24 January 2010

Haiti—When to give when to not

Haiti—When to give when to not
By Nicole E. Avery
GVL Columnist

The roar from the rumbling earthquake in Haiti has been echoing in the news and across Grand Valley State campuses all week and has reminded me of the resounding amount of pressure felt by the American people to come to the aid of any country in substantial need of assistance.

An article online from Associated Press writer “Haiti: Where will all the money go?” an article
Sharon Theimer states that, “President Barack Obama promised at least $100 million in earthquake aid. That comes on top of substantial spending by the United States in Haiti in recent years for economic development, such as the country's textile industry, humanitarian assistance, environmental programs, and law enforcement.”

How can we send $100 million dollars in aid to Haiti but force students to pay back the Michigan Promise scholarship?

Why are senators suggesting an annual foreign assistance budget specifically for Haiti and ignore the problems and frustrations of our own people?

It isn’t right and it’s not acceptable.

How is it possible that the U.S. has sent over $800 million to the government of Haiti since 2004 and yet the quality of living for the Haitian people has not improved?

Treating others how you would like to be treated is a basic universal principle instilled in all races, creeds, and religions and the ability to care about people that you’ve never met is one of the most amendable aspects of humanity.

Guilt is another universal part of the human existence that will be at some point or another in your life and is unavoidable. Some people feel guilty about not being able to sending money to aid impoverished countries like Haiti while others feel guilty about—for whatever reason—not wanting to send money at all.

The people who are hesitant to send aid to Haiti are so for two reasons: They’re afraid their money is going to be sucked up by the government and never reach the people of Haiti, and because they’re angry that the American government can take care of everyone else but their own.

There are three things that haven’t changed in the past decade at least—Haiti was a poor country before the earthquake, the will remain as such until their government begins to function in a way that directly benefits the people of Haiti and the U.S. and other countries are still sending money to Haiti that is not being even remotely used as it should be.

Governments have a responsibility to take care of the needs of their own people first.

The people of Haiti do need outside help, but Haiti should be receiving really help and support from their own government. The Haitian government needs to make a real effort and use some of the millions of dollars sent to them to actually rebuild their country.

I’m not against aiding anyone in need but I am against my government ignoring the needs of my own people to help someone else. I believe we can have both but it will take the Haitian government meeting us more than half way and more help from other wealthy countries.


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