The other day, as I was scrolling down my news feed on Facebook, I stumbled on this video clip of Jean-Bertrand Aristide campaigning alongside Maryse Narcisse, the presidential candidate for his Fanmi Lavalas Party, in which he is calling for “dechoukaj” [in English: violent street protests] in the event that his Lavalas associates in power fail to hold the scheduled November 20 elections.
That was very irresponsible on his part, being that he is a former president, someone who is expected to take the high road on the burning issues affecting our everyday lives.
I want to tell this man that we have enough of his politics of violence. The country cannot take another wave of “dechoukaj” and “kraze brize.” Ever since I know him, violence has always been his signature politics. His incitation to violence is proof that he has not evolved a notch.
Should his Lavalas associates continue to hold on to the people’s power illegally if they fail to organize the elections? Absolutely not. But we do not need a wave of “dechoukaj,” as Aristide is suggesting, to solve that problem.
Why should we always have to recourse to violence to make our voices heard? What has happened to the idea of holding peaceful protests in a democracy?
If his Lavalas associates in power fail to hold the elections, I am calling on the country’s social, political, religious and business forces to come together to propose the way forward to a peaceful transfer of power –to ask Jocelerm Privert, the country’s de facto president, and his cronies to get their grips off the people’s power so Judge Mecene Jean-Louis of the Supreme Court could take the leadership of the country with the ultimate mandate of closing the chapter of the overdue elections.
The country has had enough in the past few years –earthquake, hurricanes, floods, etc… –for this man to be inciting violence. Just last month, we got hit by a devastating hurricane, leaving the entire Southern peninsula in shambles. Yet, this defrocked priest could not find anything better to do with himself but to incite his followers to violent protests. He ought to be ashamed of himself.
Aristide represents everything that is not good for our country, everything that is keeping us in this state of lawlessness, instability and socioeconomic deprivation. We need to repudiate his politics of violence once and for all. After 30 years of the Lavalas anarchic philosophy, we say enough is enough. Now is the time for civility and tolerance in our political discourse. Now is the time to rebuild, not destroy.