Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Guest Commentary: Lessons from the crisis in Haiti
Many of the people that follow my blog love to give their perspective on issues. I love the feedback (positive or negative) and want it as much as possible. One of my followers (a real life person that swore me to secrecy about their identity) had to get some things off their chest regarding Haiti. So straight out of the Chocolate City here is an Anonymous Follower (It really is an actual person).
There are other articles on Haiti like the ones below. But these are a good start for the more deeply interested reader. They really put into context the issues at hand – deeper than CNN will ever choose to divulge and investigate.
Impoverished Haiti pins hopes for future on a very old debt
Haiti Is Cursed by Our Ignorance
To make it very plain - my personal reflections - contrary to what we are led to believe, descendants of slaves on this continent are not poor by choice. We (in this country and other countries/islands on this side of the Middle Passage) don't struggle with crime and criminal justice, the worst health rates, the poorest economics, and lowest education rates because we "can't do any better" nor because "that's just what it means to be Black in America"... NO! Instead, it is because for 15 generations, for 400 years, we worked on this continent with no pay - and that pay has YET to be provided.
You know, there's something funny about money that we often fail to recall - even after the death of its owner, it lives on. Herein, for 15 generations (400 years), income would have been generated, but it never was... and therefore, it was never passed down. Therefore, the wealth that would have been had is now absent. The lessons about wealth management and resource management that would have been had have never been learned (of course until very recently - though now, we are 400 years behind!). The armies we would have built... The well capitalized investment banks we would have owned and successfully operated... The productive [food bearing and real estate property bearing] land we would have owned... The vertically integrated systems that we would have created to ensure our independence and dominance as an ethnicity in this country based around the 7 needs of life (food, clothing, shelter, transportation, communication, relaxation, and education)... The organized social networks that allow us to leverage our human capital, social capital, financial capital and political capital.... NONE OF THESE have been created [yet], and it is for these reasons that we as descendants of slaves continue to suffer, and quite visibly.
So in essence, even we here in USA, are STILL all in the same boat as our neighbors who we see suffering daily in Haiti - veritably, a slave boat. Never forget this. This means that regardless of how many doctorates we earn and billions we generate in this 'new post slavery world' - realize that your ancestors worked (just as Haiti's ancestors did), and they were never rewarded for their efforts. And further, to this day, we live in a prosperous country that chooses to give $800 Billion to bankers, but never thought once about a start to a meaningful retributive action towards the descendants of those who were never given their fair share. Of course, we shouldn't expect such 'retributive' actions from a half African-half White man who is NOT a descendant of slaves - his allegiance isn't to descendants of slaves - none of his ancestors were sold, shipped, raped, beaten, worked for free, antagonized and suppressed for 15 generations, and then offered 'affirmative action and welfare' as a proposed means for advancement... Meanwhile, there are families and corporations and governments, who, to this day, are still "living well" off of the money and estates and shares that 'never died' even after the slave masters have died. Now going into the 3rd and 4th century, they are still investing their profits, with centuries of compounded interest that were initially procured hundreds of years ago. They are still being afforded better lifestyles, and continue to pass those profits (protected) to their descendants.
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide recognized this perplexing disadvantage that European-enforced and -endorsed slavery put upon its African descendants. But he chose to take some action -and did so with great support from his people, as a DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED official. Yet, our government (led by Bush) deemed it appropriate to remove Aristide from office and place him into a remote location (reportedly Congo). Such an egregious sin and injustice that we allowed to happen...
If we do not forget this history, one day, unified and organized, we will rise. We will and can be the strongest people again. We will begin to take meaningful steps towards seizing and procuring what was owed to each of our ancestors, plus compounded interest, and it will be distributed back to us for generations. But for now, I'll stop this little letter, and I will resort to a more passive call to action (for now). Tell your children to tell their children: we should never forget the debt that is owed to descendants of slaves... never forget.