On the Fourth Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake My Family Survived: End the UN Occupation, End US Exploitation, and End Corporate Education Reform on Haiti!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:15 By Jesse Hagopian, I Am An Educator | Op-Ed
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While we were lucky—the lobby of the hotel collapsed by not our room—many thousands of Haitians perished from the natural disaster, which was compounded by the U.S. and U.N.’s neglectful and exploitative response to the quake. On this fourth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, I am thankful to be alive, thankful to have awonderful family, and thankful for the never-ending resistance of the Haitian people.   In the aftermath of the earthquake we did everything we could to help in the medical care and relief effort, while the U.S. and U.N. acted as if Haiti was a war zone and the people needed to be contained and controlled.

Haitians will only begin to achieve justice when the U.N. apologizes from infecting the Haitian water supply with cholera, pays reparations and funds Haiti to build a clean water system, and ends its occupation of the world’s first Black republic.   Moreover, justice for Haiti will only begin to be achieved when U.S. sweatshops are driven from the island and Haiti’s wealth is used to meet the needs of Haitians, rather than enrich corporations.

One of the things that causes me the most distress about the United State’s response to the earthquake in Haiti is its plan for corporate school reform in Haiti.  I wrote this article explaining how the U.S. is attempting to export corporate education reform, modeled on its shock doctrine response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Long live the resistance of the Haitian people! Our struggle for the schools--and society--we deserve is truly global!

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Jesse Hagopian

Jesse Hagopian is a public high school teacher in Seattle and a founding member of Social Equality Educators (SEE). He serves on the Board of Directors of Maha-Lilo - "Many Hands, Light Load" - a Haiti solidarity organization. Hagopian is a contributing author to the forthcoming book, "Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation" (Haymarket Books). He can be reached at:

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