Death Of A Dream: Haitian To Be Buried Far From Haiti Cherie

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Michel Nau
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:38 pm

Death Of A Dream: Haitian To Be Buried Far From Haiti Cherie

Post by Michel Nau » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:08 pm

Haitian to be buried far from homeland
http://www.miamiherald.com/582/story/77748.html

BY TRENTON DANIEL
To family and friends in Haiti, Lifaite Lully will be remembered as a competent soccer player, good son and lover of a good time.
The Port-de-Paix native also has become a symbol of the dangers Haitians face to reach South Florida -- another sad statistic.
The only one of the 102 Haitians -- among them 14 children -- who didn't survive an ill-fated boat voyage from Haiti to Hallandale Beach last month, Lully, 24, will be buried in a Northwest Miami-Dade cemetery.

Cases like Lully's are common enough that medical examiners don't keep records of immigrants who receive stateside burials.
''It's very common,'' said Father Reginald Jean-Mary, who will speak at Lully's service scheduled for Saturday. ``A lot of people want to be buried back in their homeland. But there are aspects that can make it a problem.''

Of the almost 2,500 bodies that showed up in Miami-Dade County's morgue last year, about 800 were either unclaimed or indigent cases or both; 16 of them went unidentified. In Broward County, 314 of almost 2,000 cases last year involved people who were too poor for their bodies to be retrieved; a man struck by a northbound train near Interstate 95 was the only unidentified body.
The ashes of those who are indigent and whose bodies are not claimed are buried at cemeteries. The unidentified are just buried.

In some cases, funeral homes such as Monique & Loriston in North Miami offer services for free, and pick up the burial costs.
''I'm there to serve them because I know his family has no money,'' said Marie Monique Mathelier. She said Lully's service at Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church in Little Haiti could cost a family about $7,000.
Stateside burials generally occur for two reasons: expensive shipping fees and instability in the deceased's homeland.

The identities of possible immigrants can elude investigators.
In 1982, the Haitian sailboat Esperancia capsized near a cluster of Broward beachfront hotels. Six migrants survived; 11 others washed ashore in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The identities of the 11 remain unknown, according to Reinhard Motte, Broward's associate medical examiner.
Motte recalled how the identity of a more recent case of a possible migrant dogged him.
In July 2005, a man in his 40s or 50s wearing a yellow with dark trim Speedo-style swimsuit was found on a jetty at Port Everglades.
''He's believed to have been Cuban,'' Motte said.
I
n Lully's case, his body was identified by his cousin Jimmy, who also was on the boat. The body was retrieved by his uncle Emmanuel Vassor, 43, an electrician in North Miami who, after learning from family that the sailboat had departed Port-de-Paix, sadly read of his nephew's plight in the newspaper.

After contacting Lully's mother, Vassor said, a decision was made to let Lully rest in South Florida. Haitian leaders hope Lully's mother can land a humanitarian visa so she can attend the burial.
''It's going to cost a lot, and we have no money,'' Vassor said.

_____________________________________________________________
____________________________________
Death of a dream: Migrant's mother grieves for her son

http://www.miamiherald.com/416/story/77657.html

BY ANA MENENDEZ
Lifaite Lully waved goodbye before leaving Haiti forever.
``Ma, I'm leaving.''
``Be well, my son, I'm going to pray for you.''

A month later, in a Port-au-Prince slum, Lully's mother passes her hands in front of her face and tells of her son's final days: how he despaired of not being able to care for his aging parents; how there was never enough to eat; and how, when he balked at the last moment, she encouraged him to get on the boat and try to make it to America.
''I told him, go,'' Isemaelite Vassor said. ``He didn't want to and I told him. I was the one.''
Days later, she heard girls whispering in her village and knew.
''I wanted to throw myself from the bridge,'' she said. ``I fell down on the ground, screaming.''
But it wasn't until her brother in Miami identified Lully's body that she finally believed that out of the 102 who made it to Hallandale Beach on March 28, her son had been the only one to die.

Last week, Vassor waited in Port-au-Prince for a passport and visa so she could travel to the States to attend her son's funeral.
''I did the best I could, giving him food and putting him through school,'' Vassor said. ``But this country is so hard.''
Vassor, who turns 62 in June, had arrived a few days earlier from her village near Port-de-Paix, on the first plane she'd taken in her life.

