are resilient enough to withstand corrupt individuals.

The Haitians may have to face some very hard choices and initially find their institutions controlled by foreigners, but if it can be demonstrated to them that a fair society is being created, then they would be foolish to resist it.

Up to now they have been exploited by a gangster elite, who use extreme violence and pocket the aid provided by the UN,US and EU.

It might be ruthless to say,but these entities need to engage with the populace and not the so called politicians and say, you want help? Then we are in charge until such time as proper institutions are in place to ensure your secure future.

I am quite sure that the majority decent people of Haiti, would welcome safety, security and a chance to build a life for themselves and their children.

For far too long this little country has been allowed to go it's own way, to the detriment of it's people.

Political correctness is damaging to the poorest of nations.

Sierra Leone has proved that the people of that country want safety and they do not care if those that provide it are white.

We have a duty to protect the poor and it doesn't matter what colour we are!


  1. This is such a frustrating situation.
    Corruption in third world countries is hugely problematic and I would agree there are situations where the developed world should intervene.
    But this too is a Pandora's box. Yes Sierra Leone seems to be working. But often western intervention can be disastrous. The IMF and World bank for example often impose requirements on small economies that destroy small holders in the name of "market access".
    Also it is worth noting that intervention has to have the backing of the vast majority of the local people and be managed well. Otherwise we end up with situations like Iraq and Afghanistan.

  2. Whether you are right or wrong, I don't know. As Al says, it is extremely complicated.

    I do know that to get Haitians to accept foreign control again after the French cost them so much would be very difficult.

    To Haitians, the French did fine for the French but not so well by them. Why would they believe it would be different now?

    I think we will have to find a different way, just for the sake of helping with something workable.