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A cry for help from Haiti: ‘They are cutting off limbs needlessly and taking our dignity; the babies need to eat tonight’

February 8, 2010

by Ezili Dantò (Marguerite Laurent)

Imagine being one Good Samaritan trying to keep 1,500 children alive – children who are injured, traumatized, hungry and without shelter. Has sending 20,000 U.S. troops and surrounding Haiti with battleships saved these children? – Photo: Eric Quintero, IFRC
Our good friend, a fellow artist and a colleague in the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, Carl Telemaque, just called from Haiti. His number is 3711-1771. I don’t know if he will have resources on his phone for long. But he needs HELP now. If you’re not in Haiti, you can help by asking someone you know who is in Haiti to go lend a hand. Or you can send a money donation directly to Carl through Western Union et al.

“Zili,” he said, “I’m taking care of 1,500 children in Croix-des-Bouquets at zone Li Lavoix along with their families since the earthquake. We need help. We need food, water, medicine, tents and flashlights.

“For medicine, we need anti-diarrhea, antibiotics, hygienic kits and medicine to stop blood clots. (See HLLN’s list of “Urgent Items Needed by the Earthquake Victims in Haiti” at http://bit.ly/aJhBH1.)

“Tell the people something for me,” he says. “Tell them that injured people I send to the Dominican Republic for help have mostly come back with limbs missing. That’s all they are doing: cutting, cutting, cutting and then closing the wound up and releasing the people.

“The doctors there are cutting off EVERYTHING: arms, legs, toes, feet, fingers. You have a cut or a wound and they just cut off the limbs. The people returning from the DR are always missing a limb. They are doubly traumatized and more depressed. Tell the people that for me. This can’t go on like this anymore.

“And the people giving us food are taking all our dignity. They make us run long distances to get the food they are dropping. It’s humiliating. Or they have you standing in long, long lines and give you one bottle of water to share with 10 people. It’s hurtful and very humiliating.

“Can you get us some food to us, Zili? We have babies who need to eat tonight. Really. Some baby food. Some water and milk, maybe.

“But we really need tents. I can’t sleep at night watching over everyone, ‘cause you don’t know who will come in and do what.

“I’m tired,” Carl said. “I’m really, really tired. When the earthquake hit, I only survived because I’m used to feeling the subway rumbling under my feet from the apartment in New York. So I got up from my chair in the studio where I was working and stepped outside. If I hadn’t walked out, I would be dead. Everything crumbled and the chair I vacated was crushed flat.

“It’s a good thing I have my truck. What I do is drive the injured up to the Dominican Republic and then go pick them up. I’ve been doing that since the earthquake and trying to get food for everyone in my zone at Li Lavoix. I’m tired.

“I can’t tell you the devastation. Nothing can describe it, but you’ve been in Haiti so you know. I need an anti-diuretic myself now. I’m really tired, Zili. We need a doctor, doctors. I can’t drive to the DR too much anymore. I’m too, too exhausted.”

“I’ll get the word out, Carl,” I say. “Call the Dr. Lassegue from AMHE at General Hospital. Let him know your situation and that we asked for help for you. Here’s the number. How far is it from you to Father Jean Juste’s old parish at St. Claire?”

“About an hour,” he says. “Ok. I’ll write this up to the Ezili Network and call on everyone who may be near you to come help. If not, go to Plas Kazo and ask for Lavarice Gaudin. He’ll help. Call me and let me know. Kenbe la, pa lage.”

Marguerite Laurent, also known as Ezili Danto, award winning playwright, performance poet, dancer, actor and activist attorney born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, founded and chairs the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, supporting and working cooperatively with Haitian freedom fighters and grassroots organizations promoting the civil, human and cultural rights of Haitians at home and abroad. Visit her website at www.margueritelaurent.com.

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