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Actions we can take to help Haiti

Steve Shortell, dean emeritus, School of Public Health | February 12, 2010

We have all been deeply affected by the human suffering we have seen and heard about in reports about the January 12 earthquake in Haiti. With more than 200,000 people dead and countless more seriously injured, the extent of the devastation is unfathomable. Public health must be at the forefront of the response to this … Continue reading »

Mark Danner: To heal Haiti, look to history, not nature

Other Voices, from campus | January 29, 2010

Writing in the New York Times, UC Berkeley journalism professor Mark Danner describes America’s role in the forging of the dystopian Haitian state.   After a slave revolt against Napoleonic France, Haiti became the world’s first self-ruled black republic in 1804. Consequently, writes Danner, “American slaveholders desperately feared that Haiti’s fires of revolt would overleap those … Continue reading »

Haiti and the world

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning |

Human beings are extremely social and highly empathetic, although in limited ways. We react strongly when more than one person dies in the same place, but we are numbed by numbers when millions of people die prematurely in asynchronous, isolated, private tragedies. Our empathy is turned off by huge levels of human suffering. In a … Continue reading »

Don’t demonize Haiti (or any other nation)

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | January 23, 2010

For starters, that would be a help. Media coverage of the disaster in Haiti has exemplified the worst over-simplifications possible, lending itself to the storyline: Haiti as a society doomed to failure. Let’s stop a moment and reflect: the US is also subject to earthquakes, hurricanes, suffering, and yes, starvation. You will object that this … Continue reading »

Rebuild social institutions as well as buildings

Mary Comerio, emeritus professor of architecture | January 21, 2010

The catastrophic earthquake damage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and its surrounding communities is a poignant reminder of the difficulties that many countries and regions have faced in planning for disaster recovery. Losses in the Indonesian tsunami, or earthquakes in China, India or Turkey were equally devastating for the millions of people who were affected. The media … Continue reading »