Buying a Child in Haiti

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Barb
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Buying a Child in Haiti

Post by Barb » Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:24 am

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5330271

There was a video presentation on ABC this evening entitled "Buying a child in ten hours." It's all about Haiti...



I found it graphic, exploitative and heart wrenching, especially the "fix" at the end where the mother under the encouragement of ABC stood up to her husband, was reunited with her child and then thrown out onto the street for defying her husband. The mother chooses to place the child in an orphanage and you see the departure of the mother and the absolute desolation of the little girl. I don't know what the solution is but this obviously isn't it.

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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:25 am

Barb, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I found it exploitative as well. It seemed that they made a sport out of it. Does the news division need to manufacture sensation to call attention to a social problem? In doing so, don't they exacerbate the problem by showing people who may be so inclined how easily and cheaply they may buy child labor and prostitution in Haiti?

When it comes to Haitians, everything seems to be fair game to the news makers. Haitians are portrayed as worshiping devils, eating mud pies, selling their children, and participating in other sensationalistic activities that make us the complete freaks of the Western Hemisphere. It's not enough that we are labeled the poorest (never described as the most impoverished, historically). It's not enough that we are famished. It's not enough that parents are overburdened with too many mouths to feed. We must be portrayed as completely vulnerable to the "bargain hunters", those who can buy our bodies as well as our souls on the cheap, including a wide range of sex profiteers encompassing pedophiles, propagators of the AIDS virus, U.N. Helmet rapists, tourists/journalists with voracious sexual appetites; extending to proselytizers who can "save more souls" in Haiti with a fistful of dollars than they could anywhere else. In the end, nothing is ever done to effectively lower the misery index, but the conversation at the water cooler can change from "did you know that Haitians eat mud pies?" to "did you know that Haitians sell their children for as little as 100 dollars?" Yep, thanks to ABC News and other manufacturers of freak news reports based on the sensationalism of human poverty.

Would they link those effects to the lack of domestic and foreign investments; the practices of discouraging local production in favor of cheap imports such as U.S. rice and "dark meat" chicken; the grotesquely insane profits of Big Oil companies that drive up the prices of just about all staples in already overexploited markets; the adoption of foreign structures of power sharing that are undermined by tradition and corruption; the collection of interest on debts contracted in confidentiality at the highest levels and disbursed only at same levels; the loss of autonomy and the propensity of foreign intervention; the lack of accountability in government and the fundamental weaknesses of our law enforcement and penal systems; the absence of fairness in trade policies; the lack of jobs, the migration of labor and the brain drain. Granted those are factors the full understanding of which may require substantive education in international politics, economics and finance, but wouldn't it be an infinitely better use of the news media to begin to explain the world in which we live in terms that lead to further exploration by those who seek to understand and/or lift our burdens than sensationalist ones like "let's compete and see in just how few hours we can purchase a Haitian slave child" ?

[quote]
I found it graphic, exploitative and heart wrenching, especially the "fix" at the end where the mother under the encouragement of ABC stood up to her husband, was reunited with her child and then thrown out onto the street for defying her husband. The mother chooses to place the child in an orphanage and you see the departure of the mother and the absolute desolation of the little girl. I don't know what the solution is but this obviously isn't it.[/quote]
I did not see the original program, only the video provided by the media link on ABC's site. That "fix" which you describe and comment on is conspicuously absent. Could it be that the purveyors of sensational journalism found that segment not as easily packaged for their intended markets and therefore edited "the fix" due to the absence of any soothing factor? Obviously, a look of lingering gratitude from the little girl would have been far more preferable to their eyes than "the absolute desolation" originally portrayed that was perhaps too conducive to a moral hangover.

Nevertheless, I hope that Haitian society leaders will have seen this episode and others like it that are practically force-fed to a North American and even international public with frightful regularity, and understand that as Haiti is driven through the mud, so are they. And no one else will take the measures to stop this.

Barb
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Post by Barb » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:50 am

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Nightline/sto ... 508&page=1

Here's a six page text transcription with (as of the time I looked at it) 120 posted comments about the show. It gives a more complete picture of the entire broadcast.

I guess I am angry because it is like an advertisement for pedophiles to "come and get it." First Stella gets her groove back and now this.

Another thought I had--ABC should do a similar show sending someone down to Haiti to purchase the Brooklyn Bridge just as a comparison point. I'm sure people could be found there who would be willing to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to tourists as well.

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Post by Leoneljb » Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:40 am

Ok Guys, I think that is an outrage. But, it's Reality!

