Harry Comeau's Letter to Washington, Ottawa and Paris and the mainstream media from a Haitian man

Why we can not forget the past
By Harry Comeau
 
 
 
There has been a false and strange debate in the US as well as the Haitian media (radio, TV and internet sites) and in neighborhoods with large concentration of Haitians since the results of the Haitian elections became known.  The debate focuses on the possible return or not of Jean Bertrand Aristide, the former constitutionally elected president who was overthrown in February 2004 and has since been living in exile in South Africa.
 
It is clear to all Haitians  that the constitution guarantees that no one can be forced to live in exile.  Therefore, Aristide's return - whenever he decides to go back to Haiti -should only concern him and the new elected government since an executive order dating back to the 90's ensures a security detail to the former head of State.
 
What is disingenuous and interesting is the interest shown by foreign powers, specially the United States, to use their influence to prevent such a return.  The approach used by those advocating such a move is doomed to fail because it goes against what is fundamental to Haitians, or for that matter to every human being, a visceral connection to their past.
 
One of the cornerstones of the Haitian identity is her glorious past, i.e., the only successful slave revolution in the world.  While Haiti for quite some time has been referred to as a failed state and the poorest country in the western hemisphere as well as the land of 35 Coup d'Etat, there is talk of let's move forward, let's forget the past.
 
Why should we forget the past?  

Why are some people so fearful of the idea that the Haitian people might look at what exactly went on during the months of January and February 2004 culminating to the overthrow of Aristide?  Are we to forget about hundreds, if not thousands, of Haitians killed from February 2004 to February 2006 and those who are still unjustly imprisoned without charges, or even trials?
 
Since Haiti is part of the Western hemisphere, let's take a look at two chains of events involving Europe and America.  The first goes back to the end of the Second World War and the second is much closer to us.  Who would dare tell the Jews to forget about the holocaust?  For years the Israelis have sought all well and less known Nazis involved in the genocide to claim justice for their loved ones.
 
September 11, 2001.  As New Yorkers, we have seen the devastation caused by this horrible act.  No one in New York, Washington D.C. or the entire world for that matter, could, for a split second, think about forgetting this event.  In fact, four and a half years later this issue, the genesis of the war on terror, is still going on and there is even talk that it will go on for generations.
In any country in the world there are situations that are unforgettable and must be not only reported in the media but taught in schools and universities for people to understand and develop strategies to prevent future deplorable actions.
 
How come reasonable experts, diplomats and foreign chancelleries expect people to move forward without the opportunity to learn, to understand and bring to justice those who attempt to blur people's perception of their current reality and commit illegal acts?  For these reasons and others too long to enumerate, we need to know and never forget our past and must bring to justice those who went against the people's will in order to prevent future extra constitutional and judicial oddities.
 
 Harry Comeau
Freeport, NY 11520
Email:comeharr@aol.com

(HLLN note: phone contact info for Harry Comeau, available upon request: comeharr@aol.com)

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