Thursday, January 21, 2010

More on Haitian Medical Students, The Zionization of Disaster Relief


Posted by: "walterlx" walterlx
Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:14 am (PST)

More Haitian Medicine Students to Help Earthquake Victims

Port-au-Price, Jan 19 (acn) Around 50 Haitian fifth year Medicine students
arrived on Tuesday to this city from Cuba, to join the actions to help the
victims of the earthquake that devastated that nation a week ago today.

The youngsters, who study at Havana's Latin American School of Medicine,
brought with them a field hospital and other materials necessary for their
work in the scattered points in which victims are located: parks, sports
fields, schoolyards, greenways and other places in this capital and
surrounding areas.

The need of surgeries exceeds the current capacity of specialized personnel.
Doctors amputate necrotic fore and back limbs of the wounded, which have
spent too much time without antibiotics, and continue their treatment to
make them feel better.

There are limitations of resources, of medicaments, but the objective of
assuring the survival of each person treated is intensified. It's in this
regard that the Cuba-Haiti shuttle service is materialized, along with a
strategy of curative and preventive actions.

Coordinated steps between the representatives from Cuba, Venezuela and other
nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for The Americas (ALBA) are important.

On Tuesday, the Nuit a Nuit market, inside a huge building, opened its doors
by surprise.

It's one of the very few, if not the only one of its kind, that has been
able to resume its activities. Some gas service stations have begun their
sales, and lines of vehicles are long.

Parallel to this image, groups of people dig about in the rubble looking for
food and all kinds of items from electrical to communication devices.
Hunger and need originate terrible clashes.

Added to this is the action of informal groups after the marketing
opportunities with products that may arrive. They get control of the items
that, in an uncontrolled way, are practically thrown to Haitians asking for
food in the very few spots to which these resources from the so-called
"humanitarian aid" are taken.


From: Abie Dawjee
The RAIN Newsletter (21-1-10)

The Zionization of Disaster Relief

Richard Silverstein
January 20, 2010

Didn't know there was anything particularly Zionist about providing disaster
relief? You learn something new every day. This is a story of exploiting the
suffering of poor, defenseless Haitians on behalf of Israeli triumphalism.

Sol Salbe translated an eye-opening column from Yediot by an Israeli doctor
who was an integral member of all Israeli international disaster response
teams until recently. Then he made the mistake of writing a mildly critical
statement about Israeli disaster relief efforts. As a result, he was
relieved of his obligation for further IDF service and further participation
in the disaster relief program. The op ed is so revealing (and not yet
available online in English) I'm going to quote large sections. An
explanatory note-at Israel's Haiti field hospital, they delivered what the
Israeli PR flacks called "the first baby since the earthquake." The medical
staff urged the woman to name her baby "Israel" and she was only to eager to
oblige. Another Israeli PR coup!

Public Relations instead of saving lives

Sending portable toilets to Haiti would have been a better option, but
this does not provide good photo opportunities. Israeli missions to disaster
areas in the past have shown that such activity was in vain.

Yoel Donchin

I received my final exemption from the army after I published an article
which said that the State of Israel acts like the proverbial Boy Scout, who
insists on doing a good deed daily and helping an old lady cross the road
even against her will. How ungrateful of me to publish such a column when I
had participated in almost all the rescue missions to overseas disaster
areas! Suddenly I am no longer suitable to take part in such heroic
endeavours. But in light of the experience I gained in such missions.we have
wasted our effort.

Generally speaking, we start preparing for such a mission within hours of
the announcement of a natural disaster. Most often the Israeli mission team
is the first one to land in the area. Like those who climb Mount Everest, it
plants its flag on the highest peak available, announcing to all and sundry
that the site has been conquered. And in order to ensure that the public is
aware of this sporting achievement, the mission is accompanied by media
representatives, photographers, an IDF spokesman's office squad and others.

I understood the purpose perfectly when the head of one of the delegations
to a disaster zone was asked whether oxygen tanks and a number of doctors
could be removed to make room for another TV network's representatives with
their equipment. (With unusual courage, the delegation head refused!)

The lesson learnt from the activities of those missions is that when there
is a natural disaster, or when thousands of people are expelled from their
homes by force, as happened in Kosovo, survivors may benefit from
international assistance only if it responds to the region's specific needs.
Also assistance must be coordinated among the various aid agencies.

The competitive race to a disaster zone imposes a huge strain on the local
health and administration authorities. Airports are clogged by transport
planes unloading a lot of unnecessary but bulky equipment. Doctors and
rescue organisations seek ways to utilise single carriageway roads and in
fact they are a burden. The correct way to help is to send a small advance
force to gauge the dimensions of the disaster.

Would they still call that child Israel?

Three components are crucial: shelter, water and food - these things are
crucial in order to save the largest number of people. Water purification
equipment, tents, basic food rations are needed. But they do lack the
desired dramatic effect. If we went down that track we would miss out on
seeing that child who was born with the assistance of our physicians. Most
certainly, the excited mother wouldn't give her child (who knows if he will
ever reach a ripe old age?) the name Israel or that of the obstetrician or
nurse. (Would he get citizenship because he was born in Israeli territory?
There would be many opposed to that.) The drama is indeed classy, but its
necessity is doubtful.

It being Israel, our current force contains a Kashrut supervisor, security
personnel and more.

In the present disaster, which is of a more massive scale than anything we
have encountered to date, the need is not so much for a field hospital but
field, ie portable, toilets. There is more of a need for digging equipment
to dig graves and sewage pipes.

A country which wants to provide humanitarian aid without concern for its
media image should send whatever is required by the victims, and not
whatever it wants to deliver. But would the evening news show the commander
of the Israeli mission at the compound with 500 chemical toilets? Unlikely.
It is much more media savvy to show an Israeli hospital, replete with stars
of David and of course the dedicated doctors and nurses, dressed in their
snazzy uniforms with an Israeli flag on the lapel.

.It is quite likely that financial assistance commensurate with Israel's
resources would be preferable to the enormous expense and complicated
logistics involved in the maintenance of a medical unit in the field.

But apparently a minute of TV coverage is much more important.and in fact
Israel is using disasters as [military] field training in rescue and medical
care. After a fortnight, the mission will reportedly return to Israel. To be
truly effective a field hospital needs to remain for two or three months,
but that's a condition that Israel cannot meet.

.It is only in the Israeli aid compound in Haiti that large signs carrying
the donor country's name hang for all to see.

Prof. Yoel Donchin is the director of the Patient Safety Unit at the
Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem.
Translated by Sol Salbe, who directs the Middle East News Service for the
Australian Jewish Democratic Society.

If after reading this you're feeling either slightly soiled or angry, I urge
you to perform a truly constructive, selfless act in reply to Israel's
self-promotional puffery. Make a gift to American Jewish World Service or
Doctors Without Borders, who are each doing acts of mercy without thought of
benefit to themselves or any narrow political movement. In fact, DWB's
flights of precious, desperately needed medical supplies have been
repeatedly turned away by American forces controlling incoming air traffic,
in favor of military equipment deemed needed for the occupation which seems
to be taking shape there.

Somehow Israeli field hospitals and all their support equipment manage to
get through this bottleneck. Could it be? Nah, I didn't think so.

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