AMERICAN VOODOO DOLL MAKERS

POSTED BY




PAT ROBERTSON VOODOO DOLL! Proceeds Go To Haiti relief

I’m unsure about the execution (voodoo-blackface?) too, but this is a great idea, no?

American televangelist/Christian evangelical ‘douchebag‘ extraordinaire Pat Robertson blamed the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on the on the Hatian people and their religious/cultural practices– voodoo. Additional article: What is Pat Robertson Really Saying About Haiti?

***

& here’s my request to johnnyvoodoo and all America voodoo doll makers, please make a doll of this man, David Brooks of the New York Times

If you read his Op-Ed column last Thursday, I’m sure you will sympathize with me/my request. For a better understanding, Matt Taibbi clears the thickets by translating excerpts of Brooks’s essay so we can further appreciate his timely insight —

“This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services. On Thursday, President Obama told the people of Haiti: “You will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten.” If he is going to remain faithful to that vow then he is going to have to use this tragedy as an occasion to rethink our approach to global poverty. He’s going to have to acknowledge a few difficult truths.
The first of those truths is that we don’t know how to use aid to reduce poverty. Over the past few decades, the world has spent trillions of dollars to generate growth in the developing world. The countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not.
In the recent anthology “What Works in Development?,” a group of economists try to sort out what we’ve learned. The picture is grim. There are no policy levers that consistently correlate to increased growth. There is nearly zero correlation between how a developing economy does one decade and how it does the next. There is no consistently proven way to reduce corruption. Even improving governing institutions doesn’t seem to produce the expected results.
The chastened tone of these essays is captured by the economist Abhijit Banerjee: “It is not clear to us that the best way to get growth is to do growth policy of any form. Perhaps making growth happen is ultimately beyond our control.”

TRANSLATION: Don’t bother giving any money, it doesn’t do any good. And feeling guilty about not giving money doesn’t do anyone any good either. In fact, you’re probably helping by not doing anything.

Read more @ True/Slant


POSTED IN: Blog

6 responses to “AMERICAN VOODOO DOLL MAKERS”

  1. paul j. says:

    Good call on the need for a David Brooks voodoo doll.

  2. paul j. says:

    Back again. As much as I enjoy the Taibbi response, what is really infuriating about Brooks’s article is the way it turns a blind eye to the country’s history of colonialism. Specifically the way colonial powers made an example out of Haiti as an economic failure to protect their interests in preventing future colonial revolt. France essentially blackmailed the people of Haiti and demanded 150 million francs as compensation for the losses from the slave trade. Throughout the 19th century and early 20th century that was an enormous burden on Haiti, making the idea of economic prosperity something of a Sisyphean task.

    Brooks may be right about the difficulty of eliminating poverty, but the way he implies that the blame rests squarely with the Haitian people is repulsive, and the idea that foreign aid is a misguided idea when people are struggling to eat and drink clean water, and seek access to other basic necessities is perplexing, to put it mildly.

  3. Fed says:

    I think what is being forgotten here is that foreign aid to impoverished countries must necessarily be funnelled through gov’ts that are extremely corrupt, and, even in catastrophic situations like the one in Haiti, funds can easily be misallocated. What these people need is equal rights and justice not the continued hegemony of the “first” world.

  4. Lamin says:

    @ paul j – Brooks (a journalist with a very senior career whose comments/opinions carry additional political significance) not acknowledging the Haiti’s colonial history is intended and deliberate, in part to absolve foreign/former colonial powers of responsibility, guilt, shame, whatever queasy feeling Europeans and Americans get when they think about the strong role they’ve played– and the country’s current condition/pre-earthquake was a result of past political and economic actions actions they participated in.
    But not mentioning that is only part of the offense, clearly to rationalize (or should I say justify?) the economic injustice and poverty, not to mention the constant crisis situation which is also the fault of the Haitian government/political elite, also the fault of the international community.
    What’s even more revolting, besides the usual condescension and offensiveness when talking/writing about Haiti, is the racism (I’m sorry, “racial insensitivity”–that is what The NY Times and the American public is calling even blatant racism nowadays.) Brooks opened his essay saying the difference between black and white is responsibility, and proceed to detail Haiti’s problems and argued that Americans should not feel burden to help because the people of Haiti are lazy and corrupt. –But we all know there is corruption, lack of institutions, infrastructure, government is ineffective, etc. and all these are a result of the country’s history, it’s relationships, its conflicts with foreign/former colonial powers–America, France, etc.
    Honestly and effectively discussing colonialism, politics, and economics is not easy– colonial, with all that excess baggage is just too uncomfortable and messy to look at, so Brooks just looked over it, beat about the bush.
    I’ll conclude this long rambling by saying it is a crime to discuss colonialism without its political and economical implications. It is also a serious crime to discuss the present economic conditions of countries like Haiti w/o talking about their history, past injustices, etc.

  5. Kerry says:

    I agree with the above comments that Brooks’ oversight of the historically embedded nature of Haitian underdevelopment is damn near inexcusable. The dominant neoliberal discourse often seems to ignore that countries are poor for reasons, and instead to start with the current static state, trying to emerge from it through often counter productive economically liberal policies. I can’t get behind Brooks on this. In the least.

    That said, I think it’s an unfair misreading of Brooks to suggest that he’s saying we shouldn’t be giving to Haiti right now. He’s talking about dynamic growth processes, not static relief flows. I may not entirely agree with his analysis of development aid, but to conflate that with disaster relief aid misunderstands his point.

    Again, I think he might be wrong about development aid, but saying that it doesn’t work, and that it doesn’t alleviate poverty, is very different that saying that nobody should give disaster relief aid. Lamin seems to suggest that he’s saying we shouldn’t be doing even that. Brooks may be wrong, but he’s not wrong the way you’re reading him.