Harmonik's Nicky, Sanders and Mac D

This is an eight-step document designed to help the bands in the Haitian music business to reach the threshold of success. These bands or musical formations are so poorly structured and managed that it must not surprise anyone that they are not doing as great as they should. But there is a chance for them to turn things around; they just have to be flexible and adaptive to reform.

If you are a band owner or someone who is planning on putting a band together, here are the things I think you must do to prevent your business from falling in the hole of failure and chaos most of these bands in the business have been:

  1. You must have a name to represent and identify your band in the business. Some people think that the choice of a name for a business or product is simple; it is not that simple. This could be the most difficult step. When choosing a name for a business, that name must be meaningful (it must mean something), short, easy to pronounce and easy to remember. It must also be a name you can easily use to create slogans with to help the business in its marketing strategy. If the consumer can sing or repeat the name of your business in a simple slogan, it will stick with imagery.
  2. You have to determine and identify your target markets. That means you have to ask yourself this simple question, who do I want to produce this product for or who will be interested in buying it? Unless you are a dumb investor, I don’t know one person who would invest a capital to produce a product knowing that no one in the market will be interested in buying it. This is a VERY important element. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The entertainment market is so fragmented that it tends to be extremely difficult and even impossible to try to satisfy everyone at once. It is not that there is an industry norm that says you cannot do it, but it will be way better and easier for you to zero on some specific and clear segments of the market. If you identify your target markets early in the process, that will help you to focus on your strategies to reach your goals.
  3. You must have a startup operating budget. Money is everything, especially in the entertainment world. I don’t give a damn how great your band plays; if you don’t have money to finance your operation or execute your plan, you are wasting your time. And my advice to you is to go do something else. Well, if you love being exploited or taken advantage of, you can choose to have someone finance your operation and get paid chunk change while he or she is raking all the papers. It all depends on what you want. Music production costs money -regardless your location on earth. It is a lucrative endeavor; therefore, people want their shares of the pie.
  4. Your lineup must be on point on every front -music, look and style. Try to hire professional and career musicians, not a bunch of amateurs. Experience saves you time, and time is a major factor in the entertainment world as it is an ever-changing landscape. In the look and style department, if your guys need help, and I believe they do, have a stylist on board in your staff or working for you as a consultant to work with them because they have to look appealing and mainstream to the segments of the market you are trying to target. In other words, they have to be trendy. Being trendy has nothing to do with wearing expensive clothing; it has to do, rather, with attitude, charisma, style and confidence. You can have the most expensive garments on and you look like a “gwo soulye,” a “gwayil” or a “madigra mal maske.” So you have got to get it right because what people see does impact how they think and behave.
  5. Take your time to drop a banging product. Don’t be rushing to come out empty-handed. Let your product introduce you to and position you in the business. Brand identity and brand differentiation are two important concepts in marketing. Your product is your resume. It tells a lot about who you are (your identity) and your qualifications (your potentials or what you are capable of doing). So you have to come out with your resume in your hands for the market to take you seriously. That’s how you make impact.
  6. Your marketing must be tight. In addition to points 1, 2, 4 and 5, being all elements of your marketing strategy, your promotion must be exemplary for its aggressiveness. Promotion is all about making noise by any possible means necessary to garner expected positive results. You have to use every single medium out there to promote your brand and product. If you want to maintain a competitive edge over your competitors, you must be willing to go the extra mile and do the things they are not doing. Use your imagination and your creative ability to captivate the attention of the market.
