The failure by successive Haitian leaders in the last 164 years to perceive or acknowledge the existential threat posed by the Dominican Republic, Haiti’s next door neighbor, unquestionably sealed the country’s descent into poverty and irrelevancy. Fueled by an instinctive hatred of their darker-skinned neighbors who ruled the entire island from 1823 to 1844, the Dominicans have been vindictively pursuing a policy of destabilization of Haiti by harboring counter-revolutionaries and criminals who later staged cross-border incursions against established Haitian governments. Unfortunately, the Dominicans’ latest venture succeeded in overthrowing a democratically-elected government and facilitated the occupation of Haiti in 2004. As if that transgression was not enough, the Dominicans are actively engaging in systematic beatings and killings of Haitians, denying that country’s nationality to any resident born of Haitian parents and, adding insult to injury, dumping them periodically across the border without due process.
Consistent with their servile and defeatist attitude, Haitian politicians, too frightened to offend the Dominicans and their powerful friends, turned their heads the other way. Additionally, a collective amnesia or apathy seems to envelop the entire population, seeing that the Dominican Republic has become the premier tourist destination for well off and middle income Haitians. It demeans the sacrifices of our ancestors who endured the worst forms of punishments at the hands of the French to ultimately create what they hoped would be an oasis of freedom for persecuted Negroes.
Despite our ancestors’ epic achievement, cynics continue to remind everyone that Haitians have never enjoyed freedom, creating a perverted impression that we were better off under French rule. The clique that facilitates the February 29, 2004 infamy certainly agrees with that premise but the majority of the Haitian people does not. A national rebirth is forthcoming and those who elect to stay on the sidelines and expect to reap the fruits of the struggle must be treated in the manner reserved for the vanquished.
It is unfortunate that Haiti, a nation, which gave birth to great men like Biassou, Dessalines, Jean Francois and Toussaint, finds itself the victim of cruel pranks by the international community. This week’s renewal of the MINUSTAH mandate by the Security Council was a testament of that condescending and destructive attitude of the international community toward the Haitian people. What hurts the most was the fact the occupation happened on the bicentennial of our ancestors’ daring victory over oppression and was facilitated by a group of impenitent collaborators claiming to represent the best interests of the country.
Highlighting the hypocrisy behind the occupation was Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, the four deadly storms that devastated Haiti this summer. While the U.N cannot come up with a meager 108 millions requested by the WFO to feed those affected, it has budgeted 601.58 millions for the fiscal year ending on June 2009 for MINUSTAH under whose supervision more than 4000 Haitians were either killed or disappeared since 2004. Though, Hedi Annabi, the current overseer of the occupation recently stated” We don’t have a development program for Haiti and never will”, the collaborators and apologists continue to believe in the empty promises of the occupiers nevertheless.
Because no one within the political class ever requested a debate on the merits or destructive aspects of the occupation, it was not surprising the mandate was arbitrarily renewed by the Security Council for another year without any input from the Haitian government. Moreover, the government’s failure to jettison the recommendations of the IMF in light of the current global financial meltdown is proof that the country deserves better leadership. While the unfettered arrogance of the Security Council was evident in the decision, the role of those Haitians who facilitated and supported the illegal occupation must never be forgotten or forgiven.
How a proud nation, whose inspirational sacrifice against injustices will be remembered through the ages, has come to be ruled by uninspiring leaders merits to be put in perspectives. In a world dominated by continent-sized nations and predatory alliances, it is hard to imagine Haiti being relevant on the global stage. However, as the arrogance of the persecutors collides with our inalienable right to be free, Haiti is once again destined to play a pivotal role against oppression as was the case in the nineteen century.
In contrast with early Haitian leaders, today’s rulers consistently fail to grasp the concept of geopolitics, which is essential in evaluating Haiti’s rightful place in the world, its limitations, ability to resist, make a difference, or cause troubles. While the determination of our persecutors should not be discounted, creating the conditions for Haiti’s survival in this predatory but interdependent world remains the only pathway leading to a national rebirth.
The road to our freedom pass through the Dominican Republic. An active policy centering on organizing the million-strong Haitians community as a political force in that country would provide Haiti the necessary leverage to confront the Dominicans’ perfidy. Appropriately, the Haitian government must unequivocally refuse to accept as repatriates individuals born of Haitian parents in the Dominican Republic, except providing them with moral and political support. Presumably, the Dominicans might resort to oppression and that would give those stateless individuals the opportunity to defend themselves by any means necessary. As the international community is expected to support the Dominicans, it would then have to choose between the prospect of regional destabilization or neighborly peace.
— Contact Max A. Joseph at [email protected]
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