It has been said that memory is important because everything we remember becomes part of history which shows us how we got to where we are now. We shouldn’t be able to change memory or mess around with it because things we remember are an intricate part of the future. Too often, however, some people, considered believable, change history just to make themselves look good. They may become lost and confuse themselves and us as well.
Memory should not be limited to what we can recall ourselves, but more importantly to written documents available in archives, as well as old newspapers and photographs. In families deprived for various reasons of these valuable sources of information, their members must rely on the memory of the elders who, depending on his/her mental or physical conditions, will share with us what come to their mind at that particular moment, giving us the task of distinguishing between reality and dream. But, even then, our feelings at that moment and our intellectual training may cause us to draw wrong conclusions.
That brings us to the aftermath of the earthquake, which is a sad reality as we people focus the debate so narrowly. It is absolutely unwise to limit this catastrophic event to its immediate consequences and not go back as far as the last destructive earthquake and discover how little the successive Haitian governments and the educated civil societies have learned or remembered from that time in order to plan and build anew. Instead they simply rebuild more often in an archaic way, just to show of, or because it was too unpleasantly difficult to find out that things should be done differently.
This earthquake was a hard lesson indeed, but what has been learned from it? As recent as it seems, it is already part of the past. Fifty years from now, what the young generation of that time will know about the wisdom of their elders in face of this catastrophic situation? What foundation they will find for building their own future and prepare the future their children and grand children one hundred years from now? As long as those who have or who want to take the responsibility to govern are not prepared to plan and develop a better long lasting living conditions for all the inhabitants on the whole territory of Haiti, the first Black republic of the world is condemn to the infamous individual or collective domination of foreign countries, some of which had become independent years later.
Yes, there is no future without a past. Today, Haiti should inaugurate the building of a sensible past to insure a more progressive and successful future for the generations that will succeed them. Anything less will be a waste of time, money and history.
Even the most honest analyst may make mistakes when judging facts and pictorial representations of a given moments many years afar on the basis of current circumstances. Historical events may seem weird when comparing them to current or recent situations. However, to understand these past events, regardless of our academic discipline, we must forced ourselves to accept the realities surrounding the events, actions or thinking, at their times, as unbelievable as they may be. It is the successive changes from that old time, that has brought the results, of the moment.