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a197: Government Supporters Disturb a Symposium (fwd)

From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>

Government Supporters Disturb a Symposium       
December 18, 2001

A symposium organized by young members of Citizens' Initiative (Initiative Citoyenne) at the Faculty of Law of the State University of Haiti in Cap Haitian, last Saturday December 15, was marred by incidents.

That conference, where Professor Micha Gaillard was a participant, was violently disturbed by individuals claiming to be from the Lavalas regime, who violated the university campus without regard for the Constitution. According to the leader of Citizens' Initiative, Denis Julien, the conference had already started when the Lavalas "chimè " (thugs) intervened, led by the Mayor of Milot, Moise Jean Charles. Mr. Julien said that the troublemakers clearly indicated to the participants that they were not permitted to hold a symposium of that nature within the university. The leader of Citizens' Initiative stressed that he had wanted a member of parliament from Cap Haitian, James Desrosins, to participate in that conference but that the invitation had been declined. Denis Julien says that he is outraged by the intervention of Lavalas members during that conference, whose focus was not the political crisis. The spokesman from Citizens' Initiative announced that the group would sue the assailants. 
The leader of Citizens' Initiative praised the police for having helped the participants escape the aggression by Lavalas members during that symposium. Citizens' Initiative is an organization recently created in the north of the country. It includes, among others, young persons who had demanded the departure of the Lavalas regime last October, and advocate the emergence of a new political leadership in the country. 

Professor Micha Gaillard, who was scheduled to speak during the conference, said that he was outraged by the behavior of the Lavalas members. Mr. Gaillard considers the violation of that Haitian university campus as a serious matter. According to the professor, Lavalas has entered a new phase, with that incident in Cap Haitian, in the process of establishing its dictatorship in Haiti. 

>>> Bob Corbett <corbetre@webster.edu> 12/27/01 10:22AM >>>

From: kevin pina <kpinbox@hotmail.com>

Chamberlain writes:

>I'm sure you're right that it wasn't mentioned every time in Reuter and AP.
>Maybe you think a guy (Duvergé) getting beaten up,
>seriously hurt etc. has the same "news value" as a guy
>(Lindor) actually having his head chopped off (which is
>what I understand happened, apart from "just" getting killed).

For me that is another false dicotomy. Durverge could have just as easily 
died from the first attack. There is a vast difference between claiming 
justification for an event and exploring the provocations behind it. The way 
Mr. Lindor was killed is horrible but the truth of the matter is that 
Convergence supporters provoked the attack by attempting to kill Mr. Duverge 
first.  Instead the event was portrayed as an unprovoked rampage by Lavalas 

>After all, Lindor was "suspected" of not being "on-side."
>Just as you might, as a white man with an American
>passport and money enough for an air ticket out,
>be suspected of being "CIA" at some difficult street
>moment in PauP and be disposed of without more ado
>as you yelled in vain:  "But I love the president!" but were
>not heard, understood or believed.  Good luck!

I am not sure what to make of your recent remarks regarding "white men" that 
seem to pepper much of your commments these days. For myself the issue of 
security is well founded but I can do without others projecting their 
personal fears or frustrations onto me.

I have a far greater fear of  military putchists and their supporters than I 
do of the lumpen poor majority. I cannot justify the actions of the poor 
majority but I do my best to keep it in historical perspective. I understand 
their anger and determination after feeling cheated by the OAS, the US, and 
the "international community". They are forced to suffer the far greater 
violence of daily poverty and feel as though they are being punished for 
their democratic choices in the last elections. Concession after concession 
has been made by their elected representatives as the powers that be seem 
hell bent on nothing less than putting in place an unpopular government made 
up of the Convergence. As for their reaction to the recent coup attempt, can 
you guarantee anyone that the Convergence would not be used to immediately 
legitimize and garner recognition for a successful military takeover? The 
opinion among the lumpen poor majority is that this is exactly what is 
planned for the future which might help you to better understand their 

I think there are basically two types of observers with regard to the 
situation in Haiti, the first holds a deep fear and resentment of the poor 
and that's as far as it goes. They will never understand, nor seek to 
understand, the real causes of violence because it would take them out of 
the comfort of their intellectual constructs. The second type realizes the 
same fear but seeks to understand the historical roots of the anger and 
determination that is spilling into the streets.

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