For Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, and the others...

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For Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, and the others...

Post by admin » Sat Sep 10, 2005 9:53 pm

Editorial
For Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, and the others...
by Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti
What was said again about press freedom prior to February 29 2004? Could someone remind me?

By now, I am sure that Robert Ménard of Reporters Sans Frontières must have demanded that the Bush administration freeze the assets of the interim government and cancel their visas? Am I right?

Those attacks against the press in Haiti, the threats against Guyler Delva (Reuters), the massacres (or were they genocides?) at Cité Soleil, Bel Air, Solino, Delmas must have the human rights organizations in Haiti in a snit! And Roger Noriega must surely be wishing he were back in a position to orchestrate a coup against the Latortue government!

And what is Timothy Carney and his (former) colleagues at Haiti Democracy Project going to say about all those rights abuses? Surely, they must be organizing a meeting in Washington, DC right now to denounce the undemocratic judicial processes in Haiti, the oft-repeated acts of arresting political opponents without charge and keeping them in jail INDEFINITELY?

And surely the Canadian government MUST BE sending government ministers to Haiti to assess how bad the situation really is and come up with a plan for ridding Haiti of bad governance!

I imagine that Dominique de Villepin must be livid at this singular spectacle of ungovernability in the former colony of Saint-Domingue (if Haiti had ever been, à proprement parler, such a colony in the first place). And the French Ambassador in Haiti must be once again making dire predictions about the storms that are about to batter the island.

I wonder what Messieurs Curran and Foley must be thinking right now about the extraordinary results of their extraordinary efforts to bring political stability and the fruits of democracy to Haiti. Are they crying in their bubbly?

And what about Latortue, Abraham and Co. sacrificing their reputations and a comfortable life in Boca Raton, Florida in order to save the nation... and they saved it from what, exactly???

And we must surely pray for the sanity of our Conseil de Sages! I can't imagine them being able to sleep with the country being ravaged by such acts of judicial arbitrariness and unending pursuit of retribution and political persecutions.

What a nightmare Haiti must be today for all those good people who saved the Nation on February 29, 2004 and made it into the sorry example that it is today!

With Haitian police agents distributing machetes for the killing of ... ... ... (could it be chicken for the poor?)

With attendants of a soccer match sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development ordered to lie down on the ground at half time and getting shot point blank by HNP (Haitian National Police) agents in what must qualify as one of the most macabre soccer matches in History...

as removed as could be from "the beautiful game" of Stars from Brazil, the aspiring superpower in charge of "peacekeeping" in this soccer-starved country, whose Prime Minister feels so passionately about the game that he could not wait to hear Haitians cheering against their own team and for the Brazilian superheroes...

Are they still cheering, Mr. Prime Minister or has death muffled their cries?


And now we have judges issuing warrants for searches of already detained political prisoners' places of residence and simultaneously supervising their execution??? How brilliantly efficient! One wonders whether the judicial system of New York City should not be traveling to Port-au-Prince and learn about some techniques from our technocrats! Haiti has received the benefit of so much consultancy that it is now ready to export some of it back to its benefactors! It's like the School of the Americas in reverse.

And the rather unsurprising arrest of American journalist/film maker Kevin Pina who recently finished a tour of the United States, showing footage of the August Massacre of Cité Soleil residents by United Nations Peacekeepers... How totally embarrassing, Mr. Annan! How distressingly humiliating, Mr. U.S. Ambassador! We are ready to observe how quickly you will surely come to protect one of your citizens... especially when he manifested the desire to talk to a person from your office so that his rights as an American citizen would be respected. You will surely grant him that protection, won't you Mr. Ambassador... or is that not part of your function in Haiti? Your function in Haiti... I am tripping over those words. Could you tell us what it is, exactly?


And, Mr. Policeman, explain to us the arrest of journalist Jean Ristil. Was it for his daring to do his job as a journalist? I do not quite get it, but perhaps you were simply trying to protect him, as you protected Father Jean-Juste earlier last month with your own brand of tender loving care?


Oh... Vive la Démocratie! A la USA! A la Canada! A la France! But where does Haiti fit in today in this worldwide convergence or should I say orgy of democratizing forces? What does it have to show on September 10, 2005 for your acts of friendship?


