Posted by: Idioma Extra | February 9, 2010

Tuesday’s News


In an effort to improve and add variety to our Idioma Extra bulletin, we will be expanding our Tuesday edition to include world new components. The article below is an editorial about the Americans arrested in Haiti on kidnapping charges. Check out the vocabulary after the article too! We welcome your feedback as we continue to expand our news and English exposure for you!  

Protecting Haiti’s children
Even in these troubled times, Haiti has every right to make sure children are protected.

The 10 American Baptist missionaries arrested on charges of abducting children from earthquake-ravaged Haiti had circulated fliers promising to give orphans “with no one to love or care for them” a better life in the Dominican Republic, and claiming to have government permission to do so. In fact, they didn’t have the proper paperwork, authorities said, and the New Life Children’s Refuge had yet to build its advertised orphanage. Many of the 33 supposed orphans turned out to have parents. And the group’s leader faces multiple legal claims against her and her Internet shopping business back in Idaho, where the nonprofit is registered to the address of a home she lost to foreclosure in December.

Sound sinister? Yes, it does. Was it? The missionaries’ supporters say no. Perhaps these men and women were motivated by the best of intentions. Perhaps the leader, Laura Silsby, has been unlucky in business during a bad economy, and perhaps that has no bearing on her Christian work. All we know for sure is that, at the very least, it was arrogant and irresponsible for the missionaries to think they could shepherd these 2- to 12-year-olds out of the country without respect for the law or the most basic attention to detail.

Even in impoverished and frequently dysfunctional Haiti, there are laws protecting the rights of children and procedures for adoption. The fact that these are frequently violated, or that the earthquake created a crisis, is no excuse for do-gooders to think they are above the law. On the contrary. children often suffer most in a crisis. Hundreds of thousands have been left homeless by the earthquake, and many were truly orphaned. And even before this, poverty had ushered many children into indentured servitude, while others were sent abroad through illegal adoptions.

Poverty forces parents to make unbearable choices: which child to feed or educate, which child’s illness to treat. Many of these 33 children reportedly were given up voluntarily by their parents, who believed their offspring were being given a chance to escape the hunger and devastation, and to go to school. Now the children are housed at an Austrian-run orphanage outside Port-au-Prince, and the 10 Americans are in jail.

Some Americans may wonder why Haiti has chosen to prosecute this case when confronted with so many problems. Is anti-Americanism a factor, or a desire to counter the humiliation of being so dependent on U.S. and foreign aid? Although those feelings may exist and the kidnapping charge may be harsh, we understand the Haitian argument that failure to prosecute would send the wrong message to those who prey on innocents. The U.S. government must work with the Haitians to ensure that the Americans receive competent defense lawyers and a fair trial — which admittedly is not always easy in Haiti — and if they are convicted, the punishment should fit the crime. But no one should try to impede justice in a country that has struggled to provide it even in the best of times.

Word of the Day

Main Entry: ab·duct
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Latin abductus, past participle of abducere, literally, to lead away, from ab- + ducere to lead — more at tow
Date: 1825
1 : to seize and take away (as a person) by force
2 : to draw or spread away (as a limb or the fingers) from a position near or parallel to the median axis of the body or from the axis of a limb
ab·duc·tor noun

More Vocabulary

Bearing: n. relation, connection; purport
Do-gooder: n. an earnest, often naïve humanitarian or reformer
Flier: n. (or flyer) an advertising circular
Indentured servitude: n. when a worker (“indentured servant”), usually from a foreign country, agrees to work for a specific time to pay off his travel costs to the new country
Non-profit: non-profit organization. An organization that does not distribute its extra funds to owners or shareholders, but uses them to help pursue its goals; examples include charities and public arts organizations
Orphanage: n. a public institution for the care and protection of children without parents (orphans)
Paperwork: n. work involving the handling of reports, letters and forms
Shepherd: v. to protect, guide or watch over a person or group of people
Struggle: v. to contend with an adversary or opposing force
Unbearable: adj. intolerable; unendurable

Love those Phrasal Verbs!

Give up: to surrender, relinquish

     The employee gave up his company car to help the company save money.

Turn out: to result

     The staff meeting turned out to be very productive.

Emailing Phrases

Below are some phrases used in business emails in English. To learn more phrases and expressions, consider Idioma Internacional’s AFD 450 Emailing and Business Communication Course!

Opening pleasantries

I hope you’re doing well.
I hope all is well with you.
Good morning/afternoon.

Acknowledging receipt of email/requesting acknowledgment of email

Thank you for your response to my email.
Thanks for your email.
I just wanted to make sure you received my last email.
Did you receive my email regarding the staff meeting on Tuesday?


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