Colorful descriptions of Haiti

My Facebook friends have their panties in a twist because President Trump purportedly referred to some countries where people want to emigrate to the U.S. as “shitholes.” (e.g., see “Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa” from the nytimes) The only righteous attitude toward these countries is that they are wonderful places full of culture, orderly Swiss-style cities and villages, and economic opportunity. It is just that the people who live there would rather be in Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, or Buffalo.

Their horror reminded me of the experience of a CBS News crew in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. A former instructor at our flight school was flying a Pilatus PC-12 for a rich guy and the owner said “go down to Haiti and fly supplies around.” He was indifferent to whether the plane was flying out of Teterboro or Port-au-Prince so he packed his bag, stopped for fuel in Fort Pierce, Florida, and kept going to Hispaniola. After a week or so, Dan Rather hopped on the plane so as to be on the ground when the food and water were delivered to grateful quake victims. The crew decided to gather some B-roll from the pilot, assuming that he was there in Haiti because of his profound commitment to humanitarianism. Here’s how the conversation went…

  • CBS: What do you think the effect of your work here will be?
  • Pilot: Well, Haiti was a shithole before this earthquake and I’m sure that it will be a shithole after all of these relief workers have packed up and gone home.

Somehow I don’t think that this heartwarming footage was ever aired…

[Separately, when are the folks who criticize Trump for saying that Norway is nicer than Haiti going to spend their vacation time and money in Haiti? Or, better yet, become rich by setting up a vacation resort in Haiti?]

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Philip Greenspun’s Weblog