America’s Support of Afghanistan vs. Support of HaitiAug 27, 2021 11:00AM ● By Karen Warrington
Image Source: Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons
I am certainly sympathetic to the desperate plight of those American citizens and Afghans trying to get out of now Taliban-controlled Afghanistan 7,410 miles from the US. But, it is hard to understand how the crisis in Haiti, just 314 miles from Miami, is not receiving a similar level of support and concern in the aftermath of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that has left more than 2,000 people dead, 12,000 injured, and thousands homeless.
And, now our government tells us America has given Afghanistan a trillion dollars in its 20-year Afghanistan war. Wouldn’t a portion of that have benefited our neighbor, Haiti, which has been hit with one disaster after another, including an earthquake in 2010 that killed 200,000 and injured 300,000?
Clear-eyed thinking should also help us remember that in the late 1990s, Haitians trying to escape poverty and government repression were interdicted at sea and returned to Haiti by our government, while Cubans fleeing the Castro regime were welcomed to America. Additionally, today there are thousands of Haitian immigrants at the US-Mexico border who are seeking asylum and their stories are not being told.
As a Black person, it is hard to reject the idea that Haitian tragedies are overlooked decade after decade because Haitians, in spite of their French names, are Black. They landed in Haiti not because they were tourists but because they were enslaved and brought to the Americas as a part of the TransAtlantic slave trade to work in the sugar cane fields to benefit the French. But, they resisted slavery and defeated France and Napoleon. So today we have to ask the question, are they still being economically punished and overlooked because they threw off the yoke of slavery?
We must demand that America do better to support our Haitian neighbors suffering just miles from our shores.
Karen Warrington has had a decades long career as a broadcast journalist, communications professional, performing artist, and documentary filmmaker. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. She is committed to being a voice for the African Diaspora.