UN winds up its Haiti mission with a pitiful epitaph: It brought cholera to the island

by Rashmee

Posted on October 9, 2017


  On Friday (Oct 6) the UN wound up MINUSTAH, its 13-year-old peacekeeping mission in Haiti, having changed it forever but necessarily in the way intended. The last 100 UN troops leave soon and the mission officially ends on October 15. So, what did it accomplish? The unkindest but truest epitaph for MINUSTAH is that … Continue reading “UN winds up its Haiti mission with a pitiful epitaph: It brought cholera to the island”

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Trump went to Puerto Rico. And brought to life a scene in Graham Greene’s Haiti novel

by Rashmee

Posted on October 5, 2017


  When Donald Trump went to Puerto Rico, I remembered Graham Greene’s telling portrait of imperious largesse to the needy in ‘The Comedians’, his 1966 novel on Haiti. The US president threw rolls of paper towel and bags of rice to Puerto Ricans. Not, quite like the way Greene showed us the treatment of the … Continue reading “Trump went to Puerto Rico. And brought to life a scene in Graham Greene’s Haiti novel”

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Spot the difference: Haitians believe God kills, not germs. For Americans, it’s God not guns

by Rashmee

Posted on October 4, 2017


  Before I went to Haiti, my Kreyol instructor gave our class a valuable lesson in Haitian stoicism, immutability, and yes, ill-logic. “Mikwòb pa touye Ayisyen, that’s what many Haitians believe,” he said. “Be prepared.” What he meant was that a certain section of Haitian society was unwilling to believe that the cholera virus could kill and that … Continue reading “Spot the difference: Haitians believe God kills, not germs. For Americans, it’s God not guns”

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Humanity vs Impunity. Will the UN now compensate Haiti’s cholera victims?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 20, 2016


I was in Haiti in February 2013, when the United Nations took the unusual decision to invoke legal immunity as a way of dealing with claims for compensation from 5,000 victims of the Haiti cholera epidemic. Click here for the story I wrote for The Guardian at the time. It was a straight up-and-down report on the … Continue reading “Humanity vs Impunity. Will the UN now compensate Haiti’s cholera victims?”

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Brexit: Were Britain’s discontented like Haiti’s ceaseless protestors?

by Rashmee

Posted on July 29, 2016


In the hours after the Brexit result I was reminded most strongly of The Economist piece I wrote from Haiti in December 2013. Here’s a link to the blog, which The Economist titled “The Discontented”. Britain’s Brexiteers, it seemed to me, are being cast like Haiti’s discontented. Do you know who I mean? As The … Continue reading “Brexit: Were Britain’s discontented like Haiti’s ceaseless protestors?”

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Haiti’s President Martelly told me he was a ‘bad boy’. It seems he was right

by Rashmee

Posted on January 24, 2016


When I interviewed Haiti’s President Michel Martelly for Foreign Policy two-and-a-half years ago, he started by telling me that the people of Haiti had elected him because he was “a bad boy …too many good boys had been president before and not enough things had been done.” Today’s (Sunday, January 24) postponed run-off presidential election, … Continue reading “Haiti’s President Martelly told me he was a ‘bad boy’. It seems he was right”

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Presidential debates confirm the world’s view that Americans are buffoons

by Rashmee

Posted on November 10, 2015


Today, the Republican Party’s presidential contenders have their fourth debate, in Milwaukee.  America’s presidential election just as much as its martial reflexes, contributes to the world’s disdain for it. Wherever you are – in a barrio in Caracas, at a café table on the Avenue Habib Bourgiba in Tunis, having dinner in your middle class … Continue reading “Presidential debates confirm the world’s view that Americans are buffoons”

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Forget the elections, it’s this vote against Haiti’s airport that is a problem

by Rashmee

Posted on November 2, 2015


Let’s put the recent vote by travel site, The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, in context. It is not The New York Times. Or Lonely Planet. On the other hand, it still matters that it has listed Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport as number six on a list of 10 of the worst airports in the world. Kabul’s airport is … Continue reading “Forget the elections, it’s this vote against Haiti’s airport that is a problem”

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Angus Deaton is right about aid as impoverishment but there’s more

by Rashmee

Posted on October 28, 2015


Professor Angus Deaton, the new Nobel Laureate for economics, blames foreign aid for poor governance in poor countries. How? In a piece originally published by Project Syndicate two years ago, Professor Deaton wrote that it is aid flows, which “are large relative to fiscal expenditure (often more than half the total)” that permit governments the … Continue reading “Angus Deaton is right about aid as impoverishment but there’s more”

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Can rubber flip-flops mean a people are no longer extremely poor?

by Rashmee

Posted on October 19, 2015


Have you ever seen extreme poverty? I ask simply because the World Bank recently announced a major global milestone – the number of people living in extreme poverty is likely to fall to below 10 per cent this year. So what is extreme poverty and how do you recognize it? It’s the lack of the … Continue reading “Can rubber flip-flops mean a people are no longer extremely poor?”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US