We can not be angry at ABC for reporting a problem that existed for Centuries in the World and especially Haiti.

I disagree with you that because of ABC's, Freaks would go to Haiti. They are already there.

The Truth is the Truth! We need to face it no matter how displeasing or disgusting it is to our taste...

It is indeed a very Sad Fact!

Leonel

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Post by Serge » Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:52 pm

Kanmarad,

I saw the whole piece on Nightline and I was so outraged! But I do have to agree with Leonel that even if we are angry at ABC, it is the weakness of our institutions - like Guy suggested - the corruption in our society, the economic situation that is conducive to these conditions and these behaviours. We know that these news organizations are always looking for sensational pieces like this. They feed on this kind of stories. You will not see ABC talk about the many roads that are being built, the amount of power plants being built and so on. But the bottom line is that we have to be the ones to show that Haiti has better things to offer. I do not know if you saw the response from Mr. Raymond Joseph last night - I guess ABC accepted to give him a few seconds for the sake of "balance". He said that it was not fair for ABC to paint Haiti with a big brush, and that this does not happen wholesale in Haiti (I am paraphrasing). And does he think that this is going to be enough? It was pitiful - at least the piece shown by ABC. He should have been in the position to announce that he had officially asked ABC to provide the Ministry of justice of the Haitian Government with a copy of the tape, so that the individuals involved in these transactions could be identified and prosecuted! There should be a wholesale investigation to identify the gang that is involved in this kind of activity and abuse. But no, zip!

Bottom line, this is a total failure of our institutions, of our society, a breakdown of values. And when you think that instead of dealing with these serious issues, those members of Parliament are busy talking about morality when it comes to the ratification of Michèle Pierre-Louis, whose record of helping the poor and the downtrodden is impeccable.

Yes, we should be angry, but we should be angry first at those fools in Haiti; this incompetent political class; those intellectuals who write excellent books, no doubt, but who are totally politically ineffective, but yet, think that they know; those members of Parliament who use their constitutional powers and think they are powerful when in fact, show their lack of vision.

ABC, CNN and all the others, will continue doing what they are doing. They do not give a damn whether we are angry or not. They have already turned the page and are looking for the next sensational story, which may be what Guy suggested: the bombing of Iran...

Serge

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Post by Leoneljb » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:21 am

You know, besides Guy, Serge is also one of the Guys at Ann pale who really is eloquent... I like his writing and Wisdom! This is why I like being part of Ann Pale. I am learning from these Great Guys.

Anyway, Serge, what I wanted to say is this. We had that problem for a long time. I don't know when and why it started. But, I know that there were and are some Kids still living as Slaves in Haiti. I wish that the Government whould make it illegal to own a (Restavek) Slave.

I've witnessed it at home. And I am ashamed to admit that I was part of that great injustice. I feel that I won't be at Peace until I find every little Kid whom stayed at my House and do some types of reparation for the harm caused to these innocent Victims... So far, I found only one and gave him money to buy a land (that is all I could afford, I wish I could give more).

I believe that almost everyone of us is guilty on that aspect. We all almost had some 8-15 year old kids doing the harsh jobs of cleaning and doing all those crappy stuff we couldn't, because it was so degrading. I believe a lot of us did not eat the same food than Little???. I believe that they could not share the same table and go to the same School than us.

The reason I didn't generalise it, because, I knew this great Woman (she was an Angel) whose so-called RestavEk went to St Louis ak ME Lalue...

Maurice Sixtot touched us with the story of Ti Ste Anise years ago. But yet, we didn't get it. We had to wait for ABC to poke at that existing cancer. It is a Shame! A country where slavery was illegal for Centuries, supposedly.

It won't be easy to get rid of this type of Injustice. For, so many are enjoying the fact that THEY are doing what the "Colon" used to do: owning Slaves.

I believe that ABC is doing the right thing exposing it. We, as Haitians, should go after the Government to abolish Slavery and Human trafficking in Haiti. This was not Dessalines, Toussaint, Petion and Christophe's Plans!

L'union Fait la Force (Tout Moun se Moun)

Leonel

Serge
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Post by Serge » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:39 pm

Thanks for your kind words, Leonel. But if there is one forceful, eloquent fellow on this forum, it is indeed Guy. Whatever, the subject, he is ready to go.

Leonel, this is such a touchy, structural issue in our society that people generally avoid talking about it. This is unfortunately one of the worst legacies of our French colonial past and our poverty just accentuates the problem. As far as I am concerned, ABC is just doing its job as a big news organization, we are not doing ours.