  7. Maintaining media discipline in your media relations strategy is something I often talk about. It is how you deal and interact with the media. The media is very powerful; it can make or break your business in a matter of seconds. You have to be very careful in your dealings or interaction with them. So you have to have someone in your staff or working with or for you as a consultant to be the mouthpiece of your business. You have to maintain discipline within your ranks, meaning you have to be able to control your troops. You cannot have 8 members in a band and each and every one of them thinks they can seize the podium or spotlight at any given time and say things to create PR faux pas and, as a result, place your business in a very uncomfortable position -where you will be spending countless amount of time doing damage control. That’s why you must have one person to talk on behalf of the business. Should someone have to come out to give an interview, that person must be coached and prepared for the event by the PR person. Impression is everything. If you want the market to respect your business, you start off by respecting it first.
  8. You must have a competent staff working with and for the band. I already stress the importance and role of two staffers -the stylist and the PR person.
  • You also need an event bookkeeper. That person’s responsibility is to go out there to connect the band with the promoters or event planners to find and create events for the band to showcase. That person has a huge responsibility. He or she will have to handle the band’s schedule to make sure there is no overlapping in the schedule. He or she is also responsible for making travel arrangements for the musicians so that they can be at their locations on time to perform. You can call that person the point man or woman in terms of who to call to negotiate gigs with or book the band for events. That’s a very powerful position to hold. He or she is like the band’s official salesperson.
  • You will also need an accountant to account for all the cash inflow and outflow for the administration. Whenever there is money flowing around, in whatever line of business, it is always recommended that there is an accountant on board to keep record of all the financial transactions. It is the best thing to do for accountability purposes. That person can be an in-house staffer or an outside contractor. He or she, in due time, can also play the role of a financial adviser to monitor the market and give the manager the best possible financial advice in terms of looking at the pros and cons of making a specific investment.
  • You need a knowledgeable business/entertainment lawyer. You can outsource the service of that person as it could be costly to have such cadre permanently in your staff. You will need to seek legal advice on key legal matters (issues having to do with contract litigation, copyright infringement, so on and so forth). So whenever necessary, you can always have that person to consult with in your decision making apparatus.
  • You must have a band leader, music director, maestro, or however you wanna call him or her. That person is critical for the success of the band. He or she has two important functions –administrative and technical. He or she is the one to go out to recruit musicians to bring on board to meet the vision and objectives set forth by the manager of the band. He or she is the chief of the technical staff of the business –the musicians. His or her job is to technically prepare the band’s schedule for rehearsal sessions, select the songs that will be in the band’s live repertoire, work in the studio with the musicians on the structure and making of the songs to be featured on the band’s album and outsource (if necessary) the musicians to contribute to its production, call on the dress code for the musicians for each event, and decide on the point and time of rendezvous as to where and when the musicians are to meet for a specific event. He or she is the only musician to have a permanent seat in the band’s management’s staff meetings to serve as informant or liaison between the musicians (his or her team) and management. This person must have leadership, administrative and technical skills. He or she has to be just as knowledgeable in music structure as he would be in administration and leadership.
  • Last but not least, you need an astute, skillful and professional manager.  This person’s responsibility is extremely huge. This is not someone you hire because he or she claims to have a few dollars in the band, is a good friend or relative of the band’s owner, is a “big boss,” or claims to be influential in the business. He or she must be placed in that position for his or her astuteness, skillfulness, professionalism and leadership skills. He or she plays the role of a coordinator and resource allocator to facilitate the responsibility of each and every staff member. He or she sets the path or objectives in terms of where the band should be heading. He or she endorses, approves of, or appose his or her signature at the bottom of every single administrative decision having to do with the band’s business. Nothing should bypass him or her, for he or she has his or her eyes on every aspect of the business. He or she calls for weekly staff meetings to inform his or her staff and be informed on the band’s activity and operation. Like that, everyone will be on the same sheet of music and playing the same tune. He or she is the leader or the band’s CEO. That person’s sole responsibility is to manage the band as a complete and compact entity and make sure every member of his or her staff does exactly what is expected of them.

