Friday, January 15, 2010

Misc. Updates on Haiti and Pat Robertson

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.

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