In my family too, we had a young kid too who came from Jeremie. My mother was in touch with the parents and I can say he was not mistreated, thanks God, except for the usual reprimands to which we were also subjected. My mother made sure though that he was registered to go to night school and I remember checking his homework regularly and making sure that he was not fooling around when he had work to do. Nevertheless, the system was and remains atrocious and now that it is coming to light, people get vexed , but as you say, it is a reality and when I think of the "Repugnant Elite" (as coined by the Los Angeles Times) referring to them as "moun sa yo", this gives an idea of how much more remains to be done in this -why not be blunt and say it - apartheid society.

Unfortunately, this problem is much too common, if you have been following what is occurring around the world. In Brazil, for example, the problem is very much prevalent and the mistreatment is as harsh and inhuman, but since the market is so much bigger than Haiti, you only hear about it occasionally, or Brazilian authorities deny it altogether, in the same manner they deny that there is racial discrimination in their country.

In all the English-speaking countries of the West Indies which I have visited, I have not seen this problem. In that respect, British colonialism did a much better job than the French in the Caribbean and it certainly shows now.

But let me stop here before I get carried away.

Serge

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Post by jafrikayiti » Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:31 am

These articles and documentaries usually come out just in time to divert attention from other events having to do with REPAIRING the lasting damages caused by the MAAFA, 4 centuries of real, church-blessed and supported, state codified and sponsored racial slavery.

The Durban II Conference is just around the corner....

Back in 2001, just around the time of the Durban I conference a similar set of articles came out with suggestive titles like:

« Where Slaves Revolted, Slavery Thrives» in Businessweek.com

My contribution to the discussion which started on Corbett list is archived here:

http://www.webster.edu/cgi-bin/search/s ... i+restavek

Among the key points i made then and I still consider valid now:
[quote]
1) A restavèk in Haiti is always poor, often exploited and in some instances the victim of sexual abuse but the use of the word «slave» to refer to a "restavèk" is grossly misleading and done for racist political reason.

2) True, in Haiti, there are millions of extremely impoverished child labourers, abused children who are not getting the protection they deserve from their government, parents, society, world community.

3) it is wickedly disingenuous to suggest that this form of child abuse is practiced in Haiti because, 200 years after fighting for and winning their freedom, the negroes who inhabit Haiti know not anything better than that the barbaric white slavers taught them. This may be suitable for the bulk of businessweek.com's readership - especially in the wake of Durban - but it is nothing more than ignorant white supremacist propaganda. And I, for one, find no reason to use hypocritically-correct language to describe it.

Furthermore, I am not at all comforted by the fact that, according to Ms. Hoag's article, the Haitian Government has as it's main allies in this most important fight against child abuse (including the practice of «restavèk»), organizations that have, at best, a very questionable record in these very matters.

The experiences of empovrished First Nation's children at the hands of the Catholic Church in Canada (see: the story of the Children of Duplessis), in Australia and, of course black children in Haiti, Africa and all over south America recommends serious caution and alertness. Pingga nou kouri pou lapli n al tonbe nan larivyè! Is it not also true that children are sometimes stolen from Haiti, the Philippines and other places by sexual perverts dressed as saviours travelling by plane!!!

Perhaps, this article signals that it is high time for the Haitian government to recognise and act upon the fact that institutions such as Foyer Maurice Sixto, named after this great Haitian intellectual who brought the fight against the practice of «restavèk» to the forefront of Haitian consciousness and popular culture in the 80's, should be for the most part managed by Haitians, for Haitians and, of course, with Haitians funds. Otherwise, we run the risk of, once again, seeing the plight of the poorest of the poor among us be hijacked and exploited by those who have a hidden and most malicious agenda.[/quote]

http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti- ... 08986.html

You may also see that many Haitians do disagree with the view I expressed above for instance, this brother who warned that "Those who mean well should embrace that criticism instead of wrapping themselves, as St. Vil does, in the wounded flag of so-called national dignity". See this thread:

http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti- ... 09009.html


Likewise you will find what was said on the topic on this very Annpale with contributions from Ezili Danto among others.

http://annpale.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=752

My conclusion remains that Haitians should invest their time and energy dealing with the ills of their society but as we do, we better learn how to ignore hypocrites whose agenda have nothing to do with helping us solve such problems.