I think we need to be doing things differently, meaning the way we are supposed to in this Haitian music business. How can we be competitive when we are doing the same old and archaic things over and over and expecting different and better results, especially when the entertainment world is an ever-changing environment? It is impossible, is it not? We are living in a very competitive global market; therefore, if we cannot be playing right and smart, we are going to be outperformed continuously. And like that, as always, we are going to hold that we are doomed and destined to not be successful in anything, when such is not true. It is our approach to doing things that is preventing us from getting ahead. There is always one right way to do anything. Let’s learn how to do things right and apply what we learn the correct way (without resorting to shortcuts); we will then be amazed to see how exponentially we will progress. I hope this blueprint for success, while it is not perfect, does help all of you to embrace the music business with a revolutionary and winning state of mind.


Sex is a major component in determining one’s level of happiness with life. Many aspects, such as socioeconomics and psychosociology of sex, can negatively impinge on one’s sexual life.

In Haiti, for example, one (male or female) could be in their mid or late 20’s and never have to experience the beauty of sex. And socioeconomics, determining the level of privacy a person can have, has a lot to do with that.

More than likely, if your parents are not financially fortunate enough to have the luxury of possessing a sizeable house, where you and your siblings can have their own rooms and all, you may end up having to share a room with four or six siblings, sometimes indiscriminately of gender and age. In such environment, the probability that you have this room all for yourself to spend quality time with your partner is very negligible to the point of nonexistent.

Another aspect of the issue is the psychosociology of sex. Most of us Haitians don’t look at sex as a need to be satiated; we see it as an insulting, derogatory and shameful act. In Haiti, having sex in your parents’ house (knowing that there are people around) is a NO-NO. That cannot happen. It is viewed by most as disrespectful and a violation to the rules of the household. It is unacceptable by all standards for one to even be with their partner in their own room and have the door shut.

Here, in the US, it is not the same. Privacy in the American society is a big concept. Parents start instilling that value in their kids as early as 2 or 3 years old. And the reason for that is because of socioeconomics, giving them the financial easiness to afford such lifestyle.

Also, here in the US, once you turn 18, you don’t have to live at your parents’ house. They would have to beg you to stay. You can have a job and enjoy the privacy of your own place, move out and stay in a college dormitory, or leave your parents’ house to go to the military. You have so many options to choose from, it’s not even funny.

In this country, they have a more liberal and open-minded attitude towards sex than we Haitians do. Here, sex is being looked at as a need. And at 13, 14, or 16, some parents won’t mind if they are to find out that their sons or daughters have been having sex. They will make sure they teach or remind the kids to always protect themselves. Some of them, the more open-minded and liberal ones, not only will they be concerned if they know that at a certain age their sons and/or daughters don’t be having sex, they will even buy them condoms to use when or in case they are having sex.

Unlike in the US, in Haiti, privacy is a matter of luxury, which only the very fortunate few can afford. Unless they can afford a hotel room to have some privacy with a mate, which is very unlikely, or they have a friend that can make his/her bachelor setting or dwelling available to them, don’t be surprised to find out that they are in their mid or late 20’s or even 30’s and have never had sex.

Between the Haitian lifestyle and that of the Americans, I would not claim that one is better than the other. BUT, for the sake of enjoying the beauty of privacy, if most Haitians were asked to choose one that is more appealing and suitable to them, I am sure they would settle for the American way.


Behind every successful and accomplished woman, there is a strong, successful and accomplished man. By the same token, behind every miserable, trashy, low life, failed woman, there is a man with those same attributes. You cannot move up the life ladder when someone is pulling you down as you are trying to move up, when someone has proven to be a liability to your achievement and  success. That in itself is against nature’s law of traction and gravity, and nature never gets it wrong.

I know some of the socially and financially independent women will come with the usual lame and sorry line “I can do good all by myself; I don’t need a man…” Well, let me say this to these women: as good as you have it or you are doing now, I bet you could have been better off had you had an accomplished and successful man in your life to love you for who you are and support you in everything that you do (like Michele and Barack). Having such a man in your life is more than just an asset; that is a rock for you to build your empire on. Smart and intelligent women don’t use such lame and sorry line.

Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States (I am purposely using her as an example because she has come from the same humble beginnings as most of the ladies reading this piece), you can say she is a successful and accomplished woman. In her humbleness, she may not want to see herself as such, but conventional wisdom would agree that she is one successful and accomplished woman.

She has a beautiful family, a successful academic and professional life; she is highly educated; she seems to be happy; and her husband is the leader of the Free World. If that is not accomplishment and success, I don’t know what is. I don’t know one woman who would not wish to be walking in her shoes right now.

She was not born what she has become today. She was not born with a silver, golden or diamond spoon in her mouth. She had made choices (like all of us, good and bad). But she is one smart and intelligent lady. She knows how to score big. So she had made a choice, a smart one at that.

She chose Barack Obama -the son of an immigrant man from Kenya and a White woman from Kansas, a family-oriented, respectful, supportive, loving, caring, highly educated, goal-oriented man -based on the things she values. That’s how you make smart choices. You make smart choices based on substance, not ridiculousness. I bet some of her so-called friends might have not liked him for her because he was not looking flashy and “hip” with a mainstream profile. But she saw a man in him; she saw in him the substantive attributes which her so-called friends were incapable of seeing.  She is a woman of high standards, not one to settle for anything and everything just because it is flashy, bling bling and mainstream.

