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#111: Questions about Frederick Douglass's Haiti (fwd)
From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>
A little over a century ago (on Jan. 2 1893), this is what the
great American Frederick Douglass wrote about Haiti:
In the nature of the country itself there is much to inspire its
people with manliness, courage and self-respect. In its
topography it is wonderfully beautiful, grand and impressive.
Clothed in its blue and balmy atmosphere it rises from the
surrounding sea in surpassing splendor. It is a land strikingly
beautiful, diversified by mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and
plains, and contains in itself all the elements of great and
enduring wealth. Its limestone formation and foundation are
a guarantee of perpetual fertility. Its tropical heat and insular
moisture keep its vegetation fresh, green and vigorous all
year round. At an altitude of eight thousand feet, its mountains
are still covered with woods of great variety and of great value.
Its climate, varying with altitude like that of California, is
adapted to all constitutions and productions.
Fortunate in its climate and soil, it is equally fortunate in its
adaptation to commerce. Its shore line is marked with
numerous indentations of inlets, rivers, bays and harbors,
where every grade of vessel may anchor in safety. Bulwarked
on either side by lofty mountains rich with tropical verdure
from base to summit, its blue waters dotted here and there
with the white wings of commerce from every land and sea,
the Bay of Port au Prince almost rivals the far-famed Bay of
Naples, the most beautiful in the world.
End of quote.
1) A lot has changed this past century (or shorter period).
How recently would you say, Douglass's description still
held for the most part? Which regions of Haiti would
Frederick Douglass still recognize today, pretty much
the way it was one hundred years ago???
2) To what extent can the environmental degradation and
ecology crises be reversed? Under the most favorable
circumstances, could Haiti ever regain its past splendor?
3) Is the natural beauty of the land a luxury, when confronted
with the dire economic needs of the majority of Haitians?
Can a link between a more beautiful Haiti and a more
prosperous Haiti be established in a way that would motivate
Haiti's economic agencies, aside from the obvious tourism
N.B. The full text of Frederick Douglass's speech can be
read at http://windowsonhaiti.com/douglass.htm . It is
highly recommended that you acquaint yourself with this
remarkable speech from the most distinguished U.S.
ambassador to Haiti ever.
Guy S. Antoine
Look thru & Imagine!