Jaf

Leoneljb
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Post by Leoneljb » Sun Jul 13, 2008 6:33 am

RespE,

I wanted to know if you all agree on the meaning of Slavery below:
Slavery is a State of Subjugation to AN OWNER or A MASTER...

Synonyms: Bondage, enslavement, helotry, serfdom, servility, servilitude, servileness etc etc.
By Thesaurus.com

Mwen pa vle rete trOp sou meaning mo'a. Men, mwen te vle di ke mwen pa wE diferans ant lE oun moun po lanvE te vinn an Amerik li vann oun Afriken ak oun lOt ki fE kado oun ti Moun pou la vi miyO ke mEt kay la pa mete dOmi nan menm kote ak ti moun parEy li. Oun ti Moun ki pa manje menm manje ak lOt Moun. Anplis, li pa manje sou tab ak lOt moun. Li pa al nan menm lekOl ak lOt moun...

Mwen pa vle al nan fondamental poukisa, e, kilEs ki la koz. Men, nan liv pa'm l'ap toujou rele ESKLAVAJ.-

Tout Moun se Moun

Religion and Capitalism prove otherwise!

Leonel

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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Sun Jul 13, 2008 8:27 am

[quote]mwen te vle di ke mwen pa wE diferans ant lE oun moun po lanvE te vinn an Amerik li vann oun Afriken ak oun lOt ki fE kado oun ti Moun pou la vi miyO[/quote]Trad: I don't see the difference between a White Man coming to America to sell an African and some other giving a child to make ends meet.

Leonel, I know that you mean well, but what you say is truly outrageous. For someone like you who has such a big heart, I think that you are terribly careless in your assimilation of these two wholly different situations, both of which are condemnable everyone would agree. Let me just cite a few differences that you gloss over:
- in the case of the "Timoun", there is no Middle Passage (one of the most horrific crimes in the history of mankind, surpassing in scale even the Jewish Holocaust).
- the alienation is not TOTAL (at least in most cases); the child or adult is not captured from his community by brute force, by being shot at, or by being trapped like a wild animal. By contrast, he is accompanied by a parent who loves his child but who is resigned to separate himself/herself from that child due to economic necessity and in the hope of a more favorable economic outcome for himself/herself and the child. We can generally assume that parents in the countryside who have engaged in this practice do not hate their children.
-when the child arrives at destination, he is not kept with chains on his neck and both ankles.
- the child is not branded (physically, that is) as belonging to a Legal Master who can dispose of him/her at will, even kill him/her in plain sight without fear of legal consequences.
- the child is a person and does have legal rights (even if he/she is treated like a dog in practice, he/she is not by definition an animal)
- the practice of child labor (and I am not defending it in any way!) has happened in practically all modern societies and, except in the case of Haiti, they never labeled it as "slavery". It happened in England. It happened in the United States of America, and not that long ago! It happened during the Depression. Polanve (a long time ago member on this forum) related about this in a personal way. It happens at times of economic necessity. It may yet happen again at a time of prolonged economic depression, if that comes. This condition is a by-product of economic insufficience, a reflection of the misery index. Such was not the case for the British, the Spanish, the French and other Slavery Systems which were based on pure greed and fully coded methods of dehumanization and total exploitation.

Now, are there similarities between colonial slavery and the exploitation of child labor [our informal "Timoun" system, also called "Restavek"]. Sure, there are! But to say that they are identical is to give a huge gift to the "colons" (Gèt manman yo!)

Sorry if I am mad. I am not mad at you. But I am mad as hell against the whitewashing of the most ignominious crime in human history by equating it to the "Timoun" system in Haiti, as ignominious it may be in its own right (not in all instances, not by a long shot). I am not upset when I hear that "Restavek" is a form of slavery. I "KNOW" that it is quite often so, and Haitians should be keen on eradicating all "forms of slavery" in the land that witnessed the only successful slave revolution in the world. But to fail to appreciate any difference between the servitude of our African-Haitian ancestors and the servitude of timouns in Haiti (more keenly related to domestic labor) is disingenuous and a dangerous distortion of ourstory.

[quote]
..ke mEt kay la pa mete dOmi nan menm kote ak ti moun parEy li.
..ti Moun ki pa manje menm manje ak lOt Moun.
..li pa manje sou tab ak lOt moun.
..li pa al nan menm lekOl ak lOt moun...