I am not asking any one woman to be like Michelle Obama, for no one can ever be like her. But I am asking all women to be smart and intelligent, for they all have the capacity to be intelligent and make intelligent choices. They just have to make good use of that intelligence they are so blessed to have.

Being a woman is to have the ability to make choices (good and bad). However, what makes a woman an intelligent woman is being able to capitalize on that ability to make intelligent choices.

The man a woman has in her life is a reflection of her value system, meaning no one can force her to be with a man just for the fun of being with a man. That has got to be her personal choice. However, if she is going to settle with someone, she knows she has got to make that choice worthy of the wait and worthy of the investment.

Being with someone is not a little kid game; that is a serious matter, one not to be taken lightly. Like I have always said, being with someone is a grown people business, for it can make or destroy your life to the point of irreparable. No matter how you would look at it, you are what you choose. And what you choose is a reflection of your value system. So behind every successful and accomplished woman, there is a strong, successful and accomplished man. And behind every miserable, trashy, low life, failed woman, there is a man with those same attributes.


On the quiet afternoon of Sunday, January 16, 2010, as I was at my desk in front of my desktop computer putting the

J. - C. Duvalier, former dictator of Haiti

 final touch to the transcript of my radio talk show to be aired at 10 PM that night, as I was multitasking navigating between that and answering to comments from people reacting to my Facebook statuses, I kept reading on Facebook the feeds about the unconfirmed news of Jean Claude Duvalier’s return to Haiti after 25 years living in exile in France. I did not want to be bought into what I instantly called the biggest hoax and joke for this new decade because, so cynical and nonsensical it sounded to me, I just could not believe my eyes.

When the news I considered to be the biggest hoax and joke of the new decade was finally confirmed by the Associated Press and Agence France Press, I automatically found myself in a state of shock, speechlessness, disbelief and confusion. I literally got up and walked around as a way to check myself to make sure that I was conscious and that I was not dreaming. Well, it was real; Jean Claude Duvalier, the former dictator of Haiti who ruled the country ferociously for 15 years, has returned to the island.

Ever since the news of Duvalier’s return broke out, we all have been asking all types of questions just to try to get this new development of reality to make sense to us, for the Preval administration could not even come forth to address the nation and shed some light on the nature and significance of his return to the country. This is another piece of evidence added to many of Preval’s politics of nonchalance and absenteeism. The entire nation is left desperate for information and isolated in a vast ocean of confusion to swim its way out to the safety field of accurate and timely information.       

In politics, nothing happens in isolation, meaning there is a reason for and a motive behind everything. Though our long list of questions, unfortunately, has been disregarded and dismissed by the Haitian authorities, one thing we all can agree upon is that the determination of the return of the former dictator at this juncture in the country’s political life and after 25 years of exile has got to have the seal of approval of some powerful invisible hands outside the know of the leadership inside the country.

We have been starkly divided on what to do with Duvalier physically inside the country. Some argue that he must be kicked out, many want him released and not to face prosecution, a large group wants him to take over the leadership of the country, and others just want him trialed. I am going to address each and every single position to the best of my ability.

  • Exile for our former heads of state is not the solution, and I am against seeing them being dragged out of power and trashed in the dumpster of exile. Let’s be clear on that. Jean Claude Duvalier is in his country, how can you kick him out? Let’s assume he is being accused of many wrongdoings. You do not kick the accused out of the legal space where the legal offense was committed; you trial him there.  If President Obama is being charged of any wrongdoing while he is in office, for example, he is not going to be asked to leave the country; he will, rather, be held and trialed in the United States. So the notion that Duvalier must be kicked out of the country simply because we do not have a working justice system to trial him is extrapolation at its best.


  • We cannot be saying that he must not be arrested and trialed IF there are charges against him. It’s either we want a democracy or an anarchy. Democracy is all about allowing the democratic institutions to breathe on their own. Duvalier cannot be above the law. I am for his return to his country. Haiti is his homeland –not France, not the United States, not Canada; therefore, he has all the right to stay in his native land. However, if there are legal charges held against him, they MUST be addressed in court. That is how it should be. Otherwise, how can you hold our elected officials accountable for their mismanagement of the nation’s business during their terms in office if we don’t have a functioning justice system to give them a clean bill of service? If we want to enjoy the beauty of democracy, we need to strengthen our institutions. That’s what we ought to be   doing. We need to let the institution of justice in the country decide on his fate. That’s how democracy works. Well, I hope I am not mistaken; democracy is the system of government we claim having in Haiti. 


