Originally: Copying the Slavemasters

On the eve of our bicentennial as a free nation, disturbingly cruel acts carried out by the agents of Haiti?s rulers are eerily similar to those of the slavemasters that we defeated two hundred years ago. One can hardly believe the news. A sixteen-year-old boy, Jonathan Louima, was severely beaten at the police precinct of the Champ de Mars, near the Presidential Palace, the official seat of the State. But that?s not all. After the beating, he was released to the hungry dogs in the yard against whom he had to fight to save his life. The numerous dog bites on the boy?s arms and legs testify to the “night of horrors” he had lived through on October 14.

This vicious attack brings us back to our Haitian history books which tell us in great detail about the sadistic tormentors who used bullwhips, special batons and dogs to subdue the restless slaves. Two of the most cruel French commanders come to mind: Rochambeau and Caradeux. According to the historical record, they had imported bulldogs from Cuba to sic them on the maroons, as those who escaped into the wooded mountains were called. And who is using dogs against the civilian population today? The reviled Lavalas regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a defrocked Catholic priest turned sadistic politician. Thus, Aristide is not only comparable to Rochambeau and Caradeux, but also to another infamous Catholic priest: Las Casas. The history books tell us that he was the one who convinced the Spanish authorities to import the more robust Blacks from Africa to replace the Arawak and Tainos Indians who were being decimated through hard labor and disease introduced in Hispaniola by the first slavemasters.

The copycat torturers of Lavalas have been at it for a while. They are the ones who introduced the practice of the flaming tire?the Pierre Lebrun?around the necks of their victims. They are the ones who extolled the use of lead-tipped bullwhips against peaceful demonstrators. And they are also the ones who came up with a secret plan to pack feces and urine in small plastic bags to be used as projectiles against citizens using their constitutional right of protest. The cruelty and sadism of the Port-au-Prince authorities can no longer be ignored by their foreign “friends” and supporters who often try to defend the indefensible. It is shameful that the ” pro-democracy” stalwarts in America who advocated so much for the return of Aristide to power in Port-au-Prince have now remained silent in the face of such gross human rights violations being committed by their former idol.

Where are the likes of hunger striker Randall Robinson, of traveler-for-justice Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton? Where are the Congressional Black Caucus brothers and sisters who were so insensed about the atrocities committed by the Haitian military who overthrew Aristide? Isn?t it time for eminent congresspeople like John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, Donald Payne, Gregory Meeks, Major Owens and all the other Black brothers and sisters to distance themselves publicly from the sadistic show in Haiti? Where are the Joe Kennedys and other American business partners of the powers-that-be in Port-au-Prince?

By their silence they condone the savagery being exercised in Haiti by one they so much advocated for. We applaud, however, the courage of those, like James Morrell and Alice Blanchet of the Haiti Democracy Project, that sponsored the recent visit of Frandley Denis Julien to the United States. Julien made critically important presentations of the Haitian situation?past and present?and perspectives for the future. We?ll note that James Morrell was an adviser to Aristide while the latter was exiled in Washington, and Alice Blanchet had worked with Prime Ministers Robert Malval and Smark Michel within the Lavalas context. To be commended also are the New York committee of “Initiatives Démocratiques” (ID) composed of former Lavalas defenders who are timidly trying to distance themselves from the chaos to which they had contributed. Hopefully, many others will have the courage to clearly denounce the abomination taking place in Haiti and work as diligently as they did in the past to bring about a meaningful change in that sad land. Can we really decry the action of those who are now taking up arms to oppose the sadistic tormentors of the people? Remember that the excesses of the Caradeux and Rochambeaus motivated our ancestors to rise up and overthrow the slave masters! Can it be any different today? History, it is said is a “perpetual start over.” The reported events in Gonaïves testify to that.