Monday, October 27, 2008

Is Haiti the Lost Civilization of Atlantis?

Is Haiti and the Dominican Republic (Hispaniola) the site of the "lost Civilization" of Atlantis? Atlantis is the legendary island first mentioned by Plato in a series of dialogues. A group of scientist plan to hold a conference next month to explore this subject. Their hypothesis is simple: "...Haiti (Quisqueya) being the remain of the lost Island of Atlantis."

When I heard this theory or hypothesis, I was skeptical. Wasn't Atlantis lost under water? Wouldn't you have to be as "guileless" as a Taino Indian to believe this theory?

It was on the island of Quiskeya (Taino for mother of the earth), the land now divided into the two political zones of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, that historians believe that the world's first complete and total genocide was perpetrated by the Spanish Conquistadors. I've met one Haitian who believes that he is descended from the Taino, so how true that is may be disputed by some.

I read that Plato put forth the "myth" of Atlantis for political reasons, so maybe the "scientist" who are proposing this connection have an agenda. After all, Haiti was once united under the rule of one central government after the Haitian Revolution. Though the inhabitants of the eastern portion of Haiti, who fancied themselves "Spanish", then as now, hated and reviled the Haitians who brought freedom from colonial rule and the end of slavery. In fact, in the Dominican Republic, the "natives" celebrate freedom from Haitian rule rather than freedom from Spanish rule. The feeling being that there is more "honor" and "prestige" in being of Spanish/European descent then of Haitian descent. The irony is that many of the same people who claim "Spanish" ancestry, look more Haitian or African then some native Haitians. And many have close Haitian relatives. Case in point, Rafael Trujillo who ordered the massacre of over 20,000 Haitians. Tujillo was one-quarter Haitian. His grandmother was Haitian.

Haiti does have one unfortunate and tragic resemblance to Atlantis in that Haiti does face the threat of rising oceans. Haiti may in fact sink beneath the ocean as the "mythical" island of Atlantis did. Global warming's effects are evident in the receding and disintegrating glacier and ice shelves. In 2006, in a report commissioned by the British government, a grim picture emerged of the future without prompt action to stem carbon emissions:
“Millions will die from malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria and dengue fever unless effective controls are in place. There will be acute risks all over the world from the Inuits in the Arctic to the inhabitants of small islands in the Caribbean and Pacific”.

...200 million people are at risk of being driven from their homes by flood or drought... by 2050 60 million Africans could be exposed to Malaria if world temperatures rise by 2°C... 4 billion people could suffer from water shortages if temperatures rise by 2°C.

...The report tells the Caribbean nothing new when it says that rising sea levels will pose serious risks and demand increasing coastal protection. But, it makes the point that, in addition to small islands, coastal cities such as New York and Miami in the US, Mumbai and Calcutta in India, London in the UK and Honk Kong and Shanghai in China would also be flooded.
Hurricanes are occurring with more frequency and violence, bringing such total devastation and catastrophic loss that an Atlantis like occurrence resonates with anyone who is caught in the eye of the storm.
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