Guy S. Antoine
September 10, 2005

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Post by Hyppolite » Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:41 am

Guy,

I command you for your courage on this one. I thought about the same things and I feel so bad for Haiti. So bad. Some can't even see what's going on because they hate both Lavalas and Aristide so much. There is, as I always said, a difference between critics of Aristide and Lavalas, or Latortue and G-184, and wanting for the anihilation of either side. Those who hate Lavalas so much have been blinded by these facts which you so aptly pointed out on your post. That, by the end, is what truly saddens me. I feel like there's no hope for or in that country. I cannot comprehend how some can try to justify the indefensible. It baffles me. It baffles me.

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Post by Hyppolite » Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:10 am

The good news is, Kevin and Ristil had been freed, at least according to different news reports, including AHP.

The bad news is, as usual, RNDDH is showing its true face. They are now saying that those who committed the machete massacre during the soccer game a couple of weeks ago, under the watch of the Police, were basically retaliating against bandits (translation: Lavalas partisans).

I am not sure who cares anymore about this joke called human rights organization, the RNDDH. It is such a shame that a supposedly human rights organization is so blatantly partisan. Everyone else has condemned those killings but still, they had to find a way to justify murder.

Even when that were true, this would have been vigilante justice and RNDDH would still have had to denounce it. This is especially true, considering that this was done under the watch of the very Haitian Police.

What a nightmarish country, under nightmarish political and civil society leadership!!

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Post by admin » Wed Sep 14, 2005 10:02 pm

Hyppolite, thank you for letting me know that my editorial on this case was forwarded and republished on the Corbett List, and of the adversarial response from Peter Dailey, which I publish below. My response to Peter Dailey follows his.

[quote]
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 1:03 PM
Subject: 26250: [Bob Corbett's Haiti list" - haiti@lists.webster.edu ]

From: Peter Dailey

Were one attempting to summarize the status of Human Rights in Haiti over the last year, a detailed and comprehensive account could be drawn from NCHR-Haiti, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Haiti Democracy Project. The same could not be said for the IJDH, the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, Trente Septembre, or the Haiti Progres. There has not been a single episode- the La Scerie massacre, the killing of Dred Wilme, the soccer murders, etc.- where their desire for short term political advantage has not overriden their commitment to the truth. If anyone doubts this he or she has only to consult these organizations' websites to learn that La Scerie was a hoax perpetrated by Pierre Esperance, that 14,000 Haitians have been killed since February, 2004 as part of a genocidal campaign, that 60+ Cite Soleil residents were killed in the shootout between the U.N. and popular community organizer Dred Wilme, etc.

Unfortunately, Windows on Haiti is not a whole lot more reliable. In his recent post, Guy Antoine protests threats against the press under the current regime, pointing to the jailing of Kevin and Jean Ristil, and attempts to intimidate Guy Delva- the name of Jean Roche is an interesting or not so interesting omission- and asks where is Robert Menard and Reporters Sans Frontieres? I don't imagine Guy is suggesting that the situation today resembles even remotely the assault on the press freedom under Aristide- that would be ludicrous. If his point is that Haiti today is in incomparably worse condition than it was in February, 2004, thanks to the blan, he could probably find a more persuasive way of asserting this than heavy-handed sarcasm, which doesn't really suit him. But I suspect that his remarks about the hypocrisy of the French, Kofi Annan, the Americans etc. really have no purpose more exaulted than venting his outraged feelings over the trampling of Haitian sovereignty by the foreigner. I suppose I am sympathetic, although I heard all of it, every single bit, word for word, in 1994 from people of the same social background as Antoine although decidedly different politics, an experience which reinforced my belief that that sort of patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Given that MINUSTAH has been an enormous, expensive failure, why is it that the streets are not filled with people calling for the U.N.'s withdrawal, and that so far such calls have been limited to the Haiti Action Committee, Haiti Progres, and others with an interest in promoting disorder? Why, in a recent Gallup Poll taken in PauP, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, OKap, and Les Cayes, did the respondents overwhelmingly select J-C Duvalier as the best Haitian president of the last twenty years followed by Rene Preval? Why was the constitutional president at the bottom of the list along with Namphy and Avril?

