Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Devil in Pat Robertson

You may have heard about religious bigot televangelist Pat Robertson's claim that Haiti is cursed due to an old pact with the devil. Say what you want about dear old Pat, he's a sensitive fellow! In all fairness though, his organization is sending millions in medical aid to Haiti, according to a spokesman.

Revisionist historian Michael Hoffman uses the occasion to get in his digs at Zionism (calling PR a "crypto-rabbi" for example) but he at least gives some background on what PR was on about, seemingly rejecting the idea of a devil pact.

Hoffman cites the Louverture Project for his info. Apparently and perhaps apocryphally, like Washington's coin across the Delaware or the cherry tree, PR was referring to a voudou ceremony at Bois Caïman "widely accepted as the starting point for the Haitian Revolution."

Just for a dash of the conspiratorial, Corey D.B. Walker says in his book A noble fight: African American freemasonry and the struggle for democracy: "There are hints of connections between Freemasonry and the Haitian Revolution" (p.255) Haitians apparently joined Lodges in "great numbers" after independence.

But anyway, I'm not going to ride my hobby horse in the face of what is evidently a tragedy of enormous proportions. I have already received one email from a scammer soliciting donations to help the stricken.

LoS suggests that if so inclined, go directly to the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.


  1. It's a wonder to live in an age when such tragedies are broadcast worldwide so quickly.

    I can only hope that this leads to an increased empathy in humankind.

    You and I spent formative years in FL with some folks who'd spent a lot of time in Haiti, Daurade, which certainly helps to drive this closer to home.

    A curious thing about people: our primal instincts can be triggered by pure thought. I've been told that two people playing chess burn the same kind of calories that would be burned by fleeing a bear or battling to death over a mate.

    This is, I suspect, the source of our (humanities) worst and most violent impulses, the source of patriotic support of war.

    And also, I believe, the source our best collective actions, which remain, sadly, unnamed.

    I hope that the global reaction to the Haitian tragedy will put a name on our collective impulse for good, which I am convinced is a longstanding tradition, basic to humanity.

  2. I think the outpouring of aid has been remarkable and the response as quick as it can be. The criticism is a bit unfair. An already totally fucked country in terms of infrastructure, the quake took out what little there was. The logistical challenges are astounding. Of course this doesn't mean a thing to those who need food and water--now. Many more will die and this is simply because the nation is poor and was already waaayyy underdeveloped.

    Empathy? I've been reading lots of new and the comment upon the stories. A startling, racism and lack of empathy. A lot of right-wingers who seem to want to use it as an excuse to attack liberal and the possibility of waves of (unwanted) immigrants. It borders on and spills over into outright hatred.

    These people should at least sit back and try to imagine their state of mind if everything they own, their entire family, their neighbors and their families, their neighborhoods, were simple gone in an instant. What would they be willing to do if their injured and untreated child was dying before their eyes. Or starving.

    It's not my place to justify or to explain away anything. I'm just angered to see such callous and cold-hearted and hateful things written about a people who are among the poorest on the planet. And such racism!

    Not to be Mr bleeding-heart liberal....that's really not me at all, but c'mon Gid, where's the sense of solidarity and basic human decency in these people?

    I suppose I'm letting some people poison the air for me. Can't forget the outpouring of aid and donations and concern. Keep it in perspective....

  3. We saw the same reactions to Katrina. I think these bizare reactions ties in closely to the conversations we've been having on perspective.


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