You talked about Haitian resilience. What does that mean really? What are some examples? Can that still happen?
It is happening. It has been happening since the quake. The day after the quake, when you had kids from the slums going into the university and getting students out of the rubble. There was no international assistance there, it was Haitians helping Haitians. It was people with their bare hands getting other people out of danger. The way people have bounced back… The way we have had for instance, life coming back to the streets, street sellers being back selling vegetables, selling rice, different things… The informal sector bounced back in an incredible way. Resilience is the Haitian’s way of accepting conditions. In any country of the world you would have what you had in Chile, you would have people looting, people just reacting violently. Haitians were incredibly disciplined after what happened. And I think it is something which is linked to Haitian experience, within the last two centuries. It’s something which is linked to a long history of resistance first and way after that facing incredible conditions of life.
Then, also recently, the following anonymous comment was posted on the Corbett list.
I have never posted due to the fact I live and work here as a private individual and have done for many years. I employ people and would not want to jeopardise mine or my friends' livelihoods by offending the wrong people with my subversive thoughts about reality, dignity and decency.
Anyway, my point -
The thing that troubles me is that I keep reading how resilient Haitians are.
Well the truth is that they are just like anybody else - they are upset and badly shaken by events like anybody would be. It is almost as if one has to worry less about Haitians in peril because
they can handle more stress than your average human being. Almost an excuse not to afford them the concern that one would an American, Frenchman, Paraguayan or whatever.
This is wrong.
I also agree with this comment. There is something self-serving, especially now, about focusing on the resilience of Haitians. If we think they are so tough, perhaps it gives us a pass on doing our part to help them. You know, "Oh, they're Haitians. They're tough. They'll be alright. Yes, I know they are missing limbs and family members, but they are used to things like this and it doesn't bother them as much as if it happened to, well, me." In some ways emphasizing Haitian resilience is dehumanizing.
If we want to speak of the Haitians' resilience, let's speak of admiring it, of it inspiring us to act, to show our own toughness in responding to a catastrophe of huge magnitude.
I'm sure the little girl pictured above is resilient. She is one of the children living at Gertrude's orphanage.