As the sun set behind the distant mountains, the sage moved from his perch above the valley. He’d been traveling for as long as he could remember and he needed to rest. He mused quietly about the state of the world, a cacophony of divergent perspectives clashing, yet producing little of value, save for the obnoxious items of luxury paraded around to mimic self worth. What is the meaning of existence we might ask? Is it only to survive, a daily struggle to maintain a position in a social entity built to question the very nature of existence? Fight against nature rather than seek to live in harmony with the spiritual forces that guide movement. The sage sighed audibly, for he was discouraged because of the emptiness he saw in the world around him. An emptiness that fools, religious apostles and rulers of the moment tried to fill with directives, scriptures that said nothing and orders to line up and in single file toss yourself down the chasm. Foolish perceptions that can only render the depression one feels more poignant. Life is a series of states that push one another in a mad dash to fill the emptiness.
In Haiti presently, we have returned to the Stone Age. We are living in darkness, with little and more often no electricity to light the darkness and run idle appliances. The other day, after four days without electrical current, suddenly at 11:20 PM the light came on miraculously only to go dark at 1:00 AM. That means we received nearly one hour and a half of electricity after having supported the darkness for nearly four days. After two days batteries from the inverter system were down, the smart phone was down to 15 % of power and the only semblance of modern life came from a portable radio with batteries inside. You have to plan everything during daylight hours because once night sets in goodbye life. You find it hard to sleep in long stretches because the combination of the heat and the mosquitoes flying in the darkness allow for very little peaceful sleep, so you doze off in small increments. The worst part is that the population continues to live in darkness, without any activity or entertainment after dark while the leaders run their generators and continue living a charmed life. It’s no surprise because we remember the days of “Peyi Lock” when President Jovenel Moise and his government went into hiding rather than face the population for over seven months. The Prime Minister is demanding that people stay home, but with no electricity what can one do at home. No TV, no radio, no light there is little one can do at home to fight the Covid 19 pandemic. And since most people have no running water good luck washing up often.
Yesterday the director of EDH, the state company that provides electricity to the country, (Electricite D’Haiti) spoke about the problem of no electricity on Radio Caraibes FM. Of course he did not tell us the real reason why there is no power. He laid out some platitudes about needing to repair the network and the lack of rain as the reasons for the severe rationing. The real reason is that the FMI has agreed to give Jovenel Moise and his cronies money to burn provided they stop providing funds to EDH. This is not the first time the FMI has tried to get the Haitian government to stop providing electricity to the country by not providing money for fuel and maintenance of the network. The FMI wants to destroy the informal economy which relies on electricity for the most part by forcing the government to stop providing any subsidies to the population and have everyone swim or sink. Of course, in developed countries there are all kind of subsidies, starting with agriculture, but Haiti cannot offer relief to the population because the failed FMI resolutions of the 1970s have to be applied in full force in this poor country. With President Moise, the FMI has found its perfect fool, a discredited elected president with less than 500,000 votes in a country of over 12 million people. He is willing to allow the destruction of the economy of the country, so that he and his wife can live a life of luxury he could not even envision before being propelled to power by the U.S. State Department. This is a man who does not even have the experience of a dog catcher, and his first post id President of the country, in a time period that is critical to the survival of Haiti. All other presidents before him refused to kill the economy by following FMI directives, but Jovenel Moise is ready to do all asked.
In the Diaspora, Haitians who have migrated are going through tough times. Unemployment and Covid 19 are ganging up on our communities in the diaspora. On top of this we are losing our pride and the inner support that identity provides. Because of poverty and squalid conditions life for most people in Haiti is ugly and unrelenting. Haitians living abroad must face this situation where some of us are ashamed of our country and as a result ourselves. A few have turned their backs and refused to acknowledge their Haitian identity, adopting the identity of the country they live in, as hard as this can be. In the U.S. people wonder how a population can continue living like this. We fail to realize that we are all children of Haiti, no matter how long we have left, and the state of our mother will always affect us. We are filled with pride when our soccer team wins a match on the international stage, but what happens to that pride when we watch our country go down in flames.
A Tale of Two different situations
Arnel Belizaire, a former Depute in the Haitian parliament is nearing death, kept in prison in squalid, inhuman conditions in the Croix-des-Bouquets jail. His lawyers have been demanding his release because of the illegal manner in which he was arrested. He is accused of distributing weapons to gangs, but the evidence used to arrest him is not legal because a judge did not enter the evidence in the file as the law states. The request for Habeas Corpus was denied and former depute Belizaire sits in a crowded jail cell where he lost consciousness yesterday while his health deteriorates. On the other hand former Depute J. F. Thanis was released on Habeas Corpus illegally even though charges against him were solid and he was apprehended with a large quantity of illegal substances. So Thanis goes free while Belizaire stays in jail. He is not the only political prisoner in Haiti. The jails are full of of people who are against Jovenel Moise and the PHTK, the ruling political party. With Covid 19 a serious threat jails are still packed with people, and if Covid 19 affects one prisoner, everyone including the guards will be at risk, and the population will be in danger also. The conditions of prisons in the country is a time bomb with Covid 19 the constant threat.