Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review--The Big Truck That Went By

I've no doubt that reading other books might offer different spins on Haiti and its horrific misfortunes. Katz doesn't hold back from giving his opinions, but his authority is created upon his actually being there for the years in question, experiencing the massive earthquake itself and the countless aftershocks thereafter--the geological aftershocks as well as a host of others.  Katz was there, an AP journalist, in position to write the story, and he does. It's not pretty, but then I imagine most of Haiti wasn't pretty post-apocalypse--and maybe still is not. Then again, to read Katz's take on Haitian history is to realize that those of us comfortably situated in the U.S. of A., need to accept our share of the blame for significant problems which continue to beset this struggling nation right on our southern doorstep. 

The NGOs come in for lots of criticism, but that's not rare these days. Hundreds of well-intention-ed efforts to help often seemed mismatched and piecemeal, attempting to wipe up horrors with Charmin tissue. The Clintons come in for some criticism as well, even though both of them played significant roles in the recovery. 

What Katz says rather forthrightly (and argues for as well) is the importance of believing and investing in governmental infrastructure, despite the widespread conviction (and there's lots of evidence) that the government, whoever is at its head, is finally and fully corrupt.  Until the government can do some of the things that NGOs insist on doing, he asserts, nothing will finally improve in Haiti.  

I'm very glad to have read--or listened to--this fascinating memoir of his time in Haiti; but if you're looking for something for the beach, look on a different shelf.

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