“Afghanistan’s time in the sun of the world’s attention was over, boom, the second that earthquake hit a country even poorer and more miserable and photogenic than it,” writes Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford in a recent column titled “As patience with Afghanistan wanes, Haiti offers a feel-good opportunity.”
In Blatchford’s opinion “for Canada, there’s no denying that Haiti is a particularly great fit.”
“There’s a substantial Haitian émigré community here; our wonderful Governor-General, Michaëlle Jean, is from the island nation and still has family there; Haitians speak French, one of our two official languages, and Haiti is close enough that logistically it’s an easy haul for Canadian ships and planes.
“What’s more, though the Canadian military present or en route (the DART team, the search-and-rescue folk, sailors, airmen and soldiers) are of course expected to provide security, they aren’t there to war-fight. At worst, they may have to deal with lawlessness – looters, gangs and the like. There should be none of that nasty combat business, with which so many Canadians are uncomfortable still, even eight years after our soldiers first arrived in Afghanistan.”
Blatchford worries that focus has shifted and as Canada prepares to leave Afghanistan, Afghans are still as deserving of international help and attention as they were eight years ago.
As an aside, she also comments sarcastically on the coverage from super-reporters on CNN:
“It wasn’t enough that Mr. [Anderson] Cooper raised the bar such that fabulous reporting is no longer enough and one also must be fabulously great-looking as well. Dr. [Sanjay] Gupta has cranked that up several notches. Now, what all the networks, and soon all the newspapers, will want in a great journalist is a madly attractive-to-both-sexes-and-sexual-preferences kind of guy or gal who also can put down the camera and do life-saving brain surgery when required. Thanks a bunch, guys.”