Wouldn’t it just?

By DeusExMacintosh

Five cases of cholera have been detected in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, the UN says, amid an outbreak that has killed more than 200 people…

More than a million survivors of Haiti’s devastating January earthquake are crowded into tent cities around Port-au-Prince with poor sanitary conditions and little access to clean drinking water. Those in the camps are highly vulnerable to the intestinal infection, which is caused by bacteria transmitted through contaminated water or food.

Cholera causes diarrhoea and vomiting leading to severe dehydration, and can kill quickly if left untreated through rehydration and antibiotics…

Meanwhile, officials confirmed that 194 people had died of cholera in Artibonite, and another 14 in Central Plateau. The worst-hit areas were Saint-Marc, Grande Saline, L’Estere, Marchand Dessalines, Desdunes, Petite Riviere, Lachapelle, and St Michel de l’Attalaye, said the UN.

A number of cases have also been reported in the city of Gonaives, and towns closer to the capital, including Archaei, Limbe and Mirebalais.

Local hospitals have been overwhelmed. Aid workers said many patients at the St Nicholas hospital in Saint-Marc were being forced to lie outside in the car park in unhygienic conditions, hooked up to intravenous drips.

The aid agency Medicins Sans Frontieres has set up a cordon around the hospital to control exit and entry to try to contain the spread of the outbreak…

Some patients said they became ill after drinking water from a canal, but others said they were drinking only purified water. The Artibonite river, which irrigates central Haiti, is thought to be contaminated.

BBC News

The DEC Appeal for the Haiti earthquake is now closed, but please consider sending direct donations to aid organisations currently responding like the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres.


  1. Posted October 25, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    Haiti is just an easy place to get depressed over.

    It is also one where Frog-bashing is very easy. It also provides strong support for Peter Turchin‘s claims about the long-term destructive effects of mass slavery on social capital.

  2. Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    [email protected] on mass slavery: agreed, but I feel SL and classicists might weigh in on the difference between C16-C20 slavery and BCE forms.

  3. Henry2
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Is this the appropriate place to comment on the Curse that is supposedly on Haiti and to compare it with its neighbor the Dominican Republic?



  4. Posted October 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Rome and Greek states (notably Athens) had mass slavery. As far as I am aware, they are the only other mass slave societies apart from the antebellum South, the Caribbean and Brazil. Roman law was actually harsher about slavery (they had the legal status of owned animals) than the latter three, since it had no Christian overlay.

    [email protected] As for the Curse, eye rolling is appropriate, though there is a nice demolition here. The difference with the Dominican Republic can probably be explained by Haiti being far more socially devastated by the struggle for independence and its aftermath than was the case with the Dominican Republic, and the Dominican Republic having longer period of stable rule.

  5. Henry2
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank You Lorenzo.

    Im always happy to be shown the direction to further my education 🙂



  6. Posted October 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    The best essay I’ve ever read (as in, has the best explanatory power) about Roman (but not Greek) slavery is by economist Peter Temin. It’s available below, first on the list. The second is good also, because it illustrates what unreconstructed capitalists the Romans were.


    Roman law as regards slavery had the merit of candour: here is the relevant passage in the Institutes 1.3.1:

    Slavery is an institution of the law of nations (jus gentium) by which someone is subjected to the ownership (dominium) of another, contrary to nature (contra naturam).

    No Roman lawyer ever tried to argue that slavery was natural, or that some people were naturally servile (Aristotle’s view). Indeed, the Aristotelian view occasioned much mirth among Roman lawyers. Servile status was conferred by a piece of paper, and could be removed by a piece of paper.

    Because Roman society was so unequal (and this inequality was simply accepted, there was never any argument against it) there was no necessity to tell nasty stories about status inferiors. That is, no requirement to define slaves as 3/5 human or women as crippled by original sin. That came later, in societies that had at least a vague notion of equality. If people are basically equal, and a group is to be consigned to the outer darkness, then a story attesting to their ‘natural’ inferiority has to be told.

    What mattered in Roman law was ‘status’, which many scholars translate as ‘class’, but that gives the term a Marxist overlay that distorts our understanding of it. Paradoxically, it is why Roman women had many more rights than women in other societies until modernity. Rights were tied to status, and if you had status, then other things (gender, colour) did not matter as much or at all.

    Posted October 26, 2010 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Prepares to duck stale fruit.
    Pax Americana with atrophying remnants of the European Ancien Regime.
    And the Yanks poke them off, as we do with the boat people.

  8. Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always found it interesting that the Americans have very few ‘territorial ambitions’, at least not in recent times. That said the Japanese attempt to remove the US base from Okinawa was a pretty dismal failure.

  9. Peter Patton
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    SL, I’d say that’s for a couple of reasons.

    (i) By the time it was their turn at imperial puppet master, technology and transport favored staying stateside, while extracting surplus abroad before shipping it home.

    (ii) I think providence just dumped its nuclear mother load when the WWII death music stopped, the US military occupied every chair across the globe. Just as cheap to keep that skeleton security staff in situ lest any uppity budding imperialist hegemons were eyeing off those markets of gold.

  10. Peter Patton
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Pax Americana with atrophying remnants of the European Ancien Regime

    The princelings of America’s contiguous kingdoms are about to go head to head with the Vatican over their right to religious freedom within said kingdoms, and then against each other for territorial gain, material enrichment, and glory, ay?

    Should be a hoot to watch.

  11. Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I am firmly in favour of Pax Americana: sure beats the alternatives. Just as Pax Britannica was a good thing too.

    We know what the globe is like without a clear hegemon: 1914-1945. Such fun.

  12. Peter Patton
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh, amen. Part of the reason for the current crisis in the humanities is they are Stuck On Stupid with their Tourrette’s reduction of all art and literature to the fricking evil of da imperialist whitey.

    If only they would open a book, learn some quantitative reasoning skills, and learn about you know, like, trade and stuff.

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