Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Hope in a Bar of Soap" on Orlando's FOX 35

Can I please get an "AMEN" from anyone who was watching the 10:00 news on FOX 35 in Orlando last night?

Aw yeah ... that's what I'm talkin' about :)

Less than a week after we returned from Haiti, the local FOX affiliate ran a story on our Orlando-based charity. But there's no sense in me telling you about it when you can watch for yourself :)

Check it out:

Now that you've had a chance to watch the story, please send this page link to your friends, family ... anyone you know in the hotel industry or in the corporate world who might be able to help us out.

Start looking through all those business cards you've collected from people over the years. I bet you know someone who can help. There are a million people in Cap Haitien waiting for a regular supply of soap.


Blogger The Nightshift Chronicler said...

I wouldn't be so quick to take pride in this video, because while it did a good job of outlining your mission, it was a very poor representation of the people of Haiti. This video, even down to the score used trite colonial era tropes in its depictions of Haiti. Take this line for an example of what I am referring to: "We flew along with Clean The World on its very first mission t the island mired in chronic danger. Dirty. Violent. And depressed." Indeed, the narration in this video could have easily been dubbed from a scene in the novel King Solomon's Mines, or the film Apocalypse Now.

As a Haitian American, I encourage your staff to be as mindful about cleaning the world of such negative paradigms for discussing Haitians and other people of color around the globe, as you are to delivering soap.

Thank you in advance for your future attention paid to this issue.


Ferentz Lafargue

July 27, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger kamau said...

I am also not sure that you ought to get an unfettered "Amen" for your coverage of the mission to Haiti. I agree with the Chronicler, that your work is commendable, but your portrayal of Haiti falls into an old and damaging depiction of poor black and brown people the world over. Those same words, "dirty, violent and depressed" are accompanied by the picture of two young black children. The edited scenes of black people ripping the box of soap to shreds and of thousands in the square dancing in anticipation of gifts from the white Clean the World official create the image of you as savior coming to deliver these poor, "dirty, violent, depressed" souls from themselves. Surely you can see how people from traditionally exploited sections of the world, particularly from the African Diaspora, would find this disturbing.

I too commend the work you're doing and hope that you succeed in bringing a desperately needed basic commodity to Haiti. I would also encourage you to develop a better understanding of the complex of race, image and power that your activities have put you squarely in the center of.


July 27, 2009 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Libération Army said...

great work - fox sucks though. No amen from me.

seriously - 'getting through customs takes time...' implying bad governance/chaos/inefficiency in the black/brown world - try getting through customs at LAX

This story unfortunately hijacks your great work and uses it to advance the fox news agenda. the dominant message of this story is that outside America the world is barbarian, dirty , dangerous , corrupt , noisy - in need of the clean efficient white discipline. the haitians deserve more than this. we're smarter than this.

when the devil came, he was not red,
he was chrome and he said....

July 27, 2009 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger a-j said...

I agree with the Nightshift Chronicler- eeeeks. Sounds like you're doing good work on one very important hand, but on the other- media representation is painfully important, and your organization falls down flat on that tip.

July 28, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also agree with the Nightshift Chronicler. While I support the general mission of Clean the World, the representations of Haiti in the Fox News story and the YouTube clip are quite troubling. To put matters simply, both videos depict a one-dimensional view of Haiti, and that dimension is determined by U.S. outsiders rather than by Haitians themselves. Finally, the notion that Haitians are "hopeless" without the intervention of North American aid workers is patronizing. People without hope would not be attending church or engaging in the many other forms of community organizing found in Haiti.

July 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, the negative comments posted here seem somewhat misplaced. I'm pretty certain that the Clean the World folks had nothing to do with the editing or the scripting of the voice-over narration of the Fox story. I bet that they are very grateful to Fox for at least showing that there are people that care about helping other people who are having to deal with some of the worst conditions anyone could live in. I'm curious as to what these folks who are being so critical do to actually help others of need. To make this story out to be some sort of racial thing is just plain ignorant. The negative comment made about the reporter's statement "Those same words, "dirty, violent and depressed" are accompanied by the picture of two young black children" I don't get either. Did you ever think that perhaps there weren't any white people there where the soap was being distributed? Did the Fox reporter make the statement that only people of color are living in less than stellar conditions? Did Fox use trick photography or CGI when showing the actual living conditions of Cap Haitian? To the guy that proudly states that he's a Haitian American, why don't you clue all of us in on the great and wonderous humanitarian deeds you are doing for your own native country? Oh, let me guess, you are of Haitain descent but were probably born and raised here in America right? You should be proud of your country no matter if it's rich, poor, dirty or clean. But don't sit around criticizing folks that are trying to make the lives of others in need a little better for goodness sakes. Let me guess, you wrote your comments while eating a finely cooked meal, sitting in air-conditioned comfort with all of your bling on listening to music on your I-Pod right? Oh gosh, was I out of line in making this assumption? How dare I pass judgement on you right?

To the folks at Clean the World; you are to be truly commended for what you are doing. Keep up the good work and don't get discouraged by morons that have nothing better to do than to criticize others because of their own self guilt about their own inability to make any positive difference in this world.

July 30, 2009 at 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just face it Haiti IS everything that has been depicted fox,
this was not a documentary of Haiti, but a mere 3 minute review of the foundations mission. reality shows; life in most of Haiti sucks, yes im sure there is the top tiny percentage that lives a comfortable life but as in other developing countries and most of the world ,life is unfortunately dirty violent and depressed and much more. sure there is hope, but you gotta put it in perspective to the viewers, and life there is so unimaginable to the average orlando resident who probably thinks haiti is in africa.

-a non hatian.
ucf student
Good luck on saving the world!

August 1, 2009 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger The Nightshift Chronicler said...

3. Haiti is not Hopeless

In view of the above the air of despondency apparent in the donor community is inappropriate. Haiti is, of course, facing severe difficulties, but its fundamentals are far more attractive than most other fragile states.

August 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must commend this organization for their humanitarian efforts but this video is poor and offensive representation of the people of Haiti. I would strongly urge you to remove this video.

August 4, 2009 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Llinda Luke said...

Thank you for your sincere motives and efforts to help the needy and poor in the country of Haiti!!!Please keep in mind there will ALWAYS be critics regardless of how pure your effort or motive may be! Do everything as unto the Lord! He is with you! God BLESS & God speed!!!!!!!!!!

January 26, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it is fox news who wrote the report right? This organization has a right to be happy they are getting publicity. I think you need to send comments to fox and tell them their reporting style needs to be refined.
Also I really believe in the mission of this org. Thank you for your work! I always believed handouts were not the best form of help for people but in this case you are making it so people can focus on other helping initiatives without having to combat disease as well, or as much. I think the your work is really giving aid agencies and the population some backbone; they can focus on other life issues once the disease is under control.

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