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Fonografia: “Money and press coverage started to arrive. Women organizers in Port-au-Prince camps spoke openly about the rapes and began raising money to move the victims into a new home, but as Bell says, “the visibility and funding have come with a price. Seeing all the ‘blan’ (human rights workers, gender advocates, journalists, delegations) troop to the women’s tents in Port-au-Prince, and knowing that ‘blan’ equals money, last week a man came to the KOFAVIV headquarters (a tarp in the middle of a camp) with a gun to kidnap one of the coordinators and to extract ransom from the coordinator. Fortunately, the plot failed. But (it) highlighted the utter danger that women and children face in the camps each day.”

Without apportioning blame, let’s all admit that we barely consider Haiti today. We all poured over the story, the ruin, the coverage – myself included. We took the opportunity to express our politics but we are too distant and too engaged elsewhere to sustain an informed, daily consciousness.

News media can be an empowering tool but it is also distorts our true commitment to its subjects. A flood soon becomes a trickle.

Last week, as part of that trickle, Deborah Sontag reported for the New York Times on the sexual violence threatening Haitian women.

Follow Beverly Bell’s writings on the issue of rape in Port-au-Prince since the earthquake, and consider supporting KOFAVIV’s efforts by making a donation and spreading the word.

Note: The Fonografia Collective have, as an exception to my point, been consistently committed to reporting on developments in Haiti.


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