Looking back -- May 1997 (an open letter to Aristide)

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Looking back -- May 1997 (an open letter to Aristide)

Post by admin » Tue Jul 13, 2004 1:40 pm

I was going through my e-mail folders today, that are bursting by the seams with the accumulation of zillions of messages I received over the past decade, when my eyes came across this Open Letter to former (and future) President Aristide from a then trusted friend and adviser, Paul Déjean. I remember that this letter caused a lot of ripples in its day. It was even judged sensational at that time.

How well does it stack up today against recent History? I will leave that judgment to you, as this is not for me the point of this communication. Once in a while, I will publish other documents that were judged important in their time, when I come across them. Good reading!
Open letter to former President Aristide
by Cabinet Minister Paul Déjean
Libète -- # 242 -- May 28 1997

May 19, 1997

Titid my friend:

While I am in Miami for medical consultations, I decided I should not wait any longer to initiate this dialogue with you before the situation deteriorates further in Haiti.

Just as you speak on the radio or write in the newspapers to express your opinion from time to time on current events in Haiti, I am engaging into this public dialogue with you so that the public may hear us and get to understand better.

Recently you told one of my friends: "Polo is my father!." Well today the same Polo is writing to you.

This is what your old buddy, in other words your father, wants to tell you today: stop playing this hide-and-seek game with the Haitian people, publicly or privately, because games are just that and should not involve dirty tricks. Since the publication of the book entitled "Capitalism is a mortal sin" people expect more from you.

Furthermore, after 11 years of struggle --
remember Fresineau! -- after so many deaths --
remember Saint Jean Bosco on September 11, 1988;
remember the 4 kids killed at Lafanmi Selavi;
remember our brother Antoine Izmery killed at the Sacré Coeur Church on September 11, 1993;
remember Father Jean-Marie Vincent;
remember the more than 5000 people the army killed with bullets,
remember, remember .....

the list is longer than the litany on Holy Saturday in the old days -- our martyred people can no longer play games. Too much suffering! Too much blood! I ask your twin brother in the face of all that is happening in the country today: how can the heart of people like Father Antoine Adrien not be ravaged and even brought to a complete stop? In the face of all this useless suffering brought upon our people by power ambition, how can the heart of all those who love their dear country not be torn up?

Titid my brother remember the adage: when bathing in the nude, there is no point in trying to hide one's belly button. Remember that you had written a book to refute all the lies told about you after February 7, 1986. I
completed its translation into Creole even before 1989. I had even sent it to the printer. Yet, I stopped its publication because I had reservations about some of the moves made by my brother who calls me father. I remember that in the bible Paul stood up to Pierre and blamed him "because Pierre deserved to be blamed for he had not walked in the path of the truth"...In fact, I gave your book the title "In truth, here is the truth."

As much as I understood that initially you wanted to become one with the people, to identify with the people, I now begin to see that you want the people to become one with you, to identify themselves with you. The same pretension led us to what we both know happened in 1957.

I urge you to remember the words your older brother you call father said to you during a mass at the Port-au-Prince Cathedral on the occasion of the national funeral of the peasant Marcellus beaten to death by the army in Port Salut: "The people are the only guarantors of your power, the people are the only guarantors of your life".

Ever since November 1990, I used to repeat to you from time to time:
"remember that the people and not you are the real candidate!
remember that the people and not you are the president!"

I always thought that this was not idle chat on my part.

Thus, notwithstanding all the explaining you and others have done, as you know well everybody will understand that the people of Lavalas are not responsible for shedding the blood of the people, that they are not responsible for the disruption of the elections and distortion of the democratic process so conducive to the spreading of disorder, crime and corruption across the country thus giving those implicated wholesale in the coup d'état and working towards the same ends, including the people inside the country and our so-called big friends abroad, the opportunity to laugh shamelessly at us because what they were seeking the hard way seems to be within easy reach. However, beat up the dog as you may, expect its master to react ... though the people are not dogs .... though they do not have masters.

The people know we cannot have serious elections under the threat of arms, with the corruption of money, or the stuffing of ballot boxes so that certain candidates end up winning when the majority did not vote for them. Although some claim that it is all water under the bridge, these things will not pass because the people are not stupid. The illiterate but far-from-stupid people will show the literate class how they themselves are in fact stupid.

Titid, you call me, your old buddy, father, possibly because I am much older than you are. Well, as they say, the mouths of old people -- show respect! -- the mouths of old people stink but their words do not. Your old buddy who is the dean of the cabinet often tells his younger colleagues in the cabinet: "there are things happening under my eyes that I do not understand. Maybe I am too young. Maybe as I grow up I will understand!'

Titid, ... my young brother, as Creole is spoken, Creole is understood ....

so long!

Paul Déjean
(Polo for you)
Cabinet Minister for Haitians abroad

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