Windows on Haiti<blockquote><p>Monday, December 02, 2004 1:37 AM
The deportation of David Joseph
Guy S. Antoine
The decision might have been to reunite David Joseph with his younger brother Daniel and release them both in the care of a relative or a willing and responsible person in the Haitian community.
Instead they chose to deport David Joseph back to Haiti, where he runs the risk of being incarcerated upon arrival and killed eventually. I have visited some of the Haitian deportees in a jail at Leogane back in 2000. The conditions were extremely deplorable. I doubt very much that the conditions have improved since. In fact, from the reports we have seen recently, life for homeless Haitian kids, and even those who have a home but live in "quartiers populaires" suspected of being strongholds of Lavalas partisans, has gotten immeasurably mo
re dangerous, to the damning shame of this so-called technocratic government of Haiti and that of its employer, the Bush administration. Back in the year 2000, Lavalas was in power, and it was extremely disgusting that the Lavalas government did not do more to protect the sons of the Nation. Now Lavalas is out of power, and those who rejoiced over it should have expected a more humanitarian government, if that was their aim. Instead, we have witnessed a worsening of the situation in Haiti for its most vulnerable citizens.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same," one is tempted to say, but in Haiti's case, one is almost forced to wish that things would stay the same, because "ça va toujours de mal en pis" (things are always getting worse).
Two separate courts in the United States, a lower court and a court of appeals, had pronounced themselves in favor of David Joseph and ordered his release to a relative. Attorney General John Ashcroft overruled them, in the name of national sec
urity, and ordered David Joseph's continued detention. John Ashcroft has pursued this particular case with exceptional, if not fanatical vigor. Now that he has submitted his resignation and that he is serving in a lame duck position until his replacement has been ratified, it appears like he wanted to make sure that the next Attorney General would not reverse his absurd decision which he cloaked under the guise of national security. Therefore, he decided to deport David Joseph back to Haiti. I guess that he could not find enough grounds to re-assign David to Guantanamo to wait indefinitely for a military trial as an enemy combatant. However, he must have been satisfied that the hellish conditions in Haiti provided a suitable alternative.
As my wife exclaimed when she heard this latest report: "What the hell is wrong with John Ashcroft?"
We wish David Joseph the best of the unappealing set of conditions that must surely await him, but should he die like so many others, may his blood stains find their way to the doorstep of the Office of John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the Blue and Red States of America.