Thank you for your powerful note of introduction. You are more than welcome to be here. Based on what you have written, I am honored by your presence.
I read the suggestion that new members should post within thirty days introducing themselves.
Well, it's more than "should", it's MUST. We have a little more than 100 members, about 10 of which are truly ACTIVE, and that represents a major pain to me. If I did not enforece the "30 day" introduction rule, by now Ann Pale would have had more than 1,000 members (and even that number is seriously understated). But for what purpose? We are not in a popularity contest with anyone. Windows on Haiti is older perhaps than any of the other Haitian websites. It is also one of the least flashy. Our purpose has never been to amaze you by our technological savvy. We just want to present some good and accurate information about Haiti a
nd attract your Voices. Numbers mean nothing to us, content is everything. And the whole idea of being a member of a forum is to participate. Nine-tenths of the registered members (who have survived the 30-day elimination rule) still do not understand that. I have devoted a significant part of my life, trying to promote a dialogue between my brothers and sisters (and that means all of you, including the "blan", certainly). A respectful dialogue. But at the end of the day, this forum is a reflection of people's true interests in engaging in a respectful and fruitful dialogue. It's the same small group of people doing it all the time. Our web stats do show though that we get about 2 million page views a month. TWO MILLION! Most of those are from people who come to Windows on Haiti to check out what is new on Ann Pale, what is being discussed here. I imagine that most of the time, they must go away unsatisfied, due to the lack of participation in this forum, without realizing that the forum would be infinitely more interesting if they did more than just lurking: what about adding an opinion or some useful information just once in a while? Whay about adding to our collective wisdom, by contributing your own thoughts, not in a confrontational way as one particular member has always insisted on doing, but in a true collaborative and respectful manner? We are not asking for dissertations, we are simply asking for your basic participation in simply letting us know what YOU think about the subject matters on this forum. You could do so in 2 or 200 sentences: your choice! Is that too much to ask of anyone?
You have an interest in Haiti and Haitians, that's all we have ever asked for. You can also probably cast your vote along the line of your interest and at least try to influence your country's general policy and attitudes towards Haiti. That's valuable. You're an "old" lady? We have nothing against ladies, especially those who have had the opportunity to accumulate some wisdom about the ways of the world. In the end, we don't really care whether you are an old hen or a young chick, or whether you are a hen or a rooster, we just want to hear your voice as a unique and caring individual.I am both nervous and shy about doing so. You may wonder, what in the world am I doing here? I'm a music teacher living in New Mexico. I'm a "blan" and an old lady to boot.
The closest I've ever gotten to actually visiting Haiti was a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship visit to Labadee. Other tourists saw the hammocks, the tropical drinks and food and the perfect beach. I saw the carefully concealed barbed-wire fence around the place and the weapons the guards carried.
Well, you have seen more than they wanted you to see. In just three sentences, you have brought to the forum a new, personal, and powerful testimony that we should always look for signs of what's really going on, challenge the $$manufactured$$ propaganda, and open the windows that the lies may fly out.
Still does not make sense to me either, but over the years I have developed a perspective of why that has come about. The answers do not conform strictly to ANY global ideology. It is a convergence of factors, and we should strive to understand them all.There were a couple of Hatian string players in Philadelphia that I played gigs with from time to time as a free lancer. Impressive people. I mostly observe from a distance, so lurking on line comes naturally to me. I've watched other Haitians and what has never made any sense to me is how a nation made up of such articulate, charming, hard working and creative people could be so desparately poor and have such a violent history. It just did not make sense to me.
So I started to read.
I've read a fair bit, and am still struggling to understand. Recently I've read Farmer's The Uses of Haiti. I've read Aristide's books. I've read Edwidge Danticat. I've read books like "The Best Nightmare on Earth" and "Restavek".
Wow! You've made some darn good choices. How did you go about selecting your reading material?
Fr. Jean-Juste's arrest was perfectly outrageous, as you said, and his continued jailing perfectly reveals the evil at the core of Haitian politics and Haiti's relations with the government of the United States which sponsors such institutional injustice in the country. Sheer Evil. The Boniface/Latortue government should be made to answer for their complicity in wholesome violations of human rights in Haiti. While they are mere employees of Condoleezza Rice's State Department (and I think that most people understand that), their foremost obligation was to ensure free and fair elections in Haiti. While Fr. Jean-Juste languishes in prison, that fact by itself (on top of the systematic repression of the poor people of Haiti) gives THE LIE TO THE U.S. SPONSORED FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN HAITI. It is a masquerade party. The only interesting question has been whether to reject the invitation outright - OR - to hold our noses, respond positively to the invitation, get inside the privileged club, and ruin their party by asking loudly for "mayi moulen ak pwa" in lieu of caviar and foie gras.During the summer I picked up the news of Fr. Jean-Juste's arrest while doing a websearch on Haiti. Prior to this I had not heard of him, but the arrest seemed perfectly outrageous.
I have followed that story closely as it has unfolded, and through it have educated myself on the various twistings and turnings of the current interim government in its efforts to avoid having anything like a free and fair election.
I am still trying to puzzle out how the United States' use of military force to remove the elected president of a country promoted the spread of democracy.
Along the same line as terrorizing the world to promote a safer world... Who, truthfully, represents the greater danger to our community today, George W. Bush or Bin Laden?
Well, I hope that my answer to your introduction post has convinced you to stay, If you quietly move on, you'll join several hundreds more who have done the same. I hope that you will stick around for a while.So there you have it. I will lurk and read and maybe post from time to time. If I offend or should not be here, let me know, and I will quietly move on.