Courage in battlefields, the strength of character of their leaders in hours of needs and a sense of destiny are the most conspicuous attributes of great nations. Thus it was not surprising that France was able to produce the like of Charles de Gaulle when it faced an existential threat from the Nazis during WWII. Charles de Gaulle was unquestionably part of the select group of exceptional humans who ever lived. The wartime leader or rather a refugee from a defeated country, de Gaulle never wavered in his belief that France was a great nation and that it should be treated accordingly, even in defeat. Naturally, his uncompromising perspective did not endear him to FDR, Stalin and Churchill, but in the end France, despite having capitulated to the Nazis, was among the guarantors of the postwar order.
Haiti, a country founded with a sense of destiny on the strength of character of its founders who proved indomitable in battlefields, fits the profile of a great nation. The analogy may seem presumptuous to many, as the country is desperately poor; does not possess a modern army to back its irredentist claims and is limited by its size and lack of natural resources. Nevertheless anyone who subscribes to this logic is guilty of simplistic thinking, because Haiti can be a stabilizing force in the Caribbean region, even in its deplorable state. Founded on the sublime dogma that the right to be free from oppression is inalienable, Haiti has, since its inception, been persecuted and made to suffer the consequences for espousing this philosophy in a world that thrives on subjugating people. Aptly, the concerted resolve of the great powers, from the 19th century to the present, to isolate and punish the country through economic embargoes, intimidations and military interventions for its noble embrace of the cause of freedom, is a matter of historical record.
Last but not the least is the current U.N military occupation of Haiti (2004-?) under the preposterous argument that it constitutes “a threat to international peace and security.” The endeavor, concocted with malice aforethought, was meant to nullify the greatest achievement in the name of freedom, since it happened in 2004, the year of the bicentennial celebration of the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world. Incidentally, the whole enterprise could not have happened without the complicity of pathetic Haitian leaders and citizens who proved to be, at every turn, unworthy of the mantle they inherited.
It has been more than five years since the UN occupation subverted a nascent, albeit imperfect, democratic experiment in Haiti that nonetheless saw the first peaceful transfer of power in the history of the country. In the interim the politic of exclusion and intimidation has been institutionalized; dissenters imprisoned, disappeared or ostracized and, more ominously, economic liberalism, the scourge of our time, imposed on the powerless population under the powerful guns of the MINUSTAH. Surprisingly, no political figure or party, the one exception being the hated Lavalas and its leaders, never felt obligated to address the loss of sovereignty and undue interference in Haiti’s internal affairs. The sudden indignation over Leonel Fernandez’s remark to the French Daily Le Figaro that Haiti needs ten more years of U.N supervision and a long overdue constitutional reform is therefore hypocritical and a testament to the collaborators’ indecency, willful ignorance of the reality and deficiency of character.
In light of the present situation, Leonel Fernandez’ unsolicited recommendation is not at all unexpected, because the man is president of the Dominican Republic where antihaitianismo constitutes a raison d’être. What is outrageous is the duplicity of Haiti’s political class whereas the Dominican interference is viewed as an abomination while the paternalism of the U.N is not only ignored but enthusiastically welcome. For the sake of an argument, none other than René G. Préval, Haiti’s president, has been unequivocally supportive of the U.N mandate and practically beg for its renewal at the last General Assembly Session in New York. Under the circumstances, the DR is a member of UN and the country most profoundly affected by the situation, besides Haiti, why then its leader is being made a scapegoat for expressing his views on the matter?
It is quite possible that Leonel Fernandez, a consummate politician, is trying to interfere in Haiti’s incoming election by way of this subtle but earthshaking declaration, which may stir nationalistic passion and encourage disunity. Nevertheless the endiyatyon tèt kabrit of Haiti’s political class over Fernandez’s statement is rather disingenuous and intended to disguise the collaborative tendency that permeates its membership. Noam Chomsky once said: “Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.” Well, considering these turncoats’ unabashed support of the occupation and their cozy relationship with the DR, Haiti’s foremost tormentor, the indignation is unquestionably Neptunian. While la vieille France was fortunate to have had Charles de Gaulle in its hour of needs, Haiti however is being led by lesser men who are somewhat incapable of understanding the principle upon which their nation was founded, let alone defend it. It was also Charles de Gaulle who self-confidently said “When I want to know what France thinks, I ask myself.” Evidently Haitian politicians don’t want to know what Haiti thinks and, even if they so desire, they couldn’t possibly come up with the right answer.