Reprinted from Caribbean Net News
|Commentary: Come home, Haiti, to the legacy of your founding fathers!|
|Published on Saturday, January 24, 2009|
By Jean H Charles
It is a fitting tribute to 233 years of the American Revolution, forty five years of America true black integration that culminate into the election of the 44th President, Barack Obama as the first black leader of the United States to call on Haiti the first black republic of the hemisphere to come home to the legacy of its heritage!
Starting with the mulattoes, Haiti at the beginning was composed of a white minority, a large mulatto’s contingent and a much larger black population. To win its independence, Haiti founding fathers not only destroyed the majestic sugar plantations, the staple of the colonial empire, Jean Jacques Dessalines went into a human rampage at the dawn of the creation of the nation, sacrificing all the white people he could found, saving only, the priests and the doctors. Those who could escape left in haste for Louisiana via Cuba bringing with them some faithful black servants who would create the Creole culture of New Orleans.
Henry Christophe, who rules the northern part of the country as king, after the assassination of Dessalines by his brethren, commandeered the second genocide of world history (the first being the quasi elimination of the Indians in the Caribbean by the Spanish Conquistadors). Under the pretext that he could not trust the mulattoes to become loyal citizens of Haiti after the scourging struggle towards independence, he ordered the killing of all the mulattoes, including women and children, from Gonaives, the center of the country to Cape Haitian in the northern part of Haiti. In fact, two hundred years later, there are very few mulattoes left in that part of the country.
Alexandre Petion, the third president of Haiti, was to lead a long line of light skin presidents who gave the country a direction of discriminatory practices against the large black population who flew into the mountains to take up residence after the independence. A century later, the fame writer, Jean Price Mars was one of the first voices to urge the need to create a nation that should be hospitable to all. He was not successful politically in creating a sentiment of a shared vision of the future in Haiti. His indigenous movement was corrupted soon by the noirisme culture that took in the rein of the government in 1946 with President Dumarsais Estime ending some one hundred forty years of mulattoe ruling (there was of course a sprinkle of black presidents such as Faustin Soulouque, Vilbrun Guillaume Sam and others).
From a politics of hospitality mostly to the mulattoes, Haiti became a country where the few blacks that belong to the right clan could pretend to speak on behalf of and for the majority of the masses in appropriating for themselves most of the national and international resources. Those black leaders have also imposed a de facto imposition against the mulattoes occupying higher political position in the Haitian strata. They can enjoy economic advantages, they may run but they shall not win and if they win they shall not serve. This practice that now lasted sixty years has almost destroyed the social and the economic fabric of the Haitian society. Taking a snapshot from the story of Iraq after the American occupation, as described by Sam Dagher in the New York Times we can post this vignette to get a true picture of the situation in Haiti. “The machinery of democracy is gilding corruption, internal rivalries and an intense political instinct that regards elected office as a chance for a bigger cut” of national and international resources for one’s partisans and friends to the detriment of the needs of the population as a whole.
Haiti practices this same discriminatory policy against its Diaspora. A force strong of some 2 million people, it sends more than one billion dollars in remittance to the country every year. It has some of the best intellectual luminaries that shine in the industry and in the arts abroad. It is loyal to the motherland, ready to serve in good and bad times yet the imposition against running for political position is inscribed in the Haitian Constitution and in the ethos of the Haitian mind. The term Diaspora in Haiti is almost synonymous with an insult. He is someone who can be taken advantage of, without recourse or remorse. In the area of social and political sphere he is an outcast who should return to his residence abroad as soon as he has been deprived of his asset brought into the country.
Finally, rural Haiti is discriminated against, by the government by the civil society as well as by the international helping agencies. The 565 rural counties of Haiti have no roads, no electricity, no running water, very little governmental presence and no hope of receiving earmark assistance in the near future. The Haitian culture and the Haitian economy rest on the backbone of the Haitian peasant yet he has no recognition from and no respect for that contribution. He is used and abused only at electoral period to support demagogic and charismatic leaders who have no intention of providing a minimum comfort and welfare to his situation.
The Haitian peasant is courageous, willing to work, and industrious. It should not be that difficult to help him with a minimum of support to agriculture production and to art-craft marketing to arrive to an income of $500 per month or $6,000 per year against the actual $260 per year of today. The discriminatory policies of the Haitian government and of most of the other actors prevent the initial baby steps to such a renaissance. Haiti is now the cradle of the doctrine: “you are on your own” best exemplified by the slogan of its own President: “nagé pou soti" or "swim to get out.”
The whole world is going into rough times these days, yet time is changing for the better for the United States, it has won the Civil Rights Revolution that completed the American Revolution of 1776. By contrast, the French Revolution of 1789, the Haitian Revolution of 1804, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia, the Cuban Revolution of 1959 are still in search of their Martin Luther King and their Barack Obama to complete their revolution for the benefit of all the people of their country. (The Chinese Revolution of 1949 has succeeded to lift the condition of some 800 million peasants from squalor condition to middle class status. This transformation though has an enormous price. It is without the benefit of individual rights and it has caused the death of some 30 million Chinese people.)
In the Caribbean, Haiti and Guyana occupy the bottom list of countries with a low index of indices of good living for their population. It is also indicative that those two countries, where discriminatory policies are a staple of their society and of their government praxis, are lagging in their economic development.
Come Home Haiti to the genie of these twenty five men that occupy the National Frontispiece! They dared to defy the world order of slavery by liberating not only Haiti but the rest of the world from the scourge of inhumanity!
Barack Obama, the disciple of the beloved community prone by Dr Martin Luther King, should know where to put his scalpel to help in the fixing of the Caribbean, even if it hurts for the present, the future cannot be but brighter for the region once it practices the politics of hospitality towards all.
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