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a563: Losing Faith in Aristide - Le Monde Jan 30-02 (fwd)

From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>

* MONDE HIM | 30.01.02 | 11H41

To Haiti as in Paris, Jean - Bertrand Aristide embodied the hope of a
better life. But the " priest of the shanty towns ", become president,
is transformed himself, and his former friends repent.

It is a cafe of Paris, two steps from the garden of Luxemburg. A
cafe where meet, every Saturday, some of the 30 000 Haitians of
metropolitan France. Their meeting holds the ritual, or even of the
weekly Mass, so much those parishioners are faithful to the appointment.
Been like winter, to the teatime, some come since thirty years. There is
there a professor of math (Paul Baron), a physician (Daniel
Talleyrand), a former diplomat (Pierre Edugène), and some others, of
various political sensitivities. Of Saturday in Saturday, the audience
varies, but not the mind: of hours during, in the laughters and the
apostrophes of discussions without end, one redoes the world and Haiti.
Especially Haiti.

About ten years ago, the only fact to pronounce here the name of Jean -
Bertrand Aristide, the " priest of the shanty towns " become president,
would have caused favorable commentaries. In Paris as to Harbor - Au -
Prince, the very popular " Titide " embodied the hope of one better life
in this country as miserable as complex. " He/it symbolized the struggle
of the poor ", remembers Mr. Baron. " The convention center had made the
full for his/her/its arrival in Paris ", recall Mr. Talleyrand. The
Father Aristide, anti-imperialist declared, presented messiah's profile
then for a people submitted during thirty years (1956-1986) to
dictatorship of the Duvaliers father and son, then to the one of the
soldiers (1986-1990). His/her/its priest's quality constituted a pledge
of morality. And his/her/its destiny was of those that force the

December 16, 1990, after years of struggle, he/it is elected to the
presidency. His/her/its promises of social justice seduce the people. A
lot less the army: since September 1991, a military state stroke obliges
it to flee. To the United States, where he/it goes into exile, the
elected blacks of the Convention and various personalities (pastor Jesse
Jackson, the senator Ted Kennedy...) take themselves of passion for
his/her/its reason. The Clinton administration, arrived to the thin
power 1992, will be just as enthusiast.

At the same time, Haitian intellectuals established in France sign some
calls in his/her/its favor. Among them, film-maker Raoul Peck, writers
Jean Métellus and René Depestre... The phenomenon ignores the political
cleavages. " As a lot of other, I believed there, I told myself that
he/it would succeed in balancing the excessive business " surrounding
weight, testify Franz Merceron, ex-minister of the economy (1982-1985).
It is necessary to say that " Titide " has the charisma, of speaker's
grants, the vivid verb and rebel of the conviction men. In France, Le
Monde and more again diplomatic Le Monde - subsidiary of the Le Monde
group, autonomous éditorialement - underline his/her/its leader's aura
third mondiste. Although the PC and the PS keep their distances, all a
fringe of the left falls under the charm. Bernard Kouchner, the former
bishop Jacques Gaillot and especially Danielle Mitterrand displays their
support. Leave to place the PS in door - to - forgery, the wife of the
French president will remain the friend of " Titide " a long time.

The period of exile is going to last three years. September 19, 1994, an
American military intervention opens the way of a triumphal return to
Harbor - Au - Prince. Carried by his/her/its movement, the Family
Lavalas (avalanche, in Creole), Mr. Aristide recovers his/her/its
president's station. Haiti discovers a new " Titide ", transformed by
his/her/its passage in the United States. After having given up the
priesthood in 1994, he/it will marry, two years later, a Haitian
American lawyer. This return, assorted of the international financial
help, appears like an unique opportunity to save the country. Las!
Haiti, on the contrary, continue to sink in misery and the violence.

In February 1996, the strict application of the Haitian Constitution
stops Mr. Aristide from soliciting a new mandate. He/it yields the place
therefore momentarily to René Préval, his/her/its nearest collaborator,
who will preside the country during five years. Finished five years of
political and economic crisis, end 2000, by the return to the business
of Jean - Bertrand Aristide. Since this election, contested by the
opposition, the country is always to the agony: the economy is in ruin;
the traffic of cocaine remains flourishing; of the strips of youngsters
(the " chimeras "), near of the Family Lavalas, make the law in the
districts; some journalists are murdered; certain police have resort to
the torture and the summary executions to eliminate the protesters; the
French institute has been wrecked; the international help is frozen
because of the political chaos...

