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#951: Ethnic Cleansing, Dominican-Style? (fwd)
A dangerous situation, not unlike the anti-Haitian pogrom of 1937, is
unfolding in the Dominican Republic. The pseudo-white Dominican
ruling class has once again drawn the line: if you're black, you don't
belong here. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Haitian immigrants and
Dominicans of Haitian parentage have been corralled for expulsion.
Dominican leader Joaquin Balaguer and a host of other political
figures have called for a massive anti-Haitian mobilization for
Saturday, Nov. 20th. A full scale campaign is underway against the
so-called "Haitian invasion."
The new hate campaign was apparently triggered by an Organization of
American States human rights report on the denial of citizenship rights
to children born of Haitian parents on Dominican soil. The inhumanity
and the scope of the campaign send the message that Dominican rulers
don't care what the world thinks, or that they don't think the world cares.
Most countries deport undocumented immigrants without violating their
basic human rights. They do not separate children from parents. They
allow deportees to collect their meager belongings. They do not invite
the native population to abuse and to humiliate them. They do not grab
them by the truckload and do not drive them to the border at gun point.
When Dominicans are deported from other countries, they expect due
process and the courtesy of a plane ride. But Haitians are beasts of
burden; they can be dumped surreptitiously across the border in places
where they are least likely to receive assistance or be accounted for.
The Haitian government does not seem affected by all this. All
pretenses of nationalism aside, the gentlemen in power on both sides
of the border have more in common among themselves than with the
people being brutalized. President Preval's attitude has been his
proverbial "ki mele bounda m." Prime-Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis
has thus far shrugged the whole thing off, presumably because he has
not been informed through official channels! But to be fair, governments
seldom rise to the defense of society's worse off, without prodding.
The Haitian government cannot prevent its Dominican counterpart from
deporting Haitian citizens illegally on its soil, but it can demand that it
be done by humane and international standards. It can take their case
to the U.N. and other international bodies. It can stop some of the
trade, so profitable to the Dominican Republic, across the border.
It can establish welcoming and resettlement sites for
the returnees. There should be an effort to establish the birth place
of the people expelled, to help protect the citizenship rights of all
persons born in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican government
must be made to pay a price for its racist policies.
Will the Haitian internet community forsake its preoccupation with
trivia long enough to use its clout to fight the good fight? Most
Haitians on this forum are well insulated from this kind of indignity,
but the plight of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, if unchallenged,
will devalue the notion of being Haitian across the board.
Finally, if you've read this far, you'll want to know that, in New
York, a joint committee of Haitians and Dominicans is being formed in
response to the current crisis. A counter-demonstration has been
scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 20th in front of the Dominican Consulate
in Times Square. A Declaration of Conscience is being drafted, and I
sincerely hope that list members will sign it in droves.