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7419: Re: 7401: Aristide backers clash with rivals (fwd)
<< With signs that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is failing in his promise
to free Haiti from chronic political violence >>
If I had read this yesterday, I might have been tempted to believe it was
I was discouraged yesterday, following on the heels of Monday's activity. A
Haitian friend came to visit me last night. He is a friend I met--not through
work, not through a political rally, not through Corbettland--but because of
our mutual passion for tennis, and our mutual desire for a better life for
When he asked how I was, I told him the truth, that I was discouraged. He
listened very patiently as I asked what good burning tires and throwing rocks
was going to do--especially when all we see is that it stops colleagues from
doing their work. He never interrupted.
When I finished, he said, "Me? I won't be discouraged as long as the people
keep working." I knew exactly what he meant, and I knew that in my head and
heart I believe the same thing.
The people who voted in the May and November 2000 elections, the people who
are still grieving for family and friends tortured and killed during the
91-94 coup d'etat, the people who still have nightmares about the Haitian
army--these people are now speaking up and demanding that they be heard.
Voting alone was not sufficient. The peaceful inauguration was not
sufficient. Convergence is still making noise, setting up their own
government and playing victim for the international community. Behavior that
would not be tolerated in other democratic countries [did Al Gore set up an
alternative government? At least HE had votes and supporters!] is being
condoned and encouraged.
My friend is right. It is good that the Haitian people are asking for the
delivery of goods they purchased. Many of them, far from being encouraged by
Aristide, are actually angry with him and the new government for not being
firmer and arresting Gorgue.
My friend says that the people are committed to non-violent ways of
protesting. This is not a repeat performance of the dechoukaj. And if
throwing rocks and burning tires is violence, it is a far cry from the
violence of the Army, FRAPH and the socio-economic violence that has been
committed against the Haitian people for centuries. The kairos moment has
arrived. The Haitian people are living out the well-known phrase of Martin
Luther King, Jr, explaining "Why we can't wait."