Trad: ..that the head of household will not allow to sleep in the same room as his own children ..that the "timoun" (usually called that way, not the currently fashionable "restavèk - reste avec" term preferred by human rights ideology) does not eat the same meals the others do ..he/she does not eat at the table with others ..he/she does not go to the same schools as others in the household...
[/quote]
Leonel, you cannot be that naive! You could have chosen much better examples of dehumanization. What you cite here are, in comparison, benign and common practices of domestic labor all over the world. What happens in many situations in Haiti is much, much worse than you portray. Let's resolve together to put an end to widespread child and gender abuse in Haiti. We can do so without equating this deplorable situation to colonial slavery, because it surely ain't that.

Guy

P.S. I am sorry, I am truly sorry because I had resolved to no longer get involved in this kind of exchange... but Leonel, you managed to push all of my buttons at once. And I do love you, brother, because I happen to know who you really are: a generously minded and truly kind person. Men poukisa ou fè m move konsa gwo dimanch maten sa? M'ap rele Tayi pou li konfese mwen. [Trad: But why did you get me so mad this Sunday morning? I am calling on Tayi to hear my confession.]

I am going to try hard to go back to my editing corner.

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Post by Serge » Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:10 am

Leonel,

Kesyon ou parèt ak li la enpòtan anpil, men gen anpil, men se yon kesyon pou gade byen sou tout kote li.

Mwen dakò avèk ou ke sou plan pratik la, yon ti moun (oubyen gran moun) yap trete tankou bèt, yap bat toutan, ki paka al lekòl, ki pa gen aksè a anyent, nou gen tandans di sa se leskavay. Gen yon seri mo konsa pandan evolisyon sosyal, konsèp yo vin laji pandan kondisyon yo ap chanje. Mwen konsidere leskavay la se yon mo konsa, sitou lè kèk aspè nan leskavay la kap kontinye toujou, menm lè yo pa rele li konsa.

Pa ekzanp, lè wap gade kouman diktati Divalye a te aji, lè youn pat ka pale ak lòt, kote makout te ka arete nenpòt ki moun, fout li nan prizon, bat li, fèl manje nenpòt k....li etc. etc. (Li Fort-Dimanche, Fort La mort), eske sa pat kon pase nan tan lesklavay? Koulye a, yo rele sa diktati .

Sa Leonel wè nan tout koze sa, se rezilta final la: nèg nwè kolon an rale nan Lafrik pote vini pa bò isit pou toupizi li; moun jounen jodya kap van ti moun pou yo maltrete yo apre.

Poutan Leonel, gewn gwo diferans nan de sityasyon sa yo ou paka mete sou kote, e se sa mwen kwè ki fè Guy monte sou chwal li konsa. Nan epòk lesklavay, se te politik Leta menm ki tap bay lesklavay jarèt. Te gen lwa nan peyi sa yo ki te di espesifikman nèg nwè pa moun e yo te ka trete pi mal pase chen. Eske ou sonje nan lane 50 60 isit nan peyi Etazini sa ki te kon pase? Dayè jis koulye a, gen yon seri lwa rasis ki nan liv toujou nan peyi sa. Gen lwa sa yo ki la depi nan epòk lesklavay. Kididonk, esklav te ka 1) aksepte zafè li e kontinye pran kalòt li; 2) revolte e se sa ki rive lakay nou, nan Lafrik di Sid, Zimbabwe; 3) oubyen ou te ka gen gwoup moun pwogresis ki deside goumen kont politik pwòp gouvènman yo.

Nan ka presi pwoblèm lakay nou, se pa Leta ayisyen ki sipòte sistèm sa. Nou gen yo pwoblèm klas kolon franse yo kite pou nou, ou gen yon klas moun ki rete ak pakèt prejije yo, ou gen yon seri sikonstans istorik ki fè sistèm sa toujou rete nan peyi a, e sistème ap kontinye fonksyone , pa paske Leta aysisyen ap sipòte li, men paske ou gen yon seri enstitisyon ki pap fonksyone, ou gne koripsyon kap boulvèse lòlòj nou, e ou gen yon lelit ki pap regle anyen nan peyi. Nou gen yon sosyete sivil ki moribon e ki chaje ak kontradiksyon ladan.

