The Haiti (and Jamaica) Dilemma – What the Heck Happened?
So, this (White) man that I had just met asked me, “Pete, you are a very intelligent, and objective gentleman… may I ask you what the heck happened in Haiti? And why is it way worse off than the Dominican Republic, which shares the same island (Hispaniola)?”
As a Haitian man, his questions stroke a cord in my heart, and for a while I was rather rattled, and felt a temporary moment of anger at my people's inequities, which I immediately substituted with reason, not to defend but to critically-analyze, and thus as an intellectual, I felt and had the duty to analyze the Haitian dilemma for its truth… I did… and because I did I will share the truth as I have observed and experienced it for over the past few decades.
So, here we go!
Once upon a time (over 200 years ago to be exact), there was a promising, proud and glorious young Black nation, the only one of its kind ever (i.e., the only Black nation to have won its independence and beaten the mightiest European Army – Bonaparte’s) on an Island called “Hispaniola” (“the little Spain”), which was initially inhabited by indigenous Indians, and subsequently by African Slaves who had been brought there to work on the European (i.e., French) plantations (mainly sugar cane ones.)
The island was initially “discovered” by Christopher Columbus, but after the Black slaves were brought onto it, and subsequently started the mightiest slave revolt (if not the most brutal and inhumane revolt of all times) which culminated into a battle themed on the “Beheading of the Whites and Arsons on Their Properties”. In a nutshell, the Haitian forefathers wanted the skin of the White man to jot down the young Nation’s declaration of independence LITERALLY… I wasn’t there, but as a child I recall reading about it in School and it did send chills down my spine, and the only more brutal experience that I had was once again in Haiti, when I had the misfortune of watching the beheading of former Haitian militia after the ousting of Baby Doc (Jean Claude Duvalier), who had succeeded his father Papa Doc (Francois Duvalier) and the burning of their homes in a manner similar to the way in which Haiti got its independence. I recall hearing gunshots while I was in school, and recall seeing heads on broom sticks while my Father hurried me home prematurely several times during the many unrests that I experienced in Haiti. Needless to say, I was traumatized and had to help cure my own head years later through my studies, but I posit that so many Haitians are still plagued by the disease of unrest and lack of cool-headedness, particularly towards those that look like them.
Needless to say, after witnessing it all, and after having visited the States once or twice, I prayed my God, my Mother and Aunt to allow me to stay in New York against my Father’s will. It was supposed to be a short vacation, yet it culminated into the longest and best vacation of my life. As a child, I had great parents, my mother was a genius seamstress/designer/entrepreneur/philanthropist and my Father was a Pastor, philanthropist, and pseudo entrepreneur. Haiti was peaceful for a while other than the disappearances of political opponents of those who opposed the Duvalier regime in the middle of the night. However, after Baby doc was ousted, Haiti went from bad to worse and worse and worse… It is safe to say that until (a medical doctor who was called Papa Doc), Duvalier got into power, Haiti was known for its Coups/Overthrows. However, it still strived in agriculture and had some of the best minds in the World. Haitians had previously helped nations like the United States and Venezuela fight and win many wars. More importantly, starting with Haitian leaders like Toussaint Louverture (who was called the Smartest of all Blacks around the World who had outsmarted all European nations after he taught himself how to read and write and became the best orator in the World and became a top member of the French Army), and after he was betrayed by French and died in a dungeon in France, Jean-Jacques Dessalines helped Haiti win the battle against the French to induce Haiti to become the FIRST BLACK REPUBLIC EVER, and first FREE BLACK NATION in the World, which catapulted into the end of Black slavery Worldwide. Needless to say, the World does owe Haiti a debt and so does the US. However, it would only take smart Haitians to so articulate. In any event, Haiti ended up having to pay indemnity to France in the millions, and started in the reds right at the start, and it was the beginning of the end of the glory of the young Black nation.
At first, Blacks, Mulattoes (Biracials) were getting along great, and for a while Haiti’s/Hispaniola’s future was promising while the Blacks had ruled over the whole Island, but subsequent deals culminated into “divide and conquer” tactics, and the Island which had ended up being divided into a SPANISH SIDE (Dominican Republic) and a FRENCH SIDE (Haiti) started on two separate courses (i.e., one that was Eurocentric, and another that was Afrocentric). While the Dominican Republic’s leaders appealed to working and catering Europeans who were still ruling the World and had both money and asset, Haitians wanted nothing to do with Europeans, and instead self-segregated as much as they were also disenfranchised. As a child, I even remember making fun of White kids and I recall hearing jokes of White kids’ hairs being pulled etc. Haitians just could not stand White folks in such times and this is exactly why White Tourism never took off in Haiti like it did in Jamaica, particularly under Papa Doc.
Once Called the “Pearl of the Antilles”
At some point Haiti was so productive, and so beautiful that it was called the pearl of the Antilles. However, the violent spirits, emboldened by the practice of Voodoo, would come back to hunt Haitians and drive them to hate each other for one reason or another. As a child, it was customary for me to hear people say that the word “HAITIEN” (literally meant Hair Le Tien”), but of course it’s rather coincidental because the term was not initially spelled that way even though it was phonetically the same term.
