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#1008: Ethnic Cleansing: Simidor responds to McCalla (fwd)
NCHR writes a lot of good reports, and I don't mind been reminded of it as J.
McCalla does here. Some of us remember the good old days before Michael
Hooper died, when in addition to writing reports NCHR also acted on its own
findings. Unfortunately, McCalla's feeling that "all the yelling, screaming
and expressions of concern will simply be water under the bridge" epitomizes
too well the disdain the organization exudes nowadays toward community
activism. Those of us who engage in those short-term, unfunded and
unglamorous activities are well aware of their limitations, although we don't
write fancy reports about it. We do what we do because we believe in
political empowerment through grassroots organizing, but also because those
with the resources and the money aren't doing it. McCalla is right, marching
and shouting and signing petitions seldom achieve meaningful reform (the
civil rights movement is just water under his bridge). But it's equally true
that fancy reports never brought freedom to anyone.
I've done my share of criticizing the Haitian government on this list. But to
blame the Lavalas regime for the law of supply and demand is simply silly.
The Fernandez government too will soon find out than no mere deployment of
troops along the border can keep the Dominican demand from the Haitian supply
of labor. Of course, with the coming privatization and mechanization of the
sugar industry, the old supply of Haitian farm hands has become redundant,
and it is the province of the Dominican state to get rid of them the same way
they've worked all their lives: cheaply. And in the process, why not get rid
of the batey brats too, now that human rights groups are making a fuss over
them? By McCalla's own logic, NCHR's reports are also responsible for the
There is always plenty of blame to go around, and too often it's just a
diversion. Instead, when will NCHR's boardroom savvy meet grassroots action
in the elusive fight for rights, as I'm sure every funding proposal out of
NCHR pledges to do?