`HELPED EVERYBODY'
She was staying in a daughter's one-room house in Martissant while attorney Mario Joseph tried to arrange her papers in time for the funeral this Saturday. Lace curtains covered the open windows. Inside, it was still and hot. Surrounded by some of her remaining children and grandchildren, Vassor sat in the tiny airless kitchen and wept as she remembered Lully.

''He was so nice, so nice,'' she said. ``He helped everybody. He carried water for all the old people and he never had girls. He used to say before he did anything for any girl, he would do it for his mother.''
Vassor wiped her tears. ``At least he didn't die on the way. He died in the U.S. He died, but he still made it.''

Lully was 24 years old and unemployed. His father is in his mid-seventies and blind. Last September, Lully heard of a new boat being built on Tortuga Island and decided to sign up, Vassor said.

''The whole country is hungry. There is no work for the young guys, and kids want to help their mothers,'' she said. 'It's all they talk about, the ships. He said to me, `Mother let me go and find a better life.' ''
Vassor says the family paid the equivalent of $600 to get him a space on the sailboat, raising the money from family and friends. The amount was likely higher, speculates Joseph, who said he had heard that families paid $3,000 to $8,000 for a spot on the boat.

:? ''It's a choice between life and death,'' Joseph said. ``And Haiti is death.'''
Port-de-Paix, the site of the country's first slave revolt, sits on Haiti's Atlantic coast. The United States lies just across the sea, a fact that helps define Port-de-Paix's geographic destiny: Today the once-brave city's most important industries are smuggling and leaving.

In the time that Lully spent waiting for his boat to sail since September, six or seven boats left for the states, Vassor told me Saturday through a translator.
''He was getting frustrated that his boat never left,'' she said.

URGED TO MAKE TRIP
Despairing of the delays, Lully decided to cancel the trip. But his mother prevailed upon him and Lully finally sailed.
Vassor remembers it was March 7, a Wednesday. She'd sent him off with a packet of bonbons and cookies.
Three weeks and 700 miles later, the sailboat drifted in sight of Hallandale Beach's high-rises. The others made it ashore. Lully died after jumping overboard. Though Vassor insists more than 180 people sailed, Lully's was the only body rescuers found in the surf.

Many of those who survived are now at the Broward Transitional Center, set to face a harsh immigration judge and a hardhearted American policy whose sole end, whether by accident or design, seems to be to keep Haitians out.

CAN'T UNDERSTAND
The United States continues to welcome Cubans -- among them talented baseball players and musicians who admit they left not for political reasons but for opportunity.
Haitians who flee hunger and despair arrive here knowing they will be received with few of the niceties extended to their Caribbean brothers.
''Why is the world so hard on us?'' wondered Vassor.

Vassor understands little of America. But as she sits in Haiti waiting for permission to travel, she knows that the only reason she may ever get to see the United States is that her son died trying to get there.

Final note: The mother received a humanitarian visa to go to her son funeral. The funeral will be held tomorrow Friday in Miami Florida.

Si yon moun vlè voyè yon ti kotizasyon bay Vassor e fanmi, yo kap kontaktè legliz Notre Dame nan Miami Florida.
Bay Piti Pa Sich!!
Anpil Min, Shaj pa lou.
Bondye a remet w sa.

Tidodo
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:07 am

Post by Tidodo » Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:21 am

Michel,

Nice to see you back! Make some time from your busy schedule for us!

Michel Nau
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:38 pm

Post by Michel Nau » Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:35 pm

Thank you TiDodo for your warm welcome.

I am disturbed about the lack of empathy of certain sectors of the Diaspora about new Haitian immigrants arriving here in the U.S. It seems to me that in the present era of immigration of disfranchised class of Haitian people, the Haitian Diaspora elite shows that they don't have anything in common with these people and has more to gain when it comes to lobby for their own interest than for immigration reform. The passage of HOPE project is a clear example.

It appears that they [Diaspora elite] don't have anything to gain in investing their time and effort toward immigration reform. At the contrary, they would rather see those Haitians stay in Haiti, and work in their textile factories than to die at the Florida shores.