  • Should he be arrested and trialed, demagoguery or not, that must be within the realm of application of justice. If there is a warrant issued for his arrest, he must appear in court with his lawyer to answer to the charges; he deserves a fair trial. It’s a matter of principle. He could be in custody, but that would not mean he is guilty of anything. He is innocent until proven otherwise. However, justice MUST pursue its course.


  • Many of you are so naïve calling for a takeover of the country by him -someone who cannot even speak clearly, walk around with a steady gait, and raise his hands. In other words, you need a sick man, who is in no shape or form to lead, to be on the wheel driving us to safety. Other than the same old politics of the past, what new if anything would he bring to move the country forward? His politics is just as archaic as he looks aged. We must not be turning back the clock, and we must certainly not be living this new millennium with a mindset buried in the past. We need to retire all these old-timers and embrace the emergence of a new generation of leaders to lead this nation in this 21st century. So the notion that he must return in politics to lead the country again is just retarded and ridiculous.  

 In conclusion, Duvalier’s return to the country has surprised all of us; we did not see it coming. It took most of us by surprise. One thing we all can agree upon, regardless our politics, is that it did not occur in isolation; there is a reason why it happened when it happened. I see it as a political card used exactly to achieve a political end. It will be exploited by some political powers on the country’s political playing field to capitalize on. However one wants to look at it, the reception the former dictator received upon his arrival at Toussaint Louverture Airport in Port–au-Prince and beyond testifies of the failure of our political class and its repudiation by the people. So we need a new way with a class of new generation of leaders to turn things around in this country. To call for a takeover of the country by Duvalier is to turn the clock three decades back, and that is not smart politics. I am against exile for our heads of state. As far as I am concerned, all of them –from Raoul Cedras to Jean Bertrand Aristide –currently living in exile have their full irrefutable and inalienable right to return to their home country. As Haitian citizens, no one can take that right away from them. However, if there are charges held against them, they need to answer to them in court, and they do deserve a fair trial. As of yet, they are all innocent until otherwise can be proven. In the meantime, let me sit back with my popcorn watching how interesting this political circus in Haiti is going to be with this new clown added to the mix. I hope you too will have fun watching it.


I Have a Dream – Address at March on Washington

August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. [Applause]

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


Why is it that in our Haitian society seeking mental counseling has always been given a negative connotation? Not only do we not believe in mental health, we also assume that the person seeking help for his or her mental condition has got to be “crazy” because, in our minds, mental counseling is for “crazy” people. Well, today, I am writing this piece to challenge and refute such mindset.

One does NOT need to be “crazy” to seek mental counseling. Since mental health is a component of our overall health, the same way we would go for a physical on a regular basis, our mental health needs that same level of attention or care.

To be aware of the importance of maintaining one’s mental health, to know that mental health is an integral part of one’s overall health, that requires a certain level of education and social sophistication, which the majority of the people do not have.

Some of the things we believe in are really having a toll on the way we care for ourselves. The notion that mentally challenged people must be possessed by some type of a demonic spirit is just unfounded, baseless and ludicrous. Because of such ridiculousness, we are facing a community health challenge, where many mentally ill people in our society are going with their illnesses “undiagnosed” or misdiagnosed.

As a result of a death in the family, for example, a person could be displaying signs and symptoms of severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or whatever the case may be. What do we say of the person’s condition? We say that “sé mò a k ap fè l” or the dead is doing that to him or her. Sometimes, if the person has some known or unknown ties with the Vodou religion, we would hold that some ancestral spirits or “lwas” are persecuting him or her because they have been neglected. And the remedy to that is to call for a Vodou ceremony if the person is a Vodou believer, or engage in all sorts of prayer rituals to “exorcise” the demons if the person is a Christian. Meanwhile, the person’s condition is deteriorating.

Furthermore, there is this stigma we attach to mental illness in our society. We look at that as shameful, disgraceful and appalling. When someone is mentally ill in most of our families, like a family member who contracts HIV, we tend to vilify that person because in our eyes he or she is a disgrace, a subject of shame to our family. What do we do to handle the situation? We try to keep it into hiding as much as we can or send the person away to a member of the family in the countryside. Hence, that person is doomed; he may never get to receive any type of treatment whatsoever for his or her treatable condition.

