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#3719: A letter to Aristide : Comment from Antoine

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

> For a country at peace...
> Vote peacefully under the flag of peace...
> You who fear defeat
> And who choose violence
> Remember
> We are all brothers and sisters.
> Haiti is for all Haitians.
> We must all work for peace
> So that we can all live in peace.

> Boulevard 15 Octobre, Tabarre, Haiti

Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide,

I thank you for those words.  I know that for one reason or another,
many will not give you credit for sending this message. However your
words speak to the core of our worries for the future of our country.

In any democratic system, free elections are a sine qua non, meaning
that if the people cannot freely elect their political representatives,
you simply do not have a democracy.  There has been so much external
pressure, so much posturing, so many veiled or not so veiled threats, so
many politically motivated assassinations, so much pre-electoral
violence... that one is FORCED to wonder: what the HELL is going on?

There must be elections in Haiti, but these elections must not be
hijacked by any party, nor should they be held by the will of the
international community, but by the will of the Haitian people.  I would
have wanted to see more pre-electoral preparation, more civic education,
more polls showing that the population is truly going to participate,
and the complete assurance that these elections will be largely (never
totally, to be sure) uncontestable.  The sad fact is that if the
population does not vote in significant proportions OR if we are going
to witness another round of recriminations and interminable accusations
of electoral fraud, this will not be a step ahead for democracy in
Haiti, as is the prevailing sentiment, but rather a huge step backwards
(another one, still).

When, oh when, will Haitians decide to move forward as ONE PEOPLE?

Pardon my striking a note of pessimism, when in fact, I ache to be
optimistic.  May the upcoming elections reduce all my fears to the point
of silliness!

 Those who commit the violence must not only hate Haiti, but must surely
hate themselves for wholesomely participating in the destruction of our
Haitian society.  This is simply not the Haiti that we knew and
cherished.  We have a bunch of imbeciles who are so short-sighted they
cannot see that the violence they inflict on others will, like a
boomerang, be visited upon them in return.  Even if they could acquire
all the money and power available, they still need to have a livable
society.  Just what will they do after they have destroyed it, after the
societal values and safeguards that are there to protect all citizens
have vanished away due to their selfish actions?  What will happen?
They die.

This is not to say that Haitian society is finished yet, Many, many
Haitians living abroad still enjoy renewing their spirits by going back
to the countryside, the communities, the small municipalities, the
rivers that unlike the Saint Laurent, the Hudson, the Delaware, the
Mississipi, etc, are small enough to almost give you  a sense of
ownership, the beaches, the mango and almond trees and their shadow, the
juices from the kachiman, the korosol, and the grenadine, and countless
other pleasures.  And from what I hear from recent visitors of the
Port--Piment and Port-Salut areas, even the cleanliness!  Not a word
that is commonly associated with Haiti these days.  Those people were
thinking that Haiti is still an ideal place to live, if you skip
Port-au-Prince altogether (too bad, it used to be a fairly decent city,

Will Haiti return to greater civility or continue its descent to Hell?

Mr. Aristide, if you were in any way responsible for the pre-electoral
violence that many have accused your party of waging, I would ask you
then to do the honorable thing and not run for President of Haiti,
because quite frankly, you would be undeserving of such an honor and
privilege.  You would not have the moral capacity necessary to provide
the leadership  our country desperately needs.  Make no mistake about
that.  If on the other hand, all of this violence has been part of the
cynical games aimed to prevent, weaken, or destabilize the choice of the
people of Haiti, may you triumph over your detractors, large and small,
because in the end... the Haitian people must for themselves determine
their future and build a path out of violence and misery towards peace,
justice and prosperity.

Guy S. Antoine
Look and Imagine!