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#1728: Disagreement is fine... Simidor responds to Delatour (fwd)


Disagreement is fine and it's a good thing because we couldn't disagree more. 
 To add to something I said earlier: for Delatour to say that Haitians are 
irresponsible (that they do not build, but only destroy), doesn't make him a 
racist.  But he certainly feeds into a lot of racist stereotypes about Haiti. 
 Likewise for his statement that all Haitians are thieves ("Give a Haitian a 
state job and he becomes a Grand Mangeur," etc.).  This is not about Delatour 
personally, but one shouldn't generalize from personal experience or from 
one's own disposition.  I know way too many honest Haitians to accept this 
kind of stereotype...

But we not only seem to frequent or to identify with different classes of 
Haitians, our recollection of recent history couldn't be more contradictory.  
You see, I was not trembling about Kraze Brize in 1986, I was on the side of 
the Dechoukeurs!  I also remember that while the wealthy 1% and their 
henchmen were hiding behind their high walls and in their fortified camps, 
the masses of people (95% of the population) were spontaneously cleaning up 
and painting the country in bright, festive, colors.  You have no 
recollection of that, Delatour?  What went wrong beyond that is that the 
greedy 5% became more entrenched in their use of power.  I beg you, please, 
not cry over the old Cathedral or the desecration of Jacques Gracia's tomb, 
but instead over the scores and the hundreds killed in Jean-Rabel, Ruelle 
Vaillant, the Saint Jean Bosco Church in la Saline, and over the victims of 
the 1991 coup.

As for Barthelmy's book, I have not read it, I confess.  But it would be 
silly to describe Haitians as restless or rootless when throughout the 19th 
century the average Haitian never left his lakou, let alone his village, from 
one generation to the next.  Until the first US occupation, that is, when 
poor and landless peasants began crossing the windward passage to Cuba as 
migrant workers.  And that's a fact. But what did Barthelmy really say?  
Next, Delatour will find a book by an obscure Southern or by a French cracker 
to "prove" that all Haitians are thieves, since they all descend from slaves. 
 Don't we all know that all slaves stole chickens and ate watermelons?

Still, I understand people like Nekita who embark on a nostalgia trip to the 
past.  Revisiting the places we grew up is always a bittersweet experience.  
Things always end up looking smaller, sadder, and ultimately disappointing.  
There is a whole body of literature on the subject.  It is no worse 
regurgitating this sort of thing than salivating over soup joumou recipes...  
It's just that the agenda for this kind of discourse is never innocent.

Daniel Simidor