Jean-Bertrand Aristide Returns to Haiti

(Democracy Now! 0902 PST, March 21, 2011) Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family were flown on Friday by the South African government back to their home in Haiti after seven years in exile. Just before their journey, President Obama called South African President Jacob Zuma to try to prevent the trip. But the South African Government said it would not bow to pressure, so the Aristides boarded the flight in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

 

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman was the only reporter to join them on the journey. This is part one of our global broadcast exclusive conversation with Aristide as he flew over the Atlantic Ocean, approaching Haiti. "If we decide to go back when we had an army of 7,000 soldiers controlling 40 percent of the national product that would mean we are headed back to misery, instead of doing something to move from that misery to poverty with dignity," Aristide says.

 

 

 

 

 
 

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Comparing Japan's Quake to Other Recent Events

(Associated Press: 0915 PST, March 11, 2011) The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan was one of the strongest ever recorded. But other very powerful quakes have happened in recent years.

 

 

More information about the Sendai Earthquake from Wikipedia

Google Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake

Find out what you can do to help in the saving and rebuilding of lives in Japan

 

 
 

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Submissions NOW OPEN for the explore/HATCH Disaster Film Award!

explore/Hatch Disaster Film AwardCALLING ALL FILMMAKERS!

Our friends at explore.org have teamed up with HATCH to champion the selfless acts of others through a film competition at this year’s HATCHfest Bozeman.

 

The explore/HATCH award presented by explore.org will be given to a filmmaker who best tells the story of a remarkable individual’s actions in response to a devastating environmental event. From a woman who adopted orphaned children after the tsunami to a captain and his crew that saved the 115 survivors of Deepwater Horizon, explore.org wants to see how you define heroism in the face of catastrophe while inspiring others.

 

explore.org is a multimedia organization that documents leaders around the world who have devoted their lives to extraordinary causes. Both educational and inspirational, they create a portal into the soul of humanity by championing the selfless acts of others. In line with explore’s mission, HATCH inspires service and makes a positive impact on people and the planet in a creative way through film, music, photography, journalism, fashion, architecture, design, technology and more.

 

Winner of the first explore/HATCH award presented by explore.org will receive an all-expense-paid trip to HATCHfest Bozeman September 22-25 and be presented with a Canon HD SLR camera package from explore.org’s founder and documentary filmmaker, Charles Annenberg Weingarten, and HATCH. If you or someone you know has made a film highlighting a cause that inspires others to make a difference, submissions are now open!

 

Funding for the explore/HATCH award is made possible through the efforts of explore.org and the Annenberg Foundation.

 

Withoutabox Submission Guidelines:

 

  • Submit a short documentary that has been completed in the last 5 years
  • The short film will showcase a remarkable individual’s actions in response to a devastating environmental event
  • Submission length for explore/HATCH award is 20 minutes or less
  • DVD submission must be labeled explore/HATCH award
  • Any accompanying paperwork and the outside of the envelope must be labeled explore/HATCH award
  • Deadline is August 25, 2010, no exceptions will be made
  • The final 5 nominees will be posted on explore.org for audience consideration
  • The explore/HATCH award panel will announce the winner September 1, 2010

 

Learn more OR submit now!

 
 

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No, THEY Are the World!

I have nothing against the idea of the latest fundraising video for Haiti because the cause is certainly a great one; it's just that I tire of the usual bevy of First World entertainers belting it out. That's why it's refreshing to meet someone like Mark Johnson, one of the founders of Playing for Change.  By now you've all probably heard about this organization through the widely seen globetrotting video of "Stand By Me." The first time I saw it, I thought it was pleasant enough, but what was it for, what was the next step -- what was the substance? Mark clarified it all for me in an eloquent interview, in which he laid out a vision for using music as a catalyst for social change. I've heard my share of pie-in-the-sky blah blah about using music for this or that, but Mark's ideas are not dreams -- they are based on solid reality and hard work.

