Among the greatest tragedies in human history that caused a persecuted group to finally take control of its destiny was the Holocaust (1938-45); the unforgettable episode during which 6 million Jews were mercilessly murdered by the citizens of one of the most cultured nations on this planet, namely Germany. Though no other group of people may ever experience the calamitous history of the Jewish nation, Haitians, by virtue of an unrelenting campaign against their culture and way of life that is entering its third century (1804-?), ought to be considered a not so distant second.
One can only hope that the January 12th earthquake that catapulted Haiti into the world’s consciousness serves as a catalyst for Haitians to, at last, wrestle control of their destiny from any enemy, foreign and domestic, since indolence could lead to worst forms of persecutions. Attributing Haiti’s poverty to mismanagement, corruption, political strife or a Voodoo curse is as absurd as the occupiers’ purported claim of wanting to save Haiti. A more insightful analysis of the situation must factor the economic embargoes, political isolation, paternalism, extortions, military threats and invasions to which Haiti has been subjected throughout its existence as punishments for the unpardonable offense of getting rid of slavery earlier than the slave-owning nations would have wanted.
The analogy with the Jewish people’s documented torments is unmistakable. As with the Jewish people, the spirit of entrepreneurship and the pursuit of excellence are second nature to Haitians. Like the Jewish Diaspora before the creation of the State of Israel on May 16th 1948, Haitians thrive in any category outside their natural habitat. As is the case with the Jewish people, Haitians are invariably perceived by many as abnormal and, in the most extreme cases, dangerous species that ought to be eliminated. And finally, like the Jewish people, the Haitians’ only crime is an eternal attachment to their culture, which remains in conflict with the cryptic march toward an imposed universality in thinking and way of life. Fortunately for the Jews, their intelligentsia never wavered in the belief that Judaism was intrinsically connected to the survival of their nation, and thus became the vanguard of a movement (Zionism) that culminated in the rebirth of the State of Israel. Today the State of Israel is firmly in control of its destiny and there can be any doubt that the era of persecutions and mass murders of Jews is finally over.
But unlike the Jewish people’s ardent desire for self-emancipation that came true on May 16th 1948, the Haitian people’s perennial aspiration to be left alone may not be forthcoming in the near future because of the servile attitude that permeates Haiti’s intelligentsia. This purported pillar of society, upon whose shoulders rest the aspirations of the Haitian people, has become so disconnected with the reality that it has been unable to understand the incompatibility of occupation and sovereignty. Even the most absurd arguments put forward by the occupiers escape the attention of the intelligentsia or, more to the point, receive its unconditional blessing. Perhaps the notion of Haiti being “a threat to international peace and security” as decreed by the U.N Security Council in 2004 may be rooted in the perception that we are a nation of idiots that needs to be educated and brought up to the standard of the civilized world.
For a nation facing a bleak future after the epic tragedy of January 12th that erases 2 percent of its population, a self-introspection is needed because its very existence and purpose are being swamped under the weight of foreign-funded and controlled NGOs operating as the country’s de facto administrators. For example, hundreds of millions of dollars are being raised in the name of Haiti and its people, yet the Haitian government, the lawful representative of the nation, is excluded from the deliberations about how that money should be spent. Far from being an apologist for the Haitian government, whose conduct during the tragedy epitomizes everything that is wrong with government, it is obvious that the UN-mandated experiment (2004-?) was a factor in its impotence, notwithstanding the incompetence and indifference of its members.
Most Haitians, from the lowly peasants struggling for a daily meal to the urbane and cosmopolitan members of the Diaspora, seem resigned to the fact that their beloved country no longer belongs to them. As fate would have it, this sentiment of hopelessness is being helped by the compromising attitude of the intelligentsia that robs the nation of its fighting spirit and raison d’être. Deprived of the moral guidance and leadership of its intelligentsia, Haiti has been turned into a magnet for sexual predators, child traffickers, peddlers of the gospel of resignation (church missionaries), and a U.N Security Council-mandated experiment that threatens its very existence, hence the need for a rebirth of the Dessalinian spirit.
As penuries and the blatant paternalism of the occupiers become unbearable to the population in the near future, Haiti’s intelligentsia may find itself sidetracked once more by an unknown leader as was the case with Jean Bertrand Aristide in the late 1980’s. In all likelihood, this group, which has incidentally absolved itself of its prerogatives, would react with scorn and vindictiveness toward whomever trying to fill the void. Their voice however could be irrelevant at this juncture because Haitians, like the Jews, would have already decided “enough is enough.”