The United States of Haiti.


How many of us are old enough to remember the first time anybody heard about the AIDS crisis?

It was Phil Donahue, hosting his pioneering talk show, who broke the story. I was waiting tables in the local Greek dinor, spelled with an “o”, and caught the episode hours before heading to work to serve the 3rd shift bar rush, already all too familiar with the population to whom this revelation would soon become paramount.

The year was, I think, 1981. My elder brother was assistant director at the local diagnostic laboratory. Though I urged him to take note of the Donahue show’s disclosure, he knew nothing, as yet – no official information had come through the “wire” – and, being a scientist, he wasn’t about to take seriously any press release that hadn’t been sanctioned by the hierarchy to which he was beholden.

However, eventually we all knew the truth. Behavior, in American society, would begin its slow, resistant slog through the paradigm shift which ensued. Condoms, so said my oldest male friend, felt like wet socks; this would take some time.

At first, the crisis seemed remote; we neither knew anybody, nor knew of anybody, stricken with AIDS. We wondered; we might have even suspected; but, none of us knew.

Gradually, the epidemic manifested. Sourcing its roots on another continent, we would soon realize that the infection was essentially world wide.

But, far less likely realized by the mainstream, one tiny country would be hardest hit: Haiti. And, what this illustrated would become far more revelatory in its implications than the disease itself.

Haiti was utterly infested with AIDS. And, the reasons were socio-economic; the island nation was a suppressed people, its vast majority of citizens living in abject poverty. And, the reason for this was, while simple, profound: the leadership of this country was among the most corrupt in the world.

Yes; during the 1980s, illiteracy in Haiti was a huge problem. French being the national language, the poor spoke Creole and efforts to coerce them away from their native dialect were allegedly unsuccessful. Communication, therefore, was impossible – but, so was advancement. Politically, this was enabling; pernicious corruption had led to a massive wealth monopoly amongst the power elite, from which nary a vapor would waft in the direction of the enormous, ignorant, remaining population.

Smell familiar?

There are those who call me prone to hyperbole. I’m guilty of seeing potential for the drastic in the most mundane. But, do we not see any writing on the wall?

The longer we allow the gulph to widen between the monopolizing 1% and the body of our own increasingly financially dependent population, the more infested we are likely to become – by despair, resentment, hostility. And, yes; even disease.  Only, now, many of us wonder just which puppeteers have the latest virus in their bag of tricks.

The sheer square mileage of our purple mountains and fruited plains could be dwarfed, compressed in a small amount of time by an infectious agent – or, worse – some alleged antidote marketed as a preventive. There are far too many of us still willing to remain impressionable, malleable, and subject, forgetting that there is still strength in numbers. Come. Let us reason, t.o.g.e.t.h.e.r. Instead of rallying behind a single voice promising to protect us from threat, only to hedge its own invested bets, shouldn’t we rather band together as a unified flank, and protect ourselves?

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  2/20/16    All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Sharing permitted via Re-Blogging, exclusively. Thank you.

littlebarefeetblog.com

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4 thoughts on “The United States of Haiti.

  1. Its a nightmare to imagine in a 100yrs, or 2 or 3, maybe 5 hundred years, when they look back in history on our age, they may well say “Wow, back then they deliberatley proliferated disease and ripped people off, and not even for a cure!” Or perhaps by then it will be even worse?

    I look back on history, the Romans for example, were particularly brutal even tho they advanced civilisation in so many ways, history doesn’t seem to progress from nasty towards nice, rather it goes “however it goes”

    Here in the UK for example, they are cutting back on expensive projects such as “compassion” as if they were a threat to the supposed divine order! Good grief!! XX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. Being of Italian, or at the very least Southern Mediterranean heritage myself, the legacy of the Romans is oftentimes a humiliation for me. Marauding barbarians, all. Are the British still using terms like “divine order”, or is that an historical carry over? I couldn’t help noting how cheerily the CEO of the nursing home where my father spent his final three months made his presence apparent not days before two residents were emergency couriered to the hospital in the night for pneumonia within days of each other, followed by my father, who lived only 9 days hence. How often we hear “well, the elderly often succumb to pneumonia.” My hunch is that it’s easy enough to open a vial and let the virus become airborne, in the spring, when it’s “time” to revolve the available beds. Yes, that’s me: cynic, all the way. Been there; minus the actual vial, saw it happening. I wouldn’t put any of this past the whole lot of them. Not today.

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      1. Ha,ha, well no, they don’t really mention “The divine order” so much these days, or at least not directly! I’m so cynical, I throw these things out there without even realising – no wonder a lot of people I talk to consider me some kind of a nut!

        There was a story in the news last week where one pharmacutical company was paying another not to release some new drug for another few months or years, in order to maintain their financial plans for the next quarter (or whatever). The whole game is a minefield I agree, a nasty business.

        Those bloody Romans! And the Vikings! Bad lot, can’t be trusted!

        Liked by 1 person

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