Magazine article New Internationalist

Fatal Assistance

Magazine article New Internationalist

Fatal Assistance

Article excerpt

Fatal Assistance (100 mins)

Haitian-born director Raoul Peck - a former minister of culture - has, with this film, delivered a major indictment of Western aid to post-earthquake Port-Au-Prince. The film shows scene after scene of stunning neglect, of hidden agendas and posing for the cameras. It reveals the naivety of those who have come to help and the cunning of those who have come to help themselves. Everyone wanted to be seen to be 'rebuilding' - more photogenic for voters and donors back home - but it was hard to get help to clean up the tons of rubble. Everyone had their own fantasy to impose on Haiti - modernist housing schemes, consultants consulting consultants, notions of financial rectitude. But in the background lurked aid as 'business as usual' with great power posturing, aid agencies favouring imports rather than buying local, administrative fees and PR. …

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