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a629: Aristide advocates dialogue, pluralism, tolerance (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Haiti's Aristide advocates dialogue, pluralism, tolerance

Haiti's Aristide advocates dialogue, pluralism, tolerance
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Feb 5, 2002

In a speech at the National Palace, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide called for consensus building to overcome the political impasse that is crippling the country. He spoke of Haiti's search for democratic health, calling for a televised national debate in which all citizens and politicians could restart a democratic debate. He said: "Once the nation is in danger, all citizens must join hands to reach a compromise that can guarantee the future of the nation and its citizens." The following is an excerpt from speech by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide preceding news conference at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on 4 Feb broadcast by Haitian Metropole radio on 4 February; passages within double oblique strokes in French:

[Aristide] As we are preparing to celebrate 200 years of the flag, while, as citizens, everyone is doing all they can so that democracy can move forward, automatically, one single flag, one single people will be floating before us and we will have more dignity when we see that we are cooperating, so that the flag can fly better in the wind of democracy. With this spirit of dialogue and understanding, once again, we are happy to come and tell the opposition //in the light of the constitution and for the good of the nation that I have chosen the path of consensus building but not that of confrontation, consensus building for an exchange of views, for thorough-going discussion. Then, it is no longer a question of winners or vanquished. It is rather a question of citizens looking for democratic health.

//In a democracy, there must be political pluralism, there must be tolerance, there must be this capability to transcend when necessary. This is why, once again, guided by this logic of consensus building, I call out to my dear brothers of the opposition so that while respecting our differences we can transcend to see the army of democracy. I am saying again that in this case, it is not a question of winners and vanquished, it is rather a question of citizens looking for democratic health. Once the nation is in danger, all citizens must join hands to reach a compromise that can guarantee the future of the nation and its citizens.

//Our country's economic reality calls out to us. Therefore, we officials in the government, civil society and the opposition can in no way choose the logic of confrontation. The logic of consensus building imposes itself for the future of democracy.//

If on the eve of 7 February, Television Nationale d'Haiti [TNH], which is the television of each and every Haitian, and Radio Nationale, which is the radio of all Haitians, could receive the opposition leaders, the leaders of the various political parties, members and non-members of the government so they can hold democratic debates, that would certainly be better for the future of democracy. Pride must not block a citizen TNH is not the television of a group of people. It is everyone's television. This means that if they do not invite you to the television station, you have the right to talk on the television, you have the right to demand your place at the television in order to allow the state-owned television, the television of all Haitians to receive you so you can express your opinions and discuss with others on it. [words indistinct] so that not just one group has its voice heard and that tomorrow another group has its voice heard. If it is like that, //the choice is respected. But if the two groups, the three groups, or the four groups can be behind the same microphones at the same time for a democratic debate, it is certain that will help the health of democracy.//

Too often in our country, we mix up opponents and enemies. Too often in my country, we are afraid of our different opinions. The strongest person is not the person who talks louder. The strongest person is not the person who puts his or her fingers in his or her ears so he or she does not hear the opinions of others.

When you are convinced of what you think and what you believe, you do not have to be afraid of hearing a different opinion that can allow you to complete your knowledge. The great philosopher Socrates loved to say all I know is that I do not know anything. He was not making demagoguery. It is because he was brilliant, intelligent. He knew that intelligence always wants to go further and that with a different opinion he could find some of what he needed to complete his. //It is good for the health of our democracy when, as citizens, we can transcend the logic of the stronger or the weaker to view from a complementary and intelligent opinion. I think that we can do it on the eve of 7 February. Therefore, I invite all my dear fellow citizens to a dynamic democratic debate in order to thus enrich our democratic experience on the eve of 7 February. I am stopping here to receive your questions. I will do my best to give you the necessary answers.//...

Source: Radio Metropole, Port-au-Prince, in Creole 1410 gmt 4 Feb 02

/BBC Monitoring/  BBC.

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