Monday, December 31, 2012

Montreal: Screening of “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go” and “Baseball In the Time of Cholera”

by Canada Haiti Action Network

Cinema Politica Concordia is hosting the screening of two outstanding films, “Haiti: Where Did the Money Go” and “Baseball In the Time of Cholera” on Mon., Jan. 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm in Room H-110, 1455 de Maisonneuve W., Montreal, Canada. The showings will be followed by a panel discussion. The panelists are to be announced.

            In the United States alone, half of all households gave a total of $1.4 billion to charities after the January 2010 earthquake, yet almost two years later more than half a million people still lived in squalid camps. Only a few had access to drinking water. Sanitation was woefully inadequate. Malnutrition and cholera were on the rise. What happened?

            In “Where Did the Money Go,” cameras take viewers to crowded camps where thousands of families live under tattered tarps beside overflowing latrines, and then into the board rooms of relief organizations, where journalist Michele Mitchell asks the American Red Cross and others about why conditions in Haiti continue to deteriorate when people have donated billions of dollars for aid.

            Mitchell visited camps in Haiti in fall of 2010 and again ten months later in fall of 2011. “I was shocked to see how much worse things had gotten.” While in spring of 2011, half of the camps had access to drinking water, by fall that number had dropped to only 7%. Although the UN estimates a need for 12,000 latrines, far fewer were built and most of those aren’t working, leaving the camps with one working latrine for every 300 people.

            Mitchell travels with relief workers who had high hopes for a coordinated effort to rebuild Haiti, but are now frustrated to see that conditions fall far short of recognized standards for relief housing. Relief workers and journalists on the ground tell her this is business as usual in the aid world.

            “Baseball in the Time of Cholera” is the story of a young Haitian boy who plays in Haiti's first little league baseball team and Mario Joseph, a Haitian lawyer seeking justice against the UN. As the epidemic spreads, the two stories intersect in the struggle for survival and justice.

            Michelle Mitchell and lawyer Nicole Phillips of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) will be speaking in Vancouver, Bellingham, and Seattle from Jan. 9-11.

            For more information on both the Pacific Northwest and Montreal showings, call the Canada Haiti Action Network at 778-858-5179.

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