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9208: The Restavek knows her true family and true friends (fwd)

From: Jean Saint-Vil <jafrikayiti@hotmail.com>

Many thanks to Josianne Hudicourt for the Unicef data on the Restavek 
situation in Haiti. It is a good starting point for a discussion of the 
problem in a systematic and productive fashion.

It is useful to know these estimations. An evaluation of the study, 
including the methodology of the surveys conducted, may also prove very  

This discussion has led me to seek and  find some interesting documents on 
the net.  However, I still haven't found the comparative data which helps 
one to get a better picture of the sitution.  For instance UNICEF's 
estimation that Restavèks (70% in PAP, 62% in Okap, 39% in Okay)  don't have 
time to play, get corporal punishment:  (77% in PAP, 81% in Okap, 69% in 
Okay), few get 3 meals a day: (17% in PAP, 33% in Okap, 48% in Okay), even 
fewer go to school … (In PAP 11%, 19% in other large cities, 6% in the rest 
of the country)... is all good to know but, without an estimation of the 
percentage of other kids facing these same problems in Haiti and in other 
countries, the picture is not complete.

The complexity of  issues such as child domestic workers, child abuse etc… 
compels one who is truly interested in finding durable remedies to these 
problems to take a look at both the national picture and the global picture; 
the symtoms as well as the root causes associated with them.

If I, personally, have addressed the issue with a cry of alarm against a 
perceived exploitation of it by white supremacist forces, it is because 
history has taught me that if we (black people) don't do so on a timely 
fashion, it will do its damage conspicously until some overzealous reporter, 
ambassador or some member of this very list  really get out of control and 
say very blatantly what a silent majority have been conditionned over time 
to internalise.  Just like, every now and again we have seen public attacks 
on the «Haitian character» by a German, an American ambassador, or by our 
very own Corbettland friends of Haiti.

Who remembers the name of the UN worker / Animal rights activist???? who 
chose to ignore the fireworks and beautiful «Channmas» celebrations of  
Haitian Independence Day 2000 to focus her camera on pigs bathing in mud in 
Jalousie, as the official image of Haiti welcoming the new Christian 

Our foreign anti-slavery friends are well aware that currently nearly a 
million children and teens labor each year in agricultural fields across the 
United States. «They pick lettuce and cantaloupe, weed cotton fields, and 
bag produce. They climb rickety ladders into cherry orchards, stoop low over 
chili plants, and "pitch" heavy watermelons for hours on end. Many begin 
their work days-either in the fields or en route to the fields-in the middle 
of the night. Twelve-hour workdays are common».  According to info read at 
http://www.oneworld.org/ni/issue292/facts.html, in the 1980s the United Farm 
Workers union estimated that 800,000 under-aged children worked harvesting 
crops. In 1990 a survey of Mexican American children working on farms in New 
York state showed a third of them had been sprayed with pesticides.

How many hours of play do these children get?
How many of them go to school?
Are these children «slaves» in the land of the free - which is also the 
richest country in the world? What does this say about American character? I 
know Corbetland only discusses Hatian issues, but what about Businessweek 
.com, is it not interested in this problem that is going on in its own turf? 
What about the American missionaries, are they not interested in what is 
happening in their own country?

How can we, Haitians, trust their good will when we do not hear them adress 
this related domestic issue.  In  FINGERS TO THE BONE:    UNITED STATES 
FAILURE TO PROTECT CHILD FARMWORKERS, we read: « girls and women are 
subjected routinely to sexual advances by farm labor contractors and field 
supervisors. If they refuse, they-and members of their family-face 
retaliation in the form of discharge, blacklisting, and even physical 
assault and rape».

