Haiti, Katrina, and Why I Won't Give To Haiti Through the Red Cross

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

At Katrina, the Red Cross used funds generously donated by millions of Americans to disperse tens of thousands of black New Orleans residents to the four corners of the continental US, knowing it was very unlkely they would ever be allowed to return.  If the Red Cross didn't respect the persons, the families, the communities of black US citizens, do we really imagine it will respect Haitians?  And why should we believe Wyclef Jean about much of anything?

Haiti, Katrina, and Why I Won't Give To Haiti Through the Red Cross

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

What's charitably given isn't always charitably distributed. In 21st century American and its empire, our corporate and military elite wield immense power. Corporate philanthropy serves corporate interests, not human interests, and corporate control over government, culture and media ensure that even funds donated by ordinary citizens can be directed and harvested for elite purposes too.

In the wake of the man-made disaster of Katrina, Americans freely gave tens of millions to the American Red Cross, which used a great deal of it to effectively disperse the population of black New Orleans to the four corners of the continental U.S. Millions more were diverted to their administrative overhead or other projects. But the local Louisiana elites who benefited from the exile of hundreds of thousands of black New Orleans residents were able to use Red Cross funds and personnel to work their will.

I know. I was there. In the days immediately after Katrina in 2005 I made it down to Baton Rouge, where thousands of the evacuees pulled out of the water and scooped off rooftops and overpasses were huddled in shelters at the city's convention center and Southern University. The shelters were hard to miss, because there was a mile long line of buses crawling toward each one. The busiest person in each shelter was the transportation coordinator.

If an evacuee had a high status job, proof of ID and checkable references, I saw them put plane tickets for the whole family in that person's hand, line up a job in Detroit or Los Angeles, and call them a cab to the airport. But for everybody else without a car, they had one solution. Get on the bus. There would be no way back, and no plans to help you go back. There's a bus for you, going to Dallas or Houston or somewhere.  Get on it.

Singly and in groups I interviewed just under a hundred evacuees in a day and a half, many still disoriented. They wanted to be reunited with their families. They wondered if they'd be able to go back, or if there would be anything to go back to. But all the Red Cross told them, I heard again and again, was that the shelter is closing in a couple of days, you can't stay here in Baton Rouge, you have to get on a bus to Houston, Dallas, Atlanta or somewhere. Now. Even those who had businesses before the flood --- I talked to the owner of a bakery and a car repair shop who stayed to protect their investment and to look after relatives --- even they were told there's nothing here for you but a bus going out of state.

I talked to some of the Red Cross people who ran the shelter too, especially at Southern University. I asked how they knew evacuees had nothing in New Orleans to go back to. They were white, of course and most of the sheltered evacuees were black. “Look at them,” was the stock answer from several. “What could they possibly have worth going back to? They are better off starting new lives somewhere else,” they rationalized.

The places they came from were cesspools anyway, some of the good white Red Cross folks helpfully told me, citing news stories in wide circulation about New Orleans residents firing on helicopters and boats that were rescuing people.  Had I ever actually been to some of those neighborhoods, they asked?  Of course the crap about shooting at copters and rescue boats turned out to be false, and I told them it was likely nonsense.  But they seemed to need to believe the madness, and did.

I recall pointing out that if they were dispersed far out of state many would have no way back.  This too had little effect on them.  One or two seemed to struggle a bit with what I told them, saying they hoped it was not true, but said they were just doing their jobs.

My point here is that in a society controlled by an elite with often questionable motives, the charities this corporate elite and their media promote have to be questioned too. I won't give a nickel through the Red Cross because they are no more likely to recognize the viability and full humanity of Haitians and their communities than did on the Gulf Coast. The Red Cross isn't alone in this.

The US government, as Glen Ford points out, has thoroughly militarized US aid to Haiti, and the same US corporate media that painted New Orleans as a cesspool of violence and despair are bringing us images and impressions of Haiti that match their twisted vision. Food and water cannot be distributed until “order” is restored.

Corporate media manufacture “celebrities” all the time, people who are famous for being well known.  We know more about the lives, tatoos and and personal business of celebrities than we know about the public affairs in our own cities and towns and school boards. Haitian musician Wyclef Jean used his celebrity, and the earthquake, to raise millions for his own Haitian charity.