Growing up in Gonaives, specifically near the community marketplace, I had seen it all -schizophrenic patients, bipolar patients, delusional patients, etc… Most of these people were not from the city; they probably came from the outskirts of town. It would be fair to say that that part of the city was the dumpster for mentally challenged people. Some of these individuals were extremely violent and represented a danger to themselves and others. They should have been admitted, not left unattended to be roving around as though nothing was wrong with them. Then again, if we were to admit them, where would we be putting them, especially when we know that the city’s only public hospital –Providence Hospital -was not equipped with a psychiatric ward to cater to their needs?

The January the 12th earthquake makes matters even more complicated than they already were. It is going to have a negative or devastating long-term effect on the psyche of our nation. Having to deal with the toll of the disaster -300,000 human lives wiped out, thousands of physically paralyzed or traumatized citizens, over one million people living in tent cities with no hopes of a better tomorrow, women being raped on a daily basis, the list goes on and on and on… -this is not going to be a simple task.

There cannot possibly be a Haitian society without the Haitian people. So to rebuild Haiti is to rehabilitate its people physically and mentally. And to mentally rehabilitate the people, these misconceptions surrounding mental health talked about earlier must be addressed comprehensively and systematically.

How can you change the mindset of the people to make them more receptive to the realness of mental illness? In other words, how can you effectively treat someone’s mental illness when that person deeply and strongly believes that his or her condition is the result of some type of unexplained supernatural occurrence? Those are some very steep challenges health care professionals (mental health experts), the Haitian authorities and the international community must tackle should they really want to rebuild the country as they promised to do.

Finally, one does not need to be “crazy” to seek mental counseling. Mental illnesses are real; they have nothing to do with supernatural occurrences. In my opinion, supernatural explanation to mental illness is the easiest way to satisfy our ignorance or limited knowledge. We, medical professionals and educators, have a lot of work to do to challenge these myths and misconceptions killing our people. If education is the key to and essence of life, ignorance is the poison that can destroy it.


On Friday, June 18, 2010, at 02:52 AM (EST), on my Blackberry phone, I received this text message from CNN: “CNN Breaking news – Death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed at 12:20 a.m. (MST) by a firing squad at Utah State Prison.”

Mr. Gardner, after being trialed for a crime he was accused of, was found guilty. And the only way for him to pay for that crime, according to the law in Utah, was for him to be executed by a firing squad. To that, everybody said justice has been served.

See, that’s in the United States, and most of us Haitians would accept it, and rightly so, as a matter of justice. Yet, if I were to propose media-covered death by fire or “Pe Lebren” in public for anyone found guilty of committing gruesome acts such as -the killing, kidnapping and raping of another citizen; committing treason against the republic of Haiti and/or stealing the people’s money -most of you here reading this would raise hell as though one way to die is inferior/superior or more/less civilized to another, without taking into account that death is death regardless the means by which it is inflicted.

We need to be burning alive these criminals for two main reasons:

  1. Budget wise, it does make sense. We don’t have the budgetary luxury to house these criminals and keep them alive. It costs us money to keep a criminal in jail. We cannot even find the money needed to spend in social projects to better the lives of our people, yet the little that we have, we want to spend it on caring for criminals having no business to be living.
  2. Psychologically speaking, it does make a lot of sense. Burning these people alive will discourage others, who may have been contemplating ways to carry out these shameful acts, from actually implementing them. That will get them to think twice about the consequences of their actions before they act.

Whether you call it death by fire or “Pe Lebren,” the end result, which is death, remains the same. So the issue, in my humble opinion, does not lie in the name used to identify the practice but, rather, what may come out of it.

We need to take the practice off the streets and place it in the hands of the judges in the courthouses to administer. In other words, we need to institutionalize it and work on the applicability and practicability of our system of justice.

The administration of justice should and must be made the sole responsibility of those officials recognized by the Constitution of the land to carry out. No one citizen should have the right to self-procure justice. Otherwise, unless acting upon self-defense, the individual must be addressed within the realm of our legal recommendations. Having said that, the only way we can prevent self-procurement of justice is by making sure that the citizens have faith and believe in our justice system. Otherwise, we can forget about it.

