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#1799: Social Justice: Antoine replies to Simidor (fwd)

From: Guy Antoine <webmaster@windowsonhaiti.com>

> Guy Antoine, a well-respected liberal on this list, calls me a fool
without naming my name...

First, our host does not allow personal attacks. Second, you
merely articulate what many of my other compatriots say, and
I disagree with their ideas, and I plainly stated so.  I don't go
through my day, thinking about you personally.

> because I was on the side of the Dechoukeurs in 1986.
No, I did not know you then.  I do not know you now.  My focus
was on those who advocate "dechoukaj" and "kraze brize" as
tools for social justice.  Let us agree to disagree without
personalizing the issue.  Do you personally matter to me? No.
Do I personally matter to you?  I certainly hope not.

> Aristide too was on the side of the Dechoukeurs in 1986 and
1991.  Would Antoine call him a fool?  I don't think so.

Whether Aristide is a fool or national hero is the story yet to be
played in a convincing way.  I reserve judgment on this question.
Social justice does not happen in seven months.

> Nowhere in my critic's diatribe is there any sense that Haiti
is a country without justice, or that 95% of the violence in Haiti
is the violence of the oppressors.

First of all, I am not Your critic.  Let's put this obsession to rest.
I have written plenty on justice over the last couple of years.
Even in my most recent post, I spoke of needed social justice for
Haiti, one that will not be achieved by bringing on more general
mayhem and bloodshed to a country that has seen far too much
of it already.  What we need more than anything is economic
development with a more equitable distribution of wealth.  How
will this be achieved?  This is a question for all of us, and most
especially our socio-economics experts and political leaders.
I did not claim to have the answer, only that calls for a bloody
revolution are, once again, foolish.  Why?  Bloodshed has secured
for us our political independence almost 200 years ago, but has
failed us miserably ever since, no doubt due to some implacable
realities, in terms of improving the lot of the Haitian countryman.
So many of us keep hoping that the Haitian Revolution will repeat
itself, this time freeing us from 1) Dictators; 2) Morally Repugnant
Elites; 3) "Grands Mangeurs" (our corrupt public administration).
That's a beautiful DREAM.  But that's ALL it really is.  Yes, I agree
that "95% of the violence in Haiti is the violence of the oppressors".
I would not even challenge you if you quoted it at 99.9%.  So how
much more of the oppressed's blood has to spill before one realizes
that we no longer live at the turn of the 19th century, and that some
other tactics have to be developed to address the question of
social justice in Haiti?

Since we have not, so far as I know anyway, done any significant
work in this field, I wanted to point out to the work that Bishop Tutu
and Nelson Mandela have done in South Africa to start to redress
the worst excesses of their apartheid system.  I proposed that we
adapt, not copy.  That would be A STARTING POINT.  Nowhere in
the world have the goals of social justice been substantially achieved
OVERNIGHT.  This has to become the work and commitment of
SEVERAL generations.  That sort of commitment IS the hard work,
not easy and heroic-sounding calls to one more Dessalines'
revolution.  Has anyone noticed that Haitians have really nothing to
fall back on than their glorious 1791-1804 revolution? Just HOW is
this helping us TODAY?  Let's be REAL!

So, you portray those two "safe peacekeepers" as irrelevant to the
Haitian reality.  The point would be in my opinion that the system of
apartheid in South Africa is sufficiently different from the system of
apartheid in Haiti to make any lessons learned one continent away
implausible in the context of the Haitian class struggle.  Well, so be
it.  Perhaps, I am the fool for pointing to their example.  I don't really
care if you discard that idea, but my point stays unchanged:  We
Need To Develop and Implement A System of Social Justice in Haiti.
I will concede that it is ALWAYS tricky to start from the experience of
other people (witness the current system of government in Haiti), but
for the lack of ANY previous/serious attempt at doing so in our History,
this will prove a challenging task, indeed.  All the more daunting, when
you consider the unhealthy rivalries that amazingly develop between
Haitians who should really cooperate for the good of their country.
Cooperation, above differences of opinion and personalities...
what a concept!

> For my part, I'll stick with Dessalines, Acaau, Charlemagne Peralte
> and Jean-Jacques Dessalines Amboise.  Did I also mention that I
> am also on the side of the 1915 dechoukaj, the one the US used as
> a pretext for their first invasion of Haiti?  Or that I make no apology
> for the massacre of the French after Independence, for the catharsis
> of 1791, etc?  I live for the day when democracy, equality and justice
> will rule the land.  But I also know that none of that will come about in
> Haiti without one or several revolutions.  Like Malcolm X said:
> "Revolution is bloodshed."

You live for the day when democracy, equality and justice will rule the
land.  I live for the day when it can be truly said that we have STARTED
in that direction.  True, the end of the 1986 Duvalier regime was a time
full of hope.  Without skipping a beat, Jean-Claude was succeeded by
even more Duvalierist regimes.  Then, the big hope of the first seven
months of Aristide's presidency, and the Lavalas movement.  Sure, I
shared in that hope as well, unabashedly so.  I was not one of the
clairvoyant people who had foreseen not only the coup, but even worse
the implosion of Lavalas, the fratricidal fights that would follow, even to
this day.  Whether you like the association or not, and clearly I know
that you do not, I share your dream also as you stated it : "democracy,
equality and justice will rule the land".  I just do not think that the
that you advocate, which were NOT successful at any point in our History,
will likely be successful today or tomorrow.

> Those who preach nonviolence or a sensitive revolution only mislead
and disarm the people; they are hypocrites for the most part.

We disagree... we profoundly disagree.  But for my part, I choose to
leave you with Respect.

For a new Haiti!

Guy Antoine