We make no judgment on the allegations that its bookkeeping may be irregular. But it's worth noting that Wyclef Jean has family ties to the group of gangsters and thugs that the Clinton-era CIA installed in office when it removed Haiti's elected president, Jean-Betrand Aristide from office in the 1990s. Wyclef Jean has repeated the contemptible lie all over black radio that Aristide skipped the country with $900 million stolen from Haitians. We understand where this comes from. Wyclef's uncle was the Washington DC representative of the short-lived 1990s un-elected gangster government of Haiti. He runs a right wing rag of a Haitian newspaper dedicated to spreading outrageous and self-serving falsehoods against Lavalas, the only Haitian party capable of winning free elections in that unhappy country.  If Wyclef will lie about that, we wonder what else he'd lie about, and why we should trust him with our money.

Wyclef's problems aside, one way to ensure your donations are deployed and used in a manner faithful to your intent, and respectful of the Haitian rights to community, humanity and agency, is to send them to efforts managed in whole or in part by responsible Haitians, and members of the Haitian diaspora.

Here are a few of the places to donate that we recommend, people whom we and those close to us can vouch for personally. Give generously, as we understand aftershocks are continuing to occur. There are many others. But not the Red Cross. Probably not anybody whose name you see on CNN. Or on BET. Our apologies to the great people we haven't mentioned. Use the comments to add more recommendations of authentic, grassroots, responsible places for people to donate. Our comments are moderated, of course.

Scattering Resouces – Online donations via PayPal

Scattering Resources is working in cooperation with Fondation Avenir in on-the-ground relief efforts in Haiti. Members of Scattering Resources help comprise a team that delivering supplies and assessing the situation in local communities inside Port-au-Prince and Jacmel.

Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

HLLN is connected with networks of Haitian doctors and others abroad, and with care providers on the ground in Haiti.

And of course the National Nurses Organization will let you volunteer (if you're an RN) to go yourself, or donate to sponsor an RN. Check them out at http://www.sendanurse.org



Thank you Mr. Dixon

Thanks for the information.  I've just made a donation to the National Nurses Organization.  I wish I were younger and more useful and could be there to help--even if I had to work in the heat all day digging people out of the rubble. 

Thanks B.A. Dixon for more of the sto

ry about the Red Cross and Katrina.  I was not online then. (Am online just over 2 years.)  I'd heard some of what you wrote about the Red Cross and had decided to never give them any money.  (I'm not a fan since the days when I was a regular blood donor, had made a donation specifically for someone and asked if the person would be charged for my blood.  I was told there'd be a fee for the person receiving my donated blood and I felt it was high.  I refused to give again if they charged people for the blood.  Later, I became ill  with CFS/ME, chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyalitis and unable to donate anyway.)  Groups in NYC were collecting for NOLA/Katrina.
I have given to Doctors Without Borders at times and have been thinking about giving to them.  Any opinion on the group?

I understand that corporate

I understand that corporate merceneries from USA, which apparently have been operating in Haiti since the "Black Peesident" Bill Clinton put them there are already on the ground endangering the lives of Africans who are quake victims. Please, read the rest of the story: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100201/scahill
Why are people of African descent so disunited allowing these people to pretty much dictate every aspect of their lives? You know something I have not the current president of Haiti saying anything about what has happened to his country!

Laboring class slavery

If you were of my slow and careful thinking laboring class, surely no need would you have to ask such a question.

For endured you would have, a lifetime of such degrading humilitian.

Wow Mr. Dixon...

I was wondering why I never heard Wyclef support Aristide. This article made me think about a recent interview that I saw MSNBC give Praz (from the group Fugees). Apparently, he's lobbying to set up oversight of ALL Haiti aid organizations to make sure the money gets to the people on the ground. He hinted that he's been receiving death threats. Now, Praz and Wyclef have been "beefin" a little bit (off and on) since the Fugees broke up, but he defended Wyclef in the interview, and seemed to be focused on attacking the people in Wyclef's inner circle behind the scenes... I'm trying to find the full video link of this interview... If anybody gets to it first, post it up!

Somebody, get in touch with Praz for an interview... I'm looking for his contact information too...


