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#1245: IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE!!! (fwd)

From: LMB <lauretteb@yahoo.com>

I wanted to share with all of you what someone wrote concerning 
the article about Haiti in the magazine www.tripsmag.com.

If you want to respond please write directly to him at 



Thanks for the e-mail. As I read it, I felt my indignation mounting. Who
was that Jason Wilson to write such negative crap?

Then, after a while, I gave it some more thought. I began to think about
my numerous consulting trips to Haiti for local clients this year, my
travels from  Delmas to the clients' headquarters downtown. I began to
think about the images of my occasional forays into Cité Soleil when a
main artery was under construction.  I began to think about the fact that
there is virtually no nightlife in Port-au-Prince anymore, that on
Saturday night from Pétion-ville to Bel Air, the streets are practically
empty after 10 pm.  I remembered that it was a nightmare to get out of
Port-au-Prince to go to  the beach ... whether to Montrouis or to the
South. I remembered the extreme filth that filled the streets ... I
remember  mountains of uncollected garbage on Grand' rue throughout the
year. I remember seeing the cadaver of a young man on La Saline in October
that was not picked up for days ... everybody walking by and not doing
anything, sanitation services clearly unaware or oblivious to the
fact that there was a young, dead, twentysomething guy lying in the middle
of this huge boulevard. You get the picture!

I have seen it all with my own eyes, yet I have not done  much to remedy
the situation. And I am Haitian! Why should this Jason guy, who probably
had never been exposed to this before, behave any differently? I will not
blame him actually because, despite the extremely negative tone of his
article, it is factually correct (I don't know about the Haitian Blue
coffee though since I do not drink coffee.) However, I have seen what he
has seen, I have seen poor families washing clothes in "rigoles" filled
with water of questionable cleanliness EVERY DAY that I was going downtown
to my consulting assignments.

So, while I understand the anger of the many people who complain that this
guy did not portray us in a positive light, I must ask the question: what
have we (as a collective) or each of us individually done to change the
state of things?

Poverty is not romantic, and the myth of the Haitian who is happy despite
living in difficult conditions should be put to rest permanently.

Ultimately, it is OUR responsibility if we are so preoccupied with the
image of Haiti to do something about it because the blunt truth is that NO
ONE ELSE will, not Jason Wilson, not the UN, not USAID, not even our own
government. We may not as individuals have much power in improving the
situation, but we should as a group come together to see how we can effect
change in Haitian policies that will bring about an increase in the
standard of living of the poorest Haitians ...  that is, if we are really
concerned about the image of the country and are not simply venting for
the sake of showing off our "Haitianness"!

Therefore, expressing our anger and frustration at the writer of the
article or editors of www.tripsmag.com may make us feel better in the
short-run but it will not solve the blatant inequalities of Haiti in the
long run. In fact, it is almost like killing the messenger! We should
channel the anger that this article generated into a positive by focusing
on a series of concrete actions that WILL show a better, PERMANENT image
of Haiti. (There are people who are trying their best right now in Haiti
to do just that but they are not getting the recognition they deserve.)

Just my 2 cents' worth in this debate.

Patrice Backer

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