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#1133: fear of Haiti? Bell replies (fwd)
From: madison bell <email@example.com>
Fear is the main thing to be feared in this context.
Decent lawabiding diaspora Haitians ought not to have to be afraid to
return to visit their relatives and if they are sensible I think they
needn't be. Sensible means to dress down, don't show gold ornaments or
other signs of wealth, in general to be unostentatious-- pretty much the
normal rules for negotiating doubtful areas in any land. Moun dyas who
enter the country with too much of a swagger may find predators on their
tail. As for myself, my white skin does protect me sometimes, as
Bellegarde-Smith posits, but there are other times when it makes me a
target. There've been times I'd have shucked that white skin if I could.
One must also remember that a given zone can flip from "go" to "no go"
in a matter of hours. I've done promenades one evening without any trouble
that might well have been fatal the next.
Still and all I think most parts of Haiti are way less dangerous at street
level than most parts of the United States and it grieves me to think of
people from the diaspora being scared away, since their visits and their
influence are the best hope the country has at the moment, I think.
I suggest: don't be foolhardy but don't be intimidated either. If you've
been away a long time, make your first return in the company of someone who
knows the way around the current situation. Choose your moment with some
care and pay attention to everything your spirit tells you. But don't be
scared off the streets or out of the country. If fear doesn empty the
place out, there will be villains aplenty to fill the vacuum.