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#5337: #5263: The attack on Fonkoze : Grey comments

From: Racine125@aol.com

Greetings, all Corbetteers.  I'd like to address Tom Driver's informative 
post on the Fonkoze murder. (Hi, Tom!)

At the risk of immediately becoming enormously unpopular, I would like to 
point out that none of us have the slightest idea what the motivation of Amos 
Jeannot's assassins were.  We don't know if it was "rival banks" or "peasant 
associations" or "Macoutism" or "loan sharks" or what.

As a sometime investigator, I find it significant that the assassins chose 
Jeannot personally, out of a group of people.  With no disrespect to Jeannot, 
we have no idea what was going on in his life, and it is not for us to 

Fonkoze has not issued any statement to indicate where their suspicions 
point.  But you know what?  It doesn't even matter.  Amos Jeannot is a martyr 
no matter what - a martyr to a completely dysfunctional justice system 
superimposed on a culture with a, hmmmm... shall we say unique perspective on 
deception and stealing, not to mention rape, extortion and killing?

In Haitian prisons, the vast majority of inmates are awaiting trial, as 
opposed to American prisons where the vast majority of inmates have been 
tried, convicted, and sentenced.  Prisoners seem to be spirited in and out of 
prisons - mostly out!  A little money to pay a lawyer, and offenders are 
usually released once they appear before a judge, if they haven't already 
been let go before trial, in which case they seem to be merely forgotten from 
the docket!

If I wanted to commit murder and get away with it, Haiti would definitely be 
my country of choice.  And life is not worth much here either - recently a 
man from Cyvadier near Jacmel, a young man named Abner who was greedy for 
money, accepted $2000 Haitian to kill another man. And kill the man he did!  
He went to Cap Rouge and killed the guy, for real. He got $1000 Haitian up 
front, and never collected his other half, at least he hasn't yet, he's still 
in prison waiting for the trial.  This guy Abner, by the way, used to make a 
living beating up people.  $50 was his fee, and he had done the job more than 
once, but he was still walking around on the loose, you see?  And even I, an 
American part-time resident of the area, knew what Abner's metier was, so I 
can't believe that the police never heard of him.

Anyway, Abner is accused of killing this other man for $1000 Haitian.  $1000 
Haitian, that is to say 5000 gourdes, is about $220 US.  I hope that most of 
us on this list make more than that in a week... now, how do you feel when 
you know your life is worth less than one week's salary in Haiti?  A Jacmel 
judge commented disgustedly to me, "Oh, he will get a lawyer to plead for 
him, and he'll be let go."

Another young man involved in strings and strings of robberies, a certain 
Elie, was arrested and released, arrested and released, I don't know how many 
times.  He used to steal bicycles, and sell other people's rockpiles 
pretending they were his own (people pile up rocks by the road and sell them 
to construction contractors, at least where I am).  He attempted a rape on a 
well-to-do local woman, and finally the police went after him again and shot 
him to death, in the back.  Everyone was very happy about Elie's elimination 
from the Jacmel social scene, no one suggested that maybe the police should 
have arrested him alive yet again.  Then there was an uproar over the body, 
because the police buried it in common ground in the cemetery, rather than 
giving it to the family.  This is because it was feared that his zombi would 
be made to work robbing people if his family was allowed to have him - 
apparently an older brother was also a criminal, also lost his life, and now 
is made to haunt a certain crossroad preyi
ng on night travelers.

Against a background like this, folks, our commitment has to be to security 
and justice for all Haitians!  Here I agree with Tom Driver that "the people 
who stand to gain from an attack on a good and growing micro-credit program 
are those who... most hate and fear anything that promises to empower Haiti's 
poor."  They are also, come to think of it, the ones who benefit most from a 
climate of impunity.

I also think Driver has a good statistical chance of being right when he 
says, "Those investigating its perpetrators... will likely find, if they 
investigate courageously, that the signs point to the same elements in 
Haitian society that instigated and assisted the 1991 coup d'etat."  Those 
are the people who are in possession of weapons and are habituated to 
violence including murder.  But again, we just don't know, they could have 
been anyone at all, we have no true idea of the identity of the guilty 
parties.  And again, it doesn't matter - even if Jeannot were up to his neck 
in some kind of magouille (and I don't think he was), the lawlessness and 
worthlessness of the Haitian justice system bears the blame for his death.

Peace and love,

Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen
(Kathy S. Grey)

"Se bon ki ra", 
     Good is rare - Haitian Proverb

The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html

(Posting from Jacmel, Haiti)