<blockquote><p>Hyppolite, thank you for letting me know that my editorial on this case was forwarded and republished on the Corbett List, and of the adversarial response from Peter Dailey, which I publish below. My response to Peter Dailey follows his.
Note from a scoundrel to the Honorable Peter Dailey
Peter Dailey wrote:
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 1:03 PM
Subject: 26250: [Bob Corbett's Haiti list" - [email protected]
From: Peter Dailey
Were one attempting to summarize the status of Human Rights in Haiti over the last year, a detailed and comprehensive account could be drawn from NCHR-Haiti, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Haiti Democracy Project. The same could not be said for the IJDH, the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, Trente Septembre, or the Haiti Progres. There has not been a single episode- the La Scerie massacre, the killing of Dred Wilme, the soccer murders, etc.- where their desire for short term political advantage has not overriden their commitment to the truth. If anyone doubts this he or she has only to consult these organizations' websites to learn that La Scerie was a hoax perpetrated by Pierre Esperance, that 14,000 Haitians have been killed since February, 2004 as part of a genocidal campaign, that 60+ Cite Soleil residents were killed in the shootout between the U.N. and popular community organizer Dred Wilme, etc.
Unfortunately, Windows on Haiti is not a whole lot more reliable. In his recent post, Guy Antoine protests threats against the press under the current regime, pointing to the jailing of Kevin and Jean Ristil, and attempts to intimidate Guy Delva- the name of Jean Roche is an interesting or not so interesting omission- and asks where is Robert Menard and Reporters Sans Frontieres? I don't imagine Guy is suggesting that the situation today resembles even remotely the assault on the press freedom under Aristide- that would be ludicrous. If his point is that Haiti today is in incomparably worse condition than it was in February, 2004, thanks to the blan, he could probably find a more persuasive way of asserting this than heavy-handed sarcasm, which doesn't really suit him. But I suspect that his remarks about the hypocrisy of the French, Kofi Annan, the Americans etc. really have no purpose more exaulted than venting his outraged feelings over the trampling of Haitian sovereignty by the foreigner. I suppose I am sympathetic, although I heard all of it, every single bit, word for word, in 1994 from people of the same social background as Antoine although decidedly different politics, an experience which reinforced my belief that that sort of patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Given that MINUSTAH has been an enormous, expensive failure, why is it that the streets are not filled with people calling for the U.N.'s withdrawal, and that so far such calls have been limited to the Haiti Action Committee, Haiti Progres, and others with an interest in promoting disorder? Why, in a recent Gallup Poll taken in PauP, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, OKap, and Les Cayes, did the respondents overwhelmingly select J-C Duvalier as the best Haitian president of the last twenty years followed by Rene Preval? Why was the constitutional president at the bottom of the list along with Namphy and Avril?
The reality of Port-au-Prince today is that the population from top to bottom has been collectively traumatized by kidnapping and violence that has cut all the way across the ideological spectrum- from rapes by hoodlums who have outfitted themselves with razor blades and have turned popular neighborhoods into prisons from which no one may leave, from raids by police, ex-army, and criminal gangs financed by wealthy entrepreneurs. And as long as this is the case, MINUSTAH will continue to be seen as the one thing preventing the ultimate descent into a kind of Hobbesian universe and patriotic appeals such as Antoine's are likely to fall on deaf ears.
A friend of mine on this list sent me your review of my editorial letter. Oh, what joy! As Michael Corleone once stated: "Every time you want out, someone draws you back in..." (or something of the sort)
In the opening paragraph of your rebuttal, you camp on one side NCHR-Haiti (hard for you too to recall what they are called these days? I can't blame you!), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Haiti Democracy Project. They are the good guys. On the other side, you put in the IJDH, the HLLN, Fondasyon Trant Septanm, and Haiti Progrès. They are obviously the bad guys. Or at the very least, the unreliable sources of "the status of Human Rights in Haiti over the last year".
I coud not care one bit for your categorization, Peter, but I will say that, personally, I have always found the various Haiti reports from Amnesty International over the years to be credible and above partisanship. They have, understandably, been very critical of the state of human rights in Haiti both under Lavalas and anti-Lavalas governments. On the other hand, to claim that the Haiti Democracy Project has been an impartial reporter of human rights in Haiti over the years, including the last, seems suspect and far-fetched, as that organization clearly favored the coup, as far as we can see water in the sea. I will stop my comments at those two, as this is not the point of my message and I will try to keep it reasonably short. However, as always, I think the business of neatly categorizing good and bad organizations, newspapers and other, rather facile and in the end, unhelpful and deceitful in its own right.
