Will our hundreds of millions help Haiti?

This week Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper and French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Haiti to pledge, together, more than half a billion dollars in aid for the earthquake devastated Caribbean nation. Will this money make much of a difference in the lives of desperately impoverished Haitians? Will Haiti’s future get better due to the outpouring of help from Canada, the U.S., France, and other concerned nations?

NOT LIKELY according to one knowledgeable “free market do-gooder” who visits the various hell-holes on this planet. Doug Casey of the Casey Research financial newsletter believes that it doesn’t matter how much aid you shovel down Haiti’s bottomless pit, the long-term outlook for average Haitians will remain grim. Oh yes, today’s flow of aid will alleviate temporarily some suffering. A band-aid, a bottle of water, or a gangrenous leg cut off today is better than no help at all. But Casey predicts that utterly ruthless Haitian officials will siphon off into their secret bank accounts most of our well-intentioned donations.

For most of its tragic history Haiti has been run as a kleptocracy—where the power of the state has proven the most efficient means of stealing from the people. According to Casey, the very idea of putting the Haitian government in charge of rebuilding the place is “insane.” Casey must find some dark ironic humour in the news that Canada’s government proposes to rebuild a “banana republic without bananas” headquarters complex while France’s government offers to give the kleptocrats $40 million to help support their budget (lifestyle). After all, we’re talking about strengthening the power and position of a circle of bureaucrats who have reduced their fellow countrymen to utter poverty by corruption and oppression in order to selfishly enrich themselves. If you want to read Doug Casey’s full interview about the reasons behind Haiti’s poverty, then go to Conversations with Casey at http://www.caseyresearch.com/displayCwc.php?id=38.

Sadly, the problems in Haiti are nothing new in human experience. The issue of poor and/or corrupt human governance has long brought difficulties on everyday people. The Scriptures have something important to say that applies specifically to Haiti’s situation!

When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it—But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out. The wicked who oppress the poor are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest. If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity; if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail (Proverbs 28:2-4 The Message translation).

Of course, considering the current financial situation and political challenges facing the Western democratic governments right now, what are the real qualities of leadership that are needed for public service in not only Haiti, but also Canada, the U.S., and France?

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain’ (2 Samuel 23:3-4 NKJV).

The ideal of good government carried out to benefit the governed as expressed above is entirely possible. Men can govern correctly—but it does take a knowledge of the moral logic of this universe and the personal commitment and discipline to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. In the 21st Century when we think of King David of ancient Israel we tend to think of his personal bravery fighting the giant Goliath (whose name, by the way, was recently found etched on a potsherd discovered in an official archaeological dig) or perhaps his affair with Bathsheba. But for his contemporaries, what really made an impression on them was how David organized and ran his government and its legal system:

David ruled over the whole nation of Israel. He did what was fair and right for all of his people (1 Chronicles 18:14 New International Reader’s Version).

If we all had rulers who really cared for us, who were incorruptible, and who always acted in the public’s interest, who were motivated to ensure justice and fairness for all, then how our world and personal lives would be different today.  Only when such fair and right-doing people finally occupy positions of leadership in Haiti will it have a real hope instead of today’s faint-hope that somehow a few of the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid will actually end up being spent to help them.


3 thoughts on “Will our hundreds of millions help Haiti?

  1. JF

    Hi Jeff
    I concur with your view that the problems of Haiti are a result of years of poor government. The examples you point out from the life of King David are “right on” in showing that Haiti needs rulers that are “just” and “ruling in the fear of God” (Only this “fear” will help OVERCOME the tendency of rulers to become greedy & selfish). Rulers (& people) conduct their lives differently if they believe God is following (& judging) our actions.

    As an individual, I wish I could have “all understanding” & wisdom to solve all of the world’s problems … but problems like Haiti simply humble me, and have me praying “Thy Kingdom Come”.

    The Kingdom of God –“the World Tomorrow”– offers hope & answers for the problems we face today. I look forward to more of your articles showing HOW the problems that are “everywhere around us” might be solved in such a world.


  2. JF

    Hi Jeff

    I spoke to a couple friends about your article on Haiti … it has been a “stone in my shoe” because I am trying to reconcile Casey’s views with scripture.

    When I went to Casey’s website to see the whole article … and the link in his article to detail “his views” on “giving to poor nations, or emergency aid”. Clearly Casey is a hyper-“free market” believer, with
    some good reasons why aid can actually “hurt” a country … Even emergency aid after a disaster!

    Can you help me to understand a “Christian view” to giving to the poor, or giving to help after a disaster? Casey lists that he is not a Christian (& believes more in “Karma”). I am just trying to reconcile what (of his views) would God agree with? and what points are not
    Christian? (For example, when he speaks of not helping after a disaster, he is leaving “left unspoken” that this may cause the suffering and death of many thousands, or millions, but, “in the long run”, the country may be better off with less people. This may be true, but does God look at the world this way? Should Christians withhold
    their funds (alms) to help speed the work of the disaster to “reduce the population of the poor nations”?

    Thanks for the assist


  3. Jeff Post author

    Dear Jim,
    I quoted Casey specifically to relate the problem with Haiti’s corrupt leadership and administering aid through them. Without a change in the heart of the local leadership there is only so much good outsiders can do, and that benefit tends to be only temporary.

    I’ve had a bit of connection with Haiti during my years with the WCG’s French Dept. I had a dear Haitian friend who after graduating from AC went to Port-au-Prince repeatedly to try and start a business and employ local members. But the effort nearly drove him crazy and just about broke his health. Much good can be destroyed by evil installed in powerful places. I also had contacts during those days with Rwanda, Zaire (now Congo), and many more African countries. We tried to assist where we could and sometimes had notable successes. But sometimes it felt like trying to stop the tide with your fingers.

    I am conflicted about how much the laudable efforts of NGO’s to assist this world’s hellholes are really changing the situations on the ground. I’m sure they have their successes and setbacks. But if you look at a country like Ethiopia, we’ve saved many many people from starvation only to have to repeat the effort on a larger scale the next time the rains fail because their social organization/economy just continues to repeat a failing system.

    Galatians 6:9-10 NKJV says this: 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

    That is the key point. Preaching the gospel can change hearts and minds and prepare a people for God’s service. The time when real improvement can be made awaits the return of the King. In the meantime, we just do the best we can with what we have and help as many as possible. But it’s like the story of Nicolas Winton and the Power of Good documentary. Winton was able to rescue several hundred children in the winter and early spring of 1938-1939 from among the Jewish refugees stuck in misery during Hitler’s dismemberment of Czeckoslovakia. A few hundred were saved by his actions. But millions–sadly–died under the Nazi’s brutality. Nevertheless, the descendants of those who did survive due to Nicolas Winton’s decision to help now number in the thousands.

    So, I guess the point is that we make a difference where and when we can.

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