If I had a nickel for each time I’ve received this article in the past 2 days well, I’d have at least 50 cents. Le Monde‘s M magazine published an essay accompanied with a VanityFairesque pictorial of Haiti’s wealthy.
I’m old enough to remember that every 5-6 years, such essay or reportage comes out. And yes, the wealthy remain the same. When you follow Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the world’s wealthiest, it has been year after year, pretty much the same too. And, if you check back in 10 years, it’s safe to assume the names Slim, Gates and Buffet will still be there. Ditto for Haiti.
M Magazine‘s essay is just that, an essay. I’m not sure how much investigative journalism creeped up in there because most of what’s in it are known facts. I’m not going to go into the merits or semantics of the propos held by the interviewees. We could go back and forth forever as others have before.
I will however say this: the tone of the essay is condescending. So there is an elite that holds the majority of the wealth in Haiti? Is it not the same in most countries on planet Earth? I don’t have to like it but it’s a reality. So the wealthy in Haiti haven’t contributed in the country’s social fabric as much as they could have? As unfortunate as that may be, it is again very similar to other countries. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are exceptions. They’ve started a movement with their generosity perhaps, but it surely isn’t a trend amongst the world’s wealthiest.
Haiti is flawed and there are many injustices that must be denounced. Many things have to change, I know this. Condescendence, however is also a flaw that helas, too often rears its ugly head whenever the West talks about Haiti. That too, must change.