But thank you, anyway, for listing your favorites and most disliked. The categorization may reveal more about you, the analyst and writer, than it tells us anything in particular about the organizations themselves. Then, interestingly -- or not so interestingly -- you bring in my website, Windows on Haiti into the comparison, a rather absurd proposition, and stated that it is not "unfortunately" a whole lot more reliable. Well, first of all, let me thank you sincerely, for checking the website at least once in a while, as it appears you have done. I am always concerned about the number of hits; that comes with the territory when you are the webmaster. So, keep on coming, please. However, I was a bit startled by the comparison. I did not expect to be in that league of majors, but thank you. Could I enlist your services as consultant for increasing the reliability of my website? I am not sure I can afford your fees, but it does not hurt to ask.
Actually, I think I got a free bit of advice in "...he could probably find a more persuasive way of asserting this than heavy-handed sarcasm, which doesn't really suit him." Oh, Peter, I am so sorry that my sarcasm did not suit you, I mean, me. Could you tell me which style of writing would suit me better? Anything to please you, Sir! Just tell me how best to phrase my opinions, and I'll do my best to write in a more palatable manner.
Let me try then to rephrase my opinion very succintly in a style you might prefer. I did object to the coup d'état in the making and I still do, now that it is a couple years old, nearly. The point of my unpalatable sarcasm, however, was that, given a coup d'état - abetted by the French, the Canadians, and the Americans - and the extra-constitutional installation of an interim government, one could have had clear expectations that the fruit you put in the bowl were better than those you discarded. No, I do not see a general improvement of the human rights record in Haiti. And throughout my "heavy-handed" sarcasm, I was questioning the value of the coup and the orgiastic convergence of democratizing forces in Haiti (sorry, my bad!)
I must also confess that I was particularly puzzled by your specific reference to Jacques Roche in this manner: "- the name of Jean Roche is an interesting or not so interesting omission". In which way do you find the omission "interesting" or "not so interesting"? What are you trying, subtly or not so subtly, to insinuate with that comment??? I confess that I did not know about Mr. Roche prior to his villainous assassination, but I have read enough about him afterwards to know first of all that his first name is Jacques, not Jean. Also, I understand from numerous credible sources that Mr. Roche was a humanist, a patriot, and maybe a columnist/editorialist (but actually not a reporter, as one could reasonably describe the professional activity of Kevin Pina, Jean Ristil, and Guyler Delva). That's my impression, anyway, and I stand to be corrected if I am wrong in this regard. Soon after I learned about his kidnapping, torture, and murder, I decried the horror. Now, help me, if you please, with the point that you obviously are trying (unfairly and mischievously) to induce in the minds of your readers. Spit it out! Could it be that I care less about Mr. Roche than the others? How exploitive!! I hold at least one branch of the Boniface/Latortue government responsible for the threatened or factual acts of intimidation against Pina, Ristil, and Delva, but I see no way, no freaking way, that I should have drawn Mr. Roche into that list. I cannot implicate any government in his murder. As a lawyer, Mr. Dailey, you know that perfectly well. As far as I know, some people were arrested in the course of the investigation into Jacques Roche's murder. I have not heard anything about the criminal case, since. Perhaps, you have already decided who is guilty in this matter, as scores of people have already done, without a shred of evidence. But I prefer to respect and honor the memory of someone like Jacques Roche, of whom I have read much to admire, than try to score cheap political points by capitalizing on his name, in circumstances that I am not knowledgeable about and, I am willing to bet, you are not either.
Finally, you claim that " MINUSTAH will continue to be seen as the one thing preventing the ultimate descent into a kind of Hobbesian universe " (Ah, just say "hell", that would suit you better) "and patriotic appeals such as Antoine's are likely to fall on deaf ears." I already knew they were falling on deaf ears, Mr. Dailey. Who wants to listen to a scoundrel? But I reserve my right to free expression, nevertheless. And through my ill-suited sarcasm, I am venting my frustration at the current state of human rights in Haiti. Deaf ears should not listen.