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#2875: Colony Redefined (fwd)

From: Jean Poincy <caineve@idt.net>

"Ayiti has never been a French colony." Jacques Chirac must have some
good reasons to make this statement. He is no ignorant of his country's
role in shaping the world history. Either the report is not complete or
the reporter failed to ask Mr. Chirac to elaborate on his saying.   

By not having the whole picture of what was said and how it was said, it
would be best not to make quick emotional judgment.  Trying to
understand why he said it would be more scientific. We can even allow
ourselves to speculate and make good reasoning to see where he is coming

Please allow me to go wild. Maybe the term colony has been politically
redefined to equate it with absolute and permanent territorial
possession. In other words, to speak of colony, one must consider an
ongoing absolute possession of a territory without any interruption. 
Temporary possession to be ceased one day, regardless how, is
disqualified as colony and can only be called occupied territory. 

>From this perspective, would we call Ayiti a former American colony
because USA occupied it for a short period?  Hence, the term is no
longer substantiated by just a socio-political link through domination
of one entity over another.  Only a permanent settlement that forms one
with the dominating entity can legitimate a possessed territory as a
colony. For that matter, Martinique and Guadeloupe and others are
outright French colonies. 

If it is the frame of mind of Mr. Chirac, he is quite correct by making
the statement, since Ayiti ceased to be a French possession. If he made
such a statement to mean that France has no obligation toward Ayiti, I
totally agree with him. If France wishes to do something to help Ayiti,
it's a different ball game. However, imposing it on France as an
obligation due to slavery is absurd, in fact the whole issue of
reparation due slavery is.

France was in its full right to request indemnities on behalf of its
citizens as a condition to recognize Ayiti's independence. We are
talking like they forced down the Ayitian government's hands. That was a
negotiated agreement between the two governments. Considering this legal
aspect of the situation, how can we even speak of getting back a paid
debt, again a partially paid debt? 

The French government did not go after Boyer's to recognize Ayiti's
independence. This is Petion's clique lead by Boyer that went and
begged.  They suffered from nostalgia of wanting to be like the white
masters. Rather than building a society, they were digging further the
pit hole for the former slaves (remember the rural code of Boyer). With
Petion's clique, Ayiti got what it deserved unfortunately. 

Christophe wanted Ayiti to be recognized, but he was doing it surely
through prosperity as a springboard for international respect. We have
to remember that Ayitians were tagged as savaged rebels and could never
build a civilized society. Petion's clique proved the prediction right.
While they wanted to show to the white world they could build a
civilized society through emulation, Christophe instead was doing so
through economic prosperity and lifelong building. 

Forgive me if I went astray a bit. The compensation was for lost of
economic investment in the possessed territory. The masters lost their
properties which ranged from land, equipments and slaves.  These were
factors of production essential to the material well-being of our kind.
Slavery, although morally wrong, has been a contributing factor in
mankind economic progress. No economic historian can dismiss this fact.
It was so important for the well-being of our kind that it was widely
accepted. If today we see something awfully wrong in it, indeed there
is, this is because we overcome technical difficulties to improve our
living conditions. Prior to that, only with unpaid and forceful labor
mankind could achieve certain tasks.

Don't get me wrong, I am not praising slavery, I am asking to look
objectively to conditions that gave birth to slavery. We all know that
man was widely considered as a property that can be bought and sold.
Respectively to that period, was it right or wrong? Well, the French
people did have absolute property right on Ayiti. They acquired it
through fierce fights against other world empires. 

They went to Africa and invest in massive acquisition of human
properties. That was the world standard then. They brought them to a new
land they have conquered after the extermination of the original
inhabitants. The slaves were just properties that only had their labor.
All the economic investments were those of the French people. From an
economic stance, they were the big losers after the war of independence.
For it was the duty of their government to ask for compensation. 

The big winners were the slaves who were brought to the land as factors
of production and bought properties and had no idea of how the land was
acquired. They became the rightfully absolute owners of the land after
kicking the French out, the lawful owner of the land.  They dispossess
the French the same way the French have dispossessed others. This power
shift is reparation to me.  I just don't understand the kind of
reparation that some of us are talking about here.  Let's not be too

At any rate, I am wondering if such question would be raised if Ayiti
was doing great economically? I doubt it.  Then the beggar's mentality
would not be nurtured to the point of asking Chirac what France will do
for Ayiti and asking France to give back the money that was paid
rightfully as compensation for lost properties. This is done deal and
was done rightfully let's not pity ourselves and let's do what must be
done to get the job done, on our own. WE CAN. Ayiti needs no longer to

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live