Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shaquille and Haiti

Shaquille O'Neal is the center for the Miami Heat. Almost everyone knows that.

Shaq lives 90 minutes by air from the man and his son pictured above who are homeless on the streets of Haiti. Hardly anyone knows that.

Shaq's messy divorce proceedings and his checkbook were recently revealed.

Shaq's MONTHLY expenditures:

* $156,116 on mortgages
* $110,505 on vacations
* $60,417 on gifts
* $26,560 on babysitters
* $24,300 on gasoline
* $22,190 on maids
* $17,220 on clothes
* $12,775 on food
* $500,000 on income tax

Comparing those who have the most to those who have the least (and are very close neighbors in this hemisphere) is painful. (See Miami Herald article.)

Neither individual, Shaq nor the homeless Haitian man, are benefiting from their economic situations. I doubt either man is a "bad" man.

The inequity and the problems of what too little or too much cause is what is bad.


Anonymous said...

Shaq chose a career that supported himself and his family. He didn't bring a child into this world that he could not afford to feed, bathe and provide for. Unfortunately the people of Haiti continue to fornicate and bring ill, bastard children into there impoverished nation. Birth control would go a long way to decrease the starvation and apparent headline grabbing "eating dirt" headlines that are made to grab at the heartstrings of Americans.

Concerned Parent said...

Don't feed Haitians or leave food for them to find. Haitians fed by Americans come to regard Americans as a food source and will become pests by stealing our food. Feeding can lead to unnaturally high population growth in areas where it occurs often. People's hearts go out to them when their cupboards are bare, and nobody wants to see them starve, but they should still be able to survive on their own. The number of Haitians that can live in an area is dictated by the amount of food that's available. We change that equation and we change the dynamics of a whole bunch of things, and usually it's to the their detriment.

John A. Carroll, M.D. said...

Dear Readers,

Not too long ago I was seated in a pew in a church in the back of Cite Soleil.

Gazing up I could see the machine gun bullet holes lined up neatly in the corrugated metal roof of the church allowing dots of sunshine to gleam in. These bullet holes were the results of the war going on between the United Nations soldiers and gang members in Soleil.

Gang members were nonchalantly strolling in church through the side door as the white UN tanks and MINUSTAH soldiers rumbled down the street right next to the church…probably looking for some of them.

One high ranking gang member pulled up his t shirt and showed me his abdominal scar where he had been operated two years earlier for a bullet wound. His surgery had taken place at Saint Catherine’s Hospital in Cite Soleil.

At the side altar up in front of the church was a class being taught replete with books regarding the teachings of Archbishop Oscar Romero. A very animated discussion was occurring regarding his teachings and the plight of the people in Soleil.

A young man approached me from this class as I sat and watched them. His eyes were cold and very hard. He told me that people from the United States viewed the people of Haiti as “little insects”.

I responded that some do regard Haitians in that fashion and many do not. I also added that in his own Haitian society, the same was true and that the United States did not have the sole monopoly on racism.

He did not agree or disagree. He just appeared angry and dead.

A crowd of young people gathered around us in church and listened to the discussion. The young man continued his questioning of me and asked me why I didn’t bring others from the United States so they could see the dirt-eating people of Soleil. I told him that I had in the past. He still didn’t react.

Jesus, hanging from the crucifix above the main altar, gazed down sadly at all of us.

I posted the insensitive and ignorant comment above by Anonymous to help reveal the thought process of Anonymous. He most likely has never been in Soleil and never will be.

Unfortunately, Anonymous made many of the remarks of the angry young man in the church in Soleil true.

John A. Carroll, M.D. said...

Regarding "concerned parent's" comment...

Next time I go to Soleil, please come with me. Express your concerns to the "pests" you will find there. They may appear as concerned parents of Soleil and not just "pests".

I do agree that we, the United States, have changed "the dynamics of a whole bunch of things, and usually it is to their detriment."

tribalecho said...

Thanks for your blog. I've just been looking for Haitian news.

Before so many years of Bush disaster a Republican friend of mine used to tease/goard me, such as pointing to the poor people in Cuba. (he thought me and people like Pres. Carter to be "commies". Hah}

I would ask him if he'd rather live in Haiti, which has been under US influence for decades, or Cuba, assuming he was an average citizen. Even he knew conditions in Cuba were far superior. Americans don't like to think about the conditions in Haiti perhaps even more than they don't like to think about present conditions in Iraq.