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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

'From Haiti's Ashes'

'From Haiti's Ashes' is maybe one of the most frightening stories of post disaster reconstruction I have ever seen. Watch it on BBCi while you have the chance. A billionaire Irishman, who has made a fortune in Haiti, decides to put something back.

Does he put his enormous wealth and power behind the construction of a new hospital, or schools, or, God forbid, housing for the 1.5 million displaced people? No, the money is spent on the obsessive rebuilding of the central market.

I love architecture, and I loved the iconic Iron building, I could see the appeal. But really, priorities after a natural disaster should be the practical needs of the suffering people. Markets had sprung up naturally anyway in all the nearby streets.

The documentary follows the Billionaires push to have the building ready so he can use it as the backdrop for his other pressing desire - to launch a program to identify the 'entreprenuer of the year'. While Cuban volunteers focus on health, shelter and education - those that have already made their millions from the poor in one of the poorest nations in the world, choose to focus on rebuilding markets and rewarding the next wave of free marketeers.

From Haiti's Ashes, the mad priorities of neo-liberalism will surely arise.

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