What would it take to get the diaspora back to Haiti?

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What would it take to get the diaspora back to Haiti?

Post by admin » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:58 am

Hi Dunord!

The question is addressed to Michael Diebert, so I hope he will answer you directly. However, since this is "Ann Pale", the public forum of Windows on Haiti, any question addressed to one is addressed to all. Therefore, I also hope that you get a variety of answers to your question which is quite provocative, in my opinion. Let me restate it:

[quote]What do you think it would take to get the diaspora back to Haiti and don't you see the value in that? I think they'd rather sit in the US/Canada/France, get fat, bitch about the situation in Haiti and blame the country they are living in.[/quote]

I have reason to believe that most visitors to "Ann Pale" are Haitians living outside of Haiti for various reasons, so your question will likely hit outside of their comfort zone and mine as well. Ouch! I almost wish that you had stopped at the question mark and not exposed your own conclusions which bring prejudice or other spin to the answers that your question will elicit, since we know your starting position, which is not a neutral one. In effect, you think that:
a) we'd rather sit in the US/Canada/France
b) get fat
c) bitch about the situation in Haiti
d) blame the country "we" are living in.

For my part, I will not take offense since I plead guilty to at least one of those charges and I do not even bother getting on the bathroom scale any more, since it refuses to lie to me. However, we could talk about the other three and I believe that the collectivity of our answers may be far more complex than what you stated.

For now, I propose that we focus on the fundamental question, which needs to be answered adequately for the good of Haiti (the living-in or native country, what unites us all) and we can "bitch about" Dunord's perceptions later. Rather than start from a defensive position, let us consider the question at face value:

What do you think it would take to get the diaspora back to Haiti and don't you see the value in that?

or if I may rephrase it slightly:

What would be the value of bringing the diaspora back to Haiti and what would it take to accomplish this?

I see that many people have been impatiently raising their hands, so I cede the balance of my time to them, for now.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:04 pm


First of all, Dunord, I was worried. Because, I didn't hear from you for a long time. Anyway, I am happy to see that you are OK (I suppose).

Welcome back! KOMANMAN, se pa moso keksyon ou poze la non. I don't have an answer or excuses for you. I unlike you don't have that Courage. I unlike you don't love Haiti that much! I and a lot of us need to apologize to our Beloved Haiti. I and a lot of us are still attached to our lifestyle in Developed Countries...

Dunord, it is a fair question! And, Brother, YOU ARE RIGHT!

A ces mots, je P



Post by Gelin_ » Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:31 pm

[quote]...Thus far, Mario Andresol seems to have been taking an energetic, activist approach with regards to reforming the police, but he is only one man, and he will need the full, unambiguous support of the executive branch if he is to complete this task. We will be able to tell whether he has that support or not soon enough...[/quote]
Another "test" of Préval's good intentions even before he takes office!!! The Andresol Test will prove to the nation whether or not Préval is willing to give his full, unambiguous support to the [only] man who can reform the police. Alakoze mesye...



Post by Tidodo_ » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:42 pm

[quote]Another "test" of Préval's good intentions even before he takes office!!! The Andresol Test will prove to the nation whether or not Préval is willing to give his full, unambiguous support to the [only] man who can reform the police. Alakoze mesye...[/quote]

While Haitians will have to be vigilant in protecting their democracy against outside interference, on the issue of the army, Préval's biggest challenge may not be coming from overseas. I just heard on Haitian radio in Miami the declarations made by Osner Févry (although his name is familiar, I can't remember his political role). I am paraphrasing here and it is also my English translation, he called Préval's statement words in the air. He added that "NEVER there will be a Haiti without the army and no army without Haiti."

In support of his statement, he indicated that he was outraged that Préval, as president-elect of Haiti, is asking an outside army to occupy Haiti. But the only real argument that he offered to support the existence of the army, which is also news to me, was that the army's role in Haiti was to protect our reserves of petroleum which he indicated existed in the Nordwest, LaGonave, Saltrou and the South of Haiti running all the way to Venezuela. He also added that there is gold in Haiti and other treasures that the army must be there to protect. He questionned Préval's authority to make such a statement that he will not be allowed to back up.

