Gracious Haiti offers aid yet help should go other way

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Gracious Haiti offers aid yet help should go other way

Post by » Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:44 am

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opi ... 654.column

[quote]FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Gracious Haiti offers aid yet help should go other way
John C. Bersia
COMMENTARY

October 10, 2005

The moment was a curious one in U.S.-Haitian relations last week, when Haitian Finance Minister Henri Bazin handed a ceremonial check for $36,000 to a U.S. official. That contribution, destined for victims of Hurricane Katrina -- including Haitians living in the Gulf states -- was as ironic as it was magnanimous.

Haitian officials felt it necessary to underscore the modest nature of the gift; in truth, considering that most Haitians eke out an existence on less than $1 per day, the gesture was grand.

In the final analysis, though, it was also unnecessary. Haiti's sympathy, good wishes and encourage
ment would have been sufficient. Ditto for other countries that made similar commitments. The United States has the means many times over to handle the aftermath of Katrina on its own.

If anything, the United States should expand its efforts to work with other nations to help Haiti. On several occasions, I have set forth an ambitious and, some would say, controversial proposal to assist Haiti in addressing its perennial problems of economic plight, poor governance and societal disruption: a 20-year suspension of Haiti's sovereignty. Along the way, a comprehensive strategy would systematically root out the remaining influences of past regimes; strengthen and energize Haiti's society; revamp and broaden education and training; and create the foundation for a free and open system.

Predictably, some critics have lashed out at the concept, dubbing it "Western paternalism," a leftover of a historic
al predisposition to "interfere in Haiti's affairs," and even a "missionary" attitude.

How little they perceive beyond the realm of their petty verbal tirades. They act as if Haiti's woes spring exclusively from external influences -- which I understand and acknowledge -- rather than simultaneously faulting the greed, repressiveness and ineptitude of too many Haitian leaders. They seem to ignore that Haiti is essentially a failed state, and that such conditions spawn instability and disruption far beyond a country's borders.

My starting point is not Western paternalism, a penchant for interference or missionary zeal; it is a desire for Haitians to enjoy the full range of human rights. When I talk to my advisers on Haiti -- and they range from Haitian expatriates to scholars to practitioners in various fields with long experience in that country -- and I solicit their prescriptions, the discussion regularly
returns to the need to wipe the slate clean.

Toward that end, I am not advocating a controlling position by the United States -- far from it. I would hope for a U.S. role, because I believe this nation has a responsibility to help, but others should champion the cause. In other words, I am recommending international rule, not U.S. rule, with strong involvement by Haiti's Caribbean neighbors, other countries in the Western Hemisphere and the United Nations.

Anything less would condemn Haiti to an endless cycle of internal mismanagement and foreign intervention.



Foreign-affairs columnist John C. Bersia, who works part-time for the Sentinel, is the special assistant to the president for global perspectives at the University of Central Florida. He can be reached at jbersia@orlandosentinel.com.

Copyright © 2005, Orlando Sentinel

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Ezili Danto
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Paul Choisil Replies to J. Bersia - Thanks but no thank you!

Post by Ezili Danto » Wed Oct 12, 2005 6:38 am

Letter from Paul Choisil to J. Bersia of the Orlando Sentinel - Haitians will do it themselves, in the interest of the majority of Haitians, without your (protectorate) "help."

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Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 19:00:04 -0700
From: "Paul Choisil"
To: jbersia@orlandosentinel.com
CC: "zili danto" <erzilidanto@yahoo.com>
Subject: Gracious Haiti offers aid yet help should go the other way


Mr. Bersia,

While denying your missionary zeal and your blatant paternalism, you are slipping deeper into a swamp of disdain. Thus making your mission less covert.

I do not agree that the de facto Haitian Finance minister should play that miserable game to further damage Haitian dignity.

That de facto Finance minister could easily have made a personal donation for this amount.

However you should have shown the same
magnanimity by accepting that contribution, however small. I know that both the Republican and Democratic parties have accepted much less.

To find that a contribution of $36,000 is grand, considering the daily wage that the average Haitian ekes out, is ridiculous.
What has the average daily wage of an American worker to do with the billions being spent by your government, in so many prjects, to interfere in the internal affairs of so many countries?

In spite of the fact that "the United States has the means many times over to handle the aftermath of Katrina on its own", the handling was as disastrous as the hurricane itself. The whole world has witnessed this mishandling and more reports are coming to light of separated families, abandoned children, locked up people left to die in their cells. Of course, you will not classify this as bad governance or actions associated with a failed state.

So we all have our questionable leadership. I have not defended the corrupt Haitian l
eaders. Rather, I have intimated that those leaders were put in place because of their greed and willingness to defend the interests of minorities which represent international enterprises against those of Haiti. They can only accomplish their mission by being repressive. You must know that the result of every election is influenced by U.S. policies in a way that favors U.S. interests rather than those of Haiti. Another one is in the making, right now.

You completely ignore or you do not understand the will and determination of the Haitian people: they know exactly what they want. Herein lies the cause of the instability you mentioned. They will not rest until their ideals and demands are met. They have been resisting, for more than two hundred years, the pressure imposed on them by those who refuse to let them live as free and dignified men.