See: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/frmwrkr/frmwrk006.htm#P166_10412

Let me say also to Mambo Racine san bout that I do not have the luxury of 
denying the racial dimension of poverty, the political and economic 
harassment that Afrikan peoples have known for the past 500 years.  I belong 
to a apecific people. I am an Afrikan-Haitian man. And you are a 
European-American Woman (mambo or not). As such we have both inherited 
priviledges and burdens that come with these specific identities. However, 
the consequences of ignoring the reality of these specific identities are 
not the same for both of us. As you can see, when those in power in your 
country bombard my people's Pharmacy in the Sudan or when the CIA's agents 
put AK47 on tripods to  bombard Site Soley, Europe doesn't stand in silence 
for 3 minutes.  Nato doesn't come to help us. White Supremacy is real and it 
is not marginal.  It may be cute to have a white Mambo in Jacmel (It is sort 
of like Erzulie coming to earth in Haiti ). While you enjoy this pleasant 
relationship with my people, you may be tempted to see our reality as Sammy 
Davis Junior wanted to see himself in white Holliwood.  But, honestly Kathy 
Gray, until we all really get down to the real business of fixing the 
troubles that have been created in our world by white supremacy (not 6 
million years ago but from 1492 to this very day), you will be seen as a 
white full time tourist living the privileges and burdens of being white in 
a black country crippled by white supremacy. And I will be seen as a black 
immigrant living the privileges and burdens of being black in a 
white-dominated continent built upon white supremacy. And, no legnth of 
rationalization will change that reality Mambo Racine. So, some concious 
black folks will continue to raise the issue of reparations over the recent 
and real racial slavery conducted by states that are still in existence and 
some of you (people of european descent) will continue to pretend not to 
understand what we are talking about and look for refuge in fake «we are the 
world» activities… The majority of young black males in your country will 
continue to rot in jail, trapped in ghetto wonderland, while entertainers 
from San Francisco to the Bronx sing in harmony ebony and ivory in the land 
of the free until….one day, one way or another, we are all forced to wake up 
- for better or - for worst.

To end this long message, here are some facts about the international 
dimension of this issue of child abuse, that may prove useful for 

Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics from the National Committee to Prevent 
Child Abuse

In 1994, over 3 million (3,140,000) children were reported for child abuse 
and neglect to child protective service (CPS) agencies in the United States. 
According to the 1994 survey, physical abuse represented 21% of confirmed 
cases, sexual abuse 11%, neglect 49%, emotional maltreatment 3% and other 
forms of maltreatment 16%.

For a discussion of true situations of indentured servants in Pakistan 
(major US ally in the war against terrorism) and complexities of the 
situation seen through Eurocentric NGOs perspective, please see:

Studies in Indonesia estimate there are around 400,000 child domestic 
workers in Jakarta alone and 5 million in Indonesia as a whole. In Venezuela 
60 per cent of the girls working between 10 and 14 years of age are employed 
as domestic workers.  Country surveys showed that the proportion of child 
domestic workers under ten years of age was 26 per cent in Venezuela, 24 per 
cent in Bangladesh, and 16 per cent in Togo. A survey in Morocco showed that 
72 per cent of domestic workers started their working day before 7.00am and 
65 per cent went to bed after 11.00pm.   (Child Labour: Targeting the 
intolerable, ILO 1996)
http://www.oneworld.org/ni/issue292/caged.htm  Caged birds, silent song.

Numbers are essential although they don' t tell the whole story.

Restavek is an important ill within Haitian society. It has been, it is and 
will be fought until eradicated. Not by the newly formed, self-appointed, 
OAS «friends of Haiti», not by the United Nations, not by the New-York Times 
or the Wall Street Journal. But by these men and women who teach, sometimes, 
as volunteers, in makeshift afternoon schools, those at the Route de dalles 
clinic who, during the day, take care of kids of working poor women, those 
who are struggling for a truly independent Republic of Haiti where misery is 
conquered once and for all…The Haitian People and its true friends whou 
could be counted on one hand but are seldom counted…because that's not the 
business they are in. Instead, when we are hungry, they help us irrigate the 
fields of Latibonit, when we are sick, they help us train medical doctors, 
when we launch a literacy campaign they stand by our side and provide true 

Indeed, even in her dumb-looking silence, the Restavek knows her true family 
and her true friends. Even when others are always speaking on her behalf, 
describing what she thinks, what she wants and even who she is.


«Who set the criteria for becoming a friend of Haiti ?  Raphaël Trujillo or 
Lynn Garisson? is this anywhere indicated in the infamous 60,000 CIA-FRAPH 
document? »

«Depi nan Ginen bon nèg ap ede nèg!»

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