The reality of Port-au-Prince today is that the population from top to bottom has been collectively traumatized by kidnapping and violence that has cut all the way across the ideological spectrum- from rapes by hoodlums who have outfitted themselves with razor blades and have turned popular neighborhoods into prisons from which no one may leave, from raids by police, ex-army, and criminal gangs financed by wealthy entrepreneurs. And as long as this is the case, MINUSTAH will continue to be seen as the one thing preventing the ultimate descent into a kind of Hobbesian universe and patriotic appeals such as Antoine's are likely to fall on deaf ears.
[/quote]


Note from a scoundrel to the Honorable Peter Dailey:

A friend of mine on this list sent me your review of my editorial letter. Oh, what joy! As Michael Corleone once stated: "Every time you want out, someone draws you back in..." (or something of the sort)

In the opening paragraph of your rebuttal, you camp on one side NCHR-Haiti (hard for you too to recall what they are called these days? I can't blame you!), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Haiti Democracy Project. They are the good guys. On the other side, you put in the IJDH, the HLLN, Fondasyon Trant Septanm, and Haiti Progrès. They are obviously the bad guys. Or at the very least, the unreliable sources of "the status of Human Rights in Haiti over the last year".

I coud not care one bit for your categorization, Peter, but I will say that, personally, I have always found the various Haiti reports from Amnesty International over the years to be credible and above partisanship. They have, understandably, been very critical of the state of human rights in Haiti both under Lavalas and anti-Lavalas governments. On the other hand, to claim that the Haiti Democracy Project has been an impartial reporter of human rights in Haiti over the years, including the last, seems suspect and far-fetched, as that organization clearly favored the coup, as far as we can see water in the sea. I will stop my comments at those two, as this is not the point of my message and I will try to keep it reasonably short. However, as always, I think the business of neatly categorizing good and bad organizations, newspapers and other, rather facile and in the end, unhelpful and deceitful in its own right.

But thank you, anyway, for listing your favorites and most disliked. The categorization may reveal more about you, the analyst and writer, than it tells us anything in particular about the organizations themselves. Then, interestingly -- or not so interestingly -- you bring in my website, Windows on Haiti into the comparison, a rather absurd proposition, and stated that it is not "unfortunately" a whole lot more reliable. Well, first of all, let me thank you sincerely, for checking the website at least once in a while, as it appears you have done. I am always concerned about the number of hits; that comes with the territory when you are the webmaster. So, keep on coming, please. However, I was a bit startled by the comparison. I did not expect to be in that league of majors, but thank you. Could I enlist your services as consultant for increasing the reliability of my website? I am not sure I can afford your fees, but it does not hurt to ask.

Actually, I think I got a free bit of advice in "...he could probably find a more persuasive way of asserting this than heavy-handed sarcasm, which doesn't really suit him." Oh, Peter, I am so sorry that my sarcasm did not suit you, I mean, me. Could you tell me which style of writing would suit me better? Anything to please you, Sir! Just tell me how best to phrase my opinions, and I'll do my best to write in a more palatable manner.

Let me try then to rephrase my opinion very succintly in a style you might prefer. I did object to the coup d'état in the making and I still do, now that it is a couple years old, nearly. The point of my unpalatable sarcasm, however, was that, given a coup d'état - abetted by the French, the Canadians, and the Americans - and the extra-constitutional installation of an interim government, one could have had clear expectations that the fruit you put in the bowl were better than those you discarded. No, I do not see a general improvement of the human rights record in Haiti. And throughout my "heavy-handed" sarcasm, I was questioning the value of the coup and the orgiastic convergence of democratizing forces in Haiti (sorry, my bad!)

I must also confess that I was particularly puzzled by your specific reference to Jacques Roche in this manner: "- the name of Jean Roche is an interesting or not so interesting omission". In which way do you find the omission "interesting" or "not so interesting"? What are you trying, subtly or not so subtly, to insinuate with that comment??? I confess that I did not know about Mr. Roche prior to his villainous assassination, but I have read enough about him afterwards to know first of all that his first name is Jacques, not Jean. Also, I understand from numerous credible sources that Mr. Roche was a humanist, a patriot, and maybe a columnist/editorialist (but actually not a reporter, as one could reasonably describe the professional activity of Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, and Guyler Delva). That's my impression, anyway, and I stand to be corrected if I am wrong in this regard. Soon after I learned about his kidnapping, torture, and murder, I decried the horror. Now, help me, if you please, with the point that you obviously are trying (unfairly and mischievously) to induce in the minds of your readers. Spit it out! Could it be that I care less about Mr. Roche than the others? How exploitive!! I hold at least one branch of the Boniface/Latortue government responsible for the threatened or factual acts of intimidation against Pina, Ristil, and Delva, but I see no way, no freaking way, that I should have drawn Mr. Roche into that list. I cannot implicate any government in his murder. As a lawyer, Mr. Dailey, you know that perfectly well. As far as I know, some people were arrested in the course of the investigation into Jacques Roche's murder. I have not heard anything about the criminal case, since. Perhaps, you have already decided who is guilty in this matter, as scores of people have already done, without a shred of evidence. But I prefer to respect and honor the memory of someone like Jacques Roche, of whom I have read much to admire, than try to score cheap political points by capitalizing on his name, in circumstances that I am not knowledgeable about and, I am willing to bet, you are not either.

