By: ILLio Durantis
Haiti- Black Lives Matter- Haitians- Democracy.
As Professor Gina Athena Ulysse eloquently said one of her tweets: Haiti is the cradle of #BlackLivesMatter. I could not agree any more with this simple and yet powerful statement. Ever since that tweet, I have been thinking of a way to make the case as to why that is important. I only hope that the following lines can stir a better narrative and actions for considering why Haitians Lives must play a more prominent role in the Black Lives Movement.
Haiti is once again at a crossroad, this time the junction gives way to either dictatorship or a full fledge democracy. Recently, Haitians have made their voices heard, more specifically over the past two and half years with the eruption of the Petrocaribe movement up to the current standoff against a de facto autocratic and dictatorial regime. The Haitian people is clear on what they want: Sovereign democracy at any cost.
On February 7th of this year, the constitutional mandate of then president, Jovenel Moise came to an end. All major sectors of civil society are claiming for him to step down and making way for a transitional government to take over, Mr. Moise remains defiant and refuses to let go of power.
Haiti found itself in this renewed constitutional crisis because Mr. Moise and his team refused to organize timely elections. Last January, the Haitian became dysfunctional, soon thereafter all elected officials from every municipality were replaced with interim agents nominated by the executive.
Now that a great majority has made it clear they no longer want the status quo, is it finally time for the Haitian people to design their path forward and make the dream of true liberation and prosperity a reality for all Haitians?
Haiti is the birthplace of modern black liberation. In an era, when black lives value were tied to their physical output in a cotton or sugarcane field, African slaves living in Saint-Domingue, not only dare to question the status quo of their time, but they were brave enough to defend the human ideal that their lives matter. As such, they were adamant to gain their freedom, where no sacrifice was too small. These sacrifices would culminate in the independence of Haiti from French merciless colonialism.
Today, Haiti is being held hostage for defeating white supremacists by proclaiming its independence, and sovereignty on January 1st, 1804. The French colonists are replaced with international mission through world organizations like the United Nations and the likes, which subjugated the sovereignty of Haiti in the hands of a minority economic elite and the support of a few foreign embassies. In the end, the popular mass is suffocating under the weight of imperial policies, which work against their interest.
It is inconceivable to have a global fight against white supremacy or for the recognition of black lives matter without giving special attention to Haiti’s history and its current social and political tragedy. Despite all the fights for democracy and social equality, Haiti remains a place where social exclusion and political instability are the norm. In this awakening era, the world needs to remember that Haiti is the cradle of black lives matter. Therefore Black intellectuals and activists, whether in the United States or elsewhere around the world must not only focus on the injustice and brutality within the borders of their native countries, but also find a way to include the country where it all begins as far as black liberation and freedom are concerned. Haiti is the example that white supremacy want to erase in the history of the world.
As members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Congress get ready to hold a policy recommendation hearing on Haiti, the current political stalemate and crisis in Haiti is in dire need of a remedy. A group of U.S lawmakers have already expressed their position, which aligns with the demand of the majority of Haitians, who have lost faith in Mr. Moise and his government. The Foreign Affairs Committee will now get a full description of all the abuse of power by the Moise’s administration, his reliance and affiliation with gang members to oppress the population; and his anti-democratic tactic to rule by decree and trying to impose a constitutional referendum despite obvious opposition by the Haitian mass.
The Haitian people is tired of all the political uncertainty and social instability that have reigned supreme for the past two and a half years; they are tired of the unconditional support by the so-called friends of Haiti for such an oppressive and mediocre regime, and more importantly, they are tired of the flagrant impunity and corruption perpetrated by those in positions to serve the need of the people. It is a breach of public trust and an open war on democracy. The Haitian people as the root of black liberation and the cradle of black lives matter needs the support, solidarity and engagement of all those who believe in Justice, fairness, and equality of all the races.
At this moment in history, the silence of those with a megaphone and amplifier is a consent with the oppressors’ manipulation and blatant racist policies against the first black republic of modern era. No one should be fooled by the face they see at the national palace in Haiti, for the real power to rule the Haitian people resides in the hallways of powerful embassies and international organizations headquarters in Port-au-Prince. Black lives matter, if it includes the lives of all blacks, wherever they are on this planet. It’s time to uproot oppression and mental brutality against a people that all they ever want is to live free in a just and fair society.