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a556: Re: a290: On Ayitian Journalists' lack of courage (fwd)

From: Racine125@aol.com

Jean Poincy" <caineve@yahoo.fr> wrote:

<<I can never understand how Ayitian people from all
fronts wish to conduct politics on a smooth terrain
free from political danger. I believe that making
political comments involves one deeply in the making
of politics, especially if these comments are overt
against one dominant or powerfull group.

This is no political luxury and the journalists ought
to understand that if they believe in a cause. Their
decision to leave the country is a sign of weakness
and a lack of purpose.>>

Wait a minute, I think we are confounding two different
things here.

During the military regime of 1991 - 1994, violence
against journalists was epidemic.  It wasn't necessary
to be a "pro-democracy" or "Lavalas" journalist to
be persecuted, all one had to be was an *objective*

When journalists are being killed, beaten, raped and
tortured, it is perfectly normal and acceptable for
other surviving journalists who have good reason to
believe themselves at risk to ask for sanctuary in
another country.

What is NOT okay is for partisan journalists to pretend
to be in danger when they are not.  For instance, just
two days ago a well-connected friend of mine was
bewailing the fact that a few "journalists" from the
Jacmel area are apparently trying to claim "persecution"
when in fact Jacmel is a very liberal and safe town!
My friend is so angry about this slight to Jacmel's
reputation that he threatents to publicly denounce
the "persecuted journalists", so I think I will leave it
up to him to name names.

A lot of these right-wingers know what to claim, because
they have done abuses to other people, so they just
say, "This is what is happening to me".  I once had
a client, a political asylum client, who was claiming to
have been a victim - until my questioning revealed that
his father was the mayor of the town in which he lived,
pro-military of course during the coup years, and he
was responsible for distributing the public works money,
which of course he kept for himself except for a
few sops to his buddies to get the gutters cleaned once
in a while.  Finally he got mixed up in even shadier
dealings and managed to come to the USA on a visit,
and then claimed to be "politically persecuted".

His lawyers bought his story, he knew what to say... but
I know what questions to ask, and his little tale of
course fell apart rapidly.  He even had a newspaper
article about a relative of his who was supposedly
killed, a small functionary in the local school or hospital,
I forget which - the article was torn from a Haitian newspaper,
and part of it was missing.  I had the whole article faxed to
me, and lo and behold it revealed that the supposed
victim died peacefully at home of cancer.

<<If they believed in a cause, they would use a
different approach to continue their work that the
country badly needs according to them. Why not "maroon
journalism", as I would call it, to continue what they
thought good for the country?>>

Because, in the case of genuine threat, the person
could get KILLED!  Most journalists who were not
pro-military mouthpieces were indeed "marron",
and they did what they could if they survived.

<<Why not using other means to protect and defend
themselves against the threats?>>

In the case of genuine threat, do you want the journalists
to carry weapons?

<<Fortunately, Ayiti
knew some of those who did not gave up so easily when
real threats were coming from real enemies that would
not miss their target. In fact many have died, but the
bulk remained. The fleeing journalists are not like
those journalists under the Duvalier regime when there
were real threats. They don't have the guts; the
threats from popular groups are no reason.>>


And that is the difference - it's not that they are cowards
in the face of genuine danger, it's that they are poseurs
who in most cases have nothing whatsoever to fear but
public castigation for their poor writing and inaccurate

Peace and love,

Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen

"Se bon ki ra" - Good is rare
     Haitian proverb

The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html

(Posting from Jacmel, Haiti)