In addition, the current government is not showing any sympathy either for the new trend of Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic or in the U.S.. The Preval/Alexis government sees them as future cash cows for Haiti which is currently receiving more than a billion dollars in foreign currencies. One of the goals of the HOPE project is to keep Haitians from coming to the US.
Apparently, this plan is not working.

TiDodo, you live in South Florida, and you may have a better idea on how the Haitian Diaspora reacts. My opinion is that some from the rich sector will offer cash contribution, but will not participate side by side with activists in a rally about immigration reform.
Now, I am trying to do both, and I will be marching in Washington, DC on May 1st, official Labor Day of the world.

http://mayday2007.org/

Michel

Tidodo
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:07 am

Post by Tidodo » Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:16 pm

Michel,

I admire your courage. Only popular pressure will forece the reversal of the discriminatory policy against Haitian refugees. Long before this issue became mainstream, late 80's and early 90s, South Florida journalists, like Carl Hiaassen and lawyer activists, like Cheryl Littlle, were denouncing it. I was disappointed when Senator Nelson in an interview like week justified the treatment by hiding behind the laws in the books. It is like justifying slavery in the early 1800s because it was not illegal then.

Michel, Father Jean-Juste, like he did in the 80s, was all over South Florida last two weeks leading protests in the defense of the refugees. I have to agree with you that many of us, including I, are resigned to the fact that Haitians will not get a fair treatment from the government. I admire those who continue to fight. My hope now is in the improvement of conditions at home which will lessen the need for our less fortunate compatriots to be treated like this. But, you and a lot of other people around the nation who continue to fight and claim a fairer treatment for the Haitian refugees have my deepest respect and admiration.

Michel Nau
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:38 pm

Post by Michel Nau » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:14 pm

TiDodo wrote: [quote]My hope now is in the improvement of conditions at home which will lessen the need for our less fortunate compatriots to be treated like this. [/quote] Indeed TiDodo, I share your hope as well. Our less fortunate brothers that our Diaspora elite consider as the dregs of our society could be the future of Haiti. Even tough they don't have the level of education to compete in the American society, and adding the racial and job discrimination that they have to face everyday; their sons and daughters still represent the American dream.
When I graduated from Miami-Dade College in 1974, we were just a handful of Haitians, and most of us from the elite and middleclass. Now, 33 years later, Haitian graduates represent 1/3 of their classmates and they are sons and daughters of our “boat” people.

Ayisyen toujou remin di: manman ti neg sa yo se te machand chabon ak machand pistach wi ke yo te ye, but look at their kids now, look at them!!they are lawyers, doctors, real states, and stock brokers, elite of the American Society, and icons of the American Dream.
Life is not a sprint but a journey. It's not where one is from but where one is and is going in life

This is unfortunate that Lifaite Lully did not make it alive. He was dead on arrival, and like many others that are unknown, their dream lives in us everyday. This is why we have an obligation and a fiduciary duty to keep their dream alive.

Michel

Michel Nau
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:38 pm

Post by Michel Nau » Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:19 pm

TiDodo wrote: [quote]My hope now is in the improvement of conditions at home which will lessen the need for our less fortunate compatriots to be treated like this. [/quote] Indeed TiDodo, I share your hope as well. Our less fortunate brothers that our Diaspora elite consider as the dregs of our society could be the future of Haiti. Even tough they don't have the level of education to compete in the American society, and adding the racial and job discrimination that they have to face everyday; their sons and daughters still represent the American dream.
When I graduated from Miami-Dade in 1974, we were just a handful of Haitians, and most of us from the elite and middleclass. Now, 33 years later, Haitian graduates represent 1/3 of their classmates and they are sons and daughters of our “boat” people.

Ayisyen toujou remin di: manman ti neg sa yo se te machand chabon ak machand pistach wi ke yo te ye, but look at their kids now, look at them!! They are lawyers, doctors, real states, and stock brokers, elite of the American society, and icons of the American dream.
Life is not a sprint but a journey. It's not where one is from but where one is and where is going in life

This is unfortunate that Lifaite Lully did not make it alive. He was dead on arrival, and like many others that are unknown, their dream lives in us everyday. This is why we have an obligation and a fiduciary duty to keep their dream alive.

Michel

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