It's difficult to say if the stupid comment Pat Robertson made about Haiti today was, in fact, the dumbest of the many stupid remarks Robertson has uttered in his long career. But surely Haiti's response to the American televangelist was the finest of replies. Raymond Joseph, the Haitian Ambassador to the United States, gave Pat Robertson an American history lesson.
PAT ROBERTSON, AMERICAN EVANGELIST: “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. . . . They were under the heel of the French … and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French’. True story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ They kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got themselves free. Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.” (Christian Broadcasting Network)
RAYMOND JOSEPH, HAITIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: "I would like the whole world to know - America especially - that (after) the independence of Haiti, when the slaves rose up against the French, and defeated the French army, powerful army, the U.S. was able to gain the Louisiana Territory for $15 million. That's three cents an acre. That's thirteen states west of the Mississippi that the Haitian slaves revolt in Haiti provided America. Also, the revolt of the rebels in Haiti allowed Latin America to be free. It is from Haiti that Simon Bolivar left with men, boats, to go deliver grand Colombia and the rest of South America. So, that pact the Haitians 'made with the devil' has helped the U.S. become what it is." (MSNBC)
The map (via Wikipedia) shows the dates when countries in the Americas gained independence. Only two countries are colored navy blue: United States and Haiti. Haiti is "the second oldest nation in the New World after the United States and the oldest independent nation in Latin America."
Unfortunately, independence did not prevent more powerful countries from taking advantage of Haiti.
Donating to the relief effort
MSF (Doctors Without Borders), recipient of the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize, is certainly one of the most experienced international organizations on the ground in Haiti. According to Wikipedia, MSF had been "offering the only free surgery available in Port-au-Prince." Additionally, MSF "rebuild water and waste management systems and treated survivors of major flooding caused by Hurricane Jeanne; and treated patients with HIV/AIDS and malaria. . ." Prior to the earthquake MSF had been operating 3 hospitals with a staff of 800.