Wyclef Jean Explains It All For Us
(I had to get another video after the original bit the dust.)
This man raised $1 million in a day for his country. There’s no evidence, according to some aid organizations, that he is running a scam. His finances are indeed entangled with his charities. But the fact that he raised that much so soon have made some people cast some aspersions. I think they were freaking jealous at the competition. Especially since Brad and Angelina are reportedly sending some of their millions to him.
Wyclef Jean just learned a big lesson about the hypocrisies entrenched in the big club of the lucrative world of American and global humanitarian industry. I know, my spouse works for the United Nations, and tells me I would not believe that the organization and the donors just see this new tragedy like all the previous ones – a business opportunity from which money is to be made and circulated, the usual suspects fat-salaried, missions extended over long-periods. The problems on the ground are not intended to be solved in ways that empower the indigenous people. “Aid” is intended to create a dependency syndrome that ensures the prolonged footprint of the humanitarian industry in the disaster zone. Cold and cynical, but that is what I learned.
The kneecapping being done on Wyclef is not so much because of the eye-popping amounts of money he is raising, although that too is a factor. It is because he is challenging the paradigm of the humanitarian industry. He is seeking to EMPOWER the victims. He wants to move the victims to safe locations where they can begin to rebuild communities with the assistance of global donors. He wants the victims taking charge. His face being front and center is jarring to the default image we usually see of outstretched black and brown hands during disasters around the world being handed charity from Western and European hands. The status quo cannot have anyone challenge their paradigm of creating permanent dependency. Can’t. Have. That!
So here we are. Instead of Yele Haiti getting on with the work of saving lives and sowing the seeds to rebuild the lives of Wyclef Jean’s Haitian compatriots, Wyclef now has to appear in the court of trumped up suspicions to answer questions about the technicalities of running a non-profit organization. I can assure you that these are technical problems that can be found with just about every single small-scale non-profit organizations. Heck the Red Cross itself ran into problems as well as a PR nightmare about excessive executive compensation barely a few years ago. But they don’t get tarnished in one fell swoop.
To Wyclef Jean’s accusers, it is not the FACTS of the issue that matter to them it is about sowing seeds of suspicion. Wyclef is Haitian? he must be corrupt? Can you trust him with your hard earned dollars? It was enough to get Yele Haiti knocked off the list that initially appeared in all the MSM about where people could send their money. This gotcha means the White House and State Department cannot be seen to work with Yele Haiti. Now we have only the Red Cross and Unicef being trumpeted. The fix is in. Sad to watch really. An old but good book on the humanitarian industry’s shenanigans is Barbara Harrell-Bond’s _Imposing Aid: Emergency Assistance to Refugees_ (1986), as well as herr more recent _Rights in Exile: Janus-Faced Humanitarianism_ (2005, with Guglielmo Verdirame).
Be informed. Go to Charity Navigator before you send any money to any organization you haven’t heard of.
But I gave to Yele Haiti. You should, too.