By Peter Sells
Jan. 14, 2010
OK, let’s start with a trivia question. Where and when did the only successful slave rebellion in history take place? No peeking; the answer will be just a few sentences below. A hint for you: this former colony of a European former superpower experienced a 13-year revolution culminating in full independence in 1804. All the while, nation building in the colonizing country following its own revolution led to neglect of its colonies. Having lost this island colony as a base of operations in the new world, and needing cash to fund his war machine, Napoleon (oops, giving it away now) subsequently sold about one-quarter of the present United States of America to his buddy Thomas Jefferson. Suddenly the new, small country of former slaves was alone, with no allies or trading partners and few resources for building a nation.
By Peter Sells
So this black, francophone, upstart nation became a
pariah in the international community and has largely remained such to this
day. Collectively we have ignored the poverty and oppression in Haiti for
the last two centuries. Haiti is the
poorest country in the western hemisphere. If Haiti produced
oil and copper instead of coffee and sugarcane, how would history have
So now let’s see if we can walk our talk. I’m a bit
out of touch this month, two continents and nine time zones removed from my
home base. Regardless, I will be watching the news with interest to see if our
collective Canadian resources are mobilized to assist the Haitian population in
the wake of this week’s earthquake.
Supposedly, our main area of expertise in disaster relief is water
purification. And we have our HUSAR task forces, which are ready for
deployment. If we can’t be there for our Caribbean
neighbours in their time of desperate need then shame on us.
This month please keep this blog current. Let the
readership of Fire Fighting in Canada know
what is going on in your community with respect to Haitian earthquake relief. Haitians
may not look like most of us or speak like most of us, but they are our
brothers and sisters.