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#4778: Re: #4771: Re: #4758 etc.: Grand Marnier workers - Bebe Pierre-Louis answers to all (fwd)


Thank you all for your responses.

Once again, we are treated to the usual lines as "a lousy job is still a job", "poverty is better than misery", etc... To top it, we also get the "no pull out" line, a completely moot point since that's not even being debated here: the initial article was perfectly explicit - the workers are not asking for a boycott, they're asking for decent work conditions. 

Why in the world did the slaves uprise in Saint-Domingue? At least they had a job (for life!); they were fed, lodged and dressed at that. Of course they were also whipped and sometimes even killed. But then: a few years ago, factory owners shot and killed a protesting worker. He was never arrested or even pursued... 

I guess that it is what it takes to have a job.

COME ON! Where do you all draw the line? Or is there no line to be drawn? Haiti's a poor nation and the world's greatest millionaires can settle factories here with FULL DISRESPECT FOR THE LAW??!!! No social benefits, no decent salaries, no TOILETS?!! People have to put up (like children, as we say in Haiti) with verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassement, inhumane conditions... all this, because, "we're poor". You know what? This is exactly what is keeping us poor. A living wage of 36 gourdes CANNOT help the worker - it's pure slavery.
Hiding behind the shield of "at least they have a job" is, in my opinion, a pretty lousy excuse for refusing the duty of solidarity when one claims to "help the poor". 

Which precisely allows us to understand the bottom line of much missionary action in Haiti, as in the world: hiding the REAL causes of the people's misery by refusing to help them open their eyes to the conditions of exploitation in which they live, and instead "helping them with eyeglasses", medicine, dumped agricultural surplus, and I could go on and on.

This, particularly in its "bleeding heart" variety, makes me sick to the stomach. 

All this reminds me of a conversion I had in the seventies with a young entrepreneur who wished to open a factory in Haiti. He had visited a famous Haitian lawyer who catered to practically all new businesses and he was appalled by what he had heard. Lawyer X had told him very agressively that he should not even think about giving one penny more a day to his workers, that by doing so he would upset the all economic structure of the country!!! He was also ordered to overlook the articles of the "Work Code" asking for the employers to provide: showers, toilets, cafeteria, school for the employees children, etc... In this famous lawyer's opinion, by providing any of those elementary necessities (demanded by the law), he would spoil his employees and they would become IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTROL...  to never forget that Haitians were ungrateful people who always took kindness for weakness, etc... 

I am sure lots of readers agree with Lawyer X...

Unfortunately, thirty years later nothing has changed. Exploitation, Restavekism, etc... are in full bloom twelve months a year here in Haiti. Discussing it is taking consciousness of the reality, giving a helping hand or working to change it is still better.

Bébé Pierre Louis