Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti

(rejected comment to T&G 1/17)

Just wanted to give y'all a heads up about why anyone would want to take a potshot at our boys, who are after all just trying to help. It will look like awful ingratitude, but there's a long and terrible history to it.

Haiti is not some faraway exotic place whose people brought ruin on themselves. We are sending troops into a country whose popularly elected government was overthrown by US troops twice in just the last twenty years! A country that was directly ruled by the US for twenty of the last hundred years, and whose brutal dictatorships - like that of Papa Doc Duvalier - were propped up by US aid and invasions, one after another.

Haiti was the richest provence of France in 1789, but most of its people were slaves. The French Revolution happened there too, and ended slavery, but Napoleon sent an army and tried to reimpose slavery on the people, after they had been free for ten years! The resulting war of independence was ferocious, and just about ruined Haiti.

When the people finally drove out the French, the slaveowners who dominated the US government, like Thomas Jefferson, reacted in fear and horror. All the nations of the world united to isolate, crush and regain control of this country, where the former slaves had dared to claim to be the equals of any person, and make an example of it. They have been punishing Haiti ever since.

The US does have a responsibility for helping Haiti to rebuild.. Equally important, we have a responsibility to let them have the democratic revolution they need and reclaim control of their own country.

We in Worcester should look at extending a helping hand to the many Haitians among us who are trying to help their loved ones, rather than send it all to outside charities and churches.
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