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Haiti Liberte: Hebdomadaire Haitien / Haitian weekly news

Edition Electronique

Vol. 8, No. 28
Du  Jan  21  au  Jan 27. 2015

Electronic Edition

Kòrdinasyon Desalin: Conférence de presse


Vol. 8 • No. 14 • Du 15 au 21 Octobre 2014

Racism in a “civilized” country
The case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

 by Jacques Leblanc

Jean Claude Duvalier sera-t-il transféré

Exceptional? Yes, and stupid too!

We speak often and with pride of America's exceptionalism [……] by which we mean our rights, our freedoms, our values. And they are, make no mistakes, among the finest in the world […….] But there are days when the bullets fly and the blood flows and no one give you gives a good reason why this had to happen[………..] Last week brought another such a day. A man was killed by a 9 year old (a girl) wielding a submachine gun [……….] only here, only us.”

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Miami Herald Sunday 8/31/14

Many people are bothered when the question of race is raised. They feel it is inappropriate to talk about it, under the pretext that it is increasingly irrelevant and will eventually die a natural death. Let's recognize, right off, that racism reflects a social reality, and whether we talk about it or not will not significantly affect it one way or the other.

Prejudice, which issues from the basic contradictions of our social structure, will not go away by itself. It has been closely intertwined with the history of the American people, sometimes lying latent, sometimes bursting to the surface with extraordinary fury. Is there not some cause and effect relationship between our periods of economic depression and the resurgence of racism?

Also, we continue to believe that racism is more likely to be resolved by teaching economics than by moral lessons or sermons on human equality among men. For talking of brotherhood in a social system where the economic base, the material conditions of life, make that fraternity almost impossible, is only of Jesuitism.

We're not saying it's not good to preach brotherhood, but it is hardly worthwhile to do so under the present societal organization, and when the inner feelings of those who preach it are often shamefully duplicitous.

In the small town of Jefferson, Missouri, after more than a month and a half of violent protests, outcry has apparently subsided and the streets are once again calm.

It is like the quiet days of nice weather that come after a ferocious storm. Jefferson City, given the great agitation of the last few days, seems to have returned to normal. During the storm, there were fears that all would be lost in the violence raging until gradually the skies cleared. A new and radiant glow followed the darkness. The terrifying threats of danger have faded. Hope is reborn in hearts, a hope full of comforting promise.

But even if the winds have subsided, the clouds have dissipated, and the river has stopped overflowing, nonetheless here and there on the mountain we see signs of erosion. The people, whose voice had roared like a rushing stream, a roar which upset and frightened the oppressors, has died down again and resumed its law-abiding state. It had shouted loudly its demands and pointed assertively to the new direction it intends to go. This is when the conscious observer should take advantage of this situation and try to identify obstacles which sparked the uprising.

In the lives of peoples and individuals it is sometimes necessary, after hard work or before acting decisively, to stop and reflect, especially at a moment of major decision. In Ferguson this time has come, because the social cohesion so necessary for political and economic stability is threatened. As everyone knows, the findings about this sad incident will perhaps be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We are not a prophet of doom but no one can help but notice that the divide between the races and classes is widening and threatening this nation’s political and economic stability.

Our march towards a higher destiny is often dangerous, and we need to know where to step so as to avoid the pitfalls and cracks in the road. No people has ever climbed the heights of happiness without paying countless offerings of sweat, tears, and blood to the goddess Experience.

Wisdom is the fruit of trials, for he who now sings the hymns of hope is the loser who yesterday cried out from hard-knocks received and setbacks endured. As lessons learned with pain are never forgotten, one overcomes weakness by learning from one’s mistakes with people and things.

Never since his time has the home of Lincoln faced more serious dangers and been threatened by greater perils. Standing uncertainly at this crossroads, torn right and left by enemies and ignorant sons, the nation is trying to decide whether she wants to go ahead, to be fully integrated as part of full democracy, to give all her citizens, without distinction of creed, rank, and skin color equal opportunities, or remain prisoner of stupid racism and blatant injustices that will only delay the evolution of the land of Lincoln.

The assassination of our African-American children must stop immediately. Derogatory and racist remarks vis-a-vis our black President must also stop immediately.

When we see that such practices persist in the land of Lincoln, of Washington, of Roosevelt, in this the 21st century, in this great country which today sets the agenda for the old and the new world after her sons sacrificed their lives for the triumph of the ideas of justice and freedom, one is entitled to anxiously wonder if the atomic age has not returned to the scenes of ancient barbarism whose narrative frightens the human mind.

Hunger must stop plaguing not only African-American households, but all households that suffer from it.

Freedom, justice, equality, should flourish in this most blessed of all nations on earth.

We never claimed that Michael Brown was an angel. But one thing is certain: the white police officer who shot him is far from being one. Has anyone ever seen an angel shoot a child with his hands in the air? There must be justice. One way or another, justice must prevail in a human society, and again we are choosing our words carefully.

Jacques Leblanc, who lives and works in Miami, is a professor of French and a collaborator of Haïti Liberté.


Vol. 8 • No. 14 • Du 15 au 21 Octobre 2014  

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