Blog post

New review of Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood and radio interview

Tamar Shlaim21 March 2011

José Antonio Gutiérrez of the Latin American Solidarity Centre has reviewed Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment for the Irish Left Review: 

This new edition provides an additional chapter which updates us with the events in Haiti after and around the earthquake. These fateful events don't alter the conclusions Hallward arrived at in the first edition; if anything they're re-enforced and proved right. The speed at which a humanitarian tragedy was turned into an opportunity to further deepen military occupation, allowing the US take over the island, proves that Haiti has not lost its appeal for the "Humanitarian Interventionists" in any way. Also, the widespread acceptance of the occupation as a positive action by most of the world's media shows that popular perception has come to accept that it is natural to keep Haitians at gun point, even in the most extraordinary and tragic circumstances. Lastly, it sadly proves through the series of logistical blunders, such as the primacy of military over humanitarian aid, the state of neglect in which the victims were abandoned for weeks before they saw any meaningful help (with the exception of understaffed Cuban doctors), and by the fact that most aid which was promised by foreign donors (both agencies and governments) has not been delivered more than one year later, that Haitian people's lives are a very low priority on the international community's agenda. This year's anniversary of the earthquake was one of shame for all the self-proclaimed "friends" of Haiti.

He concludes: 

Hallward deserves credit for writing an accessible book on the 2004 coup that is the true heir to the classic book on the 1991 coup wrote by Doctor Paul Farmer almost two decades ago.

And for this service, the Haitian people will forever be grateful. Ayibobo.

Visit the Irish Left Review to read the full review. You can also listen to an interview with Peter Hallward on Ireland's Near FM here

Filed under: broadcast, reviews