By: EMMANUEL ROY
Shortly after the earthquake that killed nearly half a million Haitians in 2010; A well-known American evangelist said Haiti had made a deal with the devil to gain its independence in 1804; a tragic earthquake was the Devils payback. This was a ludicrous statement forcefully rejected by the ever well-articulated Raymond Alcide Joseph; Haiti’s former ambassador to the United States. In his book “For Whom the Dogs Spy” the former ambassador with style and grace shows the insidious nature of the evangelist’s statement, and for that, all Haitians should be grateful and thankful to Ray- he never failed to defend Haiti.
January 10th, 2020 will mark a decade since the earthquake, and Unfortunately, the country continues to struggle not only with the remnants of the earthquake but with itself. The dysfunction that belies the country and the constant infighting among its leaders and the viciousness that envelops it seems to have been inspired by supernatural forces. Hours after the earthquake hit Haiti, former US 1st lady Hillary Clinton, who was the United States Secretary of State reportedly asked: “Why Haiti?” There had not been an answer to the former first ladies momentous query.
Haiti carries the unique distinction among black nations of having been the only black country that has conducted a successful revolution against the tyranny and human degradation of slavery. A distinction, I am sad to say that we have not lived to in terms of human progress.
I have for the better part of the last three decades been thinking about my country-how I wish its politicians and leaders could focus on the greater goal of creating a country that all of us could be proud of. A country that educates its youth takes care of its old, a country where justice reign supreme and corruption is arrested. Perhaps this is too much to ask, or as a group of people, we are incapable of summoning the will to embrace a firm commitment to a better country and a liberated future. The last three decades have been a replay of the dysfunctions, the imperfections, the injustice, the political instability that stifles social progress; the demagoguery of reactionaries that generates the status quo. While other black countries from Africa to the Caribbean move towards a tenable society with measurable human progress; Haiti seems to perfect the art of imperfections In regressing towards the abyss. Politics have become a zero-sum game with recalcitrant players insisting on winning at all costs. Winning to them means the ability to amass a small fortune, so politics become personalized which incentivizes the willingness to embrace violence.
Since Aristide, every government has been infected by the virus of opposition with debilitating circumstances designed to decrease government capacity. Political violence, settling of old scores, mass protests, destruction of private property, overall insecurity marshaled by local and foreign inciters.
Every effort to teach negotiation, political entente vanish is almost by a supernatural force. Chaos and utter dysfunction have become the new normal. Some of us have resigned ourselves to the notion that Haiti is ungovernable, the merchant class is corrupt; politicians are in it only for themselves, and the people stand there dumbfounded wondering what is up and what is down.
It is incomprehensible that a nation or a group of people who came together more than two centuries ago to defeat the mighty army of Napoleon is now in the enlightened period of the 21st century is merely incapable of governing themselves. Could it be that our own’s ancestors made a deal with the devil that forever assigns us to the purgatory of ignorance?
When the American evangelist claimed Haiti made a deal with the devil, I was perturbed by that statement; and I was happy someone defended our ancestors. Is it possible that our ancestors could have made a deal with Lucifer for that forever for closed a future for Haitians for generations to come? What if the dysfunction in Haiti, our people’s inability to come together to respect and care for each other are of supernatural causes? What if the deal was made for perpetual failure? What if the Gods have really failed Haiti? What if Reverend Pat Robertson was correct when he said Haiti made a pact with the devil?
Some phenomena cannot be explained using human logic and knowledge. Haiti seems to have been following a course that borderlines insanity; doing the same thing over expecting a different result. I am not an overly zealous and religious person, but I have given considerable thought and consideration to the state of affairs in Haiti, and it is hard to explain it, except to admit that many of the events in situations in Haiti cannot be explained in the natural term; Or even make logical sense.
In 2010-2011 I was part of the Martelly campaign for president, and I learned that every candidate for president had had their own seance and or voodoo ceremony seeking the cover of protection against real and perceived enemies. Though such occurrences are a natural part of Haitian culture, one must wonder whether such constant adulation create significant overtures for maledictions?
The title of this essay is the title of a book that I am currently researching to either prove or debunk the suggestion that our ancestors made a deal with the devil. If our ancestors did make a deal with the devil, what does that mean for the future of Haiti? If an agreement was not made, how do we explain Haiti’s current woes? Are we a cursed people or simply hard headed?