Saturday, January 30, 2010

“The Hate and the Quake – Rebuilding Haiti

Interesting text on Haiti's backgrond so when someone says "well their government is corrupt & that is why they are so poor etc". Information is powerful; so is denial.

“The Hate and the Quake – Rebuilding Haiti,”
by Sir Hilary Beckles
Posted: 30 Jan 2010 12:40 AM PST

From The Colorful Times:

THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES is in the process of conceiving how best to deliver a major conference on the theme Rethinking and Rebuilding Haiti.
I am very keen to provide an input into this exercise because for too long there has been a popular perception that somehow the Haitian nation-building project, launched on January 1, 1804, has failed on account of mismanagement, ineptitude, corruption.

Buried beneath the rubble of imperial propaganda, out of both Western Europe and the United States, is the evidence which shows that Haiti’s independence was defeated by an aggressive North-Atlantic alliance that could not imagine their world inhabited by a free regime of Africans as representatives of the newly emerging democracy.
The evidence is striking, especially in the context of France.
The Haitians fought for their freedom and won, as did the Americans fifty years earlier. The Americans declared their independence and crafted an extraordinary constitution that set out a clear message about the value of humanity and the right to freedom, justice, and liberty.
In the midst of this brilliant discourse, they chose to retain slavery as the basis of the new nation state. Thefounding fathers therefore could not see beyond race, as the free state was built on a slavery foundation.
The water was poisoned in the well; the Americans went back to the battlefield a century later to resolve the fact that slavery and freedom could not comfortably co-exist in the same place.
The French, also, declared freedom, fraternity and equality as the new philosophies of their national transformation and gave the modern world a tremendous progressive boost by so doing.
They abolished slavery, but Napoleon Bonaparte could not imagine the republic without slavery and targeted the Haitians for a new, more intense regime of slavery. The British agreed, as did the Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.
All were linked in communion over the 500 000 Blacks in Haiti, the most populous and prosperous Caribbean colony.
As the jewel of the Caribbean, they all wanted to get their hands on it. With a massive slave base, the English, French and Dutch salivated over owning it – and the people.
The people won a ten-year war, the bloodiest in modern history, and declared their independence. Every other country in the Americas was based on slavery.
Haiti was freedom, and proceeded to place in its 1805 Independence Constitution that any person of African descent who arrived on its shores would be declared free, and a citizen of the republic.
For the first time since slavery had commenced, Blacks were the subjects of mass freedom and citizenship in a nation.
The French refused to recognize Haiti’s independence and declared it an illegal pariah state. The Americans, whom the Haitians looked to in solidarity as their mentor in independence, refused to recognize them, and offered solidarity instead to the French. The British, who were negotiating with the French to obtain the ownership title to Haiti, also moved in solidarity, as did every other nation-state the Western world.
Haiti was isolated at birth – ostracized and denied access to world trade, finance, and institutional development. It was the most vicious example of national strangulation recorded in modern history.
The Cubans, at least, have had Russia, China, and Vietnam. The Haitians were alone from inception. The crumbling began.
Then came 1825; the moment of full truth. The republic is celebrating its 21st anniversary. There is national euphoria in the streets of Port-au-Prince.
The economy is bankrupt; the political leadership isolated. The cabinet took the decision that the state of affairs could not continue.
The country had to find a way to be inserted back into the world economy. The French government was invited to a summit.
Officials arrived and told the Haitian government that they were willing to recognize the country as a sovereign nation but it would have to pay compensation and reparation in exchange. The Haitians, with backs to the wall, agreed to pay the French.
The French government sent a team of accountants and actuaries into Haiti in order to place a value on all lands, all physical assets, the 500,000 citizens whovwere formerly enslaved, animals, and all other commercial properties and services.
The sums amounted to 150 million gold francs. Haiti was told to pay this reparation to France in return for national recognition.
The Haitian government agreed; payments began immediately. Members of the Cabinet were also valued because they had been enslaved people before independence.
Thus began the systematic destruction of the Republic of Haiti. The French government bled the nation and rendered it a failed state. It was a merciless exploitation that was designed and guaranteed to collapse the Haitian economy and society.
Haiti was forced to pay this sum until 1922 when the last installment was made. During the long 19th century, the payment to France amounted to up to 70 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Jamaica today pays up to 70 per cent in order to service its international and domestic debt. Haiti was crushed by this debt payment. It descended into financial and social chaos.