Now, going back to Dunord's original question, I wish I could share Leonel's guilt for not living in Haiti like Dunord. I would love to know the real reasons Dunord returned to Haiti. Did he do it out of patriotism only like he suggested? If so, what percentage of the reasons for his return was from patriotism? What percentage (%) was due to the cold weather, assuming he was living somewhere up North? What part (%) his integration into the foreign culture played in his return home? What part (%) his political ambitions played in his return? What part (%) his desire to work less hard play in his return? How many hours per week does he work while in Haiti now? Since he put himself (his patriotism) above reproach, I believe my questions are fair.

Jaf indicated above many instances in the past 20 years when Haitians returned to their country to live. Did they do it to to have a better social life, work less hard, or just to help with the development of their native country? All of those I know, who took their life savings with them to Haiti during that period of time mentioned by Jaf, are now back in their foreign adoptive countries without their savings and starting over again at the entry level jobs they had long time ago left behind. During their stint in Haiti they were jeered as diasporas, "chen blan," know-it-all, and the worst insults of them all, "foreigners." These insults made headlines during the Simeus' controversy. Many people in Haiti went on radio and television to call "foreigners" those in the diaspora who naturalized themselves.

I believe it is an insult to question the patriotism of those who are working hard in foreign land to feed their families in Haiti or to ensure a future to their children, whether in Haiti or abroad. And, I am not even referring to those thousands of Haitians who were exiled during the Duvalier regime and perhaps those believed in danger during more recent administrations who had no choice but to leave the country. I know a family who left about six years ago because they were raising two teenagers and they saw no future for them in Haiti with schools closed most of the times, jobs disappearing every day, political instability rampant, and ethical standards on a non-stop downslide. There are thousands like them who people in Haiti call now in a derogatory manner "diasporas."

I have also seen many families who had no choice but to leave Haiti and move overseas where they can find jobs or face hunger regularly, unemployment or underemployment, eviction from their rented shack in an already difficult neighbourhood with inadequate hygiene, raw sewage in the drainage (rigòl) in front of their house, little water and electricity, just to name a few. Can anyone tell me why they should go back now to live in a situation that is worse than what they left behind? Not everyone have short memory? The people in the diaspora are currently more useful to their country, thus more patriotic, outside than inside. I welcome anyone's arguments who can prove otherwise.


Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:06 am

Jaf, I agree with You. But, You didn't have to put Mayi moulen ak Zaboka while I am still thinking about Miami and the famous Mayi ak pwason...

JM or Tidodo pour les intimes, I agree with a lot of what you said. But, we also have the fear of losing material things outside. Me, personally, would like to go back. But, I am thinking about my kids. Would that be a good idea. It wouldn't be a problem with my wife. She always wanted to go back to help with her degree in Public Health for undevelopped Countries. But, being in the well paid Pharmaceutical environments, I wonder how would we be able to cope with anything less?

Now, by saying this, I really think it's Financial. We wouldn't want to lose money. It's a shame that we think that way. But, it is the truth! Also, things are not stable or never been stable for one to live without the luxury of having Clean Water, adequate Health Care, everyday electricity etc. and most of all a Stable Government. We all have this saying of Ayiti se tE glise, which is by the way, the same for any other Country.

Kidonk, mwen ak nou tout gen anpil eskiz ak lepoukwa ke nou paka tounen. Mwen pa konnen, men mwen panse ke Ayiti bezwen pitit li yo ki ekspE nan lOt peyi pou vinn ede l. Not the ones like Latortue et al. But, everyone who will help with this difficult period. Even, if we can give at least a month every year would be positive. We can not go back anymore. This is it! My only concern is we got to get rid of Zenglendo abiye ak pye atE. I don't know how we can do that? But, anyway, JM, I also know people who had to come back to the US after investing in Haiti. But, that happens everywhere. Business is a risk!

