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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Happy birthday America: Fond 4th of July memories of Port au Prince, Haiti

by Rashmee

Posted on July 4, 2015


Today is the first 4th of July in a while that I won’t be at a US Embassy ‘do’ or helping set up for the Ambassador’s party. I will miss it. Last year, it fell to me to run the ‘decoration committee’, which is a rather fun job – you order the flowers and the balloon … Continue reading “Happy birthday America: Fond 4th of July memories of Port au Prince, Haiti”

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Key lessons for Nepal from post-quake Haiti, but will anyone listen?

by Rashmee

Posted on April 29, 2015


“The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission needed to be swift and nimble,” writes American anthropologist, physician, good Samaritan and Haiti-enthusiast Paul Farmer about how things needed to be right after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. “…the rules of the road for development assistance needed to be re-written, not to favour contractors and middlemen and trauma vultures, … Continue reading “Key lessons for Nepal from post-quake Haiti, but will anyone listen?”

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Creole diplomacy: ‘We glad yu cum visit. Nuff respect and walk good’

by Rashmee

Posted on March 20, 2015


“Korea and Jamaica a frien from long long time,” says the South Korean charge to the Caribbean nation. “It a gwaan since dem independence inna 1962 and we cooperate wid each odar pon nuff things. We help we one anoder,” he goes on to say, in presumably impeccable Jamaican patois. (Click here to read the … Continue reading “Creole diplomacy: ‘We glad yu cum visit. Nuff respect and walk good’”

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If it took the digital high road, life in Haiti would improve dramatically

by Rashmee

Posted on January 30, 2015


Least developed countries (LDCs) like Haiti (even more than India and Afghanistan) can potentially be the biggest beneficiaries if they took the digital route out of poverty. Professor Bjorn Lomborg, an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, quotes an interesting statistic from Pantelis Koutroumpis of Imperial College London. Nine hundred million people live in … Continue reading “If it took the digital high road, life in Haiti would improve dramatically”

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5 years after quake, Haiti has some hotels but too few hospitals and schools

by Rashmee

Posted on January 18, 2015


Whatever happened to all that aid for Haiti, Emily Troutman asked on the fifth anniversary of the January 12 earthquake. Why is it that there are so many more luxurious hotels and such few schools, hospitals and other basics? It’s a good question but the proliferation of hotels and absence of hospitals says more about Haiti’s dysfunctional … Continue reading “5 years after quake, Haiti has some hotels but too few hospitals and schools”

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In 1900, Britain and the Netherlands had as little forest cover as Haiti

by Rashmee

Posted on December 8, 2014


Europe’s forests have grown by a third over the last 100 years. It’s a greener continent than it was a century ago. In many ways, there’s a great deal to celebrate. This is the fascinating conclusion of a research project led by Dutch scholar Richard Fuchs from the University of Wageningen. “More than 100 years ago, timber was … Continue reading “In 1900, Britain and the Netherlands had as little forest cover as Haiti”

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