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#5143: Elections/resistance: Simidor responds to Chamberlain (fwd)

From: Karioka9@cs.com

Chamberlain has raised what has been my "ranting and raving" to the level of 
"eloquence."  I am flattered but must quickly heighten the contradiction with 
him, lest my worthy Haiti-Progrès friends start sputtering again about "the 
extreme left meeting the extreme right."  But wait, my lord Chamberlain is  
not really about to put down his sword.  Naively, as the native armchair 
reformer I suppose he is, he wonders what I would have had 7 million Haitians 
do other than wait for Aristide to come down from the sky, on the wings of a 
20,000-strong US invasion, to deliver them from evil.  

When things happen a certain way, people are inclined to believe this was the 
only way they could have happened.  That's the power of metaphysics.  The 
coup years, in reality, were pregnant with possibilities.  As late as the 
summer of 1993, there were organized forces inside Haiti clamoring for 
material aid to confront the putschists.  Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, once a 
coordinator of grassroots resistance inside Haiti, traveled to New York that 
summer to raise funds "pou mete gaz nan motè mobilizasyon an" (to fuel the 
resistance).  In one weekend, Haitians in NYC contributed over $40,000 for a 
campaign of mass mobilization and armed self-defense inside Haiti. I can say 
this publicly because it is a matter of record.  (It's also a matter of 
record that Ben Dupuy and his newspaper boycotted the Emergency Fund drive 
because no one would put them in charge of it.)  

Inside OPL, there were people like Chavannes Jean-Baptiste who were against 
US intervention.  And then you had people like Gerard Pierre-Charles who 
traveled to Washington that summer to make the case for US intervention.  
Unfortunately Aristide sided with the pro-intervention group, and the $40,000 
were diverted to other things.

It may come as a shock, but Chamberlain doesn't really know everything.  
That's why he negates the drive and the readiness to confront the military on 
the ground in Haiti.  His answer to this has always been that the "foreign 
armchair" Simidor is much too eager to have other people bleed for him, and 
that if resistance was so desirable I should have gone to Haiti to lead it.  
Of course it's a silly argument.  The grassroots movement was quite capable 
and quite ready to confront the putschists; and the person who had the moral 
authority to lead them into battle was Aristide himself, even from exile.

Resistance after all is like an attitude you develop.  The people's attitude 
was: there are 7 million of us and seven thousand of them.  We know where 
some of them live.  We know who their mistresses are.  From their hiding 
places, grassroots organizers were working hard to rebuild the popular 
movement.  Some had begun to hoard the weapons taken from the military and 
the FRAPH "attaches."  I know it is common wisdom on this list to tie the 
invasion to the flow of refugees leaving Haiti.  But perhaps more than 
anything, it is this hardening of the resistance that got Uncle Sam worried.  
Allowing the unruly Haitian masses to arm themselves anew would undo what it 
took another invasion 80 years ago to accomplish: crush the Haitian fervor 
for revolution.  The bright boys in Washington couldn't live with the specter 
of another Mogadishu in their backyard.  They told Titid to tell his 
followers to renounce violence and Titid, perhaps weakened by all the 
ass-kissers around him, did everything to disarm his followers and render 
them helpless.  

In Chamberlain's own words: "Aristide kept saying he was coming back, the OAS 
said it would restore constitutional government, that the embargo would bring 
the generals down.  So people overwhelmingly just waited."

P.S. The line that anybody critical of Lavalas is a Macoute is the kind of 
manichean attitude that fascism thrives on (we are good, those who oppose us 
are evil).

Daniel Simidor