Personally, I question my Patriotism often! Why would I be afraid to lose some Material things while my Land needs me? I still don't have an answer. And, as you said, I don't know Dunord's motives. But, He is there regardless. I can not doubt his willingness to live there.

Perhaps, it's Exodus! Ayisyen ap tounen nan peyi papa yo mouri kite pou yo...

L'Union fait la Force,



Post by Tidodo_ » Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:00 am

[quote]Jaf, I agree with You. But, You didn't have to put Mayi moulen ak Zaboka while I am still thinking about Miami and the famous Mayi ak pwason... [/quote]


Oublye, monchè, ke lè restoran an pa t gen zaboka, nou ale lan supèmakèt lan. Nou achte zaboka a w, epi nou retounen lan restoran an al manje l ak mayi e pwason! No way we would have had the mayi without the zaboka!

Anyway, your points and those of Jaf are well taken. I certainly appreciate those inputs which, for the most part, I agree with. Returning to Haiti is a personal decision, which in no way betrays a lack of patriotism or love for Haiti. I believe the majority of Haitians living in the diaspora who have love to return even, temporarily or to retire, if the conditions were favorable.

While I respect your feelings for not coming back, I don't feel that same way. I cannot remember any time I ever felt any guilt for living outside of Haiti. To the contrary, I feel proud that Haiti can provide me with an education that allowed me to survive and compete almost anywhere in the world. That is why I believe that we have the resources to be a modern country like anybody else. But, as a collectivity, we lack the discipline and the will to do it. Unless an event is being organized by a foreigner, we still go to it late without giving advance notice to the host. Even though we live in the diaspora, we still don't put to use, within ourselves, what we learn there. Unless we decide to change the way we do things, we can all go back to Haiti to live and the country will not have improved that much.

I left Haiti because the conditions to live there were no longer conducive to a healthier, safer, and more decent life. When it was not a tonton macoute that threatened your life, the lack of free speech, inadequate healthcare, unemployment, and worsening economic conditions made it a misery. I truly believe that haven't I left Haiti when I did, I would have died now from either a bullet wound or an infectuous disease. When I left, twenty five years ago, I thought matters could not get worse. They did. I want to give back to Haiti, since Haiti gave me an education, it is my country and I love it as I knew it was. But, you cannot love someone (Haiti as a collectivity) anymore than that person, or a group of persons, love herself. I am resigned to the fact that until there is real change in Haiti my contribution to it will always be from afar. I have since joined organizations outside of the country whose only purpose is to help Haiti, and tried to help as much as I can based on my circumstances. And, when I do it I try to help with the people who can really help and those who really need it. But, I stay away from anything having to do with politics and political ambitions like I would do from the black plague. Haiti does not need more politicians.



Post by Gelin_ » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:02 am

[quote]... You can´t be saying, Gelin, that once elected, politicians should be above reproach and be permitted to do whatever they want without the press and public watching them carefully, are you? [/quote]Nope.

[quote]I think rather than trying to belittle this program of professionalizing the police, we should try and find ways of supporting it. It is in the Preval government´s best interests to succeed in this aspect, don´t you agree?[/quote]
Who mentioned "belittle" here??? I just don't agree when you put Andresol's name on the program as if it can't be done without him. Préval has to succeed for sure, but Andresol's presence may not be necessary.



Post by Gelin_ » Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:41 pm

[quote]...There are demonstrable way in which, after a few months in office, we can judge how the Préval government is performing and I think reform of the police is one of them...[/quote]
Agreed! And that much needed reform is not necessarily linked to the man called Andresol. Others, unkown, may be called in to do even a better job. The sad thing about it is that many may try to create a false "crisis" in the Haitian police if someone other than the actual chief is called upon. And we all know how easy it is to create a crisis in Haiti...


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