Mwen pa kwè ou kapab pale koze restavèk nan peyi Dayiti nan menm kontèks ak lesklavay, paske se de sistèm diferan , jan Guy di li nan mesaj li a. Mwen konpran kouman Leonel e anpil lòt moun kapab, sou emosyon yo, di ke se menm bagay. Men mwen pa kwè nou ka fè sa, paske ou pa ka itilize menm mwayen pou rezoud yo. Li byen fasil pou la près isit itilize mo sa pou Ayiti; se nou ki gen do laj. Tout kalifikatif bon pou nou. Men si ou ta chita ak moun yo, nan yon ti koze prive, pou fè yo konpran ki diferans ki genyen, yo taka dakò ak ou nan prive, men pa gen anyen ki tafè yo al devan piblik la pou esplike sa epi mande piblik la pou yo pa itilise yon mo pou yon lòt. Laprès pa fonksyone konsa.

Kididonk Leonel, kose sa tèlman gen diferan rakò ladan ke ke nap bezwen bon jan lidèship ak vizyon pou nou rezoud li.


Serge

Leoneljb
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Post by Leoneljb » Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:36 pm

Great, I am going to my corner on that one also.

For, we have very divergent views on what Slavery is. I understand that one was State sponsored and Legal. But, based on my own analysis of the other, there is not big difference. Yes, it is a different era. What the Slaves wore (chains and stuff) physically, the Kids have it Mentally. They are considered as Sub-Human. This is far from being Naive. This is my own observation which I had longtime ago.

Once more, what is the meaning of Slavery? Isn't Servility one of them? It doesn't matter if it came from a White Person or a Black Person. A Crime is a Crime. There are different Crimes, I agree. But, owning a Human Being and treating him as third class Citizen is outrageous to me. Perhaps, one refuses to admit it for other reasons. Such as, this type of servitude is only temporary. For, the Kids get paid later if He or She becomes a BOnn or Jeran... Unlike our Forefathers who were born and died into Slavery. But, the stigma is still the same. It stains deeply for Generations.

Mesye, mwe ta renmen konnen poukisa nou wE ke yo konplEtman diferan an? Mwen panse ke kolon ki te mete moun an esklavaj yo, te toujou panse ke li pa fE anyen mal. Paske se achte ke yo te achte. Menm jan ke se Manman'l ou Papa'l ki te banmwen'l. Mwen menm PEsonElman panse ke si de bagay sa yo pa menm. Kidonk, pa vrEman gen oun mo ki rele esklav!!! Paske se de Moun ki volontEman ki t'ap bay lamen fOt...

By the way this is not because I've been brainwashed (which is very insulting). But, it is my own opinion. I really think this is my final one on this issue. Because, I've touched on this before. It won't really converge...

Comme eut a dire l'autre:

Until the Philosophy of one person (race) is Superior
and another inferior is permanently discredited and abandonned...

Leonel

Serge
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Post by Serge » Sun Jul 13, 2008 7:59 pm

Leonel,

I think the point is not that we have "very divergent views" on this issue, because we all agree that exploitation is exploitation. There are always degrees of exploitation, but the bottom line is that it is exploitation.

The point I was making in underlining the [quote]State- sponsored [/quote]slavery is the following. When it is the State that is practicing slavery, it takes much more to put an end to it. History is there to show how difficult it was to bring gvts. to ratify anti-slavery treaties and to put an end to slavery in their own territories. Even now, there are some contries that still pratice it, albeit not officially.

When the State is not the sponsor, there are many more means for an invidual, an international organization or a Human Rights organization to denounce and seek prosecution of the guilty, because the State is obligated to intervene. Now the problem that arises - and that is our case- when the institutions charged with dealing with this issue are weak or are non-existant. Haiti is not the only country in this situation, where cases of slavery have been discovered. AS I suggested in my previous post, if you were to estabolish a chart, you would see that if you compare the classic definition of slavery as the concept was first coined, to what is happening now, you will see that the strict definition has loosened quite a bit to cover much more, for the simple reason that concepts like this evolve; nothing is static. But the imporant is that the common denominator remains: exploitation of a human being by another.

So, I do not believe that my view is "very divergent" from yours, or maybe not at all, but, to denounce slavery is one thing, and to act on it to eliminate it is another. Such an initiative falls in the realm of human rights and Haiti is a signatory to many human rights conventions. You may say that this is theory, but if you want to effectively deal with the issue, in my view, this is the way to go. And again, that is where we see the weaknesses or the non-existence of Haitian institutions in that respect. I bet you that there are authorities in Haiti who must have seen the video (Raymond Joseph saw it). I am speculating, based on past history, that there is not even an attempt to identify the guy on the video who was asking $150.00 for the child, or to identify the place where the "transaction" was taking place. If there is, I will be happy to stand corrected. This is a reality.