Here I be, a slow and careful thinking laboring man who grew up in the slums of Milwaukee, Minneapolis and LA, and there you all be, so stuck-up being of the intelligent middleclass that you have not a laboring man with any desire to support your cause.
Comes now light to force such darkness to give way,
unless of course your in love with darkness.  
When plantation owners went down to the slave market, top dollar were they willing to pay for the slaves with the most pacifist, agreeable and gentle spirit.  A fact well known by slave traders and in selecting their next boat load of victims, virtually all were smiling and friendly until put in chains and packed like sardines below deck.
And as evidence by most all in Haiti being most smiley and friendly, this aspect of our mind, character and personality passes from father to son.
So, the police in Haiti that have since the CIA coup dictatorship of 2004 been executing over 2,000 Aristide supporters a year, they are the aggressive sons of the aggressive slave-drivers of old.
And so, if we want freedom for the slaves in Haiti, organize we must and get down to Haiti in force, as the gentle slaves of Haiti have no desire to oppose anyone.

Red Cross Double Cross

Thanks bruce for another on point article.   I like you know all about the Red Cross.  I would not give one stinkin penny to those blood sucking jackals.  I worked for FEMA at a call center in LA during the Katrina event and I talked to many many people that the Red Cross deported to the four corners of the country.  From Seattle Washington to Providence Rode Island, from NYC to LA the Red Cross and FEMA scattered the evacuees like wheat chaff in the wind.  They did this on purpose just like you said.  I talked to evacuees that told me they were just put on a bus and half the time they did not know where they were going.  Evacuees were held hostage in hotels and when the Red Cross ran out of money they abandoned them there.  FEMA had to take over paying the hotel bills and they did not do that for long.
Just image for a moment you have lost everything you have and have been separated from everyone that you have ever known and taken someplace you have never been and know nothing about and given no options no resources no tools to help you start over (much less go back to where you came from).  Many of the people I talked to were overwhelmed disorientated confused and still reeling form the trauma of the hurricane event.  The last thing they needed was to be shipped off some where like chattel (Haven’t we seen this movie before???).  I would talk to evacuees and then go home and watch what I heard them tell me play out on nation wide TV in real time (they were not telling me any LIES!!!).
As you clearly stated a lot of money was given to charity organizations for Katrina but very little of that money got to the folks that needed it.  The same thing is happening and will happen in Haiti.  A lot of money will go into the charity organization pipeline but not much of it will come out at the end where the people who need it will be at.  The Red Cross will be part and parcel of the disaster capitalism double cross on the survivors/evacuees of the tragedy now unfolding in Haiti.  Here are some links to articles that will make it really really clear what is the true story on Haiti.
S Murph


We gave through our church and did not go through the Red Cross. Our church has "connections" that allowed the monies donated to get there immediately, and every single penny went. The best charities will collect cash as well as water, food and the like. The money is already there and the other items will be going soon. When an agency only wants cash then you should think again. casino online

Haitians ARE fighters

Very interesting video on mrzine.org about the fight Haitians have put up for hundreds of years, which is the precise reason we and previous empires are so determined to exterminate them.  Can't have them set another bad example, like Cuba.
See Haiti and the Devil's Curse

In my opinion, judging Pres.

In my opinion, judging Pres. Obama's peformance in such a short period would not be accurate. There is so much damage control to be done that it would take some few years to see the results of his platforms. We should just be patient. Namibia Safari

Been reading a lot of custom

Been reading a lot of custom essays about this.In my own dictum, I think the Red Cross did was to place itself at the service of those elite interests who wanted that population dispersed. The Red Cross cannot be blamed for inventing the policy, just for carrying it out.

Help Them

I was really dissapointed of what happened since Haiti is a poor country many lives are affected and even killed a lot of people because of the tragedy. I was one of the donors of the Haiti victims and many people then are also helping to the victims and this article will also be a great help in maintaining food and water to the victims. Since I was a designer in fort worth web design, I sell some designs for the Haiti victims.

This is just a tragedy. I

This is just a tragedy. I remember that our office at Haunted House Canada office donated 2% of our daily earning for 3 months for the victims.  I just hope a catasthrope like this will not happen again.

Gelunfute been thoroughly militarized

Gelunfute been thoroughly militarized United States assistance to Haiti and New Orleans, American Business Media indicated that quagmire of violence and despair, for our image and understanding of Haiti to fulfill their twisted vision.

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