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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Wednesday, March 24, 2004  
This may come across as churlish.

Lord knows I haven't given millions to the poor, as this man has. More power to him.

But does the fact he's a lefty Chomskyite add luster to this wealthy philanthropist in Boston Globe profile writer Bella English's eyes?

And might it not be seen as self-defeating in the long run to pour millions into poverty-relief in Haiti while simultaneously shilling for the tinpot Aristide?

Oh, wait. Misery in Haiti has nothing to do with that country's recently deposed president, and everything to do with the president of the USA.

"Bush hates Aristide because he won't be a toady," says White, who "goes looking" for Aristide whenever he's in Haiti. "I often find him at his orphanage in Port-au-Prince. He's going to do what he thinks is best for the poor people. . . . Aristide has had nothing to work with." Under Bush, the United States has helped block $500 million in aid to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, ravaging its economy and basic services. "People are literally starving, especially children. It's unbelievable," White says.

Yep, it all comes back to W, taproot of all evil and misery in the world. One gets the impression the tubes in the Globe newsroom are wired so that even fluff profiles on the Living/Arts page return to this default setting.

The cause to which philanthropist White has devoted much of his fortune, Partners in Health (PIH), is in orbit with Noam Chomsky (more on him here), who shared the stage with Aristide at an anniversary tribute to Partners In Health ("10 Years of Commitment, A Lifetime of Solidarity") at a Thomas J. White Symposium at the Harvard Institute for Health and Social Justice in October, 1997. (For a sense of the political sentiments at work, see the Let Haiti Live page linked, as is PIH, from this Chomsky interview at a radical clearinghouse site. See also the MIT Social Justice Coalition, which lists Partners in Health in its links pantheon right between the New England Committee to Defend Palestine and the Rainforest Action Network. You get the picture.)

As for Aristide, the editorials PIH links at its site indicate it was sorry to see him go. That feeling was not universal among Haitians who lived under his corrupt rule.

Does it ultimately help the poor of the Third World to put millions toward their relief while at the same time shoring up the despotism that is a major cause of their suffering? In the time that it took to insert the obligatory W-is-evil graf, might this question have been asked?

Another thing: The Soros Foundation's Program on Reproductive Health & Rights has granted more than a quarter-million dollars to transform the Projè Santé Fanm (Women's Health Project), part of PIH's Haitian affiliate, Zanmi Lasante (ZL), into a model center for women's reproductive healthcare in Haiti (2000-2001).

The aim of Soros' Reproductive Health & Rights program is made clear: The program's mission is to promote the development of policies and practices to protect women's comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion, both in the United States and in the countries and regions where the Open Society Institute operates.

The clinic's director clearly has done great work among HIV sufferers and the poor. But the question arises: Does she discourage or oppose abortion? (My guess is she doesn't, or she wouldn't have been honored as a Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine.)

The question is raised because the Globe piece reports philanthropist White's giving is inspired by his Catholic faith:

Ask him why, and White, who attends Mass daily, replies: "I'm motivated a lot by what Jesus wants me to do, or what I think he wants me to do. And I think he wants me to help make the world a better place."

Again, I don't mean to diminish or discredit the good this philanthropist has done. My argument is more with the article.

The questions raised above should have been given a nod or somehow addressed in the Globe piece.

As run, the article is a puff job for the Social Justice=Leftism School, and in what it chooses to include and chooses to omit or ignore, exhibits a dishonesty that too often marks the "news" accounts in the Globe these days.


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