So Leonel, I do not think the issue should be circumscribed to a matter of definition of slavery. In this day and age, we should be talking about the broader issue of exploitative conditions in which human beings - men, women, young, old, female, male - find themselves, so that we can attack the problem from the perspective of Human Rights covering social rights, economic rights, cultural rights etc etc.

Slavery is exploitation, trafficking in human (boys, girls) is exploitation, forced labor is exploitation, beating of the young girl we saw in the video is exploitation. And I could go on and on.

We all agree Leonel, that this is totally unacceptable and that is the bottom line.

Serge

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Post by Guysanto » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:18 am

As Serge indicated, Language (all human languages) is a fluid entity. Like a river constantly adapts to newer physical surroundings and keeps on flowing, so does language to reflect the changing condition of humanity. So, certainly, the word "slavery" has expanded to reflect more contemporary forms of human exploitation. I think that we can all agree on that.

I have often read that the Restavek or Timoun situation in Haiti is "slavery". I generally do not react to those statements for three reasons:

1) "slavery" is just a word, and like all words, it's usually difficult to know with precision the particular connotation of the word embraced by its speaker.

2) the speaker is usually well-intentioned and only wants to affirm the despicable nature of unfair child labor practices, which sometimes even lead to the sexual exploitation of the children as well, an aspect that has become more prevalent in recent times due to a worsening of the misery index and all that it reflects; the breakdown of traditional values in a more fragmented Haitian society; the occupation of the country by alien multinational agents which come to "protect" us from ourselves, politically speaking, but do not have any clearly defined social objective and often take advantage themselves of the despair surrounding them; the loss in moral leadership and good old family discipline in general.

The "restavek" condition is not and has never been static. It reflects our mentality in general. In actual practice, It varies from village to village, from family to family, from house to house, and most especially from one set of economic means to another. The one constant in all of this is the abuse of elements in our society that need the most protection, for being the least powerful among all others.

Who would want to refute the argument that our children need to be less abused and more protected in our society? I certainly don't. The children are our future, like it or not. It's also well established that abused children often become the worst abusers in society when they grow up. To fail to protect the children is to fail to protect ourselves.

And in this, the speaker of the term "slavery" and the one who sees some danger in applying the same term to differing social historical contexts do agree.

I acknowledge however that where one sees a specific danger, another senses a specific opportunity, the benefit in this case being that (to its speaker) the use of the dreaded term "slavery" will help focus preferential attention to the subjects in question. That is particularly the case when we refer to Haitian workers (braceros) in the "bateyes" of the Dominican Republic as "Haitian slaves".

The effect is even compounded when we think of Haitians, who rose up to rid themselves of colonial slavery, as slaves to Dominicans who do not formally celebrate their independence from their colonial masters (Spain) but on the contrary, celebrate with exaltation their independence from Haitians, who occupied their territory (at the invitation of a "free us from colonial dependence" minded faction) for 22 years under the presidency of Jean-Pierre Boyer. And now we are "slaves" to them. Powerful irony to students of History. But again, the word "slaves" in this context is used to effect, and not to say that the conditions of the Haitian/Dominican "braceros" in Dominican "bateyes" is identical to that of slaves forcibly taken from the continent in which they lived to another "newly discovered" continent where they were put to work as chattel, solely for the enrichment of still another continent's people, their descendants, and generations of descendants.

3) why continue to waste energy (apparently so) on semantics when programs of action would be far more beneficial to those we all wish to assist? Actions, such as those suggested by Leonel, when he writes:
[quote]I feel that I won't be at Peace until I find every little Kid whom stayed at my House and do some types of reparation for the harm caused to these innocent Victims... So far, I found only one and gave him money to buy a land (that is all I could afford, I wish I could give more).[/quote]

In that respect, I would rather join those who take action to reduce the effects of poverty or better yet those whose actions do affect the root causes of "restavek" (Haiti's chronic maldevelopment, that is the prevalent condition of misery) than to spend much time discussing the semantics of "slavery". Except that... as we already know, the word is mightier than the sword.

Use the word to intentional effect, and I will not bother to quarrel your choice of words, and your freedom in that exercise. But to expand on that by professing to see no difference between cases of domestic exploitation and a rigid system of criminality that was erected to exploit one race of people by another, is something that we ought to be very careful about. It distorts history in every way that matters to our own detriment and to the advantage of those who seek today to exploit us further as a nation.

