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#1133: fear of Haiti? Bell replies (fwd)

From: madison bell <mbell@goucher.edu>

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.