U.S. knows that democracy is messy and precarious, it should help struggling democracies like Haiti, not undermine it.
Haiti is known as a “black” country, because more than 90 percent of the population is of African ancestry. But at home, the lighter your skin, the higher social and by extension economic privilege you enjoy. The business class is made up largely of Haitians of Arab ancestry. There is a tiny bit of others who traced the lightness of their skin to the European presence in Haiti before 1804, when they left following the successful slave revolt for independence. Combined, they make up less than half a percent of the population. Dark-skinned Haitians are discriminated against sometimes subtly and at times overtly. In short Haiti resembles Apartheid South Africa.
Last week violence unseen in more than a decade erupted Port-au-Prince, the capital and other cities across the nation.
The first and obvious explanation for the violence is that a steep government mandated rise in the price of oil and transportation was the spark that created this explosion. While I agree that increase was what ignited this violence, to focus on it as the sole reason left the government off the hook.
I will never forget the day I left my sun-drenched Caribbean homeland for the bright lights of New York. I was playing an intense pickup match of soccer, as we did most afternoons in soccer-crazed Haiti. My cousin crashed our game when he came for me. I was told to go home to shower because I was going to the United States. Game over.
I know that the Haitian-American clergy has a history of keeping its distance from social and political activism and I respect that. But these are not normal times and we need to cast aside some precedence to deal with this clear and present danger that Trump represents. Again, I do not write this lightly. We need to act and act fast. This is a call for all good people to step up and defend our rights that are under severe attack.
Our religious leaders cannot sit idly by. If they do, history will not be kind to them.
Haitian Foreign Minister Antonio Rodrigue speaking on Jun. 4 at the 48th OAS General Assembly in Washington, DC. Credit: Juan Manuel Herrera/OAS By Garry Pierre-Pierre In his latest column, Haitian Times publisher Garry Pierre-Pierre discusses Haitian / Venezuela relations and why the United States’ push to freeze out Venezuela from the Organization of American States won’t…
By Garry Pierre-Pierre In the song “Glory Days,” Bruce Springsteen tells the story of a high-school baseball star whose potential never rose beyond his aspirations and years later, can’t stop talking about his high school days. That sad jingle is an apt metaphor for the Haitian community here in NYC. We appear to be…
There is a long tradition of Diaspora Haitians who throw themselves in the mix to help their country or community. There are plenty of examples where members of the Diaspora, motivated by altruism and a desire to make a difference, bring themselves down from their “celebrity” status to help the country, only to be demonized after being deified.
Armed security guards accompanying a tourist tour on an excursion last year through Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city . by Garry Pierre-Pierre Since the weeks following the World Trade Center disaster on that balmy day in September of 2001, the America we used to live in has ceased to exist. It would have been a dereliction…