Sunday, March 18, 2012

Will Haiti survive?

By Jean H Charles

This question seems presumptuous since Haiti, which lost some 300,000 people (more than the combined population of Dominica, Montserrat, Anguilla, BVI, Turks and Caicos, St Kitts, Cayman Islands and Antigua) in the earthquake of January 12, 2010, bounced back almost immediately in terms of daily survival.

Jean H Charles MSW, JD is Executive Director of AINDOH Inc a non profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol.comI am talking instead of the survival of the moral fiber of the country. I am observing the minute by minute decline of the sense of morality of the citizens. Yet, it is no fault of the religious authorities. The Catholic Church through its priests on Sunday Mass does its best to preach the lesson of solidarity, love and redemption.

My parish church of St Louis king of France, destroyed by the earthquake accommodates three times its attendance prior to the goudougoudou in the parking lot transformed into a revered makeshift church.

Father Kennel, the priest in charge, is funny, deep and full of spirituality. The protestant churches, Baptist and Adventist, are very active and filled with devoted participants at almost every day of the week. Attending a voodoo experience at the French Institute gave me hope that voodoo can be converted from a religion into a Creole or black mythology, reverting to the domain of the heritage of humanity its song, its drums and its sensuality.

Haiti is in a situation where the fin de regime still has strong control of the wheels, fighting with the new government on who will lead the destiny of the country.

In the last two years since the earthquake four billion dollars donated by the international community has been spent without much output to show for the expenditure. Haiti is the theatre of activity of almost all the non- profit organizations in existence in the world. To the educated eye as well as to the common citizen they seem to go back and forth as chickens without heads, seeking a mission and a purpose.

As said by Amy Wilentz, the author of The Rainy Season Haiti Then and Now: “For Haitian political heads as well as some major international organizations the billions in international aid that have been promised to Haiti is an irritable prize. In a way misery is a natural resource as corrupting as any diamond or gold mine.”

The life of the ordinary man has not been improved since the advent of the new government. It may have reached a lower platform. In a country where unemployment is floating around 78%, the men and the women were surviving on a graft and patronage mode. This scheme has been dismantled by the new government without a ready new model to provide sustenance to a population that must survive every day.

I have in mind the story of two young men who told me that after nine months of no income coming into the house their alternative was either to engage into a paid subversive organization bent on destabilizing the government or unwelcome paid homosexual activities to bring the bacon home.

Most of the institutions of the nation are parading without shame or contrition on the mafia system of functioning. They are not there to serve the citizens but to request more toys for their use and abuse.

The police institution, darling of the international community, with more equipment and more policemen than the former Haitian army ever had, has no effective control of the territory.

The MINUSTHA, the giant UN agency introduced into the country to facilitate its stabilization, has brought anything but. Its Nepal contingent infected Haiti with the cholera germ, killing some 3,000 Haitians. Constant demonstrations demanding its withdrawal from the country are a regular staple of the Haitian landscape. Insecurity is on the rise, with all sides taking a ride on a fragile political situation.

The board of the national university, decried by the students for its inability to run an efficient and hospitable institution, unable to put together an effective management of a brand new campus donated by the Dominican Republic, has found a way to re-elect itself, perpetuating the squalid picture of indecency.

The management of the national soccer federation, the favorite sport of the Haitian people, is at war with its main funding agency, Digicel, for alleged malfeasance and self serving by the board with the funds provided for expansion and competition of the sport in the country and international matches. Yet the same management under the label of heritage has been able to perpetuate itself, defying the odds of the new blood that comes to clean up the field.

The legislature that used to cut dirty deals with a corrupt executive is playing roadblocks with the new government. The issue of alleged dual nationality of the president and some of his ministers takes precedence over the resolution of the national budget as well as the ratification of the new prime minister.

The executive, elected under the banner of the political platform, Repons Peyisan, is playing hide and seek with the party that represents its best white hope to obtain a majority in the Senate in the next legislative election as well as sabotage the subversive actions of the clan that swears to destabilize and strangle the new government in its infancy.

It has not rained since November in Haiti. The first rains arrived this week. Every night big and strong, it will continue as such until July. The relief for my garden, where I experiment with winter citrus (orange and grapefruit interlaced with poinsettia) spring corrosol and sapodilla, summer mangoes and fall avocados, is saddened with the curse of flooding on the streets because of lack of maintenance of the sewer system. Adding to that, the misery of the tent city people is suffocating.

April is around the corner, spring is not too far. I am reminded of the verses in Genesis 8 -20-21 where Noah, after the deluge, having built an altar to the Lord, took every clean animal and every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar and the Lord smelled a soothing aroma, then the Lord said in his heart: I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

Maybe Haiti after all will survive!

March 17, 2012