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#1296: YES. IT'S TIME FOR REAL CHANGE! : Sylvain comments

From: JEAN-BERNARD SYLVAIN <sylvainjb2000@hotmail.com>

Dear Friend from the University of South Florida:

The decision by the editors of the TRIPS magazine to publish Jason Wilson’s 
article on Haiti came as very bad news for all of us. What an offense! 
Wilson’s sarcasm and contemptuousness in his portrayal of Haiti sound 
profoundly racist.

Nonetheless, worst is the fact that, deep inside, we Haitians have to admit 
that Mr. Wilson’s impressions and observations are in a sense accurate.  
They unfortunately reflect the new reality of our homeland! Every time we 
take a trip down home, we come back with the impression that « things »  
have deteriorated some more. In other words, the glimmer of hope that Mr. 
Wilson thought he had seen last year in Haiti, is everytime slimmer, even 
for people like us. This means that we have to try each time harder and 
harder  to see things in a positive light. The most generous among us can no 
longer find the words to make things look good about Haiti. The sad reality 
is that for us Haitians, our Ayiti Chérie is becoming as ugly and as 
disgusting as this arrogant yankee is portraying it.

Time has come for the ones who will be returning to Haiti or who simply care 
about Haiti to start thinking about the importance of our involvement in 
changing the way we do business in our country.

For those of us who have the opportunity to attend college or to live in the 
US at this time of prosperity, of economic expansion, of unprecedented 
technological progress, and of more efficient government, we must help our 
people back home open their eyes as to the real meaning of democracy and 
economic development. We must serve as messengers to those who still believe 
that they can get away by simply taking care of their « own little business 
» and forget about the rest, or to the others who think of themselves  as 
smart enough to obtain the political favors of whoever is in power once they 
can figure out how to play the game.

Today, there are no winners in the field. We are all losers ! The few extra 
bucks that one makes on one hand,  must be spent on the other for extra 
source of electrical power, extra security,  extra medical care, extra trips 
abroad to breathe some fresh air.

The upcoming elections will be a major first step in changing the path in 
which Haiti finds itself engaged now. Without good political leadership, the 
future of our homeland is in jeopardy. We all agree that the past ten years 
have been a complete disaster. We have been fooled by a team of dictators in 
disguise. Behind their democratic mask all they cared about was to build 
their own little fortune.

While other countries in this Hemisphere were striving to start the new 
millenium on the information superhighway, Haiti’s current leaders just 
spent twelve months planning a « urine war » to ensure that they will keep 
their hold of power.  We must all admit that this kind of attitude 
encourages the kind of article that Mr. Wilson was able to publish on Haiti.

As members of the best educated generation of Haitians of all times, we have 
the power to convince the people around us, here in the United States, and 
also in Haiti that our country needs and deserves better than the Aristide, 
the Cedras, and the Preval who have managed to play havoc with our economy 
and our dignity. We cannot let Haiti start the new millenium with any of the 
authors of the country’s destruction during the past forty years. They all  
IN HAITI. This is where our fight against Mr. Wilson and the TRIP magazine 
should start !

Rochester, N.Y.

>From : peggystines@hotmail.com


A trip to the university travel agency (STA travel at the University of
South Florida) led me to the discovery of an article on Haiti. The title of
the magazine read in big bold letters: WHO GOES THERE?. Under this title

were listed three countries and a apart of the US: Mongolia, Ethiopia, Haiti
and Detroit. As a Haitian who spent her life in Haiti, I could not help but
be furious. It left me flabbergasted. Never in my life have I seen such
negative portrayal of my country; and for this to be distributed at a
travel agency makes matters worse.  It is obvious to me that the writer
went  out of his way to show us in a bad light. Nothing positive is
mentioned in the nine-page article. I am forwarding you some parts of the
article to get an idea of what is out there:

      Brown is the color of Haiti’s mountainous spine. Not a lovely sepia
or deep mahogany, mind you, but a flat, sickly, hearteaking
Brown.................In less than a century, Haiti’s interior has
deteriorated from a prime agricultural center- one prized French
colonialists for its coffee and sugar- to a wasteland, stripped bare of
timber that could be used for fuel or shelter.

To truly understand the plight of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western
Hemisphere, a place where 75% of the population lives in absolute poverty,
you need to understand own. A dusty brown that covers your shoes, clothes
and bags from the moment you are greeted by the creaky ass band on the
tarmac at the Port-au-Prince airport, then by the sign at customs: “We are
sorry to welcome you in this condition.” It’s the same brown as the hide of
the mangy, rabid dog that fights with an enormous pig over the right to eat
a pile of garbage, this in the middle of an alley that our driver, used as
a shortcut to navigate city traffic. It’s the brown of dirty rivers where
women and children bathe and do laundry and relieve themselves, only a few
hundred yards upstream from the food stalls of an open-air market.
Brown is the color of Haiti’s dry, suffering reality.

“Yet, even amid all the brown, a glimmer of hope for the country’s future
may be seen in a new color-blue. More specifically, bleu, as in Haitian
Bleu, a new variety of gourmet coffee bean now being grown by Haiti’s
highland coffee farmers.” I wrote that more than a year ago. And I will
freely admit that I embellished, if not outright lied, by writing it.....It
is now more than a year later and coffee buyers and tasters say that
Haitian Bleu is, at best, a mediocre coffee, with too bitter of an

He goes on to talk  about his disappointing visit to Haiti and describes
the horrible places he has been to. At the end of the article, a table of
important facts is drawn. I am not going to go into details, but to give
you an idea of the content.

DIVERSIONS/PASTIMES---------Cockfighting, soccer seeking US aid
TV PROGRAMMING   -----------Limited, mostly news
STUFFS TO BRING HOME---------Sequined voodou flags, infectious diseases

PS.   If anyone would like to put an end to this biased propaganda, the
name of the author is: Jason Wilson.  Personally, I am sending this to all
Haitian organizations and all organizations affiliated to Haitian groups
and I will write a letter to Mr. Wilson as well as the publisher of this
magazine. This magazine is entitled TRIPS, A Travel Journal. I found this 
piece in the October issue. The website for this journal is: 

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