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By Wadner Pierre
Haiti, so called the poorest country in the American hemisphere, sometimes developing country, and even the capital of NGOs. It is amazing to see how Haitian people have been helping each other with the limited means, and sharing the Haitian values with their brothers and sisters in their own way after the earthquake.
However, it is amazingly sad to see the way that the NGOs with unlimited means have been helping the earthquake survivors in Haiti. This situation may be seen as an ironic situation in the eyes of some people, and it may be seen as normal situation in the eyes of others. To understand the ongoing situation in Haiti right after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit this country in January 12 this year, it is to understand the Haitian culture, and the imperialism culture, or the NGOs or the dominant culture.
Haitians are a people who have their culture, and their own way to respond in the hardship, or catastrophic situation. On the other words, Haitian people practice what sociologists may call the culture of “togetherness” or in Haitian typical expression is “hand together;” whereas the culture of the NGOs is mainstream culture-based which mostly promote the selfhood, or individual responsibility. The selfhood culture at this point appears to be an embarrassing culture for Haitians to deal with.
By Wadner Pierre
The January 12 remains and will remain the darkness day in the history Haitian people. Many reasons make this date important and unforgettable for Haitian people. Even before the earthquake the masses in Haiti had barely received the attention from most of the people saying that they are there to help this desperate population. However, after the quake it seems to become clearer than before that the working-class and poor people in Haiti will continue to live in their extreme poverty, though the millions of dollars and the tons of humanitarian aid that have been pouring to this country since and before the earthquake hit and destroyed the country’s most important part, western department, the capital and its surroundings.
Haitian people have been discriminated and victimized of prejudice for more than two centuries. Until 1990 when Haitian people first elected their democratic government, there were two different birth certificates in the country, one “Paysan” or the peasants for those who live in the countryside, and another one “Citadin” for those who live in the cities. For example, on top of my birth certificate is written the word paysan.
By Wadner Pierre
One year ago, Father Gerard Jean-Juste, who was like an adoptive father to me for many years, passed away after a courageous fight with leukemia. I'm happy anytime I can write down some wise words he used to say to me and other boys who lived in the Sainte Claire’s parish atop a hill in the community of Ti Plas Kazo (Petite Place Cazeau). I am honoured to have been part of this great man’s life, one of the icons of Haiti’s struggle. I lived with him since1997 as his right-hand altar boy until his lovely father, the Almighty God, called him on May 27th, 2009 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.
To begin the Eucharistic celebration, Father Jean-Juste made the community aware of what was going on nationally and internationally. Some people called him the reporter, and others called him a journalist priest. He liked to talk about school, church, and politics but, as a realist, he knew that the body needs nourishment as well as the mind and soul. He always said, “ Pray, Study and Eat.” At the Sainte Claire’s Rectory feeding program funded by What If? Foundation, he always asked the children who come to eat, “What did Jesus ask?” and the children replied “Food for the kids.”
“People cry, and many lives have gone, but Haiti can rebuild.”
by Wadner Pierre
Early this morning, I spoke to some of my friends in Haiti and had a very wonderful conversation with them. A couple of hours later, my friend Guerline, who lives in Montreal, sent me a text message about the earthquake that hit Haiti. My beloved country was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Expects reported on CNN that it was the worst ever recorded in this region of the Caribbean.
I know my country, and I know Carrefour and its surrounding areas. The way that most of houses in Haiti are built is contrary to any safety norm or standard. A major earthquake like this will undoubtedly devastate people’s lives, and make them more vulnerable than ever before. The political instability that has ravaged the country for years will make things worst. What happened in Haiti some fives hours ago is truly catastrophic. Even the President’s office, public buildings received major damages or collapsed.
The President and his wife are safe, but no one knows where they are. The secretary of the President, Fritz Longchamps was in the street when the Earthquake struck. Randomly, Haiti’s Ambassador in the United State, Raymond Joseph, reached him by telephone and told him that he had no contact with the president. Joseph, who served as Haiti’s Ambassador since the de facto government of 2004-2006, is now appealing to the world for help.
By Wadner Pierre
©Photo Randal White
The U.S. Representative, Californian Congresswoman, a long-time supporter of democracy in Haiti Maxine Waters, qualified the Haiti's upcoming election to be a set back for Haiti's democratic development if these elections will not be fair and credible. Congresswoman Waters expressed her concerns about the upcoming elections in a letter addressing to Haitian President, Mr. Rene Preval.
Representative Waters' letter is one of dozens of letters that have been sent to President Preval, U.N's Secretary General and OAS' Secretary General about the upcoming flawed election in Haiti, scheduled for the months February and March.
Coming soon, more analysis about other letters on Haiti's undemocratic upcoming elections as already qualified by national and international political leaders and human groups.
Below is the Letter of Rep. Waters to President Preval.
December 23, 2009
His Excellency René Préval - President of Haiti
c/o Embassy of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
click image below for story
I am writing to express my concerns about the decision of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to exclude more than a dozen political parties from the Parliamentary elections scheduled for February and March 2010. I am concerned that these exclusions would violate the right of Haitian citizens to vote in free and fair elections and that it would be a significant setback to Haiti’s democratic development.
