Haiti is an utterly marginalised state, misused and exploited for centuries, inside and out, with no thanks to Canada. Their democratically-elected leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide, exiled allegedly by a coup in 2004, has said that for their (mis)involvement in Haiti, the Canadian government have “blood on their hands.” And if all that wasn’t enough, the staggeringly poor country was hit by a massive earthquake two days ago, fifteen miles from its capital, Port-Au-Prince. From the Partners-In-Health website:

The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country. A massive and immediate international response is needed to provide food, water, shelter, and medical supplies for tens of thousands of people.

In an urgent email from Port-au-Prince, Louise Ivers, our clinical director in Haiti, appealed for assistance from her colleagues in the Central Plateau: “Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS… Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us.”

Aid often has a bad name, sometimes for good reasons—some sickeningly easy to understand. Sometimes definitely not. Whatever one believes, two NGO groups, often risking their lives, manifest in spades and courage what it really means to be a worker in the medical field—doctors who actually believe people should have access to medical care—and take their skills and work right to the problem, helping to save lives in battered places through medical intervention.

One of these groups is, of course, Doctors Without Borders. My friend Ivan is working in Pakistan with MSF right now. Another is Partners-In-Health, who have been doing amazing, desperately needed work in Haiti and elsewhere for years. One of the founders of that group is Dr Paul Farmer, a remarkable person, whom I have written about on several occasions.

Do what you can. Spread the word if you can. Here’s the PIH website.

Here is more information about PIH and Paul Farmer that I’ve written over the years.

There but for the grace of fault-lines, timing, and countless other variables, go all of us,



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