For almost a century, beginning with the first US occupation of Haiti (1915-34), the country’s history and destiny is told and decided by entities whose underlying principle is the promotion of western civilization and its values. Whether it is the customary tormentor or the foreign-affiliated human rights organizations claiming to defend the interests of the persecuted nation, one is left with the impression they share a deep-seated antagonism toward the country, its culture and people. Their public divergences, it must be said, are a smokescreen intended to camouflage their unstated but obviously dubious goals of nullifying the country’s raison d’être and imposing their own values on the unsuspecting nation. As we say in Kréyol “Lè marenguen ap volé, ou pa kon-nen saki mal, saki femèl.”
Indeed, it is impossible to differentiate the gender of flying bees, but a sting from either a male of female is gender neutral and inflicts the same pain on a victim. The actual deterioration of the situation in Haiti being the obvious consequence of the cultural narcissism represented by the UN, the NGOs and advocacy groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The 2004 invasion of Haiti and its occupation ever since by MINUSTAH and the high-handed attempt by the UN Human Rights Commission to have “Baby Doc” Duvalier prosecuted by the Haitian government have accomplished the same purpose, despite their divergent origins. These endeavors have divided the nation and benefited their instigators and a select group of Haitians while postponing any chance Haitians ever had at being civil to each other.
Last week in the latest paternal move by a foreign entity, the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a human rights organization, formally requested monetary compensations from the United Nations on behalf of the victims of the cholera epidemic (Oct 2010-?) that has killed more than 6500 Haitians and infected almost 500.000 more. The initiative, which many Haitians, might consider principled and long-overdue, epitomizes the paternalism that summarizes the engagement of the international community in Haiti, be it the United Nations, the NGOs, and the legions of individuals and human rights organizations claiming to act on behalf of the Haitian people. Like the UN Security Council’s self-serving occupation of Haiti (2004-?), such grandstanding will generate lots of publicity for the US-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti but jeopardize the prospect of a financial agreement between the victims and their families and the UN. Brian Concanon, the director of the Boston-based Institute and prime mover behind the petition, knows as much.
Decency and justice oblige, the victims of the cholera epidemic (October 2010-present), which exacerbates their hardscrabble life, should be monetarily compensated for their sufferings. However the claim should be handled through negotiations not confrontations with the UN, and by Haitians alone. Though the MINUSTAH-attached Nepalese soldiers have been conclusively identified as originators of the epidemic by the scientific community, the UN has not formally accepted responsibilities for the outbreak out of concerns for setting a precedent that may affect its self-described peacekeeping operations in other parts of the world. Brian Concanon, the politically savvy lawyer, who has worked as a Human Rights Officer for the United Nations 1994-95 and is familiar with the unchallengeable power of UN Security Council, knows as much.
The petition, which alludes to gross negligence, recklessness, and deliberate indifference for the lives of Haitians by MINUSTAH, is indisputably lawful and may end up being a Public Relation (P.R) nightmare for the United Nations, if handled improperly. However, in light of the fact that “might make right”, the all-powerful UN Security Council may dismiss the petition on procedural grounds, given that its SCR (Security Council Resolutions) from which derive the MINUSTAH mandate cannot be countermanded nor subjected to legal reviews by any worldly entity, hence the reality. Accordingly, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the petition filed on behalf of the victims by the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti end up causing more harm than good. Brian Concanon, the UN insider and self-styled advocate for Haitian causes, knows as much.
Another member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti is none other than Paul S. Farmers, assistant to Bill Clinton, the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti. This is the same Paul Farmers who, in an interview to BBC not too long ago, deliberately omitted the Nepalese contingent as a likely source of the cholera while enumerating every other conceivable cause. Did he recuse himself from this particular decision because of the apparent conflict of interest? As a board member of the Institute and United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti, he should have issued a statement on the matter but never did.
Concanon, Farmers and other individuals and entities associated with the undertaking are fully aware that the financial claim against MINUSTAH is a political matter that does not have anything to do with the legal merit of the case. Their paternalism, a side-effect of their inherent cultural narcissism encouraged by duplicitous actions of a sector of Haitian society, is consistent with their twisted perception of themselves as legitimate guardians of the destiny of the Haitian people. Their endeavor, self-serving and detrimental to the interests of the Haitian people, is to them a moral obligation that trumps everything else, including common sense.
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