Finally, you claim that " MINUSTAH will continue to be seen as the one thing preventing the ultimate descent into a kind of Hobbesian universe " (Ah, just say "hell", that would suit you better) "and patriotic appeals such as Antoine's are likely to fall on deaf ears." I already knew they were falling on deaf ears, Mr. Dailey. Who wants to listen to a scoundrel? But I reserve my right to free expression, nevertheless. And through my ill-suited sarcasm, I am venting my frustration at the current state of human rights in Haiti. Deaf ears should not listen.

T-dodo

Post by T-dodo » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:08 pm

If Mr. Dailey has been reading your posts (en cachette) on the forum, it seems he never learned from them that you have a meticulous mind, Guy!.

Michel Nau_

Post by Michel Nau_ » Sat Sep 17, 2005 9:54 am

I would like to congratulate Guy S. Antoine for brilliantly taking a stand, and defending his editorial “For Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, and the others..”.Dated September 10, 2005. What Peter Dailey had said openly “Window on Haiti is not a whole lot more reliable” is what others visitors are sometimes whispering.

Just like the New York Times, Newsweek and other media who deliver the news to the rest of the world, Windows on Haiti shouldn't be sheltered from criticisms when positioning its views on political and social issues.

Having said that, the readers/visitors of Windows on Haiti/ Ann Pale have a pervasive perception that some of our senior contributors (myself included if I may) have a tendency to deliver their point of views by shifting the balance and sneak in their ideology across their comments. Windows on Haiti has sophisticated readers who would like to see a balanced debate, and not a one-sided one.

Other people including Peter Dailey have seen it that way, and thought that Guy's editorial catchy title could have been more appealing and less preconceiving if it was something like “For Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, Jacques Roche, Nancy Roc, Robert Menard, Jean Dominique…” . Why “For Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil”, and putting others in a hidden basket? No government or journalist, past, present or future should be excluded from criticism, and no one should be left behind or omitted. The solidarity should be across the board.

I am 100% behind Windows on Haiti and its members, but my opinion is that we don't have to be constantly a “clipping board” for other organizations or websites who are not a whole lot more reliable.

Michel

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Post by admin » Sat Sep 17, 2005 2:05 pm

Thank you, Marilyn, for brillantly re-stating the policy of this forum with respect to the presentation of news and opinions, for which I have not only published the guidelines on several occasions, but as you noted, I have enforced as well by admonishing anyone who has transgressed on occasion. I have ALWAYS been against mixing news sources and one's own opinion, and even the attempts to steer readers into reading the news in a particular way, by prefacing them with one's own comments. The reasons: 1) I respect the ability of the readers to read critically on their own and to discover the news authors' bias when writing the story; 2) I respect every forum member's ability to comment on the news story presented; 3) I do not mix the two. My philosophy, as the forum moderator of Ann Pale, has led me to establish the rules that you stated and to vigorously enforce them.

That being said, Michel's comments with respect to balance and ideology are outside the bounds of my control. It is not my job to create balance. I do not seek balance when presenting my opinions. I simply express my point of view, exactly the way that I see it. I am not an hypocrite and I expect that others will not be as well.

Those who speak of balance when talking about Windows on Haiti simply want to silence it. That is not news to me. Why do you think the website has been attacked so many times during its existence? And it has been attacked in many ways...

