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#1060: Haiti - Who Goes There : Knowles replies

From: Phil Knowles <Phildk@prodigy.net>

Well, if your magazine prospers by publishing such blunt and one-sided
stuff, so be it, though it shows ignorance and lack of compassion.  It is SO
easy, a no-brainer,  to insult someone, or someplace, when there IS plenty
to disparage.

I am very fond of Haiti, but only partly disagree in detail with the excerpt
I read a Haiti-oriented email forum.  I won't offer excuses or theories. But
look:  this is someone's country, people who DO have feeling and pride,
people who are no more or less entitled to respect than yourself.  To visit
Haiti from "the West" is an acquired taste, and only a few have it.  But
earlier this year I rode the local bus from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel  (brand
new road through beautiful mountain countryside), stayed in a rather decent
seaside 'resort'  (filthy beach!), visited the sister and Mother of a
Haitian friend who is at college here in my area (of the US). They were
wonderful to me.   Later I traveled with dear friends to Cape Haitian, saw
the great Citadel and many local sights. I had a powerfully good,
interesting, rewarding time, met many fine Haitians.

For some two-bit American writer to figuratively slash and burn another
country is to show (1) no feeling for others  (2) American arrogance - which
reveals the author as flat, one dimensional, stupid   (3) classic 'ugly
American' behavior which is the source of much anti-American opinion around
the world.  Sure, Haiti does not offer beautiful beaches, para-sailing,
partying, gambling, all protected in the confines of a classy resort Hilton
or Radisson.  But if you love Haiti, you can see beyond the potholes, third
rate utilities, poor public sanitation, etc., and see some of the most
beautiful people anywhere.  They deserve better than your article.

Phil Knowles