If the actual repression is now dished out by the United Nations, it can only hold them down temporarily and
if the electoral farce that the international community is preparing comes to stage, they will not bow their head.

Not anymore than they are now facing the might of eight thousand (8,000) well armed foreign soldiers.

Those are facts. Not petty verbal tirades. If you care to do some research, you can go all the way back to the pre-independance Haitian revolution.

No one can wipe that slate clean, because the illustrious history of Haiti is engraved in the mind and history of Latin America, the Caribbean and humanity. The actions of our ancestors have marked Haitians and all nations that strive for dignity and independence, for they were the world's first quest for human rights. These actions were taken without outside help. They were alone against the existing world and they generously helped those who turned to them for their own liberation. Do you know about Savannah? Your advisers on Haiti
should elaborate on this.

The real Haitians agree with you on addressing Haiti's "perennial problems of economic plight, poor governance and societal disruption. They want to systematically root out the remaining influences of past regimes; strengthen and energize Haiti's society; revamp and broaden education and training; and create the foundation for a free and open system".

They want and can do it themselves, in the interest of the majority of Haitians, without your help.

Paul Choisil

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Post by admin » Wed Oct 12, 2005 7:50 am

[quote]On several occasions, I have set forth an ambitious and, some would say, controversial proposal to assist Haiti in addressing its perennial problems of economic plight, poor governance and societal disruption: a 20-year suspension of Haiti's sovereignty...

Predictably, some critics have lashed out at the concept, dubbing it "Western paternalism," a leftover of a historical predisposition to "interfere in Haiti's affairs," and even a "missionary" attitude...

My starting point is not Western paternalism, a penchant for interference or missionary zeal; it is a desire for Haitians to enjoy the full range of human rights...

Toward that end, I am not advocating a controlling position by the United States -- far from it. I would hope for a U.S. role, because I believe this nation has a responsibility to help, but others should champion the cause. In other words, I am recommending internationa
l rule...[/quote]

If that is not Western paternalism (of the most pernicious variety), then Advanced Differential Equations are not mathematics, they are merely oriental literature.

John C. Bersia openly advocates the total disempowerment of Haiti, in the name of his nation's "responsibility to help" and there is absolutely nothing that we can ever say to change his mind on the matter. His credo is that Haitians should not be allowed self-determination, because they will continue to...fail (what other outcome is possible, Mr. Bersia?) Therefore, the U.S. via its U.N. proxy must impose its friendship, preferably for 20 years (why not 50?)

With Friends like that, does Haiti need any enemy?

Let Haiti live!

T-dodo

Post by T-dodo » Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:16 am

[quote]On several occasions, I have set forth an ambitious and, some would say, controversial proposal to assist Haiti in addressing its perennial problems of economic plight, poor governance and societal disruption: a 20-year suspension of Haiti's sovereignty.[/quote]

I can't believe I am reading this! Jesse Helms did all in his mighty power to undermine a democratically elected government so that it fail. And, indeed, it did. Now, the same people, who use their external hands to interfere with the management of the country, are claiming that Haiti cannot govern itself and it needs their taking over to manage it. This is like the case of the minor killing both parents and claiming society's responsibility to take care of him because, after their death, he became an orphan! Can Mr. Bersia deny that the actions of Jessee Helms were not for democratic or any other reasons except to prepare for a tak
eover of Haiti by the people who are financing his propaganda and hegemonic campaign? The real question is why do these people want Haiti other than to satisfy their self inflating ego? The follow-up question is: what vital interest the United States has in Haiti to justify us, parents of American soldiers, sending our children to go die for it when Haiti, perhaps without outside interference, might have been better off than it is today with Jesse Helms' help?

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Post by admin » Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:42 am

Welcome to our Ann Pale forum, Blackjoi! Your letter to Mr. Bersia articulates very well my own concerns. I am so tired of the Western Paternalism which this guy defends himself against and yet his exhortation is so drenched with so much paternalism that it could serve as a classic in the field. I did not dissect it as well as you have, because it is so tiresome. However, I like the example that you have given by formally replying to the writer.

He may be well-intentioned, who knows? There were plantation masters aplenty who were well-intentioned too.

Haiti is only 27,500 square kilometers, about the size of Maryland. LET HAITI LIVE! Self-determination for Haitians should not at this stage threaten the strategic interests of the United States. George Bush is a terrible president. So Haiti could have a bad president too. It is for Haitians to deal with, without the paternalistic and illegal (supply of arms to rebels)
interference from the U.S. State Department. It took the United States the best part of its existence to draw legislation to guarantee the civic rights of its Black population and disavow first black slavery then their lynchings. I did not see any country supporting an armed rebellion inside the United States in order to implement good governance on their part. Please... My friend, Serge Bellegarde suggested in a different thread that Mr. Bersia take some Haitian History lessons. Well, I would not even go that far. I would only suggest that he takes a critical look at the History of his own country. "A People History of the United States" by Howard Zinn would be an excellent start.

Once again, Blackjoi, thank you for joining us and for starting your participation with a well thought-out piece, which I truly appreciate.


Guy Antoine

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