Wednesday, 13 January 2010


“Whatever you condemn, you have done yourself.” - Georg Groddeck

The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti is dominating our news bulletins and once again the world watches in horror as the death toll climbs. At present it is feared that up to 100,000 people may have lost their lives when the magnitude 7.0 Richter earthquake flattened massive areas of the capital Port-au-Prince yesterday. The city is plagued by poverty and has many rickety buildings built to deficient standards, while in the slums, the jerry-built hovels adhere to no regulation and are not part of the city planning process. Add to that the proximity to the city of the major tectonic plate rift (the closest being about 15 km) and the superficial nature of the quake, and one understands the magnitude of the damage and the destruction caused.

The world has responded swiftly to provide aid and immediate help in order to save as many of the lives of the people trapped in debris and dilapidated buildings. The threat of aftershocks, some of which may happen at any time now and which may be as high as 6.5 Richter is another factor to consider. Time is of essence and real help is needed urgently to help the devastated nation.

In comments that add gross insult to the immense injury and loss that the Haitian people are struggling to come to terms with, American televangelist Pat Robertson has blamed the devastating earthquake in Haiti on a pact between the impoverished nation’s founders and the devil. Speaking on his television program The 700 Club, Mr Robertson said the pact happened “a long time ago in Haiti. They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon III [sic] and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.' True story. 
And so the devil said, 'OK it's a deal'. And they kicked the French out.”

Mr Robertson said after the pact, the Haitians “revolted and got something - themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.”
 Mr Robertson said the curse was evident when Haiti was contrasted with its neighbour, the Dominican Republic. “That island of Hispaniola is one island. It is cut down the middle - on the one side is Haiti, on the other is the Dominican Republic. 

Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. 

They need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I’m optimistic something good may come.” Said Mr Robertson.

Mr Robertson’s outspoken comments have caused much controversy in the past. 

He was widely criticised for his 2005 call for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s assassination. He also said the 2006 stroke suffered by then-Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was punishment from God. He blamed the September 11 terrorist attacks on civil liberties, promised a disastrous tsunami in America in 2006 and a terrorist attack on United States soil in 2007. When both predictions failed to happen, Mr Robertson said people must have prayed to God, and “God in his mercy spared us.”

At this time of great national tragedy, in Haiti, where immense human suffering is evident in all of its awesome extent, comments of the type made by Mr Robertson are neither Christian nor helpful, in my opinion. Adding to the country’s woes, which include years of social unrest, crime, political tumult and natural disaster, this latest earthquake has made the Haitian people regard it as an especially cruel and incomprehensible event. It is fortunate that people who do advertise themselves as “Christians” as Mr Robertson does, have been propelled into action and are providing real Christian charity, rapid and decisive action and not hurtful and insulting words; help, not blame; comfort and not threats of divine wrath…


  1. I am so embarrassed that this man lives in my country. I am even more embarrassed by the whole "Christian Movement" here. Actually the term Christian Movement must be an oxymoron because they show no movement from their narrow-minded, racist and elitist views.

    Good blog as always, Nicholas, but I was reminded today reading another article on Haiti that it is also still recovering from being in the direct path of a couple hurricanes (more fodder for Pat) but as we in the developed nation of the US have shown with Katrina it is not easy to put things back after a major disaster.

    And if it is a just god the Christians worship why are the sins of the fathers visited upon the people of today?

  2. Robertson's words make me so angry. Why do people continue to send him money to support his habits. Everyone knows that the Donimican Republic is the happy recipient of enormous amounts of American money and military aid, while Haiti is deliberately kept in its impoverished state for political purposes.

    And this coming from a guy who has gotten wealthy off the backs of Africans in his diamond operation (not to mention his many other dubious business ventures) This is a man of God?

    "According to a 2 June 1999, article in The Virginian-Pilot,[18] Robertson had extensive business dealings with Liberian president Charles Taylor. According to the article, Taylor gave Robertson the rights to mine for diamonds in Liberia's mineral-rich countryside. According to two Operation Blessing pilots who reported this incident to the state of Virginia for investigation in 1994, Robertson used his Operation Blessing planes to haul diamond-mining equipment to Robertson's mines in Liberia, despite the fact that Robertson was telling his 700 Club viewers that the planes were sending relief supplies to the victims of the genocide in Rwanda."

  3. This is a terrible tragedy and to have this person spit poison instead of engaging actively in some Christian charity in this crisis is unacceptable.
    My thoughts fly to the Haitian people in this tragic time and I am relieved to hear that our governments are doing their best to aid Haiti.

  4. this man is a hipocrit and a creep
    his only purpose in life is to make money for himself and live a life of luxury
    at least he could pretend to follow christian principles especially in a catastrophy like that in haiti

  5. Hello everyone,
    This is an email which I received from one of the charities I support. Please donate to the Haiti earthquake appeal:

    "Dear Nicholas

    World Vision is right now rushing emergency supplies to thousands of people left homeless by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on 12 January. Staff on the ground fear thousands are dead with many more injured, as rescue efforts continue for people still trapped under rubble. An estimated 3 million have been affected - that’s one in three people in Haiti.

    Watch video Children have been separated from their parents and left completely alone, with nothing. No food, water or shelter.

    The Haiti earthquake is being labelled the worst natural disaster in Haiti in 200 years, with World Vision declaring its highest level of humanitarian response. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, troubled by civil unrest, mass unemployment and water shortages, which have all contributed to extensive poverty. These factors combined leave Haiti ill-equipped to cope with a natural disaster of this scale.

    Your help is needed now. World Vision is there, distributing emergency survival kits, water, blankets and shelter to affected children and families. As relief efforts continue, we will be working hard to ensure the safety of children.

    Please make an urgent donation now to help us meet the needs of Haiti's earthquake survivors. $100 could buy safe drinking water, food and other emergency supplies
    for a family.

    You can spread the word - forward this email to friends and family wanting to help the people of Haiti.

    We can't stress enough the enormity and desperation of this situation.

    Thank you for your time.
    World Vision Australia"

  6. I have to come back to this - I'm too distraught. I have posted on Multiply in response to those asking if my family and me are ok. Yes, thankfully we are. We were not affected although there were worries on Tuesday until about 10.00pm about the possible tsunami which could have and probably would have affected us.

  7. I cannot even begin to express my shame for the comments made by a Christian evangelist! If Mr. Robertson believes in God, now it's the time for him to pray for forgiveness. And for the rest of us - look deeper into our soles to weed out little pat robertsons...
    I lived through a devastating earthquake in 1966 in Tashkent - I know how truly scary it is when the earth betrays you and bricks fly in the air with the speed of cannonballs!

  8. You may have seen that I blogged on the Haitian disaster last week. It wasn’t a very good blog but I was so distraught that I had to get something down as to the delay in CARICOM coming off its pedestal to help. I said that we should have our fast ferries transporting heavy equipment to Haiti but as a wonderful friend pointed out, it wasn’t an option because getting the gear to them was one thing but getting the expertise to operate the equipment was another. I suppose this could be true given the fact that we import Chinese labour to build our roads and buildings.
    Of course, Christianity had to come into it somewhere and true to form it had to come from the likes of that appalling man, Robertson. It’s people like him with his vicious tongue who give people like me and those who share my beliefs, a terrible, terrible name. Had the Haitians made a pact with the devil so many hundreds of years ago, Haiti would have been prosperous because satan supposedly looks after his own.
    The generosity that is pouring into Haiti albeit challenging for the aid workers, shows that we, as a global family, are willing and ready to help our brothers and sisters in times of disaster. Pity it takes such an enormous tragedy for us all to pull together.