Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who is afraid of the Haitian people?

By Jean H Charles

President Michel Martelly has failed his appointment on November 18, 2011, to visit the historic and touristic city of Cape Haitian on the historic day of the Battle of Vertieres. Previous presidents used to visit Cape Haitian on that date, to commemorate the final epic story of the slaves who defeated the mighty army of Napoleon on November 18, 1803, to render Haiti and the rest of the world free of the scourge of slavery of man by man.

They were all there -- the school children in bright costume uniforms marching to the beat of the drum and the sound of the trumpet, proud as the Spartacus of antiquity crossing the Rubicon to enter Rome, the conqueror that was at last defeated by a band of slaves. The Haitian people have re-edited once more this event in the annals of world history.

Vertieres should occupy a preeminent place, along with Marathon, Waterloo, and Gettysburg in the record of great battles of the world!

It does not!

The people in Sunday dress were there on the battlefield en masse, waiting for the president and his officials to deliver the famous speech magnifying the glory of the past and urging the spirit of appurtenance to continue to build together a nation free and independent. The momentum was at its peak. The Haitian people were expecting Urbis et Orbi from Cape Haitian to the world, a mighty and revered president as the commander in chief declaring that the Haitian armed forces, issued from the patrimony of the ragged but dignified indigenous army, are reinstalled on the territory of the republic.

He was not there!

He has succumbed to the weight of the international community, France, the former slaveholder; the United States that profited from the Haitian victory to become from sea to shining sea a predestined nation in the Western Hemisphere; the United Nations, of which Haiti was a founding member, with its so called stabilization force, now the enforcer of the great powers agenda.

Who is afraid of the Haitian people is a legitimate question that astute observers should be concerned about?

I am!

Out of a population of 10 million people, 8 million of them are living in almost destitute poverty yet there is an energy of creativity and a reservoir of resilience coupled with a wit that sustains daily living. This phenomenon is rare and maybe unique to Haiti.

The former slaves and their descendants have been denied for two hundred years the bread of education and the discipline of sophistication and refinement, as a line of demarcation for holding them indefinitely in the bondage neo-slavery. They have survived by paying dearly for their children to be educated with the hope of a better tomorrow.

They have been deceived not only by the international community but also by their own nationals in positions of power and authority, who took their cue from those who assassinated their founding father to impose the rule that freedom was only for a few, not for all.

Finally, two hundred-plus years, 208 to be exact, Haiti has a president in love with Haiti and with the Haitian people. He must be crushed by a Parliament, whose venal interests are in opposition to the national destiny.

I was not sure where this line of inquiry would lead me until I attended a conference this weekend in Cape Haitian on the national dialogue and fraternity in Haiti, organized by the Haitian Institute of the Christian social doctrine. Two eminent bishops were present, the Archbishop Louis Kebreau, the president of the Haitian Episcopal, and the very intellectual and scholarly Bishop Dumas to underscore this momentous experience.

Dr Antonio M. Baggio, the main speaker for the day, was sharing with the audience the product of his research, a book entitled: Letters to France by Toussaint Louverture. Dr Baggio has revolutionized the political thinking of the day by reviling and proving that Toussaint Louverture may have inspired the philosophical underpinning of the French Revolution not the other way around.

It will take some time for the world and the western civilization to accept this phenomenon that President John Adams of the United States had already perceived. He wanted to help Toussaint to become king of Haiti and as such helping his own cause, liberate the slaves on the American territory half a century earlier.

Here we are! Haiti that accomplished one of the most signature revolutions in the world does not have its place as a universal patrimony of the rational homo species. Having forced onto the world order the concept of liberty, equality and fraternity for all, the concept of fraternity according to Professor Baggio has been eliminated from the political praxis and discourse. (La fraternidad en perspective politica, exigencias, recourses, definiciones del principio olvidado. Buenos Aires 2009 and La fraternita nella rifles-sione politoligica contemporanea, Roma 2007.)

Professor Emil Vlajki, as the great thinkers of the world who sing the same song in different languages from different countries (Moses, Jesus, Rousseau, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud), has reformulated the same concept by defining the world of absolute rationality (liberty, equality without fraternity) and the world of human rationality (liberty, equality with fraternity).

The young people of America assaulting Wall Street to demand fraternity, or human rationality in a world where cynicism is the rule are playing their own partition in this quest where fraternity must be, as dictated by Toussaint Louverture, a key underpinning of the world order.

President Michel Joseph Martelly, enrobed with a popular mandate, has the possibility to help Haiti recover for itself and for the rest of the world the possibility that fraternity, or human rationality becomes a reality in the country and by ricochet for the rest of humanity.

As in 1804, when slaves were ready to explode slavery of man by man, the Haitian people are ready today to follow a leader with the guts to confront the western powers to make this world a better one for all by injecting the concept of fraternity and human rationality as the oil that will fuel the transactional activities such as commerce, arts and industry between different and all nations.

November 29, 2011