Eight years later, Haiti is still taking hits.

In the heat of the moment, sometimes things get said that are regrettable. But we apologize. We try and learn something from the experience and then move on. Unfortunately, none of that has happened. As I sat in bed last night, rubbing my eyes, re-reading the Washington Post article quoting the US President, I was deeply saddened and hurt. Those are my friends he’s talking about. My colleagues. And in many respects, my family. The comment itself does not deserve repeating. And certainly doesn’t reflect the reality of the beautiful and proud countries undermined by it.

The comment was as harsh in content as it was in intent.

Although I do not often weigh in on political events, I felt compelled to do so here because the comment was hurtful on many levels. It was disrespectful to the American people, not worthy of the office of the President, and a slap in the face to all volunteers trying to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Mostly, it was a kick in the guts to my friends and colleagues in Haiti.

Once again hate and ignorance have been propelled to center stage. There is a danger of being lulled into a new sense of dull acceptance to some behaviors, but racially driven extreme comments about a low-income country like Haiti cannot be accepted with silence. Nor can it be accepted as simply a news story in another country.

The office of President of the United States, the office of Lincoln and Kennedy, used to represent a beacon of hope for people in trouble around the world. But elitist comments like that go against the very principles upon which America was born and built. This is not America. This is one person.

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Port au Prince that killed over a quarter of a million people and left over one million people homeless. Devastation of epic proportions to a population of people already struggling to survive. During this time every year, my thoughts are with our Haitian colleagues and friends. I know they will be gathering as families in their homes and villages to remember and pay respect for those they lost. To remember that day in quiet respectful reflection.

There are so many in Haiti still that require so much, yet have so much to offer. Haitians are a beautiful, resilient and innovative people with a rich culture of hard work and sacrifice. The beauty of the people matched only by the beauty of the coastline and mountains. I’d challenge the President to go there and see it for himself. We all know that would never happen. Obama would have. Of course, Obama would never have been so nasty in the first place.

America was founded on a dream that all are created equal. That equality is balanced with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. People around the world, in the countries critiqued today deserve those same rights, that same pursuit so that they too can raise a family, contribute to society and make a meaningful difference in life. We all need to do our part to help them. Sometimes that requires a helping hand or the open arms of other nations.

I’ve heard the poem often quoted today, the one on the plaque near the Statue of Liberty that asks the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” That golden door is opportunity, that lamp is hope.

We are all lucky to have been born where we were born and live where we live. Please do not take that for granted. Yes, we are privileged but that privilege should open our hearts, not close our minds. We must deepen our courage to resist sentiments like these so that we all may one day be able to breathe free.


18 Responses to “Eight years later, Haiti is still taking hits.”

January 13 at 1:23 am, Doreen Ryan said:

To you & your wonderful Team,i wish you the very best in every endeavour you embark upon.You are amazing human beings.I hurt so much after hearing what Trump has said that I was brought to tears.You said it very true when you wrote.. Obama would never have been Nasty..There is No Comparison between Trump & Obama.I’m not really sure I consider Trump “Human”
God Bless


January 18 at 1:56 am, margaret pynn said:

> Dr Andrew ..I am so proud of you and impressed with your have spoken out !! Good will prevail…we are behind you and you team ,Andrew !


January 13 at 3:30 am, Linda Care Penney said:

Dr. Furey I admire you for writing this. It needed to be said and you did it so eloquently. Thank you. The U.S. president is disgusting on most accounts, certainly by his actions, or lack thereof and by what he says, usually without any real consequence. He is a deplorable president and is making a mockery of the United States and it’s citizens.


January 13 at 4:02 am, Beaton Tulk said:

Andrew, A great article that I believe speaks to ALL our hearts.


January 13 at 3:05 pm, Bud Coultas said:

So eloquently stated,every single word. Thank the world for dedicated people like you and others. You give these special people hope. God bless the Haitians always.


January 13 at 3:11 pm, Annmarie Maclean said:

Andrew, I am so proud to be a Newfoundlander and a Canadian, because of our open hearts, our open minds and the care we give to others.
I too, was shocked when I heard what a leader of a country had said.. I had hoped the media had made a mistake, until I saw the clip…. I, as you, had waited for the president to come forward with an apology…days later I continue to wait… I realize it is us, the people that have to continue to do good in this world and hopefully at some point leaders such this president will see and follow .
Thank you Team Broken Earth for your hearts, your passion, love and care for others.


January 13 at 6:01 pm, Ann Chaffey said:

Every word is so true.


January 13 at 6:49 pm, Elizabeth And Howard MacDonald said:

So pleased Dr. Furey with your comment keep up the good work.We support you.


January 14 at 1:54 am, Janet said:

Amen, Andrew.


January 14 at 2:03 pm, Elaine said:

Beautifully and eloquently said, Andrew. Trump does not deserve to be in oublic office, let alone President of one of the greatest countries. One that he is destroying. Thank you for great people with huge hearts like you


January 15 at 11:05 am, Alejandria P. Daplas said:

Am so touched reading the contents of your nicely written letter, I salute you Dr. Furey for your admirable love and concern to the Haitians, you are the backbone of them all, I hope and pray for success in all your undertakings, God bless you and your team! More power to you!


January 15 at 2:43 pm, Linda Whalen said:

Andrew, I hope you have sent this to the US media. Thank you for the great work you are doing in Haiti. It gives me hope that good will prevail and someday soon Trump will be a fading memory.


January 15 at 5:49 pm, Mitzi Pappas Smyth said:

I am very impressed with how you have chosen to speak openly. Thank you, it needed to be said and done so eloquently. Thank you for who you are and what you believe.


January 16 at 11:40 pm, Jean Budden said:

What touching and heart felt words you have written here, Dr. Fury. May your work and the dedication of all who volunteer on such projects as yours, help to make the people around the
world more kind and respectful of others. God Bless !!!


January 18 at 2:00 am, margaret pynn said:

Thank you and your team(s)


January 18 at 2:04 am, margaret pynn said:

Amen !


January 18 at 10:59 am, AlmaMaher said:

I would be surprised if you didn’t react DrFurey keep up the great work


January 18 at 4:15 pm, Alex Kahtava said:

Andrew (and Allison) your words describing the resilience, courage and gracious personalities of the good folk of Haiti is deeply moving and appreciated. I vividly recall being blessed by them during my time among them.


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