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6935: Re: Cult of the personality: Antoine responds to Morse (fwd)

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

Richard Morse wrote:

"I searched for a copy of the constitution and started reading till I got 
to Article 7 and it states: "The cult of the personality is categorically 
forbidden. Effigies and names of living personages may not appear on 
the currency, stamps, seals, public buildings, streets or works of art."

This is an interesting issue and I am glad that Richard brings it up.
I agree with the sentiment projected by this constitutional Article,
though I have some serious problems with its wording, as it would
appear to put some serious and unnatural limits to a person's freedom
of expression.  I believe that the cult of personality is a serious
impediment to any sort of progress in Haiti, yet how can it be so
precisely defined as to categorically forbid it?  It would be exceedingly
easy for people of bad faith to accuse each other of personality cults
whenever one takes a principled position that appears to favor the
political fortune of anyone in particular.  Even more disturbing to me,
is the reference that effigies and names of living personages should
not appear on "works of art".  Is it the business of government to
legislate artistic expression?  What in the world were those in charge
of redacting the constitution were thinking of?

But to come back to the essence of this article, I do believe that work 
should be performed immediately to advance the depersonalization
and professionalization of the electoral system in Haiti as well as all
government functions.  The Judicial system needs to pursue the aims
of Justice, period.  The Police needs to pursue the aims of Law and
Order, period.  The Electoral Council should pursue the aims of
implementing free and fair elections, period.  All political parties 
should have a platform, that they need to educate the public about.
This should apply to the Fanmi Lavalas party which has now the
distinct responsibility to promote, enact, and implement a social
and economic program that makes sense for the majority of people
in Haiti.  This should apply as well to the "Convergence" or "Espace
de Concertation" and any other political party in Haiti which have
the distinct responsibility to let the people know just what they are
promoting for the public good, as they should not be allowed to
devote all of their resources to preaching against whom they 
perceive as their "Anti-Christ".  In a way, THAT TOO is a form 
of "cult of the personality", of the worst kind.  We all need to
shift the focus to the "Haitian People" and discuss their needs and
not the personal ambitions of the few.

Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti