Raoul Peck Takes the Creole Version of Fatal Assistance on the Road in Haiti

My hero Raoul Peck has now translated Fatal Assistance into Creole and is taking the film on the road in Haiti. The below video is a conversation that happened after a screening of the film in a Port-au-Prince university. It is a kickass discussion between Peck, several journalists and the students who came to see the film.

At minute 25, Peck says that he believes that by giving their workers the same pay as people going to Kabul and Bagdad, certain NGOs are entertaining and encouraging fear about Haiti. Meanwhile, as he points out, those very workers pack the discos in Pétion-Ville and the beaches of the country. I could add they also take over whole  coastal towns such as Port-Salut.

Peck also stressed at the one hour mark that it was important to him to show Haitians in their truth: working people such as doctors and ironsmiths. He contrasts this with images of screaming helpless women that the western media like to bombard us with.

At 1:13, a woman in the audience concludes that NGOs are poisonous to countries around the world. At 1:19 Peck says "depi ayiti kreye yo trangle nou.  Yo pran resous nou, yo fè nou peye on pakèt kòb. Gen on pati nan kòb sa-a fòl retounen. Annou chanje retorik lan." At 1:22 journalist  Roberson Alphonse says "Jodi-a nou wè rezilta èd la. Nou pral goumen ak kominote entènasyonal la." At 1:24 "Wi mwen kontan ke Bill Clinton demaske nan fim nan."


Some key points about the film:

  • Shows how the "international community"  made it clear to Préval during the last presidential election that either their candidate (aka Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly) made it into the first round finalists or they would not recognize the result of the elections;
  • Unveils the "dictatorship of aid";
  • Shows particularly telling images about Bill Clinton's mismanagement of IHRC;
  • Contends that reconstruction is a myth.
Here are some key points and quotes made by Peck during the film's US premiere during the Human Rights Watch Film Festival  in New York ("HRW") earlier this year:

  • He worked hard to disprove the leitmotiv of some in the NGO industrial complex that the reason for the failure of relief and reconstruction was Haitians themselves;
  • The theme of Haitian government corruption favored by the Western media is the war in rhetoric that we lost. The real problem is "What good is development aid"?  Africa has already reimbursed 5 times the amount of money that it borrowed. In the US, corruption is called "lobbying";
  • "Haitians would love to be left alone";
  • "The UN and the Clinton Foundation would love for the film to go away";
  • Clinton never said no to being interviewed but each month he would push it back. Clinton staffers told Peck "we are here to defend the Clinton brand";
  •  Peck is offended by the fact that so many reports  on the EQ showed dead Haitian bodies. There are laws against that in France; 
  • Western media did not show the images of the Haitian doctors who provided care to fellow Haitians after the EQ;
  • The aid world's "Do No Harm" rules include "Don't kill the local economy" and that rule was not respected in Haiti;
  • "Yes the money has to go directly to the people, anything else is unacceptable because by the time everyone in the NGO world has taken their cut, there is nothing left for the people";
Priscilla Phelps, the female voice in the film, was in attendance at HRW and agreed that the money should in this case and in the future go directly to the people. She added that a lot of the agencies who had agreed with her book about funds going directly to the people were the same who got in the way of that advice in Haiti.  She added that since people have their own best interest at heart, funds given them directly will be spent wisely.

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