Can any of us deny that one of our greatest achievements to date is our unprecedented technological connectivity? Playing for Change is not just about making pretty videos. It's about connecting a global community where access to medicine, education, and mutual respect are a given.

 


I had a conversation many years ago with Christoph Borkowsky, one of the founders of the World Music Expo, WOMEX. At the time he said to me that the music of every nation should be treated as a natural resource. He chafed at the lack of market exposure great world artists got, and was certain that significant revenue streams could result from a level, truly international marketplace. Now that a new generation can access global content with ease, perhaps the idea finally has the proper soil in which to grow. And perhaps the next great musical outpouring of support for a cause will well up spontaneously, from another part of the world, and have a truly international face and sound.

 

 
 

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For Haiti Earthquake Coverage, Would Less Have Been More?

In the latest Global Pulse Episode, host Erin Coker looks at media coverage of the Haiti earthquake. Watch the episode and share your thoughts below!

 

Does the excessive coverage of Haiti’s earthquake – not to mention the questionable journalistic and medical ethics involved when doctor/reporters can’t decide whether to operate or do interviews — give the viewer a better understanding of the disaster? Or is it little more than the casting of journalists as action heroes? 

The New Republic’s Chief Editor, Noam Scheiber, in his recent article taking the news establishment to task, wrote that “in Haiti the dozens of redundant dispatches are stressing an already perilously fragile situation.”

In a follow-up interview with Global Pulse featured in this week’s episode, Scheiber says, “More information is great. But if an airport is being taxed with a volume way above its normal capacity and as a result aid workers, doctors and nurses can’t get in, then I think we have gotten to the point where one good—information—is trumping another good—relief workers…to the detriment of the people we are trying to help.”

The solution, Scheiber thinks, is a so-called “disaster pool.” Comprising a limited number of reporters in country, the disaster pool would share information with news outlets in a similar manner that White House correspondents share “pool reports” with the dozens of journalists unable to attend a briefing. You can download an MP3 of the complete Scheiber interview here.

This might preclude scenes like those we used in this episode, of Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric aiding wounded children, but it may give networks more time for in-depth stories that discuss Haiti’s tumultuous history, the roots of its abject poverty and what day-to-day life was like for the average Haitian pre-earthquake.


Journalist Marc Cooper, characterizing the coverage as “myopic” and “disaster porn”, on his blog, wrote, “It's a totally legit news story for CNN or anyone else [to] zoom in on this or that dramatic and heart-rending rescue of one or another victim trapped in rubble. But every one of those stories is also a stark and rather sickening reminder of how the daily pre-earthquake deaths, starvation and deprivation were considered SO non-newsworthy.”

This reminds me of my own trip to Haiti in the fall of 2008, as part of a disaster response team after a series of hurricanes killed hundreds of people and badly damaged the city of Gonaïves. While the storms made headlines, the fallout apparently wasn’t on a large enough scale to warrant widespread news coverage. 

Looking back, what I remember most is the darkness. There is little electricity in Haiti, and the nighttime’s dim storefronts and weak candlelight gave the impression of a city that was a relic of another age.

Will Port-au-Prince once again become a forgotten city? As this article from the Columbia Journalism Review reminds me, there was once, and is likely to be again, only one full-time American journalist in Haiti.

 

 
 

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Blog for Haiti Earthquake Relief at YouthNoise

Haiti

As the people of Haiti continue their overwhelming struggle in the aftermath of the tragic quake, our partners at YouthNoise are launching an online fundraiser for humanitarian aid.

 

From January 21 until February 4, YouthNoise will be asking bloggers everywhere to do what little they can to help the people of Haiti, whether it be donating to a nonprofit or supporting the Hope for Haiti telethon this Friday, January 22nd.


Share your story of how you helped on the YouthNoise site, and for every story about helping Haiti, YouthNoise will donate $1 to a nonprofit doing humanitarian aid work in Haiti, up to $200. Even if you can't afford to give, you can do your part to raise awareness of the issue.

