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#4080: Tom Driver comments on recemt Haitian violence (fwd)
From: Tom F. Driver <email@example.com>
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.
Tom F. Driver
New York City