The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, September 18, 2003
My Amanpour Story
I was in Haiti three years ago, visiting a Peace Corps friend. We were out driving, seeing the country, and it was quite hot. My friend mentioned that there is a foreign hotel near the airport with a beautiful pool on a balcony overlooking the hills. It sounded pretty good at the time, so we went there.
It turns out that this was where Amanpour stayed when she came to Haiti (you know, the proximity to the airport). It is a great place to drink and swim, with a wonderful view in the tropical breeze.
It's a shitty place to learn anything about Haiti.
Whenever there is unrest in Haiti, Amanpour stands on that balcony and reports on the violence. She doens't leave the hotel. Her "news" is second hand at best, conveyed to her by government big men who can afford to frequent the hotel.
Naturally, anyone who protests against Aristide's incredible corruption is a troublemaker funded by the old rich elites (but never the newly-enriched elites who work for Aristide and who talk to Amanpour). Yet, for some reason, she never credits her sources. If she did, it would sound terrible: "The wife of Interior Minister Hervrite said to me (over cocktails) that the protestors are a mixture of criminals and friends of (exiled former coup leader) Raoul Cedras. They want him to rule again and the cancel elections..."
The hotel employees laugh derisively when she signs off: "Christianne Amanpour, reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti."
The hotel is in Petionville. Port-au-Prince is twenty-five miles away. Twenty five miles is quite a distance on Haiti's terrible roads: it takes about an hour to travel (when it's not raining).