The republic did not stand a chance. France was enriched and it took pleasure from the fact that having been defeated by Haitians on the battlefield, it had won on the field of finance. In the years when the coffee crops failed, or the sugar yield was down, the Haitian government borrowed on the French money market at double the going interest rate in order to repay the French government.
When the Americans invaded the country in the early 20th century, one of the reasons offered was to assist the French in collecting its reparations.
The collapse of the Haitian nation resides at the feet of France and America, especially. These two nations betrayed, failed, and destroyed the dream that was Haiti; crushed to dust in an effort to destroy the flower of freedom and the seed of justice.
Haiti did not fail. It was destroyed by two of the most powerful nations on earth, both of which continue to have a primary interest in its current condition.
The sudden quake has come in the aftermath of summers of hate. In many ways the quake has been less destructive than the hate.
Human life was snuffed out by the quake, while the hate has been a long and inhumane suffocation – a crime against humanity.
During the 2001 UN Conference on Race in Durban, South Africa, strong representation was made to the French government to repay the 150 million francs.
The value of this amount was estimated by financial actuaries as US$21 billion. This sum of capital could rebuild Haiti and place it in a position to re-engage the modern world. It was illegally extracted from the Haitian people and should be repaid.
It is stolen wealth. In so doing, France could discharge its moral obligation to the Haitian people.
For a nation that prides itself in the celebration of modern diplomacy, France, in order to exist with the moral authority of this diplomacy in this post-modern world, should do the just and legal thing.
Such an act at the outset of this century would open the door for a sophisticated interface of past and present, and set the Haitian nation free at last.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Do not go Blindly into the Night

Good words:

The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same~- Stendhal, 19th century French writer

Leading a successful flock
Be mindful of who you are following. By no means develop a skeptical temperament towards authority, but consider the quality of the leadership before you. Are you allowing informed consent to be the rule of your actions rather than blindly following? If not, educate yourself, follow your instincts, and speak up! As a parent or friend, you have a great responsibility to lead your family and friends in the right direction. Take the initiative to review the path you're taking your loved ones down and revise it to make the healthiest and most mutually beneficial choices for everyone.

Soul of New Orleans

Please see...

Friday, January 15, 2010

All I Could Say~Adding my Voice,Haiti

I saw for the 1st time today some of the heart rending images coming out of the capital...

I had not been able before today see them as know how tender my heart is & could not look, not then, not now, especially having gone through my absolutely pale by comparison trials myself. I thoght it would be too much...

It is too much...
And I am only an observer...

For me, it would trivilize more then I would want to compare the two situations or say as many may have already said, that it humbled me or made me see my situation differently.

I saw the face of this man, who knew hs wife was dead in the rubble and would not leave her side, keeping vigil with tears running down his face and the 1st words of this poem shouted out in my head.

It is a small thing but it is all I could say...

All I Could Say~Through His Tears
All I Can Say à travers ses larmes

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©10

Through his tears
Know you are no t alone…
Some will tsk, tsk, tsk
Many will groan
Some will weaken while another grow strong
In the midst of the unbelievable…
Mind shattering
Earth rattling
Soul-filled wails…
In a crescendo scale rippling around the world
Know you are not alone…
Even in His tears…
And ours…
You will not be forsaken…
This time the world is not only listening
They are hearing
We shall…
We must
Yes we can...
We have to…
For the next time…
It may be us.
For Haiti and all of us worldwide
.. God help us all….

Friday, January 8, 2010

Moral lesson...

True or not, the prnciple is absolutely appropiate considering we rush to judgement in such a rushed, visual society...

A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office.

The secretary quickly assumed that such backwoods country hicks had no business at Harvard & certainly not in the President's office. "We'd like to see the president," the man said softly. "He will be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We will wait," the lady replied softly.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president against her better judgment.

"Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with these people, and he detested the idea of folks in gingham dresses and homespun suits loitering in his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple and introduced himself. The lady told him: "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was so happy here. But before he could return for his second year, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus." The president wasn't touched. He was shocked.

"Madam," he said gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died.. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery." "Oh no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced again at the gingham dress and the homspun suit. "Do you know how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings alone here at Harvard." For a moment the lady was silent.

The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own? " Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment as they proudly strolled from his office.

Mr. & Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling next to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.