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#2407: On Dr. Francois Duvalier Part IV : Poincy continues

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

Part IV: On Turning a Good Leader to a Bad one: a Look at Duvalier's

In turning the page folks, you will see that there is something
poisonous about Ayitian social mentality, which tends to turn leaders
who mean well to begin with, into a ruthless one. By default, he would
exhibit strong sign of dictatorship. The unwillingness to cooperate is
the malignant tumor that is eating up the society. The willingness to
cooperate is even absent among the citizenry in their dealing with each
other. I guess a century and a half of such is deeply rooted in the
nation's psyche: what an impact!

Most of the leaders who are willing to do something good find
roadblocks. Since doing good mostly concerns the masses, it is
understood that the group of people that wants nothing to do with the
masses out of contempt automatically turns their back on such a leader.
Any leader that falls on the masses' side, s/he will see hell with such
a group. 

If such a leader perseveres in his ideal, he definitely needs to find
ways to circumvent his impediments. Normally, his proponents are
powerful both economically and politically. Depending on the kind of
political atmosphere prevailing in the country, he will consequently
turn into something that can be very destructive for the society as a
whole. During the era of Dr. Francois Duvalier, coup d'etat was
prevalent and the army decided at will who should be in power. How would
Duvalier counteract this incisive entity, if it were not the use of
their language? 

He was facing a moral imperative issue. While he wanted to lift up his
country, no one in the able group wanted to give him a hand. Rather they
were disposed to overthrow him. What was he suppose to do? Let them act
against him, hence against the masses, as they please or blocking them
from doing so. Deciding for the former would make him a coward and the
country would still be what it used to be. The only viable option to at
least save his dream was to undertake a clean up. Nonetheless, one had a
choice to cooperate. Why hadn't they done so? 

How he went about doing the clean up was a moral issue and he knew it.
Hoping with time that history would vindicate him, he went about it in a
ruthless fashion. When time was running on his life, he felt the only
way to save his dream is to pass on the power to his son knowing that he
left a strong base to guide him behind. His mistake, however, was that
he did not tutor or mentor his son regarding the Ayitian politics. This
is to tell you he was not thinking of establishing a dynasty; he did not
know how things were going to be. If his intent were to establish a
dynasty for his own interest and his family, I am sure, he would take
proper measure to mentor his son properly on Ayitian history while
instilling in him his ideal of a good society for Ayiti. 

Hadn't he put his son in his place, he knew that anyone coming from the
other group would reinstate the old order which he vowed to eradicate in
the country. Unfortunately, people surrounding him did not understand
where he was coming from. They did not understand him pure and simple.
Everything that he had as a dream went astray once Jean-Claude began to
assert himself. His strategy for his son was to continue what he did not
even begin. 

He spent his entire period in power to create stability the country
lacked. That cleared the way for Jean-Claude to do all the greats the
people were waiting for. But how could he, if he never read, among
others, Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman Consul in 65 BC whose political
philosophy Duvalier cherished (By the way Jean Jean-Pierre, if you read
his little red book, you would notice that he gave credit to Cicero and
many others). Reading Cicero on Moral Obligation can help understand Dr.
Francois Duvalier a great deal. I am sure that reading Cicero had helped
me reconsider my position toward Duvalier, and sent me to question my
position and reevaluate his politics. 

It is clear that a man with great ideals to do good for the people and
was blocked by others with different interest would definitely embrace
his enemies' evil way of doing politics to make sure that his dream
comes true. Antoine you explained with great eloquence how your fathers'
truck was used to take people from the rural areas to bring them to
P-o-P. I can agree with you that were an injustice, but you prevent
yourself from seeing the good that was in it. 

Duvalier did not make them come to support him and show to the world
that he had the people's support. As a dictator with absolute power he
did not have to give a public speech and he did not care much about what
the rest of the world had to think of him. (He did not have any
diplomatic protocol in dealing with the rest of the world. He went in
the Dominican Republic Embassy to capture those who attempted to murder
his son and subsequently broke diplomatic relationship with this
country.  He let foreign dignitaries wait for him for hours before
accepting to see them. He just wanted to humiliate them. That shows he
had nothing to prove to the rest of the world.)

To get back to your father's truck. It did a great service to the people
and you should feel proud of it. Duvalier did not need them to listen to
his speeches given in French a language they probably never heard before
considering that they came from the rural pit holes. He made them come
for two reasons: 1) to see things they were prevented from seeing before
(remember Boyer's rural code). He knew by having them in P-o-P some
would stay and did stay in fact. 2) To embarrass the elite. Giving
speeches in French before the illiterate masses was a direct address to
the elites, because only them could understand the contents.
Simultaneously, the purpose was to show to them that they did not do
their job when they had been in control for a century and a half. They
have an illiterate audience poorly dressed, bear feet clapping their
hand for something they don't understand. That can be quite an
embarrassment! But did they care? I don't think so.

Very few were those around Duvalier that understood this. The macoutes
themselves whom were forcing people to come to P-o-P and force them to
clap their hands did not understand what was going on. What's amazing is
the fact we still don't quite understand the man to repeat Laurette
(LMB). Let go emotions and delve into why he did what he did with
openness, things will be clearer. Don't just flush the guy's effort,
which failed because people are victimized. Ask yourself, what was more
important, the individual libertinage, family political fiesta or the
well being of the country? As a Cicero's student, he chose the country
like Toussaint, Dessalines and Christophe did. Yes, he is not one of
them, but they share the same philosophy and you can't dissociate them
otherwise comparative analysis would be impossible and separating is
unhealthy intellectually.

To come next Part V: On Turning a Good Leader to a Bad one: a look at
the Present.

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live