"Do not go gentle into oblivion, Haiti, but rage, rage against the forces of evil, for freedom and democracy."
- Pearl McFarlane, rephrasing Dylan Thomas
On 1/20/05, George W. Bush will be installed anew as the U.S. President and Commander in chief of its Armed Forces.
For people with good conscience, the fight for global social justice continues, as it must.
I believe that I can safely speak on behalf of many who have come to this forum and I hope that you will join me in saying:
NO to the War on Iraq.
NO to the continued embargo on Cuba.
NO to coups in Haiti and elsewhere, reversing the result of democratic elections, when it does not suit the interests of the losers and their foreign sponsors.
NO to the mayhem in Haiti, paid for in dollars by the U.S.A. and in blood by the poor people of Haiti.
NO to the continued humiliation of Haitian nationalists, as they suffered yet another foreign occupation, masterminded by a U.S. administration to take place in 2004, the year of Haiti's bicentennial.
NO to the closing of a medical school in Haiti for the egregious excuse of hosting U.S. Marines. We say THANKS to Fidel Castro for rescuing the affected medical students and for the generous assistance of Cuban doctors, veterinarians, agronomists, and other professionals who are providing to Haitian countrymen the essentials for public health and a sustainable rural economy.
NO to the continued repression and the arbitrary arrests of priests and other citizens by an unconstitutional government iimposed on Haitians by the U.S. government.
NO to the inhumanity of detaining Haitian minors under the pretense that they constitute a danger to the national security of the United States.
NO to the never-ending fabrication of pretexts for having gone to war.
NO to GREED and unchecked ambitions.
NO to asking our sons and daughters to sacrifice their lives for reasons that simply insult our intelligence.
NO to favoring the balance sheets of large corporations over the health, education, and gainful employment of ordinary citizens.
NO to the tyranny of the Christian Right and the imperial aspirations of the so-called neoconservatives.
We say NO, a thousand times NO! Those policies have harmed this country and the world more than enough.
<p>We say </p><p>YES to all civic liberties made possible by the free exercise of our civic responsibilities, in the absence of government-manufactured fear.
YES to intelligent measures that will truly improve our SECURITY from terrorist threats, without rushing to wars under false pretenses that create greater instability in the world and more hatred for the American people.
YES to respecting the Haitian and Venezuelan peoples' right to self-determination.
YES to engaging in meaningful dialogue with the government of Cuba, instead of the cultivated adversity and tiresome cliches that have produced absolutely nothing beneficial for either Cubans or Cuban-Americans.
YES to the end of that fateful war on Iraq and the safe return of all those young men and women to their families.
YES to the creation of millions of new jobs, paying substantially more than minimum wage.
At the Inequality Matters Forum ( New York University, June 3, 2004 ), Bill Moyers concluded his keynote speech this way:
"What we need is a mass movement of people like you. Get mad, yes -- there's plenty to be mad about. Then get organized and get busy. This is the fight of our lives."
In essence, that is what a great many of us have been saying all along. We are sick and tired of U.S. Foreign Policy. While the U.S. domestic policy has been disastrous as well, we have stuck to our global outlook. It is true however that those two perspectives are not disconnected: to continue to reward the very rich, American foreign policy needs to ruthlessly pursue its aims of world domination and global exploitation. Should the focus for change then turn inward to our grave domestic inequalities or continue to spotlight the worst of the Empire (not strictly American) 's orchestrated horror in Haiti, in Iraq, in Sudan, in Palestine and elsewhere?
For the majority, the temptation is strong to simply continue to denounce U.S. Foreign Policy (and clearly, we must as long as it remains so devoid of basic humanitarian values). However, let's be frank, the recent U.S. elections have clearly demonstrated that the majority of Americans could not care less what the rest of the world thinks about them and are not moved by the injustices, on a massive scale, occurring in Haiti, in Iraq, in Palestine, and elsewhere. We have witnessed perhaps in the U.S. a fatal blow to idealism, just as we have witnessed its agonizing death in Haiti. True, the corpses are rolling in their graves, but the depressing reality in both countries may well be summarized in Sweet Micky's lyrics: "I don't care. I don't give a damn."
It always seems to come down to "What's in it for me?", "A Fistful of Dollars" or tax cuts, "For a few Dollars more", in a never-ending replay of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". So, we too will have to address those issues more adequately. We will have to make people see that what they don't want to know about will come back to haunt them. We will have to demonstrate that the tree that falls in the forest, unbeknown to them, has indeed fallen and will never provide to them or their children the shade that they will seek one day.
American people will come to understand that the history of the world did not begin on September 11, 2001. They were many other "September 11" in years fore, when American bombs and guns killed thousands more than the number of theirs who lost their lives, regrettably, at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. The blood of those victims was red, but red too is the color of the blood of the tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens killed by U.S. military might; red too is the color of the blood of U.S. soldiers and international civilian workers that has been shed and will continue to be shed in the service of a bloodthirsty empire. Sooner or later, in Iraq as previously in Vietnam, the majority of Americans will come to realize that the price of U.S. foreign policy, of its crass inhumanity, is simply too great to bear. But how many thousands more will die before we stop prostituting our conscience for a few dollars more?
Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti