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LETTER OF THE DAY - Sustained effort needed to address global inequality

Published:Monday | January 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I view with interest the knee-jerk display of support for the Haitians following the earthquake horror. But perhaps, human emotions aside, the earthquake may prove to be one of the best things that has ever happened to the Haitian people if a genuine momentum follows the initial outpouring to a sustained effort to develop the basic physical, social, economic and political infrastructure of the country.

Over 50 per cent of the population of Haiti has been living in poverty for a very long time, but I guess it takes an earthquake to bring some focus on human suffering. Further, hundreds of millions of the Earth's population are suffering greatly every day in large pockets of the world, while much of what is needed lies buried in the pockets of super-rich individuals and nations. What the poor of the world need is not a few days of humanitarian effort by people who are jolted to act because of natural events, most times made worse by global exploitation of the Earth's resources. They need a sustained effort to change global and national, social and economic inequality.

What is happening now is merely a kind of seven-day wonder at exposing the suffering of people in the face of an earthquake led by the scavenging news media like CNN making millions from advertising. If you listen to the news carefully, you will hear hints of an underlying tone of White western superiority overlaid with the decadence of Haitian black people caused by inequality within Haiti.

I think in events like these nothing will really change to make the life of the poor masses in Haiti really better. However I just heard the secretary of state of the United States say that President Obama would be making a sustained effort to stay and work as a partner with the president of Haiti towards the development of that country. I will watch and see.

I also see CARICOM leaders flying in to Haiti to offer support. It will be good to see what will become of all these efforts.

I am, etc.,