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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 
current crisis.  

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? 

Daniel Simidor