I am staggered. There are 10,000 ‘NGOs’ (Non-Governmental Organizations) in Haiti, one for every 900 inhabitants and each one of them has no doubt at least one Westerner working within, yet aside from the Cuban health workers, it seems they could do nothing until the gringos arrived with their Blackhawks and nuclear-tipped aircraft carrier and of course, the 82nd Airborne, paying yet another ‘visit’ to this benighted and super-exploited land to ’secure’ the place for the locust storm of aid to come (too late for too many).
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up