Review: Ayiti Toma – The Land of the Living – The Gazette

oooa9640700Montreal filmmaker Joseph Hillel’s thoughtful, refreshingly provocative documentary Ayiti Toma (Creole slang for “Haiti to us”) opens with a full-frontal assault on the notion that western aid has done much good at all for Haiti.

Anthropologist Ira Lowenthal talks of how organizations like the United Nations are institutions that are “not focused on bettering Haiti.” But it’s not just the experts who are saying that. A man from one of the many neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince hit hard by the devastating 2010 earthquake is even more frank: “And after, what has been done for us? Absolutely nothing.”

The theme of the first half of Hillel’s film is how the professionals delivering this aid know so little about Haiti’s culture and people and don’t bother to try to learn anything about the country they’re supposedly trying to save. There is grumbling about the UN military presence in Haiti, which costs millions and is not needed, according to several observers cited here. via – The Gazette.

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