Haïti vs the wifi of ignorance

9 septembre 2012 | معتمد Canada, Imperialism, Politics
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    text by Ricardo “Emrical” Lamour, community activist & hip-hop artist.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon french article « L’État Juif et la Perle des Antilles » which makes tenuous linkages between the two countries. Amongst other arguments, the author explains that both countries have nice beaches, and that the State of Israel was the first to provide aid to Haitians. I asked myself: “What?”

The ignorance of some takes up too much space in the realm of knowledge production. And those who speak knowledge, speak power.

Does that mean that we should also give Israel a gold medal for being the first to ignore the ongoing suffering in Gaza?

Did they stay as long as the Cubans, who in their pragmatism met Haitian people living in the mountains and in the hills?

Did they welcome Haitian students into their universities like Senegal? Did they entirely cancel the Hatian debt as Venezuela did ? So why then is this connection being made? Are we talking about the same Jewish State who is presently expelling thousands of African immigrants?

The same Israel that has crafted a new politic of ‘humanitarian aid’ and ‘international cooperation’, that specifically targets African countries and the Caribbean?
(deep breath…..)

Haiti is currently under an American occupation. And the United States are steadfast allies of Israel.

If there are any linkages to be made between Haiti and the Jewish state, it would be at the level of the Bourgeoisie class. These elite are known for their close inter-marriages, and maintenance of wealth in restricted circles. For instance, Gilbert Bigio, the Haitian billionaire of Syrian origin (Honorary Consul General of the State of Israel in Haiti) and member of the small Jewish community in Haiti, does not believe that people in Haiti have a problem with his wealth. Has he asked this question to those Haitians who are forced to eat dirt cookies?

To the admirers of Haiti who live a life of love and wireless internet, I suggest that you remove yourself from the culture of denial, and open yourselves to the daily reality faced by the majority of Haitian people. The conscious silence of many Haitians living in the diaspora, the NGOs, Haitian churches, and leaders of civil society, on the state of conditions in Haiti, is an excellent tool in the hands of those who profit from this country. This silence is a hinderance to the development of the majority of the Haitian people, the real people, the invisible people, and not the minority who selfishly employ ancestral, economic or other privileges.

Lets talk about:

– The construction of five star hotels in the heart of slums, with money that should have gone directly to victims of the earthquake;

– The Haitian bourgeoisie, who operate a ring of influence that is felt in:

1. Foreign government agencies,

2. Some Non Governmental Organizations (NGO)

3. Embassies

4. Foreign financial institutions

5. Their companies who subcontract for multinationals and pay their workers low wages. This process facilitates foreign domination, dependence, indebtedness, and perpetual underdevelopment under the guise of altruism, the free market and development;

– The death of Haiti’s economic sovereignty, at the same time that recent reports highlight that there are more than $20 billion dollars worth of gold in the Haitian soil. The supervision of mining activities will be conducted by Canadians and Americans;

– The negative environmental, economic and cultural effects of the construction of the Industrial Park of Caracol (Caracol was the first commercial port in the ‘New World’), which will result in companies setting up in search of cheap labor that will in turn negatively effect Haitian agriculture;

– The links between Haiti and Black Africa;

– The consequences of the obsession to create work (free trade zones, the eviction of Haitian farmers, the welcoming of foreign companies who promote modern slavery);

– The enslavement of Haitian workers who are paid $3, which due to inflation is not much more than 35-40 years ago;

– The destruction of the Haitian peasantry by systemic violence caused by American and neo-liberal policies that directly target the peasants. This process has resulted in the fact that practically all food in Haiti is imported from outside the country. A special thanks to Bill Clinton and his gang ;

– The silence of the UN on who was responsible for the presence of the deadly cholera bacteria on the island that killed more than 7000 Haitians ;

– The deception behind the presence of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (UNSTAMIH);

– The lack of leadership of the Haitian government;

– The short-circuiting of Haitian organizations in the distribution of financial humanitarian aid;

– And I could go on….

In response to Martine St-Victor who wrote: “And certainly for Haiti, like Israel, the best ambassadors of their brand is tourists”, I have to say that there are no better ambassadors for a country than its citizens. Thus, until the Haitian peasant can speak positively of their government, the point of view of tourists will remain nothing more than a massive distraction that serves the Haitian elite and foreign interests.
And yes, the misinformation on Haiti is so strong that whenever we talk about the country, we place a greater emphasis on the opinions of others rather than the people of Haiti. We analyze the country with outside criteria. Haiti is being pillaged of its ‘added value’, and being talked about it in ‘hopeful’ terms, with the hope that we can gain access to the winning side of the Haitian elite.

While everyone has the right to freedom of speech, the spread of certain innocent-sounding-ideologies, contributes to the imaginary degeneration of people who are thirsty for the real reasons as to why the Haitian people were once respected by the very States that oppress them today. In fact, the United States sought the help of Haitian fighters in the Battle of Savannah.

If there is a tourism that should be encouraged, it is a tourism that reduces the gap between economic classes and serves the liberation of the masses, not mass tourism. It is a cultural tourism that encourages an openness to the challenges of people seeking to free themselves from all forms of domination, and not a tourism that his simply focused on blind gratification of all pleasures.

Being Haitian means wanting freedom for all. This is what has allowed numerous Syrian, Lebanese, German, and Sephardic exiles, fleeing from religious persecution, economic deprivation, and political oppression to find refuge in what settlers of past and present have viewed as the pearl of the Caribbean, but what also remains in the memories of small children of Africa and the children of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, as the first independent Black republic.

Given that we live in an era of information and attention deficit, it is inexcusable to let our ignorance, or our personal and professional recklessness serve as a vehicle of propaganda in the hands of a system that constantly oppresses us.

follow Ricardo Lamour on @emrical

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