Our generation must put an end to the everlasting nation-building that our beloved country has been going through ever since its foundation. We are presented with an opportunity and a challenge to start from scratch, and 50 years from now we would have no one else to blame but ourselves, if we do not cease this moment.
Indeed, in the midst of all the destruction, despair and disinterest that the people on the ground are going through, this moment represents the best time for this generation to wake up and take matter into its own hand. We must let our parents’ generation know that we are no longer children, that we are ready to lead this country. We are ready to face the challenge of the day, and march towards the horizon to meet our destiny.
Our biggest city, the engine of our nation, is completely destroyed. The people in nearby towns have no idea how they would move on with their lives. Confusion is engulfing the spirit of those who survive the quake. At this moment, everyone is questioning their role in the society.
There seems to be very few solutions, and the message can no longer be that of hope but rather it must embodies the importance of thoughtful actions that would finally lead to a nation, where its citizens might have a better chance at life.
This generation should not wait for others in order to fully engage in all affairs of the country. The decision being made today will not only affect us now, but also our children. It is on behalf of future generations that we must become pro-active in establishing the norms of tomorrow.
We must quickly engage and demand a seat at the tables where decisions are being made. We must insert ourselves in all conversations that have to do with the future of our country. We should participate in great numbers in civic-oriented projects, but we must not stop there—we must also get involved public service. It is our chance to change the perception of what a Haitian public servant is all about.
In order to alter the course of our lives and to make an indelible change once and for all, we must start to formulate a clear position on what we want as a people, and render the conditions flexible enough to change with time.
We have some pressing issues that require our full attention, and demand for humble leadership. In this moment of crisis, we can’t allow ourselves to become a paralyzed society. We ought to start seeking solutions that will make sense for us, and also will give a better opportunity to our children than we had.
There must be a plan for educational reform, where every child in our country will not only have access to adequate education, but that they would gain an education that can translate to jobs opportunities. We can no longer be satisfied of a society where finishing high school is the apex; it is our responsibility to raise the bar.
Our children must reach higher, and it is up to us to provide them the tools to succeed. Our educational system must be reformed from kindergarten through the university level.
Another issue that is as important as anything we can imagine is the need for a Haitian healthcare system. The fact that we are not one of the advanced countries in the world should not be a determent in showing concern for comprehensive healthcare for all Haitians.
Of course, as we are witnessing the United States of America struggles to cover every one of its citizens, it begs to ask whether a country like Haiti has enough audacity to even considering such a task.
Healthcare in this day and age is a national security issue. Any government that cares about its people would find a way to bring this discussion to the table. It is a national security issue because weak bodies are unable to contribute in the welfare of a nation, let alone defend it.
There are many ways for the Haitian state to address this issue. One of our advantages is that we are a resilient people, and we have enough of a basis to consider alternative medicines, which can be as efficient as modern medicine and much cheaper.
A healthcare system for Haiti would not resemble a healthcare system of any advanced countries, but the net results should be similar.
We can’t ignore the role that our “medsin fey” would play in this system, but we must make a bigger investment in new medical schools, and other health related fields. Haiti cannot progress until it solves its healthcare problem. A life expectancy of 57 years is simply not enough to move the country forward.
Now, I know that I just mentioned two of the biggest issues waiting to be addressed by our generation. The obvious question is how we are going to pay for all of these, and who should be in charge of implementing them? The short answer is, we are going to pay for them, and it is up to us to find a new breed of leaders to help guide us in this nation-building process.
We have to start anew. We must be bold in our demands, and even bolder in the way we act.
The international community and our friends throughout the world cannot be expected to solve our problems, and should not be held responsible to finance our future. It is our civic duty as a nation to figure out ways to meet this challenge and tackle it head-on.
I believe that we are capable of meeting this challenge. Skeptics might be reluctant to give us a chance, but members of this generation must rise up, and let their voices be heard. We can no longer tolerate mediocrity, and we can’t settle for anything less than the best.
This generation should be ready to lead, serve, and most importantly work together toward the Haitian destiny. We must take a vow to make Haiti not just the pearl of the Caribbean, but an oasis for humanity. A progressive Haiti could be a model to reduce poverty throughout the world.