I am not a big fan of quick fixes and can never get to wrap my mind around temporary solutions. For that many people who know me think that I am lay back or just never feel the need for urgency. I hold this deep belief that people who are always in a rush often tend to be very inefficient and inconsistent. It is one thing to act swiftly with precision and accuracy, and a completely different story to always pretend to be in a hurry. Anything well planned should never lead to rushing.
Of course, there are events in life that no one could possibly foresee, let alone plan for them. Almost a quarter century ago, Haiti went through its own man-made earthquake. The toppling of the Duvalier regime hit all corners of the country like an earthquake. For many, it was a predictable moment, but the exact date or time it would take place was unknown to almost everyone. That early Friday morning, February 7th, 1986 a storm like no other took the country hostage.
At the moment of the storm, everyone had reason to believe that it was Haiti’s chance to finally reach its potential. We thought the uprooting of the “makouts” would cleanse our country of corruption, and incompetent leaders. The song that still resonates with me from that day was “Ayiti libere, dezyem indepandans” Haiti is freed, this is a second independence. When we take a look back we had all the reasons in the world to believe that we would be able to finally live the dream of 1804. So, how did we fumble such a big opportunity?
The answer is simple if you asked me, we wanted a quick fix. We allowed ourselves to believe that a band-aid was better than stitches. We rushed for the end-zone, not only did we fumble, but we continued to run in the wrong direction. We heard the word democracy, and all of a sudden we all wanted to lead. We became a country of heads without bodies. Today, we are witnessing a very similar situation, but the lessons of 1986 should serve us well, if we are to make the right call this time.
Unlike 1986, instead of cry of joy and hope, the earthquake of 2010 brought with it a lot of mourning, sadness, confusion and many uncertainties. We have no idea how long it will take before we can move forward, and yet there are some who wants a quick fix with no clear plan for the future.
Before the quake people who had all their body parts were struggling to get by, and post-quake we are about to have a huge number of people missing legs, hands, eyes among other important body parts, can you imagine what life would be like for them and those who will have to watch after them?
Hope is a great thing. It is the start of change; however we cannot continue to live on hope alone. We ought to find a way to transform hope into concrete actions that make sense in the life of those who believe. At present, there is a great sense of hope among us that Haiti might finally get an opportunity to make it right. Former President Bill Clinton believes this catastrophe presents us an opening to build Haiti back better. He might be right, I want to believe that he is right, but we must start on the right path.
A well-coordinated plan for the future of the country should be at work, if not, those who are charged with the responsibility of the welfare of the state must get to work. It is a plan that must include all the different voices within Haiti. It must take into consideration the concrete steps needed to provide the basics of life to all. It really should put into action the notion of one citizen class for all Haitians. We must rid ourselves from the thinking that we can exclude people from the fabric of our society based on their social or educational status. This natural disaster should help us recognize that we are all in it together.
Again, we have a golden opportunity to have a true national debate in order to have a clear definition of the essence of Haitian identity. We need to know who we really are, and where we want to go as a collective. This time, there is no need to precipitate the change we seek, for we want to make sure that the country’s mentality can be correlated with the people’s aspirations.
There are some pressing issues that must be addressed, such as the type of curriculum we want in our schools, the type of jobs we envision to have, the subjects that should be taught at our universities, how to integrate more women in leadership position, the importance of the rural communities in the decentralization and many more, but first and foremost, we must proceed with the idea that everyone’s opinion matters.
It is going to take sometimes to transform this nation. The people must understand that, the leaders must understand that, the friends of Haiti must understand it, the donor nations must understand it, and when we all understand what is best for us all, then we have the start of an irreversible change for Haiti which will lead to a sustainable progress that everyone will feel oblige to protect and preserve.
A quick fix is a non-starter. There are too many things to fix, and too many issues to deal with, which should force us to be patient, but that allow us to always act swiftly and to never lose sight of our destiny.