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#4080: Tom Driver comments on recemt Haitian violence (fwd)

From: Tom F. Driver <tfd3@columbia.edu>

I was very impressed by the article that someone posted here the other day 
by Chris Chapman on violence and the language of violence in Haiti today.

In early May, I led a small Witness for Peace delegation to Haiti, to do 
interviews and site-visits to help us assess Haiti's current situation.  During 
this visit I was shocked by the virulence of the anti-Aristide language I heard 
from several prominent members of the political class, especially some 
former allies of Arisitide..  It was so extreme that I thought it conveyed no 
information but only bitter emotion.  

Aristide's own language (in the two-hour interview we had with him), while 
often enigmatic (as is his wont), was certainly irenic.  One is left to decide 
whether he is a wolf in sheep's clothing or a man trying to rise above the 
strife that will, if it continues much longer, take Haiti from wreck to ruin.

The people whom I and my companions questioned in the street did not 
speak violently.  They said that they were supporters of Aristide and/or that 
the whole (pre-election) situation troubled them by its confusion.  

I came away with the impression that Haitian violence belongs more to the 
top than to the bottom of the society.  That is true in many other countries 
as well.  One is driven to ask:  Who benefits from Haiti's confusion and 
violence?   I have my suspicions about that but will not go into them now.  I 
want only to prod the readers of Corbett's list to ask, and keep asking:  Who 
stands to gain the most, in the long run, from violence and confusion in 
Haiti?  The question keeps me awake at night.

Sweet dreams.  

Tom F. Driver
New York City