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An Open Letter to The Haitian People

January 25, 2010

My fellow heirs to the Haitian Revolution:

The future of Haiti hinges upon more than its people developing strong political and physical infrastructure. If those who seek to develop a new Haiti are unwilling to confront certain aspects of our old society and culture, we will fail. There are phenomenon and institutions that existed in Haiti that we as Haitians have tolerated too long and cannot allow to persist. If we are unwilling to confront many of these “social nuances” that are nothing but mere pathologies, nothing will change.

We as Haitians know that we have been abused and mistreated by Western nations in ways few could understand. We understand the tortured nature of our History relative to the Great Western Powers that have ravaged us for years. We should remind the world of that history when they cavalierly seek to dismiss our poverty and misery as mere “cultural ineptitude.” However from this point on, our mantra cannot be victimhood. We cannot confront our former antagonists seeking to merely lay blame. Two types of nations will never gain the world’s respect: 1) A nation of beggars; and 2) a nation who simply blames others for them being beggars. We have to be willing as Haitians to confront the faults of our oppressors, but admit aspects of our own culpability for our misery.

The issues that have been a barrier to our development actually have little to do with our inability to culturally compete. If the world needs a measure of the capacity of the Haitian people, I challenge it to look to any Hospital in NY, Montreal, or Chicago, as well as Zaire and Francophone Africa. Ask them: “What of the Haitian Doctors you have here; The Haitian Nurses?” Let us look at the major Universities throughout the world, ask them: “What of these Haitians? How have their youth performed?”

We Haitians can point to ways in which our mettle as a people has been proven in the West with excellence, yet largely unnoticed. Even the much beloved first Black President has chosen as his most trusted adviser, his “Karl Rove,” a Haitian: Patrick Gaspard. Therefore our competitive edge as Haitians, relative to the West, should never be questioned.

My fellow Haitians, our pathologies lie much deeper. They lie in the way we both view each other and treat each other upon a mere glance. They lie in they way we seek to distinguish ourselves, not on individual merit and tenacity, but in a feudal caste like class system that breeds stagnation and resentment. Our pathologies lie in the hypocrisy of our being the worlds first free Black Republic, yet being a nation of many Haitians who crave and yearn for Paris and Marseilles while ignoring and deriding Timbuktu and Guinea.

In closing, we as the Haitian people and diaspora know what the problems are. We have rehearsed them amongst ourselves for generations. The question persists: what direction will we chart for ourselves in the wake of the destruction our homeland faces? When that poor little Black girl who was pulled from the rubble and debris for the world to see was rescued, did ALL Haitians view her as their daughter? Until we can say yes, Haiti will go down in history as the Pompeii of the modern age: A land with a rich history destroyed by natural disaster, never to be rebuilt again. A nation and a culture to be tossed on the ash heap with the dozens of “Once Great Peoples” we’ve studied through history.

My Haitian Brothers and Sisters, the choice is ours. Let us be deliberate. Time steals dreams faster than it builds nations.

I say these words in the spirit of L’Ouverture, Dessalines, Petion, and Christophe: L’Union Fait La Force

May God Bless Haiti and the Haitian People. Amen.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2010 5:42 pm

    If you are interested in issues facing the African American Community…

    The Massachusetts Gubernatorial Election, Obama’s plans for small businesses and the beginning of black history month are the topics of discussion on the PBS show Basic Black, which you can watch TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m EST LIVE at http://www.basicblack.org or on channel 2 in Boston. You can also participate in a live chat at basicblack.org starting at 4 pm.

  2. Asoutherngal permalink
    February 22, 2010 11:32 am

    Yours is a wonderful post. My question to you is are the educated and successful Haitians who have left your home country willing to come back to help with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of your native country? Without those of you who have experienced the way that people of other countries live will the country not be as it was before January 12, 2010?

    This horrible event should be seen as an opportunity to rebuild your country to a place where people are productive and self-sustaining, a country where they feel that they are safe, and a country that has a government that is not filled with corruption. Without your help I fear that this will not be the case.

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