Many of my friends think that I am an idealist. Some have advised me to accept the reality of our country as it is. A country, where any challenge to the status quo is a death sentence. I know that deep in my heart the current reality of Haiti must change. I refuse to accept things as they are. I am a believer in high standards. If other people can dream of a better future for their nation, I see no reasons why we can’t dream as big as them.
Haiti, unfortunately, has been one of the most unfortunate nations in modern time. When we are not fighting against one another for public offices, we betraying the dignity of our sovereignty to foreign powers. It is definitely inconceivable to accept this kind of reality.
I believe in the goodness of my people. I am a product of my Haitian roots. The basic foundation that was instilled in me as a child has rendered me a fearless adult. I am a pragmatist, but if the realities we are living in ask for a change, we must not be inflexible in our approach to change.
The politics of fear is succeeding in Haiti because the people don’t see a bright future in the country for them. We are becoming a society unattached to the motherland. We are letting others define the reality we must live our daily life. This is unacceptable.
The reality of today’s Haiti must change. It is unfair for a child born in Cite Soleil to have no aspiration for a better future. It is a transgression that a child born outside one of the major cities could spend a lifetime without ever seeing a doctor or a classroom. It is an aberration that raising a child is often left to the responsibility of a single mother. If this is the reality that we all must accept to live in, then I would prefer to be seen as an idealist or even an illusionist.
Imagine, if Martin Luther King Jr. had accepted the reality of his days, where the back of the bus was the only place for a black man to seat, where school segregation was the norm, where the American dream was only at the reach of a few. I am challenging you to tell me, where we would be without his dream for a better future for all.
At the time, many perceived King as an idealist, an illusionist. Some wanted him to compromise on his belief for equality for all. Some wanted him to lower his expectations of what he saw as a social injustice. He was even threatened many times. He placed his life and that of his family on the line for what he believed was right. He understood that challenging the reality of his day might cost him his life, but regardless he was willing to lead the fight.
The conditions in Haiti are not that different today than they were in the United States during King’s days. Inequality abounds and the basic respect for human rights, trampled.
We have the AIDS epidemic, among other diseases, ravaging for the most part the illiterate subsection of the country. This is all because of the nearly complete degradation of our society that is teetering toward genocide or its tendenciesThe people most vulnerable to those diseases are those who have no rights to challenge the current reality. They are amongst the ninety eight percent with no control of the wealth of the nation. They are those who are not allowed to nourish their minds. They are indeed the invisible amongst us.
This kind of reality must come to a halt. Collectively, we must put an end to this preferential genocide that is happening in bright daylight in Haiti. It is not only when you kill with a bullet that it should be considered a crime, but when you deny people access to the basic necessities of life, such as health care, education, sanitary condition, security, nutrition and so on, you are also committing a crime against humanity. Those who have been bestowed the duty to lead the country must find a way to end this current reality, and map out a plan to draw a new reality for all Haitians. A reality, where prosperity will be at the reach of each and every single Haitian regardless of their last name or what part of the country they were born.
— Contact Ilio Durandis at [email protected]
Governing On Charity
It is clear that the Haitian government doesn’t work for the Haitian people. For years, we have been holding the government responsible for our lack of progress, and yet we have failed to realize that the mission of the Haitian government is not to ameliorate the living conditions of all Haitians or so it seems.
It comes to a point, where we need to be real. We must ask a few questions of ourselves before we start pointing that famous finger at anyone who fails to help our beleaguered country. First and foremost we need to define the role and expectations of a government.
The government is there as a facilitator of progress. Its main responsibility is the protection of each and every citizen at home or abroad. The government is the ultimate arbitrator of a just society. In that context, it is obvious that the Haitian government has failed to live up to its expectation for most of the country’s existence.
We have become a society that depends too much on the charity of others. The rate of unemployment is so high and even those who are employed have to rely on others to make ends meet. The bulk of the money that enters the country is from the diaspora. We have one of the highest remittance rates among the Caribbean nations, and most of that money is only used to consume imported products.
Although the government has the right to print money, no government can sustain itself without a sound tax system. In Haiti, the lack of tax collection renders the role of the government ineffective. Basically, we have a precarious financial system, and one of the ways for the government to function is to depend on foreign aid. The idiom of “who finances must command” could not be any truer than it is in Haiti.
As foreigners donate funds to our government, we must realize that in return our government must be accountable to those foreigners and not to us, the Haitian people. The foreigners pay their salary, therefore our government works for them.
If we need to take back our country, we must raise the capital ourselves; instead of importing the essential products, we must cultivate the land to feed ourselves. Instead of walking the streets chanting “ABA,” we must unite to demand for employment and be willing to pay taxes.
Haiti is a failed state as it presently constitutes. It will remain a failed state for years unless the collective mind of the people starts to focus on the big picture. The few outcomes from a failed state, where there’s no expectation, are civil war or a full-blown revolution. At present, the country is not ready for either.
Today, Haiti may be a bastion for a few to amass the majority of the wealth of the country. In the short term, it may be profitable to maintain the status quo at the expense of the poor majority. But, there will come a day when the lessons of 1804 will reappear in the midst of our society. There will come a point where enough will be enough and I am sure that those who are profiting today will pay a dear price for the rage of the people.
It is said that a chain as is strong as its weakest link. In the body, there are mechanisms in place to deal with contagious cells.
In the event those mechanisms fail to solve the issue, the only eventual outcome is the multiplication of more bad cells, which in turn would lead to the complete destruction of the organism. In Haiti, we are witnessing the symptoms of the invasion of foreign interference in our internal organ.
The government of any nation represents its heart. When it failed to supply enough confidence to the population, nothing can prevent its ultimate fall. The idea of governing on the charity of foreign powers could only lead to corruption, unaccountability, and over all a lack of interest in the welfare of the population.
The facts remain that Haiti is an amazingly small country compared to many advanced countries in the world. If we allocated the resources of the country efficiently, there would be no reason why Haiti could not sustain a decent living standard for its people. As long as we content ourselves to amass the donation of foreign powers, the logic is clear that Haiti will remain on the road of misery.
If we are unable to control our own governmental projects, it is clear that we would not be able to decide what is good for all of us. What is in the interest of all Haitians is probably not in the interest of our donors. Collectively, we must find a solution to this risky business of governing on charity.
We are a sovereign state, and it is our civic duty to contribute in maintaining our sovereignty. Liquidating the affairs of our government to foreign donors is like donating our heart to a patient with a failing heart, just so that patient can help us in return. With only one heart, this is practically impossible. We must learn to take care of ourselves before we rely on others to do it for us.
— Contact Ilio Durandis at [email protected]