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7572: McCalla Responds to Driver (fwd)

From: Jocelyn McCalla <makala99@yahoo.com>

Re: Haiti, Gore, Army, Foreign Media

Sorry, Tom, that you found my response disingenuous, but perhaps my biggest
failing is my belief in common sense. I will admit that I was not born in
the US, and has only known, studied and been involved in the fine art of
American politics for the last 20+ years, but I get the sense that Haitian
and American culture and norms are strikingly different. And that is perhaps
due to the presence in the US of strong governmental and non-governmental
institutions that have been tested through time, and from which has evolved
a body of rules and regulations that would allow Gore to claim the
opposition mantle, call for reinstatement of the army -- if it was
abolished -- and be talked about by the press, half because that would sell
papers, and the other because an eccentric person is far more interesting
than the average Joe, John or Tom. But most importantly, as thick and
uncultured as Americans are reported to be, I still think that the majority
can see a nut for who he is when he comes knocking at the door.

As for Haiti, my friend, others on this list have remarked how interesting
political life has become since double-u was declared the winner in US
elections. Both the "opposition" and the "elected" president have wrapped
themselves in conservative clothing: 1) The Convergence has called for the
army's reinstatement, and its loudest spokemen seem to be cut from the old
Duvalierist cloth, 2) President Aristide's Cabinet of Ministers is peppered
here and there by the young turks (now oldies) of the Jean-Claude Duvalier
era. They sit alongside some friends of mine who spent most of their lives
in exile.

But the bottom line here, Tom, is that it is more likely that in a future
that is not too distant,  both the "opposition" and the "government" will
turn out to be the losers as new young turks -- now on the front line
calling for nothing but the elimination of the other side -- turn against
their overseers as they gain more clout in a political landscape marked by
the absence of visionary leaders and thinkers. When they do, they will not
care about the past, nor the future. They will just want the power and the
privileges that Haitian "leaders" now covet so dearly while Haiti goes to
hell. Those who wish to ride that wave have a difficult balancing act

Finally, Tom, I have been too close to the so-called international power
brokers to dignify the notion that Haiti and its politics are so dear to
them that they spend their waking hours dreaming of ways to undermine
President Aristide or any other Haitian who bills himself as a progressive
cat. Perfunctory calls for reconciliation, working out the political kinks,
etc. are just that: perfunctory. Nothing more, nothing less. And as for the
foreign media, as I indicated earlier, weirdness always makes good copy. And
when millions of lives hang on the balance because of this weirdness, it
makes for good drama. But I would not go so far as to charge my reporter
friends with ill will. Incompetence, ignorance, home-grown prejudices, yes
absolutely. Ill will? No, for Haitians have themselves created the situation
that makes them fodder for good copy. Until Haitians get their act together,
there will always be an army of reporters, sandelistas, do-gooders,
highly-paid international experts or riff-raffs dispatched to help or to
keep the lid on for the threat of a massive exodus -- and chaos -- remains
too hard to bear.


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