By Wadner Pierre-www.haitianalysis.com
In 2006 two struggles were going on in two different Catholic churches and in two different countries. At Saint Claire’s Parish, Tiplas Kazo, Delmas 33 (one part of Delmas County), Haitian parishioners, students, and community leaders stood up against the decision of the Archdiocese of Port-Au-Port to remove the late activist priest, Gerard Jean-Juste, who had been serving this parish for ten years. Simultaneously at Saint Augustine Church, in Tremé, New Orleans, a similar struggle was taking place. Students of different beliefs and backgrounds, civil right’s movement leaders and community leaders stood up against the unjustified decision of the New Orleans Archdiocese, to remove the elderly African-American priest, Father Jerome Ledoux, from the oldest African-American Catholic church in the United States. To explain the meaning of the people’s struggle at Saint Augustine Church, it is important to understand the history of this church and why it is so important for the African-American Catholic community to keep this church from closing after Hurricane Katrina.
The History of Saint Augustine Church
Once the catastrophe hit it was a long time before people started to understand what was really going on. By then, the world had abandoned the already marginalized communities, leaving them to fend for themselves while being largely displaced and devoid of rights.
Walking through the still devastated neighbourhoods, the poverty is simply striking. Abandoned, barely standing homes are interspersed with a few renovated ones here and there. International and national volunteers converge to pour their efforts into single projects, but what they leave behind is perhaps even more telling than what they've originally found.
As they scrape together the resources to rebuild, others see an opportunity in the devastation. A large evacuation, such as that of the 9th Ward of whose 17,000 original residents 14,000 remain displaced, produces quite a business opening. Cheap real estate has become the market of choice for opportunists as every abandoned plot boasts a "for sale" sign.
Effectively, an ethic cleansing is underway as the predominantly black population of such neighbourhoods as New Orleans East and the 9th Ward has disappeared. In the former, it is actively and aggressively being replaced by suburban, predominantly white residents. In the latter, the destruction is still too significant for a strong gentrification to take place. In the city's centre, public housing projects have decreased by 80 per cent largely thanks to home demolitions.
Intermingled amongst brand new hotels and entertainment swag are the ghosts of New Orleans. Abandoned buildings with boarded up windows are on every side street off Canal. Hidden only by the busy flickering of neon lights and bars begging for your undeserved business. One needs only to turn to any of the buildings behind the flashy palm trees to see Katrina leftovers.
Hidden also, though beating through the heart of this city is its intense poverty and racism. It is swept under the bridges and sheltered in back alleys. It is beaten away from the sight of tourists and entertainers by batons and vacational apathy.
While thousands await the return to their native city, hundreds lining its streets in shelters and tents, the busy Bourbon street continue to party. Quite a bit of thought and design went into the sweeping away of the life and reality of this city. Benches in the entertainment district- the French Quarter- are curved downward to make them impossible to sleep on. Similarly benches at major tourist squares are dividied by bars to prevent lying down. Lights are granted only there where the tourist industry wants foreign attention. The resistance to the gentrification, systemic discrimination, and outright ethnic cleansing is conveniently relocated.
Subsidized and affordable housing has been sustaining an intense attack by the city, the state, the government, and private enterprise. Demolitions have forced hundreds onto the streets and eviction notices are handed out like pamphlets. Once enough people are evicted, the housing is torn down to build hotels, condominium apartments, and bars.
Opening up before us is New Orleans as we finish our last leg of the trip in Louisiana. Stories of ghosts fill our entry as they fill our first day in this town. Coming here for the People's Summit, opposing this year's Security and Prosperity Partnership, we're beginning to learn the true tales of surviving Katrina from the lives of those America has forgotten.
We've spent 41 hours on the road from Ottawa, but after playing through the Greyhound shuffle, switching routes four times, and spending two nights on varying buses, the hardest part of the trip was entering New Orleans from Mobile, Louisiana. The energy in the Ottawa contingent was rising, even with the absolute loss of the sense of time after so much travel. We've come here for the People's Summit, opposing the Security and Prosperity Partnership meeting of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico's heads of state with over 30 CEOs of the continents most powerful corporations. Our energy quickly died down once John, one of the passengers returning to his native New Orleans shared stories of what opened up before us.
Entering through the East Quarter, the poorest and most impacted part of the city, we see empty mega buildings of former Wal-Marts and strip malls. Today what was once the projects of the city is quickly becoming suburban townhomes as the city attempts to gentrify its population.
"All this was trailers," John tells us. "Now they've moved all these people away. They sent them up around the world."
We drive through collapsed roofs, and abandoned neighborhoods.
Talking about reconstruction, he tells us "they give us $25,000 to rebuild our homes, but it cost you $60,000 to do it."
"The projects' all boarded up, ain't no one coming home. They took it from you... it makes you wanna cry."
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.