Perhaps our opinions do not differ all that much. It's probably all too human that people like to express their ideas to a receptive audience (though, clearly, spectacularly, this is not always so). Michel, himself, has consistently advanced points of view on this forum that the majority of our other contributors have not agreed with. I have reacted strongly against them on many occasions, when I have differed from his opinions, but can Michel say that I have attempted to silence him??? The only time I have censored anyone (and I am thinking of one forum member in particular) is when he has used foul language and expressions of extreme personal disrespect to confront those who do not share his view point. It's not an enviable position, but I am determined to continue to be vigilant in that regard and to take whatever measure I can to prevent the forum from descending into the "fish market" that he is trying to create.

I feel lucky to have on board some individuals like Marilyn, Jafrikayiti, Gelin, Serge Bellegarde, Jean-Marie Florestal, Nekita, Jonas, and others (this is by no means an exhaustive list) who understand the rules of the game, and the manner that I have chosen to advance the dialogue between my Haitian brothers and sisters. Some have said on this forum that the time is past for dialogue, that we should simply take arms and fight to the risk of our lives, when ironically all they do is talk, talk, talk in their continued anti-intellectual rant which has lasted for years with no end in sight. One wonders why they even bother to come and participate in a dialogue that they feel viscerally against. To them, I say: "Ban m van pou m al La Gonav", because all they are doing is blowing smoke to cover their own inadequacies.

It is also surprising how many people confuse the two concepts of balance and objectivity. As far as I am concerned, I insist on being objective, that is try to tell no lies. I have never required balance from anyone, because that requirement is impossible to implement and in terms of a public forum, it is even absurd. If I am not defending one position clearly against another, why would I even bother to write?

As for Windows on Haiti, it is what it is, a personal presentation of the culture of Haiti. This is somewhat separate from the Ann Pale forum, because in a real sense the forum is each one of you. If you do not articulate your own points of view, in a manner that speaks of your convictions but that is not disrespectful, then you should not complain about the fact that the opinions expressed are not balanced. Why? Because, that is illogical and cowardly.

[quote]Just like the New York Times, Newsweek and other media who deliver the news to the rest of the world, Windows on Haiti shouldn't be sheltered from criticisms when positioning its views on political and social issues. [/quote]
And who said that Windows on Haiti should be sheltered from any and all criticisms? I have not said it. But I also have the right to defend what I do from what I perceive to be unfair criticism.

[quote]Having said that, the readers/visitors of Windows on Haiti/ An Pale have a pervasive perception that some of our senior contributors (myself included if I may) have a tendency to deliver their point of views by shifting the balance and sneak in their ideology across their comments.[/quote]
Michel, first of all, it's "Ann Pale". Treat it like a trademark. Don't change its spelling, please. Second, we are in the business of delivering our points of view by trying to shift the balance (however that is defined) in our favor. That is precisely the reason for having a forum, how can you fault us for that? Thirdly, no one has to "sneak in" their ideology. Most often, someone's ideology, if any, is quite apparent. I really do not know too many people on this forum who are shy about stating clearly what they believe in.

[quote]Windows on Haiti has sophisticated readers who would like to see a balanced debate, and not a one-sided one.[/quote]
Michel, with you in the game, it has not been one-sided, has it? Could it be that you are seeking the comfort of more people siding with your opinions? That is a legitimate aspiration. So, go ahead and invite your friends in. I would be delighted to welcome new and serious-minded members to Ann Pale.

The entire Haiti Democracy Project, Peter Dailey, the U.S. and French Ambassadors in Haiti, past and present, may join in too, if they please.

I still do not seek balance, but variety is the spice of life.

I also thank Jafrikayiti for exposing the dubious game being played by Peter Dailey in his commentary. Paternalism is always the first and only refuge of the arrogant-minded.

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Post by admin » Wed Sep 21, 2005 3:42 am

And Peter Dailey's attacks on my person continue unabated on the Corbett List. I will republish them here, but will not respond to his senseless tirade, other than making FULL DISCLOSURE of a reference he makes to an open letter to President Aristide, which I wrote on May 20, 2000. Peter calls it "a notable exercise in bootlicking". I will republish the integral text of that letter, which I researched and found in the Corbett List archives. You are invited to make your own judgment in this matter.

As I said in my last note, "paternalism is always the first and only refuge of the arrogant-minded." Force them to step out of it, and you will surely see their true visage.

