I want help understanding some things

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Post by admin » Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:15 pm

[quote]As you can see from the trash Michael Deibert posted in response to your question[/quote]
Jaf, have you perhaps dismissed those articles as "trash" the minute you saw Michael Diebert's name? Would you be patient enough sometimes to tell us exactly what parts of what he says are erroneous (he cites specific individuals, dates, and events) or how his logic [based on his readings of the political situation which he witnessed first-hand over several years, not as a tourist, not as one of those glamour correspondents, but as someone in the trenches, having to dodge bullets on occasion] is deliberately misleading or perhaps unintentionally faulty.

This is a real dilemma for me, as someone who wants to promote a true dialogue that will benefit our country. If "one" keeps characterizing everything that "the other" writes as trash, truly "the other" will keep characterizing what "one" writes as trash just as easily and just as dismissively. Then, will we ever be able to learn anything than what we already believe that we know? Will our knowledge ever be enriched? Will our judgments ever be tempered with the extraordinary complexity of Haitian politics? If you encounter a similar response from those who do not initially share your political ideology, and they dismiss everything that "Jafrikayiti" has to write or say as "trash", then how effective will you really be?

Sorry for singling you out, Jaf, I truly want to talk to everyone, but you just gave me the perfect opportunity. In a forum such as this, we truly have to engage the other, even if we totally disagree with him, because the real opportunity is for someone who has not already taken sides to evaluate "the one" and "the other", and see which parts of "the one" he agrees and disagrees with and which parts of "the other" he agrees and disagrees with. That's the real opportunity and in one phrase "the educational potential of the Ann Pale Forum". But if we persist in being disrespectful of other Forum members, because we do not share their points of view, then I wonder whose agenda is being advanced. Our positions harden, we become angrier, we talk past each other, and we end up right back where we started.

I do not write this note to come and try to rescue Michael Diebert in any way, because I truly believe that he has the full capacity to defend himself. Based on what I know of him, I also believe that he speaks from true conviction (in other words, that he is not agent, paid or unpaid, of the U.S. State Department). I also know that, as anti-Aristide that he may seem to be for writing a book which lingers in detailing the faults of Aristide - and truth be said, much of the opposition to Aristide as well), he also strongly favored the presidency of René Préval, as the person who will truly articulate the needs of Haiti's underclass. Is Deibert right? Is Deibert wrong? That's not for me to say at this point (because I am so terribly, exasperately slow at reading books these days), but I have read many of his articles and I would not label any of them as trash. Some of his points must be argued and I have done so privately and energetically over the years. The only message that I intend to pass here is that, on a public forum, it really does not pay to be completely dismissive of "the other". If we completely disagree, however, that's perfectly okay! But then, when we take the time to respond directly to just one or two of the arguments presented, then what we stay will stick in someone else's mind and they will then reformulate it as their own, and so forth and so on.

That's the long term view of what we do in a forum such as this, but had we rather be stuck forever in a zero-sum game?

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Post by admin » Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:41 pm

I want to add this. Jaf's post, in essence, is more thoughtful than what may be perceived. It presents, in my view, a different and constructive view of those gangs of Cité Soleil that are routinely derided as "chimères" by a fearful middle class, which is obsessed with the idea of maintaining its distance from the populo, a fear other powerful interests have capitalized on (through endless manipulation) and arguably, much more effectively than President Aristide ever did. (Check Apaid, Boulos, etc.)

This point deserves to be argued extensively, but unfortunately, my good friend Jean Saint-Vil's penchant for epithets weakens his argumentation, except if you happen to be just as militant (or even more so - yes, that's possible!) than he is. Why is that so? Simple: One is then too intimidated to say anything different (and run the risk of being labelled) or too disgusted to stick around. So, while everyone's starting position will be clear, there will not be the evidence of anyone's ever learning anything from the other, because of bruised egos or the clash of personalities.

Remember that no one ever signs up as a forum member in order to be beat up on. There are several agendas out there, but I don't think that's one of them. So I ask all of you to protect the diversity and usefulness of this forum, by deconstructing arguments whenever necessary and not by deconstructing the people who might wish to join our group.

Another point, and this one is specifically for Diebert: it would be nice of you to convey your points in a personable basis, and not through the repeated use of articles or stuff that gets posted in other forums or elsewhere. It is incredibly useful when one takes the time to introduce himself and participate in a direct conversation, not necessarily to make points (or to be defensive) but to demonstrate that one cares, period.

Michel Nau_

Post by Michel Nau_ » Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:25 pm

Apharion, a youth in Cite Soleil is no different from one from Harlem or East Los Angeles, California. They are disfranchised juveniles between the age of 8 to 24 years old who have been pushed by society and been forced to live in a terrible environment where there is no basic utility such as water, electricity, sanitation etc.

They have no choice but to defend themselves against the repressive action of an elite minority, and against the aggressions of regal power.

This is a social issue that needs to be addressed a soon as possible by the new government.

Social, political, and religious leaders should organize picnics at Cite Soleil to assess the living condition of those individuals and make recommendations to the new government on how to tackle those issues.

I do understand that taking a walk at Cite Soleil is not like touring a college campus, visiting dorms, cafeteria, and meeting staff and faculty members, but the idea is the same.

If we have to produce constructive change in our society, our leaders need to be devoted to make policies and take concrete actions that could fight poverty, racism, environmental degradation, lack of health services, and declining trust in governments.

Too often, we find on one side, foreign journalists and reporters using our juveniles ‘misery and misfortunes to criticize our leaders of lack of good governance. On the other side, we find our most zealous militants using them as foot soldiers, and glorifying them as heroes after they are six feet under.

This attitude needs to change if we want to save our youth!!

We need to do more than just lip service to the notion that persistent poverty is not consistent with the goals of our democracy.

We need to bring to Cite Soleil, what those kids are missing at home, community base programs, and supervised shelters where they can feel safe, and away from gang leaders.

Fighting poverty, bigotry, and false dogma must become a part of this new government's agenda.

Michel

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Post by admin » Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:21 pm

Welcome to Ann Pale, Michel Nau!

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