Not a YouthNoise member? Now is the perfect time to join!

 

Image courtesy of the United Nations Development Programme.

 
 

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Haiti: A View from the Middle East

Seldom does one watch a lead news story on Middle Eastern satellite television that does not offer a steady rotating stream of images of death, destruction, and devastation from places like Gaza, Fallujah, or Kabul. These past few days, however, although the images were familiar, they were from Haiti, and the devastation was not man-made.

Large networks such as Al Jazeera rushed to send their crews to Port-au-Prince, and the vast majority of news satellite networks operating in the region have been competing to update their viewers about the devastation and human agony in this tiny Caribbean country, but à la Middle East ...it had to be about more than just Haiti.


In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Middle Eastern television networks like their counterparts in the U.S. focused on the rescue efforts and finding survivors. Reporters on the ground struggled to convey the destruction and the magnitude of the catastrophe that inflicted the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. But it only took two days before the images of a devastated Haiti were juxtaposed with those of destruction in Gaza and Iraq.

"These images of Port-au-Prince remind me of Gaza," said a presenter on the Iranian Al Alam TV. The report showed a street in Port-au-Prince with collapsed concrete-block homes, then flashed back to a concrete building in Rafah which was completely destroyed last January by rockets fired from Israeli jets.

Meanwhile, Israeli television stations have been airing daily updates of Israeli humanitarian efforts in Haiti. Images of a five-month-old Haitian baby boy being nursed at an Israeli field hospital in Port-au-Prince were looped endlessly. IBA television aired segments of a report prepared by CNN's Elizabeth Cohen marveling over Israel's quickness in setting up a field hospital.

"It's all propaganda," said an analyst on Nile TV from Cairo. "They're willing to travel ten-thousand kilometers to deliver a baby in Haiti, but won't allow food and medicine to cross 100 meters into Gaza where children are dying...it's all propaganda."

Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV did not waste anytime to show solidarity with the "Haitian Brothers," as the reporter narrated a video package showing Palestinians in Gaza collecting aid for Haiti.

"The residents of Gaza, who are themselves dependent on aid as a result of the Israeli blockade that deprives them of food, medicine and other basic necessities, are willing to donate goods such as milk and blankets to Haiti," the broadcast continued.

Meanwhile, Dubai, which has been recently a subject of criticism for its extravagance while piling up debt pledged to provide immediate assistance to 200,000 children in Haiti through international partners. Dubai TV aired a report showing a plane being loaded with a hundred tons of food and supplies heading to Port-au-Prince, a gift from the Emirate. More on the way, the report promised.

Arab countries, especially the oil-rich ones, have been criticized in Western media for not doing enough to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. In reality, many of these countries have already either pledged or sent their support to the devastated nation. Jordan TV showed a report about Jordanian medics heading to Haiti...but this was not reported on CNN.

On the Lebanese channel, New TV, a commentator criticized the United States for rushing to save lives in Haiti while waging two wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, causing the death of more than one million civilians, according to him.

"Oh! The hypocrisy," he lamented.

 

Article first published on the Huffington Post

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Ten Sources for Information on Haiti

The crisis in Haiti has been dominating the headlines since Tuesday's earthquake. Link TV has already given you some ideas of how you can help, and your help, particularly in the form of cash, is urgently needed by the aid agencies working to save lives in Haiti. Now, we've put together this list of some of the best sources for information and news on Haiti. Feel free to add more links to the comment section!

1. Democracy Now! on Link TV
Democracy Now! has been providing impressive coverage of the Haiti earthquake and its aftermath at democracynow.org (click here for broadcast times on Link TV). Today's show reveals a Haiti that is growing increasingly desperate for aid. DN! also looks at angles glossed over by the major media networks, such as the decades of U.S. policies that have contributed to Haiti's terrible poverty.