[quote]
From: "Bob Corbett's Haiti list" <haiti>
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 5:54 PM
Subject: 26293: Dailey re 26258: A Reply (fwd)


From Peter Dailey <phdailey>

Apparently Guy Antoine has chosen to take my comments personally.

At present, the human rights of ordinary Haitians are under an assault as severe as any in recent memory. The complicity of the interim government in this has been repeatedly underscored in reports by frontline human rights organizations. However, unlike the situation for most of the Lavalas years, these abuses spring from a multiplicity of sources, as I'm sure Antoine recognizes, and nothing is served by denying this. As the Swiss historian Jacob Burkhardt famously observed: "The denial of complexity is the beginning of tyranny."

There is no reason why an analysis should not focus on the responsibility of a single actor- the HNP, Department of Justice, Chimeres, MINUSTAH, Aristide, etc- although to imply that this represents the complete picture is morally irresponsible and intellectually dishonest. Nor, since human rights violations are fundamentally assaults against the individual, do such analyses have to be comparative. Were Kevin Pina to have been jailed indefinitely for his minor offense instead of held and released the following day I doubt he would have been vastly interested in knowing how much better or worse he might have fared under Duvalier, or Aristide, or Stenio Vincent, etc.

Which brings me to Antoine's thoroughly tendentious post, which he dedicates appropriately enough to Kevin Pina. In his subsequent Riposte, Guy explains that his subject was the narrow one of government interference with freedom of the press. In doing so he pinpoints one of the few areas where, in comparison to its Lavalas predecessors, the interim government would appear to be paragons of legality and to have ushered in a new golden age, not withstanding Latortue's criticism of Delva and the brief detention of Pina and Restil. However, Haiti remains a place where one's political opinions can still get one killed. Had I realized that Antoine's topic was not freedom of the press but only interference in press freedom by the interim government I obviously would have had no cause to wonder at Antoine's omission of the name of Jacques Roche. I know no more about the Roche case than that the manner of his death strongly suggests that it was a political crime rather than a mere kidnapping for ransom. If, as Antoine states, there have indeed been arrests, and a trial and convictions follow we will perhaps know more. Should this in fact happen, however, it will be one of the few times in a recent Haitian history that has not lacked cases of this nature. I imagine that like most other people confronted by murders like those of Jean Dominique, Abdias Jean, or Brignol Lindor, I will continue to make whatever inferences or draw whatever conclusions it seems to me the evidence justifies. Antoine's argument, like the rest of his post, is short on logic and long on sanctimoniousness.

Antoine says that the point of his leaden sarcasm- striking in a writer notable in past for a ready wit and enlivening sense of humor- is that the French, Canadians, U.S. et al. have betrayed his expectations that "the fruit you put into the bowl were better than those you discarded." It must be wonderful for a writer to have metaphors like that right at his fingertips! However, his Riposte has almost nothing to say about MINUSTAH or Haitian Nationalism and a whole lot about the outrage I've apparently done to his Feelings. I did not call Antoine a scoundrel- this would be taking his comments a great deal more seriously than circumstances warrant. Nor did I question his integrity, although it is clear from the speed with which he set out to exploit Kevin Pina's arrest, and the wide range of parties at which he chose to point the finger that Antoine is obviously not averse to attempting to score cheap political points. Insofar as I am familiar with his writing its principal shortcoming has always been Antoine's outsized and well nourished capacity for self deception, particularly where Aristide and Lavalas are concerned. A celebrated example of this was Antoine's Open Letter to Aristide, published on the Corbett List, a notable exercise in bootlicking that thanked Aristide for finally condemning political violence and stating that if the rumors connecting Aristide to the chimeres had been true, Antoine would have considered Aristide morally unfit to be president. I don't know if you will find this on Windows on Haiti or not.

In reading over my original post, the one thing I do regret is that in comparing Windows on Haiti to the IJDH, HLLN, Fondasyon Trant Septanm, and Haiti Progres I appeared to be equating them. The latter are all organizations whose sole raison d'etre is to promote the political fortunes of a single individual. Windows on Haiti is an online magazine devoted to a variety of topics, whose political section provides a forum for a number of different points of view. I hope it will continue to appear well after most of the current political actors have sunken into well deserved obscurity. Hyppolite Pierre has written to the Corbett List to say that Guy would like to republish my comments and his Riposte on Windows on Haiti. Although I would have thought that an editor's injured sense of amour propre was not a topic of particular general interest I have no objection to his doing so provided that he includes these remarks as well.

