From Haitians having made a pact with the devil to secure their freedom to other unqualified and inconsiderate comments made during the extensive media coverage of the January 12th earthquake that devastated Haiti, the list of indignities are too numerous to chronicle.
Of course Haiti has produced, as some insisted, dimwitted individuals like Gérard Latortue (prime minister 2004-06) and others but was also fortunate to have had giants such as Toussaint Louverture, Dessalines, Biassou, and Charlemagne Péralte, to name a few.
The only accusation that has yet to come is that Haitians engineered the disaster for insidious purposes. But despite of it all the genuine outpouring of support for the stricken nation emanating from all corners of the globe remains a testament of our common humanity.
Notwithstanding the millions of dollars pledged by the U.S (100), EU (575) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2.5) among others, individuals and businesses donated hundreds million more to UNICEF and other relief organizations in the ongoing effort to alleviate the suffering of the survivors.
The late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, a psychopath by any definitions, once said “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic”, but had he lived in the age of live television coverage he might have had a different perspective on the sanctity of human life.
No doubt the sight of dead children and the hopelessness of the injured played a role in touching the hearts and opening the wallets of millions around the globe, and we, Haitians, express our gratitude to the world’s news organizations, particularly CNN, for fulfilling their professional duty which practically saved thousands of our compatriots from certain deaths.
Nonetheless the compassion shown by many world citizens could be quickly overshadowed by the self-serving attitude of others, particularly French leaders whose passion for grandstanding has reached a new plateau.
Contextually the stated intention of Nicolas Sarkozy of France to visit Haiti and assertion by Alain Joyandet, France’s information minister, of the U.S having illegally occupied the country in the wake of the January 12th disaster highlighted the temerity and indecency of the French who could not have, even if they wanted to, organized a rescue operation of this magnitude.
The paltry sum allocated by France (16.5 U.S dollars) as a contribution to the emergency relief is easily dwarfed by those of Britain, Saudi Arabia and the U.S is by itself a testament of its apathy toward Haiti. Therefore, we want our money from France.
It should be noted that Mr. Joyandet’s statement was aberrant because the man had basically accused the U.S of occupying an occupied country.
France’s political class, which prides itself on nurturing their country’s best and brightest thinkers, may be facing an identity crisis because Mr. Joyandet is apparently an odd member, or the French’s legendary fondness for grandeur and vituperations at the expense of their former colonies may have clouded the man’s intellectual faculties.
In light of the French’s perennial animosity toward Haitians, one needs to question the purpose of Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit because no French president has ever visited the Haiti throughout its 206 years history.
Unless Sarkozy, who is incidentally Napoleonic in stature as well as attitude, comes to atone for his country’s wrongful deeds to Haiti and make a solemn promise to reimburse the money extorted from Haitians (1825-1947), his impending visit would be as good as the earthquake.
Barring a promise to repay the money, a cancellation of the visit would be in the best interests of both nations since neither is fully prepared for such epic event.
The late Martin Luther King could not have said it better “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”, a quote that more or less characterizes the prevailing school of thought on the Haitian question.
Indeed it is hard to understand the international community’s refusal to see the other side of the coin. The mindset is lauded with negative implications for Haitians who are seen as having a natural inclination for political strife, corruption and mismanagement, implies that Haiti is irreversibly doomed because of these peculiarities, absolves France’s criminal role and condemns the country to ridicule.
Having lost 2 percent of its population as a result of the disaster Haiti needs a helping hand not charity, which usually comes with condescension and other dehumanizing conditions. Therefore we want our money back from France.
Any analysis of Haiti’s wretched situation is rather superficial without the inclusion of the criminal role played by France in the destruction of the country.
For 122 years, scarce revenues were diverted by successive Haitian governments to pay the indemnity imposed by France as a condition to recognizing Haiti’s independence, which is analogous to Israel paying Germany for the Holocaust and forced labor of Jews.
This is an insult without precedents that cannot remain unchallenged, for it is unquestionably the primary factor behind Haiti’s wretched poverty as Haitians were deprived of the means to build the infrastructure of a modern state under constant military threats by France and other powers that supported its claim.
The invasion and occupation of Haiti (February 29th 2004-?), lauded as a mission of mercy by its architects, was a continuation of that policy. The international community can redeem itself by supporting our rightful claim to be reimbursed because “we want our money back from France” in this hour of need.