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#111: Questions about Frederick Douglass's Haiti (fwd)

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

A little over a century ago (on Jan. 2 1893), this is what the 
great American Frederick Douglass wrote about Haiti:

In the nature of the country itself there is much to inspire its 
people with manliness, courage and self-respect. In its 
topography it is wonderfully beautiful, grand and impressive. 
Clothed in its blue and balmy atmosphere it rises from the 
surrounding sea in surpassing splendor. It is a land strikingly 
beautiful, diversified by mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and 
plains, and contains in itself all the elements of great and 
enduring wealth. Its limestone formation and foundation are 
a guarantee of perpetual fertility. Its tropical heat and insular 
moisture keep its vegetation fresh, green and vigorous all 
year round. At an altitude of eight thousand feet, its mountains 
are still covered with woods of great variety and of great value. 
Its climate, varying with altitude like that of California, is 
adapted to all constitutions and productions. 

Fortunate in its climate and soil, it is equally fortunate in its 
adaptation to commerce. Its shore line is marked with 
numerous indentations of inlets, rivers, bays and harbors, 
where every grade of vessel may anchor in safety. Bulwarked 
on either side by lofty mountains rich with tropical verdure 
from base to summit, its blue waters dotted here and there 
with the white wings of commerce from every land and sea, 
the Bay of Port au Prince almost rivals the far-famed Bay of 
Naples, the most beautiful in the world.

End of quote.

1) A lot has changed this past century (or shorter period).  
How recently would you say, Douglass's description still 
held for the most part?  Which regions of Haiti would
Frederick Douglass still recognize today, pretty much 
the way it was one hundred years ago???

2) To what extent can the environmental degradation and 
ecology crises be reversed?  Under the most favorable 
circumstances, could Haiti ever regain its past splendor?

3) Is the natural beauty of the land a luxury, when confronted
with the dire economic needs of the majority of Haitians?
Can a link between a more beautiful Haiti and a more 
prosperous Haiti be established in a way that would motivate
Haiti's economic agencies, aside from the obvious tourism 

N.B. The full text of Frederick Douglass's speech can be
read at http://windowsonhaiti.com/douglass.htm .  It is
highly recommended that you acquaint yourself with this
remarkable speech from the most distinguished U.S. 
ambassador to Haiti ever. 

Guy S. Antoine
Look thru & Imagine!