Today's Melissa Harris-Perry Show segment on UN in Haiti #MINUSTAH #ONU #cholera #MSNBC

I apologize in advance to those of you who inevitably will tell me that the Haiti footage used on the segment constitutes more of the problematic images we are usually fed by the mainstream media when it comes to Haiti. You are right and needless to say I now regret not having heeded the producer's invitation to share pictures for the segment.  It is almost impossible to ask non-natives of a country to shoot images that show compassion and knowledge of the place and its people, no matter how well meaning they are.  I suggested to the producers of Spotlight on Haiti which premiered today on YouTube to use Régine Romain's  "Portraits of Self-Determining Haiti" photos and I should have done the same for the MSNBC segment.  Overall,  despite the impossibly short amount of time allotted to this conversation, some important points were made which may not have been heard yet in this rarefied sphere of the media.

Had this conversation been a little longer, I would have made sure to add that the UN's best shot at redeeming itself after the cholera epidemic is reparations to the families of the 7,000 dead rather than an extension of its 8 year lab experiment and recent college grad job placement in Haiti. Haiti does not need more intervention but less. There are clearly too many cooks in the kitchen, and while Jon Lascher pointed that some NGOs have begun leaving, the UN force itself is showing no real sign of wanting to leave despite some lip service paid to diminishing the force by 15%.

Another point I would have made is that there is no real moral basis for certain international actors to continue formulating health policies for Haiti of the sort suggested by Lascher on the show. If one wants to use the pretext of aid, please consider that  most aid dollars and euros go back to the countries who "donate" them via contracts to their firms, salaries to their nationals or simply repayments to themselves as exemplified by the United States repaying itself for its post-earthquake troop deployment in Haiti.

I also came prepared to discuss the real manifestations in Haitian popular culture of the local frustation mentioned my Jon Katz . The nickname TOURISTAH (instead of MINUSTAH) for the UN force. Brother's Posse's carnival song and video lampooning MINUSTAH and echoing the perception of  the force as a predatory entity:  "all young men should watch their rear ends for those with guns and munitions."

Please consider that this a rare airing of certain Haitian perspectives to broader audiences, however imperfect.


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