Ten years to the day after Haiti suffered a magnitude 7 earthquake that killed 250,000, CBS News sent Jeff Glor to Port au Prince to report on progress. There wasn’t any—or at least, it didn’t seem that way.
“Mass protests, gang violence, rampant political corruption...jobs are scarce,” was his glum assessment. 80 million dollars had immediately after the quake been allocated to rebuild the hospital, and CBS showed the unfinished building standing empty. As to the condition of the old hospital still in use—the only hospital in town? It “reeks of raw sewage, piles of trash are everywhere.”
“Sorry, Buddy, I’m sorry,” a shaken Jeff Glor murmurs, stroking the head of a writhing infant unable to relieve himself. “I can’t imagine the pain he’s in right now,” he says to his parent.
Read the report of how the beacon of relief looked to by humanists ten years ago raised half a billion dollars in the wake of the earthquake—and squandered almost all of it: here
Yes, but surely ten years later, mighty progress has been made. Nope. Doesn’t seem so. In contrast, disaster relief teams organized by the Coordinator’s Committee of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’s Governing Body, quickly attended to physical needs of members back then. Not only physical needs, but the more important spiritual needs, for it is widely recognized that hope is what people need to get through such a time at least as much as physical relief.
An excerpt from Tom Irregardless and Me:
In contrast, the Red Cross, America’s ‘charity of choice,’ succeeded in raising half a billion dollars after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010. Five years later, ProPublica and NPR jointly reported that they had astonishingly little to show for it; “It’s difficult to know where it all went,” they wrote. Search through their June 3, 2015 report and read the devastating consequences of not having Bible education.
Read how the ones in charge couldn’t speak the native languages and often skipped community meetings on that account. Read how some disrespected the local workers. Read how Washington headquarters micromanaged everything, how shifting senior management slowed progress to a crawl, how leaders with “absolutely no expertise” wielded authority. Read about hand-washing campaigns launched with huge fanfare to people who had no access to soap or water. Read about the 130,000 claimed to have been housed, but who actually just attended a seminar on how to fix their own homes, received temporary rental assistance or provisional shelters that started to disintegrate after three to five years. And be fair to the Red Cross: Read their response. Read it all. Were it not so tragic, it would be laughable. It was all so preventable. All that was needed was Bible education. Jehovah’s Witnesses have it. They value it. They didn’t suffer from the Red Cross’s problems.
You should be fair to the Red Cross - don’t pile on just because the herd does. Haiti is a spectacular train wreck for them, but probably they do better elsewhere. Doubtless they have fine people doing their best. No one alleges theft. They offer an explanation for their performance. Read it. Essentially, they had problems because they didn’t know what they were doing: they didn’t mesh with the locals, they didn’t understand the local laws. Cut them slack on these things, if you like, but also note that such problems would never occur in Jehovah’s organization, where local people are highly valued, if not placed in charge.
Author Bill Underwood in the now defunct examinier.com compared the disaster relief efforts of several religious organizations. Most issued urgent appeals for money. Most provided only sketchy details as to what they would do with those monies. But when it came to the Watchtower:
Well, that was refreshing. I went to watchtower.org and searched it for references to money, donations, charity. All I found were Watchtower articles such as ‘Is money you master or your servant?’ Try as I might, there was no way to donate any money to the organization, nor any request for donations. The only mention of money I found, in connection with Haiti, was in a public news release at jw-media.org entitled “Witnesses’ relief efforts well under way for victims of earthquake in Haiti.” A single line at the bottom read, ‘The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work.’
....At the home of Victor Vomidog, an alarm panel light pulsed red. Victor read the incoming feed. It was serious. Someone was saying nice things about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Instantly, he swung into action. There was not a moment to lose. He opened his door and whistled. The media came running. “Witnesses are selfish!” he cried. “They only think of themselves! Why don’t they help everyone? Why do they just do their own people?” That evening, media ran the headline: “WHY DON’T THEY HELP EVERYONE?”
But they had asked the wrong question. The headline they should have run, but didn’t, because they didn’t want to deal with the answer, was: “WHY AREN’T OTHERS DOING THE SAME?” The answer to the first question is obvious: Witness efforts consist of volunteers using their vacation time. Just how much time is the boss going to grant?
So do it yourself, Victor! Organize your own new chums! Or send your money to some mega-agency where they think Bible education is for fools. Be content to see monies frittered away on salaries, hotels, travel, retirement, health care benefits, and God knows what else! Be content to see much of what remains squandered! It’s the best you can do - embrace it! Or at least shut up about the one organization that has its act together.
The obvious solution, when it comes to disaster relief, is for others to do as we do. Why have they not? There are hundreds of religions. There are atheists…aren’t you tight with Sam now, Victor? Organize them, why don’t you? They all claim to be unGod’s gift to humankind. Surely they can see human suffering. Why don’t they step up to the plate themselves?
They can’t. They are vested in a selfish model that runs a selfish world. Let them become Jehovah’s Witnesses and benefit from the Bible education overseen by the Governing Body, Plato’s and Sider’s dream brought to life. But if they stay where they are, they must look to their own organization or lack thereof. There’s no excuse that they should not be able to copy us. They have far more resources to draw upon. We’re not big enough to do everyone for free, and we don’t know how to run a for-pay model; we’ve no experience in that. Instead, other groups must learn how to put love into action, as we did long ago.
C’mon, Victor! If all the world needs is to ‘come together,’ then see to it! We don’t know how to do that. People without Bible education tend not to get along. You make them do it! You don’t want to, or can’t, do large-scale relief, yet you want to shoot down those who do! What a liar!
CBS News and Jeff Glor is determined to find a silver lining in this total failure uncovered during his 2020 visit. He does find one—but it is not in Port au Prince, which is still apparently a lost cause, despite humanists throwing everything they have at it.
“But take a trip outside the capitol and you find a remarkable place that many people doubted could ever exist in this country.” Jeff reports of St Boniface hospital, a remarkable (for Haiti) institution run by Health Equity International, caring for needs that cannot be cared for anywhere else in the country, says it’s director. People travel hundreds of miles to get there. It was started in 1983 and thus has nothing to do with human efforts in response to the 2010 devastation, but it clearly has found a place since then.
No bad things will be said about Health Equity International. Only good things. It represents dedication at its best. Still, in the context of the greater picture....well—you must “take a trip outside the capitol” to find it—something, unless I am very wrong, that the majority of residents will not be able to do. Inside the capitol—where everyone is—there appears scant improvement in 2010, in fact, worse than scant improvement, for there were not “mass protests” prior to the quake, and probably “gang violence” was not as bad. “Rampant political corruption” probably was, but that is business as usual in large portions of the world.
Fix it, you humanists. Fix it, you anti-cultists. Fix it, you “evidence-based” atheists. Or at least lay off on deriding JWs, since your people certainly aren’t rising to the occasion.