The Zen Haitian
This blog is an attempt to document the struggles--past and present of Haitians living in Ayiti and in the Haitian diaspora. Haitians have a proud history that is often misunderstood and discounted. It is my hope to tell that story while shedding light on what is happening now.
Other topics often covered by this blog include politics, news, economics, culture and current events in America and the world.
It is important to have a counterpoint against the propaganda that often prevails in the mainstream media about Ayiti. Very often, what passes for "news" are outright lies and disinformation. In particular, the political coups undertaken by various groups in Ayiti, which are always represented in the mainstream media as "rebellions" and "unrest" are often supported with money, training and political maneuvering- by the West. The US, Canada and France have the power and support of the UN security council at their disposal. Voices that have raised concern about the West's illegal actions in Ayiti in the global south, have been ignored. No accountability. No investigation. No problem.
Why must Haitians continue to struggle for their freedom? Perhaps it is because Ayiti is viewed as an obstacle to hegemony and empire? Ayiti is an enduring symbol of freedom. Haitians were the first to rebel against the shackles of slavery. For their temerity, Haitians have made some very powerful enemies. Ayiti and its people have contributed enormously to world history and continues to be of great relevance to some very powerful interests. Ayiti is a unique and inspiring example of what the unconquerable spirit of a courageous people is capable of accomplishing against great odds. Ayiti's historic deed was to defeat the slave-holding countries of the world in the world's first ever successful slave rebellion.
Haitians have a saying; "Ayiti Cheri." It is a term of deep affection that many can only say from afar because many are now part of a diaspora that is spread worldwide. Those who say it are often exiled from their beloved island. Haitians who live abroad are in constant survival mode also--as evidenced by those who are reviled, murdered, virtually enslaved and discriminated against in the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos islands, Bahamas and other often hostile environments abroad.
The lives of Haitians on the island and elsewhere are a desperate struggle for dignity, sovereignty/democracy, education, a decent standard of living and a good future. The sad truth is that many Haitians are living a nightmare.
The powerful interests mentioned above have a plan for Ayiti. I have three simple questions for them: Why is a real democracy in Ayiti a threat? What is your plan for Ayiti? Will more Haitians have to die to fulfill it?
BACKGROUND ON THE KIDNAPPING COUP:
The Kidnapping of President Jean Bertrand Aristide
Violates International Law and US Law
By Marjorie Cohn | 31 MARCH 2004
[... ] CARICOM, U.S. representatives, and human rights organizations call for probe
Fourteen Caribbean nations that comprise the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) were reportedly “extremely disappointed” at the involvement of “Western partners” in the departure of President Aristide from Haiti, and called for a probe into the President’s charge that the United States forced him out of office.
Several members of Congress, including Maxine Waters, called for an investigation into the United States’ role in the ouster of President Aristide.
An international team of lawyers filed a petition in a Paris court alleging that officials from the French and United States governments kidnapped President Aristide and led a coup in Haiti.
The American Association of Jurists (AAJ), while recognizing that during the government of President Aristide, violations of the political and human rights of the Haitian people were committed, declared that jurists have a duty to condemn the U.S. participation in the planning and execution of a modern day coup d’etat which is part of the U.S. policy of imperial conquest of the American continent. The AAJ condemns the Haitian intervention directed by the U.S., with France’s collaboration; calls for the formation of an independent commission of Latin American and Caribbean parliaments to investigate the conditions under which Aristide left the Presidency and the country, including the possible role played by the government of the Dominican Republic in the training of armed militias and invasion from Dominican soil; invites Latin America to demand the immediate pullout of U.S. and French occupation troops from Haiti, and replacement with a Latin American contingent according to the procedures in the Interamerican Democratic Charter, in consultation with legitimate Haitian authorities; and invites the OAS to conduct an investigation to establish the circumstances which put Aristide out of the office of the Presidency of Haiti.
The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) expressed “its maximum outrage and disgust with the imperialist, lawless and brutal campaign of terrorism that has been inflicted on the people of Haiti by the Bush administration.” The organization demanded immediate answers to questions about “U.S. involvement with armed terrorists who have destabilized the island nation,” and called for “the formation of a global Pan-African alliance of organizations that will be prepared to counter future imperialist intervention through coordinated economic warfare.”
On March 27, NCBL filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor, requesting investigation of whether charges may be brought against the Bush administration for war crimes in the kidnapping of President Aristide from Haiti. The complaint noted that even though neither the U.S. nor Haiti is a party to the ICC’s statute, the Central African Republic, to which President Aristide was forcibly removed and detained, is a party to the ICC, and thus jurisdiction would lie. It further noted that unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement constitutes a grave breach of the Geneva Convention, which, in turn, constitutes a war crime.
The National Lawyers Guild and several organizations and institutions working for global justice denounced the U.S. government for its role in the coup overthrowing the democratically elected government of Haiti and the forced removal of President Aristide by the U.S. military. They demanded a Congressional investigation into the role of the U.S. government in the deliberate destabilization of the Haitian government and the implementation of the coup; an immediate end to the repression and daily attacks on those demanding the return of President Aristide; and support for Haitian refugees.
The National Lawyers Guild will send a delegation to Haiti to meet with victims, witnesses and their families and with grassroots leaders. The delegation will investigate detention conditions for those held in Haitian prisons and by the international occupation troops.
The United States has rejected calls for an inquiry into President Aristide’s removal from Haiti. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, “There is nothing to investigate, we do not encourage nor believe there is any need for an investigation. There was no kidnapping, there was no coup, there were no threats.” As with the Cheney energy task force, the 9/11 commission, and the inquiry into the intelligence leading to the war on Iraq, the Bush administration is resisting an independent investigation.