Monday, February 1, 2010

and what makes your life better than mine?

the haitian police arrested some american "do-gooders" trying to transport haitian children into the dominican republic. from what i've read all around, the idea is to get these kids "out of haiti" and adopted in the "developed" world.

it wasn't even certain that these kids were orphaned. just, you know, supposed.

something that has been eating at me a lot lately is the idea that just because the USA is "developed" doesn't mean that it's better.

like, really, do i want my kids to sit in front of their big, flat screened, plasma t.v. for hours everyday, only to get up to gorge themselves on some more unhealthy processed food and when they're older to play video games all day and have to walk through metal detectors to go to school?


so maybe haitian kids don't have all that. there might be no t.v. there might be no pizza pockets or bagel bites or hershey chocolate. and they might not be able to play rock band or exercise on wii fit.

but, they're also not inactive, sedentary lumps suffering from type 2 diabetes at age 12. they don't have a fake guitar to rock out, but they also don't NEED a wii fit to keep in shape.

so many people are trying to "save" haiti. the arrogance of americans to think that OUR lifestyle is the only valid lifestyle. that adoption into an american family is the only way these poor, little haitian babies are going to have a worthwhile life.

i don't live in the states, but i get stuck in it to. the american way isn't the only way. people are thriving the world over.

they might not have the material goods or money that americans have, but maybe. maybe that's not all life is about.


Chennifer said...

Great post! Don't think that it's limited to the states - I feel like people have th same view here in Sweden (but then this country does what it can to be as much like the states as possible) - that the way we live is the right and superior way. When Argentina got a female president (not that she is good, but it's a great step forward that they chose a woman) the only thing that the media in Sweden talked about was that choosing a female president didn't mean that Argentina would focus on equality issues between men and women. Sweden on the other hand NEVER had a female Prime Minister! And we're supposed to be all about equality. Also, even though I am a feminist I believe that it is more important, in a country like Argentina, to focus on the children who live on the streets before ANYTHING else (not that la presidenta did that either). Anyway - Great post! //Jennifer

Erin said...

I definitely undetsand your sentiment, and I agree that quality of life does not necessarially coincide with the development of one's country. And while I'm certainly not advocating for what that group did, I'd like to believe (or maybe I'm choosing to believe) that their hearts were in the right place. That is to say that I don't think they came from any place of judgement but rather a place of being concerned for the "presumably" orphaned children and wanting to help unite them with people that can love and care for them.

melanie. said...

@Erin - you may or may not know that the island of hispaniola is just behind thailand (who is number 1) in human trafficking. They STOLE those children with NO paperwork, without even really knowing if they were orphaned or not. Not one of the people in the group spoke creole, and only a few spoke basic spanish. Maybe their hearts were in the right place, but there is a PROCESS and a correct way to do things. Their "orphanage" hadn't even been built yet and were taking these "orphans" to live in a hotel in Cabarete (one of the "hotspots" of prostitution) until their orphanage was complete. Why not wait for due process? Why not just sit tight, do what they could IN haiti? The whole story really just smells bad. And when they were asked, they were telling people that "oh my god, how do people live in such filth? even before the earthquake this place was hell for kids!" But those same people are the people who criticize ALL developing nations just because they're not materially obsessed.

So, yes, maybe their hearts were there. But it was completely not the way to do things.