What is the part of responsibility of the president in this
deterioration? He/it is not victim, as so many others, of the " Haitian
malediction "? The first hypothesis carries away the majority of the
suffrages. With the passing of the years, the emptiness made itself
around the " prophet ". That they were aristidiens or simple
sympathizers, his/her/its partisans of yesterday look in their memoirs
for the signal that, there is one year, two years, ten years, made them
doubt. One remembers one receipt in Paris, during which " Titide " would
have sudden raised the eyes and thrown: " God speaks to me! " Another
evokes the confidences of such or such counselor, in the beginning of
the years 1990: " He/it doesn't accept the contradiction ", " One cannot
work with him "...

The friends of the first hour moved away. All, or nearly, make their
apology, to the picture of the French priest Jean - Yves Urfié, founding
of the daily in Creole Jounal Libèté: " I had very strong ties with him.
Today, I confess in public because it is necessary to recognize the pain
to eradicate it. More that the man, it is the emptiness of his/her/its
thought that disappoints me. The last time that I wanted the
interviewer, in 1997, it was an intellectual disaster. He/it didn't have
any ideas concerning Haiti. His/her/its obsession seemed to be to remain
to the power ". A French religious other, Gilles Danroc, author of
several works on this country, share this analysis in part: " The
disappointment tackles to the ell of the hope. AT one time, Aristide
embodied the angel of the good facing the face diabolisée of
dictatorship. In 1994-1995, he/it didn't take the measures that
his/her/its great return would have allowed him to take. Beyond
his/her/its person, it is Haiti that he/it imports to understand.
However this country is not more legible...

A lot of Haitians accuse Mr. Aristide of being a " megalomaniac ",
prisoner of a mystico - populist " speech ". One is indignant of
his/her/its enrichment, of his/her/its costumes, of his/her/its cars...
Some see in him an exceptional calculator that would have deceived
his/her/its world. Others question the exile (1990-1994) and the ominous
influence of the Americans, that would have given him the taste of money
and the power. " He/it was obvious that he/it didn't have a president's
" material, note the ex Communist leader Max Bourjolly, one of the rare
to have protested always his/her/its skepticism. " One confounded the
reason and the character. However there was not much behind the
character ", confirm an intellectual.

The hardening of the regime, related these last years by the
correspondent of the World in the region, Jean - Michel Caroit, became
more pronounced since the summer 2001. Haiti renewed with the
dictatorial practices, and the " chimeras " don't have anything to envy
to the " uncles macoutes ", the militiamen duvaliéristes of once. " It
is a dictatorship in gestation, the president topples in the
unacceptable ", assure the ex-minister Franz Merceron. The intellectuals
also took their distances, to the picture of the franco - Haitian writer
René Depestre,: Is there a dictator who pierces under Aristide? I
sustained the experience from afar, but I am now pleased not to have
been farther ".

How to disown the one for of which one waited so much? Among the French
specialists of Haiti - academic, religious, journalists -, the question
causes to best the disappointment, to the udder the embarrassment. The
hope of the first time, comprehensible in the context of the time, is a
painful memory. " He/it deceived the people, accuse the former bishop
Jacques Gaillot. Violence, corruption... the old demons have resurgi ".

Many Haitians wonder nevertheless once about the "aveuglement " of the
French personalities favorable in " Titide ". " For those people, again
impregnated of the mind of 1968, he/it had a side Che Guevara in
cassock, they dressed it of dream "!, analyze the former diplomat Yvon
Siméon, representing in France the democratic Convergence, the coalition
regrouping the opposition. The reproaches especially aim diplomatic Le
Monde, monthly of reference of which the director, Ignacio Ramonet,
refutes these accusations,: " In the past, in a context that justified
it, we brought a support explicit to Aristide. But, since two or three
years, we gave out very clean critiques on the corruption or the drug.
Now, it is exact that we didn't write the definitive paper of demolition
" again.

THE implication of the monthly concentrates in fact on Christophe
Wargny, author of articles on Haiti between April 1994 and June 2001.
Mr. Wargny, master of conferences to the national Conservatory of the
arts and professions (CNAM), was a long time very close to " Titide ".
In 1992, he/it had helped it to write his/her/its book All man is a man.
Thereafter, he/it had become one of his/her/its counselors in
communication (1993-1996), while continuing to collaborate at the
diplomatic World. Mr. Wargny, that doesn't make mystery of this
proximity, wants to be henceforth more distant: " My last article,
dedicated to the traffic of drug and published in June 2001, marked a
turn. And he/it is on this side of what I think today. For me, it is a
human disappointment. I don't have any contact anymore with Aristide
since February 2001. I was not mistaken while sustaining it at the time
of his/her/its first mandate, but the character who came back to the
power in 2000 is different from the one that one had known. A mistake,
it is a mistake. Two mistakes, these are two mistakes. But three, it is
a drift. Even though his/her/its opposition is archi - hopeless, it
doesn't absolve the reaches to the human rights ".

