As a nation it seems like we are living in a black hole. The thoughts of development and progress are received as aliens by those in control of the country. As time passes by, we are indeed destroying any seeds of hope that we have left within the country. Time is not on our side; we need to diagnose the more pressing issues facing the nation to come up with the right prognosis and the necessary solution.
Each subsequent generation has become more aggressive and hateful towards each other. The act of revenge plays an integral part in our national psyche. We inherit a belief from our forefathers that makes it normal to mete justice to ourselves. We refuse to forgive those who have done evil unto us, and quite honestly this resentment is at the core of our misery.
I have no doubt that few Haitian leaders have always put the welfare of the nation and its people first. In such situation, it is understandable why the people might be reluctant to trust leaders. On the same token, walking around with a grudge for a particular leader who is in exile at a luxurious resort in a foreign country does not improve our living conditions. We need to learn to forgive not because it would heal all our wounds, but because it might be necessary to put the past behind and focus on the future.
We need to have a national reconciliation similar to that of South Africa under Nelson Mandella. After so many years of being the root cause of our own destruction, we must come together to define the meaning of being Haitian in today’s world. We must set our own agenda, and in order to do so, those in leadership positions must learn to put the interest of the nation first and foremost. The steps necessary to make this happen are difficult if not impossible because of the revengeful ideology that is plaguing the whole nation.
I am aware that forgiveness can not be given to someone who has not admitted to any guilt. The first step in this national reconciliation starts with a self-recognition that at a point or another each one of us have failed to live up to our duty toward the country. Once we realized that we are not any better than those who have caused great ills to the rest of us, then forgiveness would come naturally.
I am not advocating for forgiveness just so we can forget our past. As long as we are losing sleep over those national traitors, we are empowering people like them to do more harm to us.
A new day is at the horizon. The time to move forward has come. That can not be done with anger in our heart for one another. As the Haitian singer, Alan Cave puts it, hate is for the weak let’s try love.
I have never heard of anyone loving something they fear. We must learn to stop living in horror in order to start spreading the love in our heart for each other. We can do it, but we must be able to forgive those who have caused us great pains. Forgiveness is a sign of strength, and wherever there’s strength one will find love.
There is no need to divide the rich from the poor, if the ultimate objective is the elimination of poverty. There is no need to instigate the poor to hate the rich, if at the end, the poor wants to become prosperous. The balance that is needed to maintain a civil society has everything to do with a common national interest between the rich and the poor.
When a society is readily able to forgive those who make mistakes it makes it that much easier for people to avoid those mistakes in the first place. The mentality of “Ying Yang” “Ou fe’m, map fe’w” has been the greatest roadblock on our path to development.
Something has to give; someone has to be willing to be the bigger person. Whoever tends to have the most at stake must be willing to compromise the most during this national reconciliation. Some might say that we are not ready to reconcile our differences, they might say that the people should not forgive the leaders who have betrayed their trust, and my question to them is when will we be ready?
We are at the crossroad between moving forward and the point of no return. The decisions that will be made on our behalf in the next few years will decide whether Haitians will still be in control of their own destiny. Living with resentment, anger, and hatred for our fellow citizens could not be helpful for those who need help the most.
Justice can still play a role in the national reconciliation, but we have to be fair minded, and assume everyone is innocent until proven guilty by our judicial system. We are a long way towards making stride from what I am proposing here, but any development and stability for the country starts and ends with forgiveness for those who have hurt us in the past.