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a121: staged coups, reprise? (fwd)

From: casey wolf <haitiw@yahoo.com>

i have just read paul farmer's great book, _the uses
of haiti_, so it is fresh in my mind as i read the
notes coming in on-line that much of what is being
said now about aristide and his supporters is exactly
what was said before the last coup--that anything that
happened to them they had staged to get sympathy, that
aristide himself was not to be trusted, and so on.

i obviously don't know what IS going on, but i do know
that the man risked his life for many years for a
democratic haiti and it seems unlikely that he would
completely forget that.  i don't know a person on
earth who doesn't have attributes that could get on
your nerves so i am not suggesting he may be perfect. 
but it seems to me that even if he had not forgotten
at all, even if he was completely unmoved from his
earlier committment, he could have a hell of a time
keeping the boat steady with so many people and so
many agendas and so many feelings flying wild and
fast.  obviously, people are getting killed and things
need to happen, but i still can't help giving the man
the benefit of the doubt.  and with so many people
behind him, it seems foolish to suggest throwing him
out and starting again.  (with _whom_?)  it seems much
more practical to find ways to support him and his
followers to strengthen and straighten their
committment to democracy for all.  use what good there
is for further good, rather than trying always to
dismantle and start again.  how often do you have
someone so trusted by so many people in a country? 
this relationship could led to great things if it was
nurtured instead of hammered away at.  

i appreciate racine's comments that people are arming
themselves because they are justifiably afraid and see
what they are doing as self defense.  remember that
they did not start off killing, but began killing when
they thought there was a danger.  in other words this
isn't just mindless violence, but something which
could be receptive to a more just response if it was
perceived that there was an alternative way to deal
with it.  some recourse to justice, which only partly
lies in aristide's hands, and in large part lies, if
farmer is right, in the hands of our north american
countries which do so much to undercut the rights of
the poor and destabilize the political process and to
support a rightwing minority.  i know there are people
in haiti who have taught alternatives to violence. 
supporting them might not be such a bad idea, either.

casey wolf

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