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#4772: Re: #4751: In support of Antoine--HAITI IN TRANSITION (fwd)

From: Gina Ulysse <gulysse@bates.edu>

Hello Corbetters,

I too have refrained from commenting about the elections and their
"aftermath" as well as the current state of things in Haiti at this
particular moment in time.  I must say I agree with Guy Antoine on several
counts. I won't go into details about them. But let me just say that I
recently spent 17 days in Haiti (this July) with a crew of 5 filming a
documentary on Haitian Realities. The few times I gained access to my
email account became particularly difficult especially when I read the
latest newspaper articles on post elections mayhem... Often, I had to ask
myself where am I? Am I in the same place that is being written about.
Though I was somewhat removed what I heard from the ground was a more
intricate story, for after all Haiti is and has always been a trompe oeil.
Nothing is what it seems

>From our numerous interviews (though it is not a scientific sample) it is
clear that the people know what they want and they are not about to let
anyone tell them any different.  How is that for agency? I guess the big
problem is that these people, who have never been seen as people let alone
agents, are in the process of showing us that they too can self-fashion
their identities while they suffer the real consequences of excercising
their consciousness and representing themselves. (As Peter Tosh once said
consciousness is illegal). Indeed, for too long now they have had to
accept self-appointed leaders whom they never chose. ooohhhhhhh that
little thing we call choice here, is so much more precious over

One interviewer told us "it's all really simple, when someone treats you
like a human being, understands your basic needs and that person doesn't
see you as labor to be exploited and mistreated there is nothing difficult
to understand about supporting him"

Another one names his camionnete BLACK KAPAB because as he says Blacks can
do it alone But we have never been given the chance.

Another phrase that I heard in Haiti "in 1804 we didnt have observers we
want the freedom to see what we can do"

A Jamaicanist I cannot help but think of Michael Manley's  "We are not for
sale we know where we are going" speech. Jamaica quickly learned that
there is always a price for exercising any form of agency. Be a team
player and you will get the rewards. Step out of line and you will be
spanked into discipline.

At the same time I also quickly relearned that there are more people
interested in being CHEF than anything else.  Pouwa is the greatest weapon
that one can possess in Haiti. Those who do have it certainly use it.
There is no sense of law, order or Justice it is all arbitrary or
symbolic. It seems impossible to manage a country in transition that is
simultaneously the Wild Wild West,  a Drug Trafficking Zone, a Police
State, a Neocolony and the backyard of one of the most powerful nations
that rules the hemisphere. Where there are a few good eggs the old core of
the nest which remains is often rotten and where there is good will there
is also resentment and a willingness to get ahead for oneself. Since there
is no magic wand that can fix it this whole mess... Everyone of us simply
have to wait..  The people in Haiti are waiting patiently though at times
they show sign of aggravation they have no choice only makeshift boats...

The question is what to do while waiting
Do we just hang out in silence or actually attempt to dialogue