Atallah Shabazz, daughter of the late black civil rights leader, Malcolm X, has urged those doing battle for the control of Haiti to act in the best interest of the average Haitian.
Ousted leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, she argued, was now the focus of attention, not the man in the street.
“While those in the White House, and your house and the United Nations are tending to him, I am concerned in a natural way with the welfare of the average citizen in Haiti,” she said Monday night while answering a question posed by one of the 200 persons at the University of Technology’s 17th Anniversary lecture. She was the guest lecturer.
Shabazz, a lecturer who studied international law and cultural philosophy, said the Haitian situation is just one of many examples of inequity in the world.
“Whether in Jamaica, Chicago or Harlem it is the plight we talk about. We are now just focussing on a leader; what happens to the population while we focus on that leader,” she said. “Haiti just happens to be in the news and Haiti’s issue is not new. There are other places suffering, going through a similar plight, where there are advances to the top while people in the middle and bottom suffer.”
Shabazz, who is visiting Jamaica at the same time as Haiti’s former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, would not say whether she supported or disapproved of his departure from office. She said she hoped that during his stay in the island, the circumstances surrounding his departure from Haiti to Bangui in the Central African Republic would be revealed.
“I understand that Jamaica is hosting former President Aristide so maybe Jamaica can get him to tell us the undeniable truths,” she quipped.
Aristide has claimed that he was forced into exile in a veritable coup d’etat carried out with the blessings of the US, France and Canada.
The US denies the claim, saying it gave Aristide safe passage and transportation out of Haiti in the face of an impending rebel assault on the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Haiti, which has been under self rule for the last 200 years, has been hobbled by coups, plots and counter-plots. Aristide was its first democratically elected president, but since last year the Opposition has steadily agitated for him to leave office before the end of his term in February 2006.