Thursday, January 14, 2010
(One day from "A Chronology of Haitian Protest and Resistance since the Earthquake")
A resource produced by Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade


[Note: The very first reports of "protests" in Port-au-Prince were sensational accounts of survivors using corpses and rubble to make barricades to block roads.  What started with a short quotation  turned into a frenzy of exaggerated reporting.  Whether there were any actual roadblocks using copses as a form of protest is unknown.  The source for this explosive allegation, which went around the world, was a Time magazine photographer named Shaul Schwarz.*  Curiously though, this photographer has apparently not offered any photos of the roadblocks that he says he witnessed.  Neither were any Haitians interviewed saying that they had engaged in such a provocative protest.  All we have to go on was the Time photographer who saw two such "roadblocks."  Could it be that Mr. Schwarz simply misinterpreted what he saw?


Whether there really were two real roadblocks or not, the story immediately spiraled out of control. The mainstream corporate media began showing images of thousands of bodies filling the streets. The photo captions and headlines associated with these images claimed that corpses were being placed on the street to protest against the slow removal of bodies by foreign responders. 


In reality, the placement of earthquake victims' bodies in the street was the best and only option for survivors.  Where else should they have placed the corpses? As Reuters soon reported "Local radio is broadcasting messages for Haitians to put bodies recovered from under the rubble of collapsed buildings on the street for collection by garbage and other trucks." (January 17, 2010)


The media stories about corpse roadblocks presented Haitian protesters as people who were hindering the speedy disposal of bodies.  Articles, such as the January-15 Reuters story below, placed the phantom Haitian protesters in stark contrast with international personnel who were there trying their level best to help but were faced with logistical problems like the fact that roads were blocked with "rubble and smashed cars" and bodies.


* Shaul Schwarz, who started his photographic career with the Israeli Air Force, also photographed the US-backed "rebel uprising" in 2004. That socalled "uprising" was used as a pretext for the international invasion, occupation and regime change that ousted President Aristide's democratically-elected government. Mr. Schwarz's numerous close-up photographs of armed Haitian "rebels" (i.e., terrorists) and their leaders suggest that he may have been "embedded" with them. See: Index/Haiti/Uprising 2004]


Corpse roadblock
set up by
protesting survivors
Thousands scramble as aid slow to arrive

By Tom Brown and Andrew Cawthorne
January 15, 2010

Desperate Haitians set up roadblocks with corpses in Port-au-Prince yesterday to demand quicker relief efforts after the massive earthquake that killed an estimated 50,000 people.

Angry survivors staged the protest as international aid began arriving in the Haitian capital to help a nation traumatized by Tuesday's catastrophic earthquake that flattened homes and government buildings.

More than 48 hours after the disaster, tens of thousands of people clamoured for food and water and help digging out relatives still missing under the rubble.

Shaul Schwarz, a photographer for Time magazine, said he saw at least two downtown roadblocks formed with bodies of earthquake victims and rocks.

"They are starting to block the roads with bodies. It's getting ugly out there. People are fed up with getting no help," he told Reuters.

While world leaders pledged hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of troops, delivery was a logistical nightmare, and aid was arriving only in a trickle.

The main airport was so overwhelmed by planes carrying foreign aid that incoming U.S. flights were suspended.

Aid distribution was also hampered because roads were blocked by rubble and smashed cars....

[Note: Contrary to the headline of this story, the image they used was not of corpses being used in a protest to block the streets.  These bodies had been placed in front of the City morgue in an entirely rational attempt to have them disposed of.]


Anger in Haiti at delayed aid Earthquake survivors build barricades out of bodies, January 15, 2010

Anger is growing in Haiti amongst survivors of the killer earthquake as international aid struggles to get through.

And according to eyewitnesses, some people have even resorted to building barricades using the bodies of victims out of fury over the missing help following the devastating tremor.

Photographer Shaul Schwarz from ‘Time’ magazine told Reuters: “They are starting to block the roads with bodies."
In the capital city of Port-au-Prince, a minimum of two barricades made from dead bodies and rocks can be seen.
“It’s getting ugly out there," Schwarz added. "People are fed up with getting no help."

[Note: Again, this is another example of an extremely misleading story headline. The Getty image used here is NOT of corpses being used to blockade the streets in a protest of any kind.  This is another image of bodies outside the Pot-au-Prince morgue.  Despite this fact, the caption under the photo with this story states:

"Survivors make barricades out of bodies
Survivors of the Haiti earthquake are making barricades out of bodies. There is no way for them to dispose of the corpses."]


Angry Haitians protest over lack of aid
Euronews. January 15, 2010

The struggle for survival is becoming a race against time for some desperate Haitians.

Widespread looting has broken out as the needy await the arrival of food and medical supplies.

Some people have set up roadblocks with corpses in some parts of Port-au-Prince, in protest at the failure of aid to get through.

[Note: This is another example of the corporate media saying that there were "roadblocks with corpses" (although they presented no evidence). There is nothing to indicate that the bodies seen in the photograph with this story were actually being used in any form of protest.]


January 15, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Some survivors, angry over the delay in getting aid, built roadblocks with corpses on Thursday in one part of the city.


Thursday, January 14, 2010
(One day from "A Chronology of Haitian Protest and Resistance since the Earthquake")
A resource produced by Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade