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9920: Re 9918: Antoine responds to Louissaint on the Guy Paul issue (fwd)

From: GUY S ANTOINE <guyantoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

I thank Mr. Louissaint for his considerate response, which invites further
>  1.- I did give the reference to what I said: The full URL is
>  http://www.metropolehaiti.com/cgi-php/full_une_fr.phtml?id=3678
>  I cannot think of a context that could justify this declaration.

I checked the reference you offered.  THERE'S GOT to be a better one 
either in support or in full condemnation of Minister Paul.  The cited
reference appears to be basically like an editorial statement from
Metropole Haiti.  I wonder about journalistic standards.  First, I want
to apologize to you, Mr. Louissaint, because I really thought that you
extracted the quote from a larger context.  I thought that YOU were
guilty of such.  It turns out that's all that the Metropole Haiti reference
mentions, and it's not even a direct quote.  I don't know about you,
guys, but I would still want to find out exactly what Guy Paul said.
Once I know that, I will make my own mind about it.  As for your
not being able to think of a context... well, you should not have to,
but insist on getting access to what someone actually said or did, to 
prevent the danger of being manipulated by individuals within or without 
the news media. 

>  2.- I sincerely see a real similarity between Guy Paul's declaration and
>  a Taliban's press conference about the foreign aid workers that were
>  jailed in Afghanistan. A Taliban official was showing a Bible and other
>  Christian books as an "obvious" reason to arrest those aid workers.

Fine.  This is a matter of personal preference.  Comparisons to events
and personalities half a world away do not seem that relevant to me,
and furthermore one should be well aware that every war that has ever 
been fought has been fueled at least partially by government propaganda.  
That is the reason I would stay away from Taliban comparisons to 
concentrate on what is truly locally relevant.

>  3.- Why is it that the press is always a victim  in Haiti ? Why is it
>  that Makout or Lavalas always target journalists ?

GREAT QUESTION!  I would love to hear from the many journalists
on the list why they think they are the target of such fatal attention.  All
I can think right now is that journalists are more in the public eye than
most other people, at the same level maybe as celebrities and politicians.
Another response to your question might be that a journalist may be in
a position to shape public opinion, and therefore people will feel 
threatened by that.  I think all of this is rather obvious, but I am sure 
that those who are journalists, and who may have been targets of threats 
and other forms of intimidation, could probably shed more light on the 
issue of "WHY".

Regardless, my position is that a journalist is a human being, and likely
a father/mother/son/daughter/brother/sister/mentor/friend to other people, 
and such acts of barbary ARE INDEFENSIBLE.  I am truly upset by 
Garry Pierre-Pierre's statements to the list trying to convey that I feel 
differently.  Not everyone gets SO POLARIZED by the internal politics 
of Haiti that they see everything in terms of Lavalas versus Convergence.
What a crock!

> 4.- By the way, you did not quote the most important sentence of my
> message: "Aristide is the last chance of our country"

This is perhaps because, in all due respect, I think that your statement
is DANGEROUSLY FALSE.  Aristide IS NOT the last chance for the 
country.  Aristide is BUT ONE MAN.  Some have tried to portray him
as THE GREAT SATAN, others as the second coming of CHRIST.
I do not believe at all in either proposition.  I stand FIRMLY not for the
Lavalas party but for the ORIGINAL PRINCIPLES of the LAVALAS
PARTICIPATION.  I am truly saddened not to see those principles
implemented or even pursued to any extent that satisfies me.  More on that
in a different note, because I want to stay close to the matter we are
presently discussing.  But I do believe in the future of Haiti, I do not
believe that Haiti is hopeless, I am hopeful for Haiti, and this transcends
the presidency, the political parties, regardless of stripes.  Do not believe
one second that Aristide is the last chance for Haiti.  Better believe that
YOU are, that WE all are, and then act accordingly. Go to Haiti, bypasss
the politicians, the professionals, and converse directly with the people,
many of them, peasants, who are involved in community development
efforts, and I guarantee you that you will never again feel that the hope
of Haiti resides in any ONE of its politicians.        

> The convergence is just another group united for the "moment" and they
> only want the POWER.  They do not represent the majority and have 
> no legitimity.

This is a matter to be discuused later.  It really bears no relevance to the
matter of the assassination, as far as I am concerned.
> I still however do not think that its members should be killed or targeted. 
> They should have the right to express their views peacefully as guaranteed 
> by our constitution. They should be brought to justice if they use illegal
> means to reach their goals.

You will not get an argument from me on that score.
> We all love our country. One should keep our eyes open and "call a cat A
> CAT" even when one belongs to the party.

Ditto.  And when refuses to be a partisan of any political party, it gets even

> I thank GOD that I can freely speak my mind without fear. I am not sure 
> that I would have been that "brave" if I lived in Haiti.: 
> I still hope that Aristide will make a declaration condemning any form of
> public violence by civil group.

I share your hope, but you know what?  I would hope that we would all be
sufficiently grown up not to expect all of our moral clues from a politician.
IT CERTAINLY HELPS matters when a head of state speaks against 
violence of any kind, but heads of state serving as the moral compass for 
a nation are often unreliable.  Let's concentrate more on what is sorely 
needed here: the civic education of the Haitian people.

Mr. Louissaint, please let's not make enemies over this matter.  We seem
to require different standards before rushing to judgements, that's all.  I
do appreciate your posts, though.  So I am open to a continued dialogue
with you so we can better understand our positions, which are not so
dissimilar after all.

Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti