Regardless the countless openings made available to us by the peoples that welcome us as guests in their home countries, we in the Diaspora cannot be living in our misperceived comfort zone of Chinese food eating and Kool Aid drinking to think that Haiti can do without us. Somehow, we need to find our political voice and activism to get involved in the political, social and economic debates going on inside the country. We, not the international community, are the savior of Haiti. No one can love and care about the country we call ours more than we do.
After the earthquake of January the 12th which basically put the country on its knees, it is more pressing today than it has ever been to get united around one agenda so we could do for ourselves what we have been desperately waiting for decades on others to do for us. We cannot and will not accomplish anything if we do not put aside all the bickerings and wranglings that are keeping us apart, thus preventing us from coming together as one people to overcome the challenges and solve our problems.
The unity movement we are propagating needs to have three legs –social, political and economic. We already have the economic upper hand. We have been contributing about 2 billion dollars a year to the country’s economy. This is no small contribution; it cannot and must not be overlooked.
In any country, the economic power is the engine that tilts the political balance in one way or the other. If you do not represent anything economically speaking, do not expect to weigh anything on the political scale. Your economic standing is the drive that determines your political strength to influence the politics of things. Now that we know we have the economic upper hand, how can we capitalize on it?
We need to create and develop liaison organizations and establish partnerships with the political powerhouses on the ground. Politics is all about cutting deals and making compromises to get what you opt for, which in the world of politics we call LOBBYING. This is a world where you do not get anything with nothing.
If we organize ourselves in a systematic way, playing the game of politics on the ground in Haiti to get, for instance, the dual citizenship bill introduced, voted on in both chambers of Congress, and signed into law by the president of the country will be a piece of cake.
That should not be a matter of political struggle, not when we are all Haitians who just happen to be living outside the country. We do not need to be subject to a citizenship test to prove that we are Haitian. Being Haitian is not just a matter of nationality; it is also a matter of heart. Your home is where your heart is. And for most of us, our hearts are in Haiti.
Way before the earthquake, the country was severely hurting with a brain drain phenomenon –skilled people leaving the country and migrating to foreign lands. The situation has gotten amplified as a result of the disaster. Now very few people with skills are left inside the country, explaining the reason why we are relying on these NGOs to take care of the country’s business. As I’ve said many times, the economic brain (skills/savoir faire) and blood (money) of the country are in the Diaspora, not inside the country. So any politics of isolation of the Diaspora is doing nothing but further alienating the country.
We have enough manpower and expertise in our ranks to rebuild our earthquake-stricken and poverty-stricken nation. Quite frankly, I refuse being entertained with the idea that a foreign country or dignitary has the solution to our problems; I reject any proposal that wants to make believe that the international community is here to rescue the country from the abyss it finds itself today. Believing in such foolishness is to believe in Santa Claus. Nine months after the quake, we are still sitting on our butts allowing ourselves being played by an international community that does not really give a damn about us.
It is time that we open our nostrils and start smelling the coffee. If these guys were going to do for us, they would have done so long ago, especially when some of them were and are still in control of the leadership of the world. In fact, some of them have their prints in the economic and foreign policies that got us where we are in the first place.
It is up to us Haitians to do for ourselves what we want and how we want it done. The rescue of Haiti lies in the hands of the Haitian people. Bill Clinton, however compassionate and sympathetic he may be with respect to the Haitian cause and struggle, cannot do anything for Haiti if we Haitians do not come through to set the tone and tell him what we want and how we want it done.
Finally, we in the Diaspora have this date with history which we need to show up for. We cannot stand her up this time. We need to come together as one to build our nation physically and psychologically like the Jews did to give birth to their independent nation of Israel six decades ago. We –dark-skinned and light-skinned Haitians, peasants and professionals, rich and poor, young and not so young, men and women across all social, religious, economic and political spectrums –need to converge our efforts with our brothers and sisters on the mainland to realize a social and economic 1804. We can make it happen. This is the moment for our generation to write its chapters in Haitian history. We are no different than our forefathers who brought amazement with their heroic spirits to the minds of the skeptics with their political movement that culminated in the independence of our great nation. So let’s not let this date with history bypass us.