Letter to the organizers of "Cruising into History"

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Letter to the organizers of "Cruising into History"

Post by admin » Sat Aug 07, 2004 11:22 am

August 7, 2004
Cruising into History
Trip Event Organizers

Gentlemen:

The premise was that "Cruising into History" would stimulate pride and solidarity between people of African descent, celebrating our common heritage and the ideals of the Haitian Revolution. CIH would be like a magnificent horse, racing against the lies offered for our consumption over the past 200 years). The race is about to start, the gates have been opened, all eyes are focused on CIH and what a lot of people see at this point, to their stupefaction, is the horse's ass. It appears that CIH is about to run, against all expectations, in the opposite direction.

Time out! This was not the intent. Hello, organizers?

Unless you are confident that your horse can run backward and still be in contention, you must now rectify your position. The day afte
r the race will be way too late. Timing is of the essence. You have in your power, now, not yesterday nor tomorrow, to produce a winner or just another sorrowful loser.

The Haitian Revolution was all about autonomy and self-determination for African Blacks in a land carved out of the bloodiest Empire the World has ever witnessed. The unspeakable horrors of the large-scale enslavement of Africans in America, from the 16th through the 19th centuries, and the systematic impoverishment of Blacks for the enrichment of Whites which followed to this day, as a natural by-product of slavery, cannot be simply brushed aside for celebrating 200 years of nominal independence of Haitians. What independence? Today, in its bicentennial year, Haiti must suffer the imposition of an unelected "interim government", selected for it through deliberate and forceful intervention, by the descendants of French slave masters and White American politicians who perpetuated the slavery system well beyond their 1776 revolution.
That is an infamy. That is a catastrophe of historical proportions. That is a calculated insult to our African ancestors and to the heroes of the Haitian Revolution. We had long been waiting to celebrate 2004. The assault on our most cherished symbolism must have been premeditated. We do not believe that it happened through sheer coincidence.

The most visible component of that assault was the coup d'etat toppling the government that Haitian citizens elected overwhelmingly in November 2000. However its roots go a lot deeper. It is in essence the continued and systematic denial over two centuries of our right to self-determination. The message to our people is clear: not then, not now, not ever! Our choice is to accept the message, pretend to ignore it, or formulating a principled response to our disempowerment. That is the dilemma faced by CIH on the eve of its maiden voyage.

Hello, organizers? Have you learned anything from the Titanic? Should you pay attention to the warnings being s
ent or proceed full speed ahead toward the iceberg of Haitian sentiment that longs still for the concretization of its revolutionary ideals, and above all else self-determination?

Contrary to the assertions of appointees of our selected and interim governments, the majority of Haitians persist in the belief that enlightened African Americans cannot be on the side of structural injustice, and will not falter in seconding Haitians in the quest to secure, against all odds, what is our ancestral destiny: a self-determining nation for descendants of African slaves among the people of the Americas.

We are greatly appreciative of your original intent to commemorate Haiti's Bicentennial. The struggle continues today and it makes sense that this be recognized without ambiguity. It comes as no surprise that the unelected government of Haiti would want to you to validate its legitimacy. That is what can be expected from governments anywhere. You, on the other hand, have the opportunity and the respons
ibility to clarify your mission for all to know.

Let it be known that in August 2004, at the start of the race, CIH will be leading the field by a nose and not by a horse's ass.

Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti
http://haitiforever.com

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Post by admin » Mon Aug 09, 2004 12:03 pm

Serge, I am in agreement with your comments. I too think that Ron Daniels has a commendable record of solidarity with the Haitian people, in general. For instance he has, more than anyone else in New York City, identified himself as a leading voice in denouncing the deals made by various administration agencies (CIA, INS, State Department, NY City Council) granting Toto Constant work permits, residency, and de facto immunity for his crimes against the Haitian people, as a founder and leader of the terrorist paramilitary organization infamously known as FRAPH.

You have surely noticed that in my message, I did not criticize Ron Daniels as an individual. Without question, he has a right to his political opinions. However, as one of the principal organizers of a major commemorative event for the Haitian Revolution, he had to be aware that the change of government in Haiti and the particular way that this cha
nge was carried out would create a veritable minefield for the continued planning of the cruise, every step of the way. Call it courageous, uninformed, or perhaps foolhardy, Ron appears to have eagerly stepped on some of the mines, without securing a meeting of the minds with other notable trip sponsors and advisers. We have only heard some mild explosions so far, but the bigger ones may happen when the ship actually docks in Labadie, off Cap-Haitien.

I think that Ron Daniels should defuse the situation by sending a short and unambiguous signal, stressing the original and independent objectives of the trip, and disentangling himself from all political associations that have been created around it. A lot of Americans who have paid for this trip don't know Lavalas from Convergence and think that 184 is just a number. Sure, it's an opportunity to educate them about the current politics of Haiti, if they are interested. However, should the cruise organizers meddle too much in Haiti's internal pol
itics, if only for taking side with those they perceive as the progressive elements in the struggle for political power, they will have done a disservice to their paying customers who were sold the cruise on a much broader ideo-historical basis.

The cruise has already lost a significant part of its luster. Ron and the other cruise organizers should work feverishly to restore it. This is a task that requires a lot of diplomatic skills and sound judgment. I, for one, hope that the correct signals will be sent and that the trip will be successful in the short and longer terms. Haitian and African-American solidarity is at stake. That is too precious for any true friend of Haiti to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of convenience, misplaced loyalties, or the fear of losing money.

Some are calling for the trip to be cancelled. That is NOT my position. I just ask that they take the cautionary step of stating clearly the objectives of the trip, which should offer no solace to the manufacturers
of the cyclical coups d'etat that have been the bane of Haiti's existence.

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