Dear brothers and sisters:
Today is Haitian Flag Day. A day that had always made me feel proud prior 2004. Proud to be Haitian.
I felt proud even knowing that Haiti was still ravaged by greed, racism, class warfare, misery, environmental degradation, and political mismanagement.
I feel proud to be Haitian and never in my life, have I wanted to be anything else. Haiti was, in my heart, an ideal for all humanity.
An ideal that goes deeper than the superficiality of citizenship.
I recognized my Haitian brothers and sisters as true citizens of the world, the messengers of freedom and human dignity. They might hail from the deep recesses of Haiti's mountainous landscape, from the Dominican Republic, from the Bahamas, from Guadeloupe, from Jamaica, from Cuba, from all the countries of Latin America, from Canada and the United States, from Europe, from Africa, from Asia, from Australia and for that matter from any other corner of the Earth, ranging from the North Pole to the South Pole.
As far as I was concerned, they might even come from outer space. A Haitian is a Haitian is a Haitian.
History reserved a special place for us, comme sur la tête du Bonnet-à-l'Evêque. A place that we reached only with great difficulty, but we were assured of getting there some day. The Promised Land of our ancestors.
A place where the most miserable of Haitians can look the richest and most powerful non-Haitians and look them squarely in the eyes, and know that none has more dignity than they do.
We were Haitians. We were citizens of the world. We symbolized humanity's thirst for freedom.
Freedom is a much abused word today, and no one abuses it more than the current President of the United States, George W. Bush. His idea of freedom is crass domination of the world by the United States.
A world that would submit to the dictates of Washington, DC and nothing less. Freedom, by threats and preemptive strikes undistinguishable from other terror acts.
Tax cuts for the super-rich. Deep cuts in government services to the poor. Run-away spending on instruments of death. WAR. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Axis of Evil.
Corporate greed. Corruption. Billions of dollars vanishing without a trace.
Nearly 2,000 U.S. and over 100,000 Iraqis lives taken to remove a dictator and to control better the flow of oil.
U.S. Marines and French Soldiers return to Haiti. Removal of the elected President and exile to far away Africa.
"The Haitian Constitution is working," dixit.
Conseil des Sages Revanchards (or the sorriest bunch of fools Haiti has ever known).
Pseudo-government in Haiti, defined by the greatest display of diplomatic and administrative incompetence ever witnessed. Aggravation of misery. Political repression.
"L'Affaire est classée," dixit .
Haiti, a UN protectorate...in 2004, THE bicentennial year!
U.S. imposed delusional government by way of two Boca Raton residents. Repatriation of Haitian citizens from U.S. shores, from the Dominican Republic and elsewhere.
Raging insecurity. Kidnappings. Freedom for convicted murderers of Haitian peasants. Extra-judicial sentences of death for supporters of the Lavalas political party.
From Washington DC, Paris, Ottawa, and the U.N. to Port-au-Prince by way of Boca Raton, the word HAITIAN does not resonate as clearly as it used to.
But an ideal of freedom cannot vanish without a trace. It lives in our hearts, still. Haiti may not be the personification of freedom, but it surely is the personification of the struggle to reach the ideal of freedom. Not just for Haitians but for all of humanity.
To our enemies, to our MoUnPa (MOst UNreliable PArtners), to our detractors, to the traitors, we will show the way. Like French General Rochambeau, they will have to stop at some point and applaud our determination. Like our hero Capois-La-Mort, we will continue to lead the charge under repeated fire.
Reviled, yes we are today. Nou lèd, men nou la. Like the Phoenix, we have the capacity to rise from our ashes. We have to believe it. Until our last breath and beyond.
Guy S. Antoine
May 18, 2005
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