[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

7247: The Desmangles/Pierre Louis exchange: a plea for tolerance and appreciation

In reply to Bebe and others

Bebe's post and some earlier ones seem to return to an old argument we've
had and in which I sound like a broken record, making the same argument
again and again, but I haven't done it in the last year, so I will again.

I believe that there can be nor should be any expectation that there is
only one way to serve and advance
Haiti and Haitians.  This argument used to come up between political
activists and those who practice
basic charity.  Which was better; was one even evil to do?  (The
suggestion was often made by activists that
doing charity was somehow actually evil.)

Now Bebe brings out the old John Kennedy crowd pleaser to suggest that
only activism is morally acceptable.

I argue that we are very different people on this list, with different
interests and different personalities and talents that there are MANY ways
in which Haiti and Haitians may be advanced not just one 'RIGHT' way.  Why
must we be so authoritarian about this?  It puzzles me to no end.

I can't imagine an analysis which wouldn't accept the fact that Haiti
would be better off were the political
structures fundamentally changed for the better.  But making that change
is just not every person's way
to serve.  At the same time in the terrible poverty which Haiti suffers
and the discouraging lack of medical
aid, the Haitian people need food and jobs and medical help.  With the
exception of the most radical examples of purposely dependency-producing
structures of charity, I can't imagine that helping relieve the
immediate misery of those Haitians struggling in such misery could be a
negative thing.  Some are just more comfortable doing that work than some

In my own case I used to do both lots of the direct charity and small
economic development projects.  I have radically cut back on those
services in order to devote (much) more time to facilitating
communications about Haiti with this forum.  And, like Leslie Desmangles
and many others are this list,
I try to make a contribution here and there to our communal knowledge of
Haiti by produce some of that

Others like Bebe in the area of Voodoo, and even the often maligned
Christian missionaries who provide a different sort of service, try to
help the Haitian people with spiritually enriched lives.

Richard Morse of this list and Lois Wilken and others enrich our lives
with Haitian dance and music;
others with the insights and delights of art.

Each of us tries to do what he or she is most comfortable with, most
gifted at, most energized by.

Haiti and the suffering Haitians masses need us all.  They need more of
us.  They those of us who already are committed to work even harder if we
can manage.

To undercut the services of each other seems to me extremely counter
productive.  Unless it can be shown that we actually do HARM with our
work, and this shown with much more rigorous argument than I've seen in
this forum on this topic, then I would call for a greater appreciation of
each other's contributions and not the stale defense that:  my way is the
only way and all others are lesser.  Not only is the argument false, but
it is an argument that I think can be seen to harm Haiti.  It tends to
make people less excited about their own work, less energized when people
whom they respect and see doing good things in Haiti to be criticizing
their own perhaps meager, but nonetheless needed actions on behalf of a
better Haiti.

I plead for a greater acceptance of the diversity of modes of serving the
good of the Haitian people.

Bob Corbett