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#2253: A reply to Poincy's comments on Duvalier

From: LMB <lauretteb@yahoo.com>


In post #223 you wrote:
 "I also sense that violence in Ayitian is inherited. For if Jean-Claude
did not leave the same atrocities would reoccur. Violence is an inherent
characteristic of mankind, if not kept in checked it manifests itself raw
regardless the society one is in. I would agree if organization were
lacking and the masses were left alone as they left matters in their hands


My opinion concerning violence in Haiti:

 "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."[1]

I chose this quote because it is a favorite of mine and because it
illustrates the fact that many Haitian and Haitian-American do not know
their history.

"In the past few weeks, newspapers, television, and magazines around the
world have covered the evolving situation in Ha´ti.  For Ha´tians, the
coverage of the situation shows the lack of understanding that journalists
as well as observers have of politics in Ha´ti.  For instance, the reports
on violent incidents seem to indicate that it is a new phenomenon, but
Ha´tians know that violence has been present in politics ever since our
independence in 1804 (one could even say before that date).  No one
understood this better than Franšois Duvalier.  It is his knowledge of
Ha´tian history as well as an understanding of his fellow Ha´tians that
enabled Papa Doc--the nickname Franšois Duvalier gave himself--to create a
dynasty that was to last thirty years and to create a movement,
Duvalierism, which is ever present in all sectors of life in Ha´ti."

      The above paragraph is extracted from an essay, written in early
November 1991, which represented my senior thesis. In Haiti, the first
Democratic election had taken place in December 1990 and the Haitian
people elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide-the "fiery priest of Saint-Jean
Bosco"--President of Haiti by a landslide victory. He won 65% of the votes
against Marc Bazin, the "American" favorite. This was a time where Bourik
Chage, the then American Ambassador was to say "Apre fet tambou lou!"
Prediction or political cynicism?

      The Haitian political and historical backdrop in which this thesis
was written coincided with the "Coup d'etat" that was to bring down
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after seven months in power. This was a
time of profound reflection for me. I was asking myself questions as to
the type of "charged" political and historical legacy which lead to the
bloody coup of September 1991.

[1] Tommie Sue Montgomery,  Revolution in El Salvador  (Boulder, Colorado:
 Westview Press,  1982),  181.


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