Tag Archives: Twitter

Messages from Haiti: “The suffering isn’t loud.”

Richard Morse, manager of the Oloffson Hotel in Port au Prince has been sending out Twitter messages, which  are being compiled together by Counterpunch.com. Morse is also well known as the leader of the band RAM, and his hotel was made famous in Graham Greene’s novel The Comedians. For more than five decades, it has been switching central for journalists, business people, VIPs, CIA agents, politicians, and thousands of others dropping in or departing Haiti through good times and bad.

Here are a few bits from Morse’s filings; you can continue to read him  in Counterpunch.

We slept out under the stars tonight. Port au Prince was very quiet. The suffering isn’t loud. No shooting…

The last time my guests all slept together was when the Haitian army was shooting journalists after the election massacre of Nov. 1987.

People are starting to wake up. I hear individual voices in the distance, some are moans, some are wails, some is just communication….

We need help with the rubble, help with medical supplies,help with food,water,the singing and praying has begun. God help us all…

The hospital across the street is putting bodies out on the street. decomposition. We need portable morgues.generators. Food. Help. Evacuation…

No homes,no jobs.death.no where to turn.people caught in the rubble.my sleep was peaceful.now I’m awake.reality sets in.sun is about 2 rise…

People have been good, helpful,calm … at some point, hunger, thirst, despair will set in. Portable morgues are needed…medical supplies…

I’ld say most of PauP neighborhoods are damaged. Haven’t visited them but from what I’m hearing, damage everywhere…

I’m not in direct contact with Jacmel but I’m not hearing good things from there. Many buildings collapsed and death. Few specifics…

Bring the people, the help and the aid. We haven’t doctors or morgues or medical treatment and supplies. Bring it on!!!

I guess the people who lived through the earthquake sleep outside and the ones who arrived afterwards sleep inside…

Bodies are being brought to the cemetery. Decomposing bodies everywhere. Looting is begining.The prison is empty. 7 dead bodies in the prison 

People sent & are waiting in the stadium for medical help and no one is coming. They’re starting to give out water today.

I’m finally able to get to my office. Many journalists. Internet is getting a bit slow. Bodies in piles. Bodies along the road. Body committees….

Workers trickling in, so many have lost their homes, all their belongings. How many have lost family, home, job, neighbors? Now what? Stay? 

Communication is frustrating. Can’t reach people in Jacmel to get news. Can’t reach people around PauP. People are still remarkably calm… 

Started to do some shopping today to feed journalists. Someone opened a market for us. One of few not damaged. 

I don’t hear as much singing and praying tonight but I do hear planes in the distance. Help is on the way. There were approx 2 million in PauP… 

I see lights in the distance by the wharf. Pretty dark here except for the glow of laptops. A few journalists have headlights…

I’m getting occasional messages from Jacmel that people are in great need of help. I don’t know what the plan is. Is there a plan? 

Iran: The Protests in the Streets–and Their Cold War Precursors

As demonstrators continue to protest what was clearly a corrupt election and possibly a stolen one, police are responding with “water cannon, batons, tear gas and live rounds,” according to the BBC today. For those who want to follow what’s going on in Tehran’s streets, I’m listing some sources for breaking news and ongoing updates. With the government trying to effect a news blackout, this is first-hand reporting on the fly–and at considerable risk to those providing it. 

Tehran Bureau, which describes itself as “an independent online magazine about Iran and the Iranian diaspora,” is running this Twitter feed, describing developments as they happen.

My old colleague Laura Rozen is constantly updating a series of news links on Iran on The Cable, the blog she runs for Foreign Policy. It includes on-the-scenes reporting from Tehran Bureau and other on-the-ground sources, as well as a roundup of the best reports from more traditional Western and local new sources, official statements, and the like. 

There are also plenty of clandestine videos being released on YouTube and elsewhere, most of them shot on cell phones, showing the beating, tear gassing, and shooting of protestors. This one, sent to me by an Iranian reporter, reportedly shows how the Ahmadinejad regime prepared stacks of fradulent ballots before the election even began. 

For members of the Silent Generation like myself, all of this will bring back memories of 1953, when a coup overthrew nationalist premier Mohammed Mossadegh. While the images are familiar, however, the situation is quite different: Rather than a homegrown democratic movement, the 1953 coup was engineered by the CIA, aided by British intelligence. At the height of the Cold War, the West could not tolerate the leftist Mossadegh, especially seeing that he intended to take over the oil business from the international corporations.

iran 1953The two events are not entirely disconnected, however. The CIA-engineered coup reinstalled the despotic Shah of Iran, which in turn led more or less directly to the Islamic Revolution and the repressive regimes of today. In addition, the destructive history of American meddling inevitably affects the U.S. government’s response to the current uprising. 

The Obama administration is under pressure–mostly from the right–to make a more aggressive response to the situation in Iran. But American support for the protestors–or for Ahmadinejad’s rival Mir Hussein Mussavi–is tantamount to the kiss of death. As Karim Sadjadpour, an Iranian expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the New York Times: “If we overtly take sides, the regime could well react with a massive and bloody crackdown on the demonstrators using the pretext that they are acting against an American-led coup.” Or, as he might have said, another American-led coup.