What's the difference between desperation and danger
Naomi Klein worries Haitians won't have a role shaping their future.---Bottom feeders follow closely on the heels of disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, private security contractors landed in New Orleans, hired to guard against looters. After the Indian Ocean tsunami, governments in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, and the Maldives pushed aside coastal villages to make way for resort developers. That kind of profiteering is standard fare. But is it organized? That's what author Naomi Klein says in her book The Shock Doctrine, arguing that "disaster capitalists" take advantage of post-crisis chaos to push through a set of free-market reforms that further their own interests, rather than those of the victims. Is that the case in Haiti right now, even as rescue operations are still underway? NEWSWEEK's Katie Paul chatted with Klein about what she—and the 20,000 people who have already joined the No Shock Doctrine for Haiti group on Facebook—are watching out for this time around. Excerpts:
What we're hearing from U.N. and aid agencies is that they're afraid of going out without military escort. And what we just saw during the quake is that some foreign investors had their own parallel privatized disaster infrastructure. Citigroup sent in private-security SWAT teams equipped with medical supplies and satellite phones to save their people, but not their neighbors. That's dehumanizing. Aid should be prioritized over security. Any aid agency that's afraid of Haitians should get out of Haiti.