Can You Seriously Blame Haitians?

Just a quick note this morning, a purely reactionary one to a bit I heard on CBC this morning, concerning Haitian distrust over solutions (read: medication) to fight the raging cholera epidemic. And apparently Voudoo is getting the blame for that distrust.

However I do think the a much more relevant reason for why Haitians apparently distrust advice from people trying to help them is, remember, where this advice (read: “guidance”) is coming from.

The same people who have occupied their country since a Western backed coup of their democratically elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2004? The same people who have exiled him and continue to keep their President banished in central South Africa? The same people who refuse to let the most popular political party in Haiti, Fanmi Lavalas, to run in the upcoming elections. The same people who, arguably, brought this epidemic to Haiti, in the first place (apparently the strain of cholera making its rounds in Haiti right now is endemic of Nepal, not the Caribbean)? The same people holding back aid money that was promised to them after the January 12th earthquake? I could go on…

I know, I’m painting lots of people, who aren’t responsible for any of this, with a pretty broad brush, which isn’t fair. I can admit that. But isn’t condemning a nation, or parts of one, for distrusting people only trying to help them, when much of any help offered to them in the past has been everything but, and blaming reasons for any distrust on their traditions, the same thing? I think given the history of Haiti, and our past and present influences on it, it’s assuming a lot. Too much, in fact

But even if Haitians are feeding “their chickens” water purification tablets, which I don’t doubt, and watching those chickens die as a result, as a way to “test” the tablets — which isn’t a faith based reaction, if anything it’s a reaction, whether justified or not, based on the misery they face toward people they see responsible for their suffering, I think — can you seriously blame Haitians for their skepticism?