One cardinal rule for an impartial prosecution of an accused individual is a thorough investigation of the accuser to ferret out the lies and innuendoes that could derail the search for justice. The application of this rule in the developed world and its neglect in the Third World explain why the concept of justice has a different meaning to different groups of people. Given the determined effort (read crusade) of many human rights organizations to have J.C “Baby Doc” Duvalier, Haiti’s once former president-for-life, prosecuted for “crimes against humanity”, his detractors’ credibility and hidden agenda must not be overlooked.
For a political family from the Third World that could hardly be considered as having left an indelible mark in the history of humanity, the Duvaliers (Francois “Papa Doc” and his son Jean Claude “Baby Doc) have been the boogeyman for all the ills of modern politics. It is all the more remarkable that these human rights organizations, namely Amnesty International (1961-present), Human Rights Watch (1978-present) and the United Nations (1945-present) existed during the presidencies of both Duvaliers (1957-71 and 1971-86) respectively. Is this obsession with the Duvaliers a case of grandstanding, genuine sympathy for the Haitian people, a strange delayed reaction or another facet of white supremacy?
History, not backed by tangible facts, inevitably developed into mythology which, by the way, has more staying power than documented truths. Did the Duvaliers preside over a political system that imprisoned, tortured and killed political opponents? The answer is an unfortunate yes. However, their despotic rule was not unlike those of the many Third World tyrants of the second-half of the 20th century who were doing the biding of the US and the USSR, the principal antagonists of the Cold War, which spanned almost five decades and ended with the implosion of the latter in 1991.
Actually there is plenty of blame to spread around. The politics of the Cold War era (1945-91) allowed the Duvaliers, who exhibited a strident anti-communism sentiment, to rule with impunity. Hence, the notion that the Duvaliers, as their detractors are fond of saying, have committed despicable offenses that amounted to “crimes against humanity” is perplexing and hypocritical. These international human rights organizations and their gullible supporters, as history will recount, abdicated their moral responsibilities during that period and are therefore in no position to reinvent themselves as bona fide defenders of the persecuted. Moreover, why are these organizations ignoring the persecutions of the Haitian poor, which took place under the military regimes that ruled the country from 1986 to 1994, while advocating the prosecution of J.C Duvalier for the cases that involved members of the middle-class?
When comparing the Duvaliers’ so-called despicable offenses to those of the right-wing military regimes that held sway in most Latin America countries during the Cold War, one came away with the impression that prejudice is a factor in the condemnation of the Haitian presidents. Unlike their Latin American counterparts, they did not dump their enemies alive in the Atlantic Ocean nor confiscate newborn children of women political prisoners. Nevertheless, many Haitians instinctively embraced the fallacious argument of the Duvaliers being in the same league as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. These Haitians, as logic would have it, belong to the same grouping that facilitates or supports the occupation of Haiti 2004-? They also agree with the notion of their country being a “threat to international peace and security” on account of its poverty and induced-political instability.
The worst case of political violence in 20th century Haiti (the July 23, 1987 massacre of hundreds of poor peasants at Jean-Rabel in the northwestern part of the country) did not take place under the Duvaliers. It happened under the military regime of General Henri Namphy (Feb 1986-Sep 1988). To date, no one was ever charged for this despicable crime. Apparently, the caliber of the victims of the Duvaliers, not the universality of justice, as many Haitians are led to believe, is behind these human rights organizations’ vendetta against J.C “Baby Doc.” Without a doubt, these human rights organizations are dedicated to preserving the concept of white supremacy, which revolves around supervising and educating non-whites for the purpose of bringing them to par with the norms of civilization. For Haiti, which was founded in opposition to injustice and arrogance, and the legions of Haitians, who have remained true to the courage of their ancestors, the machinations of these provocateurs are simply unacceptable.
Clearly, this crusade has nothing to do with justice. These foot soldiers of the white supremacist concept, cannot accept the fact that Haitians are abandoning their old acrimonious ways and moving toward the road where reason and civility prevail in Haiti. The fact that so many former Haitian presidents currently reside in Haiti, rather than in faraway lands, attests to our determination to move forward and take charge of our own destiny. The prosecution of anyone for past transgressions before Haiti has a chance to put its affairs in order will therefore destroy any chance the country has at rebuilding itself and its institutions. It will open a Pandora box and reinforce the “divide and conquer” tradition that allows our enemies to exert complete control over our destiny. Once more, the Haitian people will be the perennial loser as every living ex-leaders of Haiti, not excluding Ertha Pascal-Trouillot, could face politicized trials under this legalized version of induced-instability.
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