Yes, prior to the United States, Haiti was the first melting pot. At one point, Haiti welcomed people of all nations/races. In fact, many Whites and people from the Middle East (e.g., Syrians) immigrated to Haiti and many became very prosperous there as they brought in their wealth and capitalized on the young nations’ needs. It’s rather ironic that America is not today’s Haiti as Syrians are seeking refuge there.
However, today’s Haiti is a DUMP. It’s been stricken by disenfranchisement, financial looting by its corrupt leaders, and abuse by former foreign leaders who took advantage of their connections to Haiti to self-enrichen. In short, Haiti had become a piggy bank for both Haitians and foreigners who want to make a fast buck, while having no intention to help any Haitians in one way or another.
Haiti is Suffering From “Niggeritis”
Like many Black nations and non-European Nations, Haiti is suffering from “Niggeritis”. To me, the latter is a condition in which one is conditioned to feel incapable of uniting, appreciating and synergistically work with those who look like him/her. The latter comes from both lack of self-respect and what can be called a post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), which emanated from the abuses that slaves had suffered both physically and mentally. Needless to say, far too many people that endured ruthless European dominion ended up feeling that everything European was superior. While Haiti never did, as Haitians always felt superior to Whites, that sense of superiority came from a feeling of feeling physically and spiritually stronger, and not from their merits of building a solid nation intellectually, structurally and politically. In other words, that sense of superiority remained in their heads and spirits. Unlike the Germans and Japanese who had worked hard in areas of technology to assert their superiority, many Haitians became brilliant intellectuals, and while some of them might have helped the country, when Papa Doc came into power, he wanted to get rid of as many intellectual Haitians as possible so that he could prevent being overthrown into a coup that would have been similar to a coup that he had himself given to his predecessor. In fact, Papa Doc had gone from a meek philanthropic physician (medical doctor) prior to taking power to becoming one of the most ruthless dictators of our time. He exiled all smart Haitians to Canada or France, particularly the biracials who had inherited quite a bit of assets from their Fathers (the Whites) because he felt that he had previously been denied access to Haiti’s education elite because of his Black skin tone/complexion.
So, why is Jamaica Being Tied into This?
Although Jamaica is doing slightly better than Haiti is and has not been hit by as many natural and political disasters, it is still a rather poor country, and it, too, does suffer from “Niggeritis”. So many times, I have spoken to Jamaicans who seem not to want to open up to a modern World and see the World in terms of being too proud to be Black or too hateful towards other Jamaicans that they would prefer to deal with Caucasians or other groups than their own. Although this can be said about citizens of other nations (e.g., Philippines), it’s arguable that the effect of slavery on Blacks is still rampant even modernly to the point that even in 2017 there are Haitians and Jamaicans living in shacks in which Americans wouldn’t allow their own animals to live.
Are there any Solutions?
I’ll keep it simple. I wrote an article called “Mentally-Enslaved” about Black Americans. I believe this article applies to Blacks all over the World. While foreigners, including Haitians and Jamaicans have fared better here than Black Americans, they are still out-competed community-building and financial-prowess-wise by many other groups . Thus far, there is still not one Black Super Power in the World. While nations like Nigeria thrive in education and natural resources, there is still too much poverty and lack of social and infra- structure in the majority of Black nations all over the World.
This needs to change. Blacks need to face the TRUTH. “Niggeritis” needs to be treated. It can only be treated by TRUE-SELF-LOVE which will reflect into a LOVE OF OTHERS (PARTICULARLY OTHER SIMILARLY-POSITIONED BLACKS). Blacks cannot expect other groups to keep coming to rescue them. Post-slavery Blacks have to learn to love themselves more and help other Blacks more and it cannot happen without self-emancipation from mental slavery. Lately, I have been hopeful by meeting “Street Men” that some have called “thugs” who seemed to understand the gravity of the situation more than folks in boardrooms do.
As long as most Blacks are not doing much better, every Black person will have LESS EQUITY (INEQUITY) in the eyes of not just Whites but all other groups (including other Blacks). Thus, if you think you are a smart Black person and believe that your achievements have inured you from INEQUITY, think again, in the eyes of so many, including Bill Clinton, and other Blacks, when push comes to shove, you will only be “JUST ANOTHER NIGGER” until you help change the plight of your Black Brothers or Sisters.
I pray that this article will “not fall on deaf ears or blind eyes.” There needs to be more success stories in Black run countries. I am tired of hearing about inequities, miseries, poverty whenever Blacks are mentioned all over the World. I am doing by part daily. Will you join in doing yours too? For the sake of our forefathers, and the slaves who fought hard and prayed hard, you have the duty to be smarter and do better!
As for the people of Haiti (my People), they have to forgive their former masters, and have to forgive themselves, and move beyond the customs adopted from indigenous Indians and African Voodoo priests. They need to enter the current century... think RATIONALLY... and compete fiercely. Otherwise, 200 years from now, my children's children will be talking about an even worse off Haiti, for even graver reasons as the only country that seem to top Haiti's misery every time is Haiti itself!