2. Twitter

The microblogging site Twitter is a natural source for real-time news on Haiti. You can search for all posts in the Twitter-sphere on Haiti, or avoid some noise by trying a Twitter list, such as the ones set up by the LA Times or CNN. You can also look back at Twitter posts from individuals -- like this feed from Christian missionary Troy Livesay -- to see a timeline of the disaster from the perspective of one individual.

3. NGOs

Relief NGOs such as Partners in Health and Direct Relief International have updates on the aid efforts in Haiti. See this blog post for more relief organizations on the ground, and to learn how you can help.

4. Boston.com's Big Picture with Photography from Various Sources
These are photos not for the faint-hearted, but they do convey the true horror in Haiti after the quake struck. Boston.com does a nice job with its photo essays as part of its "Big Picture" series.

5. Global Voices Online
Global Voices, an online network of bloggers around the world, has a webpage with special coverage of the Haiti disaster, including a list of Haiti-based bloggers covering the story.

6. The Miami Herald
Miami has a substantial Haitian population, and the Miami Herald is serving its local community well by providing information in Creole (which, along with French, is one of two official languages in Haiti). The Herald's "Haiti Connect" forum includes a gallery for photos of missing loved ones.

7. Ushahidi - "Crowdsourcing Crisis Information"
This open-source web platform aggregates data on Haiti to support the relief effort. The interface is a little tricky to follow, but it's a great use of the web, compiling user-generated incident reports from the ground including reports of missing persons, emergencies and other threats. The incident reports - such as "Collapsed School", "…Stuck Under Rubble" - will break your heart.

8. New York Times Interactive Map
This map is another great visualization from the New York Times' impressive interactive team, complete with photos and audio.

9. NewsTrust.net
The amount of news articles available on Haiti is overwhelming, but NewsTrust curates the best from the mainstream and independent media. You can weigh in on the quality of the news articles with a review of your own.

10. U.S. Geological Survey Podcast
If you're interested in the science behind this horrific natural disaster, check out this podcast with Michael Blanpied of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. Here's the official USGS report on the Haiti 7.0 magnitude quake.

 
 

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In the Aftermath of the Haitian Earthquake, What You Can Do

In Haiti, rescue workers are scrambling to save lives in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused widespread devastation in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. As aid agencies work within the critical 48-hour window to provide medical attention and to find survivors trapped in the rubble, the death toll estimates at this point are ranging widely. The Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN that deaths could number in the hundreds of thousands, and the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared a "major humanitarian emergency." According to the secretary general's statement, the U.N. headquarters in Haiti was destroyed in the quake, and many of its staff remain unaccounted for.


As today's sun rose on scenes of utter destruction in Port-au-Prince, the terrible reality of this humanitarian disaster became more clear. How can you help? Medical relief organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, International Medical Corps, Partners in Health, and Direct Relief International are among the many responding directly to the crisis. CNN and MSNBC have expanded lists of organizations providing relief on the ground. The U.S. State Department suggests that "for those interested in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill." Musician Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund is also taking donations for the earthquake relief operation. Finally, if you are interested in volunteering firsthand in Haiti, check out Idealist.org's article on disaster relief volunteering to learn more. We encourage you to add more suggestions to the comment section! Haiti needs our help.

 

 
 

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Danny Glover on Haiti and Climate Change: We Have to Act Now

With thoughtful insight into the devastation that struck Haiti yesterday, Link TV board member Danny Glover spoke with our friends at GRITtv today to discuss steps forward for the Haitian capital. Glover points out that in this great moment of internationalism, the U.S. has the opportunity to rebuild its relationship with Haiti, and he voices a warning that disasters like this will inevitably strike again as climate change continues. This GRITtv clip also includes a harrowing interview with Marie St. Cyr, a prominent AIDS activist with family in Haiti.

 

 

More blog posts on Haiti:

 
 

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