Guy


P.S. By the way, when I choose to "retreat to my corner", it is not just to sulk or because I get mad at anyone (even less so, Leonel, whom I consider a true friend) but because I have arrived at the rather acute realization that I have perhaps already written too much on Ann Pale, and that periods of silence on my part might encourage others to express themselves more. That is my hope, but obviously I can't help it at times.

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Post by Jgpalmis » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:11 pm

Mwen pat gen chans wè dokimantè repòtaj sou aktivite vann timoun ann Ayiti-a jou li te pase sou chèn televizyon ABC-a men mwen te li mo pou mo (Transcript) sak te di ak sak te fèt nan televizyon-an sware sa-a Mèsi Barb pou lyen-an .

M'ap di tankou bonkou nan nou deja rapòte, mwen tou, m' te temwen move tretman timoun laj mwen, e te genyen ki te pi gran pase mwen tou, te konn ap sibi swa lakay mwen swa kay vwazen sou katye mwen te leve-a. Wi, se pa yon koze ki fasil pou nou ayisyen pale se vre, men nou pa gen chwa pa palede malèz sa-a ki ekziste jouk jounen jodi-a. Nou ka toujou poze kesyon analize pouki ABC chwazi pase repòtaj la nan peryòd sa-a, nan moman sa-a men. Akote tout move entansyon ki ka genyen dèyè difizyon move film sa-a. Move film nan sans ke se pa yon bagay ki fè nou plezi. Li enpòtan, nan je pa m' pou nou sezi okazyon sa-a pou nou pale de je kale san nou pa kite distraksyon fè nou bliye koze serye k'ap fèt lakay nou. Mwen pa ta renmen se ABC ki defini agenda-a pou nou men se nou ki pou chwazi dat, lè ak kijan n'ap fè sa.

Prezantman la se reyaji n'ap reyaji sou sa ki te pase nan televizyon-an. Pwoblèm lan twò serye pou se nan reyaksyon nou ye, nou ta sipoze nan aksyon, nan pran desizyon pou tout timoun ann Ayiti jwenn dinyite moun yo. Pou tout paran jwenn mwayen ak ankadreman pou jwe wòl yo byen tankou papa ak /osnon manman.

Lè nou gade jan tan-an ap pase la, jan laj ap antre sou nou ak tout vitès li. Klas politik, palemantè, prezidans elt ap paweze nan yon deba sou etik ak moral pou chwazi yon premye minis. Ann atandan pa gen okenn Otorite nan Sosyete-a k'ap okipe li de sò Ti sentaniz ki kay madan Kosedyo. Wi jefò pèsonèl tankou Lionel pwopoze li. Pou mwen, se yon fason ki ka pèmèt yon endividi ki konsyan de pasivite li osnon aksyon li nan krim sa-a fè yon bagad pou li santi li byen ak konsyans li. Pa gen domaj nan sa men pou kantite Ti Sentaniz ki genyen ak kantite moun ki pa rive ou ki poko prèt ap rekonèt responsiblite li nan pwoblèm sa-a, wout la ap lonng anpil lè pou ti Sentaniz vin tounen Sentaniz yon timoun tankou tout timoun san okenn chantoutou ni lide gen yon Chantoutou yon kote k'ap vin fè fristrasyon grandi andedan jouk li vin tounen nan je madan entèl Dyab ki anba pye St Michel.

Mwen panse nou kapab kontinye deba sa-a jouk mayi mi men toutotan poko gen aksyon konkrè k'ap pran nan tout nivo andedan Leta Ayisyen-an pwoblèm sa-a ap kontinye ekziste. Fòk tout baryè ki genyen ant moun Lavil vs moun andeyò, moun kapital vs moun pwovens, cheve grenn vs cheve siwo, grimo grimèl vs ti nwè elt. Toutotan prejije sa yo egziste toujou nan sosyete nou an, Nou ap toujou jwenn ti Sentaniz sou wout nou nan Sosyete nou an. Mwen kwè Leta dwe investi tout bon nan pwoteksyon timoun sou tout teritwa peyi-a. Lè mwen di Leta, mwen wè chak sitwayen an patikilye nan nivo pa li andedan kad reprezantan sitwayen yo andedan paleman ak kad leta va établi.

Pou m' konkli, se paske respè moun nan sosyete nou an pa nan lis priorite moun nan sans metafizik la. Pou m' repete ansyen prezidan peyi-a. Prezidan Aristide Tout moun se moun Fòk nou rive yon kote non sèlman n'ap kwè tout bon vre tout moun se moun men n'ap fè tout sa ki posib e ki drèt pou tout moun rete moun nan sosyete-a.

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