Unlike M. Wargny, the PS feels reinforced in his/her/its initial
analysis. " We never sustained Aristide but the socialist Serge Gilles
", recall Paul Cozygon, specialist of this country in the PS. The party
was different thus of Mrs. Mitterrand, convinced aristidienne. "
Danielle Mitterrand functions to the stroke of c*ur. To personal title,
she/it chose Aristide and didn't want to take into account our warnings
", explain Mr. Cozygon. Still according to him, most French partisans of
M. Aristide would have lingered thus to perceive, then to recognize
their misjudgement. To hear it, the " first signaux"datent indeed of
1989, before the first election. " It was already a character eminently
trouble, without no democratic political culture. But the cathos of left
believed there a long time. The myth persisted and persisted again. Is
the apology more difficult for the French that for the Haitians... How
much were they going to see over there among them how that happened in
the reality "?

Mrs. Mitterrand, chairwoman of the foundation France Liberties,
surrendered three times in Haiti (1989, 1991, 1995). Interrogated by Le
Monde, she doesn't hide to have maintained friendly " ties with M.
Aristide. " As soon as he/it came to Paris, he/it paid a visit to me.
During his/her/its period of exile, I had also seen it in Washington,
where I had noticed besides that he/it began to change, as if one made
him sparkle something else. It is exact that I didn't agree with the PS,
but I am a free citizen! Today, news from this country are more and more
bad. I don't want to harass Mr. Aristide. I say merely that he/it is not
anymore the man that I knew once, when he/it was by the people ".

In 2004, this " people " will celebrate the bicentennial of the
independence and the advent of the first black republic of the world.
The approach of this celebration sounds like a sad recall on time where
the country touches the bottom. While waiting, a lot of Haitians
recommend to the disappointed of " Titide " to meditate this local
proverb: " When you eat with the devil, it is necessary to hold the long
" spoon.

Philippe Broussard

>>> Bob Corbett <corbetre@webster.edu> 01/31/02 10:38AM >>>

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

Church helping to build orphanage for girls in Haiti

By: MICHAEL QUAY, Special to The Phoenix January 28,

VALLEY FORGE - Valley Forge United Methodist Church,
known to many local residents as "the little white
church just outside Valley Forge Park" is doing some
big things in the field of good works.

The congregation, first formed in 1832, is helping to
build an orphanage for girls on the island of Haiti.
And members of the church, like Richard Johnston,
actually went to the island to build the foundation of
the $300,000 project.

"Some of us will be returning to do more work in
February," Johnston said. "But the greatest part of
this mission is being done by Johna Blockman, a member
of Christian Service International (CSI)."

Blockman, a missionary for the non-denominational
organization, will be living at the orphanage herself,
helping to raise 20 Haitian infants to adulthood in
the hopes of raising ideal citizens for the newly
democratic island nation.

"This is the 'new wave' in mission work," Blockman
said. "The girls will be with us from infancy through
college. We will literally live as a family and the
orphan girls will be sisters."

"We will teach the girls vocational training, academic
classes, transitional living, three languages, as well
as other courses," she added. "And we will teach them
about their own culture. We don't want to turn them
into Americans - we want to help them be leaders and
good citizens of Haiti."

This project, known as H.O.P.E. Orphanage (Haitian
Orphanage that Provides and Educates) is only one of
many projects of CSI, and is still in need of
financial support.

"We're asking churches and congregations to 'buy' a
room at the orphanage," Blockman said. "For $3,000, a
congregation can to maintain a part of the building,
which, besides the 20 little girls, will house myself,
a few teachers, and some staff members."

CSI is an inter-denominational non-profit organization
promoting missions and mission projects worldwide. It
organizes work projects, music and personal evangelism
programs, as well as offering medical and dental teams
to the mission agencies.

"Our projects are funded by gifts from individuals and
churches," Blockman said. "And 100 percent of the
funds go to the project. Our staff members raise their
own support the same way."

H.O.P.E. Orphanage will offer twenty children a new
chance to grow up with hope, health and education. It
could well be said that it offers new purpose for
those who help them as well.

"I wasted so many years just serving and caring about
myself and my own needs," Blockman reflected. "But
when I gave them up and started serving others, God
gave me a new life, a life better than anything I
could have imagined before."

For more information on the H.O.P.E. Orphanage and
CSI, call 765-286-0711 or e-mail them at

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