Peter Dailey

[/quote]

No, Peter, it's not my injured sense of amour propre which is in question here, it's the sentiment that pushed you to pen the piece of (?) above. But since you intended to expose me through your recollection, let me facilitate the task for you, ok?

[quote]#3719: A letter to Aristide : Comment from Antoine
________________________________________
• To: Haiti mailing list <haiti>
• Subject: #3719: A letter to Aristide : Comment from Antoine
• From: Robert Corbett
• Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 08:27:55 -0700 (PDT)
• Sender: owner-haiti@lists.webster.edu
________________________________________

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine>

[quote]For a country at peace...
Vote peacefully under the flag of peace...
You who fear defeat
And who choose violence
Remember
We are all brothers and sisters.
Haiti is for all Haitians.
We must all work for peace
So that we can all live in peace.

Boulevard 15 Octobre, Tabarre, Haiti[/quote]
Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide,

I thank you for those words. I know that for one reason or another, many will not give you credit for sending this message. However your words speak to the core of our worries for the future of our country.

In any democratic system, free elections are a sine qua non, meaning that if the people cannot freely elect their political representatives, you simply do not have a democracy. There has been so much external pressure, so much posturing, so many veiled or not so veiled threats, so many politically motivated assassinations, so much pre-electoral violence... that one is FORCED to wonder: what the HELL is going on?

There must be elections in Haiti, but these elections must not be hijacked by any party, nor should they be held by the will of the international community, but by the will of the Haitian people. I would have wanted to see more pre-electoral preparation, more civic education, more polls showing that the population is truly going to participate, and the complete assurance that these elections will be largely (never totally, to be sure) uncontestable. The sad fact is that if the population does not vote in significant proportions OR if we are going to witness another round of recriminations and interminable accusations of electoral fraud, this will not be a step ahead for democracy in Haiti, as is the prevailing sentiment, but rather a huge step backwards (another one, still).

When, oh when, will Haitians decide to move forward as ONE PEOPLE?

Pardon my striking a note of pessimism, when in fact, I ache to be optimistic. May the upcoming elections reduce all my fears to the point of silliness!

Those who commit the violence must not only hate Haiti, but must surely hate themselves for wholesomely participating in the destruction of our Haitian society. This is simply not the Haiti that we knew and cherished. We have a bunch of imbeciles who are so short-sighted they cannot see that the violence they inflict on others will, like a boomerang, be visited upon them in return. Even if they could acquire all the money and power available, they still need to have a livable society. Just what will they do after they have destroyed it, after the societal values and safeguards that are there to protect all citizens have vanished away due to their selfish actions? What will happen? They die.

This is not to say that Haitian society is finished yet, Many, many Haitians living abroad still enjoy renewing their spirits by going back to the countryside, the communities, the small municipalities, the rivers that unlike the Saint Laurent, the Hudson, the Delaware, the Mississipi, etc, are small enough to almost give you a sense of ownership, the beaches, the mango and almond trees and their shadow, the juices from the kachiman, the korosol, and the grenadine, and countless other pleasures. And from what I hear from recent visitors of the Port-à-Piment and Port-Salut areas, even the cleanliness! Not a word that is commonly associated with Haiti these days. Those people were thinking that Haiti is still an ideal place to live, if you skip Port-au-Prince altogether (too bad, it used to be a fairly decent city, too).

Will Haiti return to greater civility or continue its descent to Hell?

Mr. Aristide, if you were in any way responsible for the pre-electoral violence that many have accused your party of waging, I would ask you then to do the honorable thing and not run for President of Haiti, because quite frankly, you would be undeserving of such an honor and privilege. You would not have the moral capacity necessary to provide the leadership our country desperately needs. Make no mistake about that. If on the other hand, all of this violence has been part of the cynical games aimed to prevent, weaken, or destabilize the choice of the people of Haiti, may you triumph over your detractors, large and small, because in the end... the Haitian people must for themselves determine their future and build a path out of violence and misery towards peace, justice and prosperity.

Respectfully,
Guy S. Antoine
Look and Imagine!
http://windowsonhaiti.com
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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:07 pm

Best wishes to " Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, and the others... "

Guy S. Antoine

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