Thank you for your take on the debates around the series of articles on Haiti’s “Independence debt.” It’s good for serious conversations on the Haitian tragedy. That said, I simply have, for now, three remarks concerning the “White-man-savior” reaction to the articles.
One — An international and prestigious tribune such as the New York Times opens a worldly debate on the case of Haiti pertaining to Reparations. It’s more than reparations for the cruelties and negative impacts of slavery; it’s a ransom or, worse, an “economicide.” Dual reparations? Considering the position of Black Americans on the issue, the response is “yes.”
Two — The articles set a new stage for a new and winnable diplomatic battle for a new Haiti. However, given the unbridled corruption and mediocrity in the country, it all depends on the government in charge.
Three — All racial debates aside, we must agree that a Black newspaper in Sub-Saharan Africa, or The Haitian Times for that matter, clearly would not have had such impacts. White people, and some Black folks, tend to listen to what White journalists say. Reasons for this vary. Is it a post-colonial or post-slavery mentality? White intellectual hegemony? Limited readership? Perhaps all the above.
By the way, the Times’ detailed reporting on the heavy debt’s economic impacts is far from solid. For instance, by suggesting what could have happened in Haiti and to Haiti without the heavy burden of the debt, the reporters should have set at least three scenarios:
- Economic growth and development in Haiti, as suggested;
- The same socio-economic false start or decline, given the tendency, the perversity, or the irrational determination of Haitian governments to build a Haitian society and economy for the minority and against majority; and
- The unimaginable/inconceivable “nobody-knows” scenario.
Please bear this in mind: such a macroeconomic aspect of the debt deserves, if possible, a broader and deeper analysis.
Rose N. Saint-Louis