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#204: Diaspora : Laleau replies to Jude


Hey, Jude!

I know you are right about arrogance often causing Haitians in Haiti to 
reject Haitians returning from abroad.  Anybody anywhere rejects outsiders 
coming in with arrogance and condescension... I grew up in a small mill town 
in the Allegany Mountains.  The town (Luke, Md.) had a population of 900; the 
mill employed about 3,000 people from a radius of about 50 miles all around.  
So you know this mill was very important.  Well, anyway, the mill hired a new 
manager to occupy the mansion on the hill, and he moved in.  Shortly later he 
went to the one-room (about 20'x20') post office, and asked the post mistress 
for a copy of the local "social register."  She handed him the telephone book 
(which covered about 8 towns and had about 100 pages), saying, "Here.  If 
they have a telephone, they're okay with me."  She then told everybody in 
town about this jerk, and we are still laughing.  

Another local tale -- Lizzie, the daughter of the local Scout leader 
graduated from high school and went five miles down the river to attend the 
local junior/agricultural college.  When she came back after her first 
quarter, she was wearing spectacular sunglasses and sauntering along the main 
street of the town (Piedmont, West Virginia, pop. 1500) with Hollywood airs, 
obviously thinking herself quite glamorous and sophisticated because of her 
"rise" in the world.  I suspect I am not the only ex-Girl Scout still 
snickering about her... 

>From having grown up in an oppressed rural milieu, I do know what it feels 
like to be patronized and humiliated by people from the "big city" or the 
"rich country."  Nobody likes it.  But do you think that all the resentment 
is created by the snobbery of the returnees?  Apparently your parents had a 
good attitude and were not resented, and I would like to think this is the 
way it is for most... but I have heard people on the street in Port-au-Prince 
shouting "Jaspora!!" at people they didn't even know, just because they could 
identify them as "not [recently] from here."

Nancy Laleau