We cannot and must not let these criminals have their way and thereby turn our beloved Haiti into a crime state. We have to do whatever is in our human power to prevent that from happening.

To any drastic situation, we must always adopt drastic interventions. And death by fire is one of these drastic measures that must be implemented to turn things around in the country. On a long run, such measure will have a positive effect on maintaining a sense of order and security, which is paramount for the safeguard of our citizens, our sovereignty and our national security.

It is a national security issue when economically speaking we are vulnerable. And the only way we can counter that economic vulnerability is by maintaining political stability, protecting private investments, and instituting a culture of order and respect of the law, which will attract investments and keep them within our borders.

After all, death by fire or “Pe Lebren” could be a good thing to remove Haiti from the abyss she finds herself today. Crimes and political instability are two types of cancers that are destroying our nation. Therefore, we must do whatever we can to prevent them from getting to a point of no return or irreversibility. Our aim is not to have a crime-free Haiti, which, by any standard, is not a realistic goal; we only hope, rather, to see the country doing better, which will be beneficial to all of us Haitians.


We were not born to be married in order to be happy. We came to this world alone, alone we shall leave. So marriage is nothing more than a social obligation; it is not a life fulfillment. In other words, you don’t get married to live a happy life. Some people really misconceive the concept of marriage.

We were conceived with the capacity to be living happily alone. Marriage, as I argued before, is a social realization. We do it to be in conformity with the established societal norms. It is a misconstrued idea to believe that you have to be married to be happy. That level of thinking is worrisome.

In my opinion, marriage brings more stress into our lives than anything else, and reason being is that quite often we allow our happiness in the marriage to be placed in part in someone else’s hands -our husband’s or our wife’s. I have heard some women saying: “Without my husband, I don’t think I will be able to live.” That’s scary! That’s allowing someone other than yourself to have a too strong of a hold on your life.

Like most things in life, if not everything in life, marriage is a gamble. If you are lucky enough, you will hit the jackpot of a successful and happy marriage. But do not make it seem as though your husband or wife is the essence of your life. Don’t get caught in that level of reasoning.

Like someone had said before, the idea that marriage is a lifelong legal contract is preposterous. It should be like a lease, which should be renewed as you go along. When the lease is expired, when the lease is no longer valid, the decision whether to renew it or not would depend on many variables.

Some people choose to stay married, in spite of all the tribulations, humiliations and abuses they have been victim of mainly because they cannot begin to imagine living life outside their marriage; they express a sense of worthlessness without that person in their lives. But if they could, they would leave because they are not happy.

The decision to leave a marriage of so many years is not a joke. People are afraid of the unknown. Because they cannot see beyond the brick walls of their marriage, they are afraid to leave. That’s a serious decision for any one person to make.

Al and Tipper Gore, after being married for 40 years, have decided to be separated from each other; they have decided to kiss their marriage goodbye. Some think of the separation as devastating, I think of it differently. I do believe that their concerted and talked and thought through decision to go their separate ways is the best decision they could have made, and I am sure they are happy about it. They were emotionally separated years ago. It is just that it was not made the press. They were constrained to stay in the marriage only to please a society that does not really give a damn about them.

So the point I am trying to make in this piece is that I encourage anybody who wants to be married to do so because, in terms of human relations, it is good to know that you are loved. But if it is not producing the expected results, if it is revealing to be a bag of stress, if it is not what you thought it was going to be, if it is or has become a pain in the rectum, do as the Gores did -get out of it (regardless how long you’ve been married) before it takes your life away. Remember, stress is a silent killer. It will sneak on and kill you silently.


I do not think I should be credited for such a successful year in blogging. We have been blogging for like 4 or 5 months; based on this statistical report, we are not doing too bad.

The success of “Ekspoze” comes from YOU, who have been constantly coming to check what’s new and what we are blogging about.

Yes, I wrote the articles for the most part, but if you had chosen to not come on to read them and share your comments, we would have not had such an impressive review. So you deserve ALL the credit.

Let us work harder to make 2011 even more statistically impressive. Thank you so very much for keeping the blog rolling.

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 52 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 73 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 7th with 192 views. The most popular post that day was MADIVIN & THE MEANNESS OF OUR CREOLE.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for haiti deforestation, zenglen, deforestation in haiti, deforestation haiti, and haiti elections 2010.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.











By Emann Joasil Posted in Home