Haiti, Tahiti, they all sound the same
February 24, 2010Posted by on
“A hilarious incident took place yesterday in Tahiti, where a battalion of the Romanian army caused hysterical laughter on the paradise island in French Polynesia.
The Ministry of Defense made a regrettable mistake about the destination of its aid for earthquake victims in Haiti, sending a battalion of mountain troops and 2000 tons of supplies – water, blankets, medicine and food – in the opposite direction, to the Tahiti island, located in the South Pacific.
“I say we should not make a big show of this thing. I mean, the names sound very, very similar. Haiti, Tahiti, Mahiti, Papiti. To hell with them, they sound all the same”, Defense Minister Gabriel Oprea told times.ro.”
The above piece of news with the respective picture, published on the Romanian website times.ro, went around the world. Russian, Hungarian, Latvian and Italian journalists broadcasted the news, which went not only around the internet but soon reached even Colombian television.
The French TV channel Canal+ mentioned the story in a talk show. In the clip below, for the first minute and a half they discuss the subject and are mesmerized by the incident.
After a minute and a half, the clip jumps to the same talk-show the next day, where the host, after showing the Colombian news broadcast about the incident, explains that it was a… joke.
Even if you don’t speak French to understand what they’re saying, it’s worth watching their facial expressions :).
The website times.ro is a satire. “The Onion” type. The blogger guy who launched this “piece of news” still can’t believe how journalists around the world simply do not verify sources before blabbering stuff to the public on a very serious tone. That while the respective article was tagged “almost true“.
Well, at least one thing we know for sure in these times of uncertainty: no matter where they are or end up, all Romanians are vampires ;).
More info in an article from Le Monde, in French, here.
Later edit: As a perfect illustration of this kind of gullibility, I didn’t check if Ionut Foltea, the author of the pamphlete, is a blogger or not (heck, even now I haven’t even checked if that is his real name, I am simply believing hotnews). Ok, I didn’t give that particular word much importance, but as it turns out people can be sensitive to these kind of things, so – better check sources. We live and learn.
At least I don’t get paid for this, but… eh, Canal+? 😉
Even later edit: Check out the shocking diary of one of those Romanian soldiers dumped in Tahiti, here. And here you can find how Canal+ got the news – from their local correspondent in Tahiti, Paul Gauguin. Articles are in Romanian, but… you get the picture.