The ides March, the first day of Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth is upon us, and so it was that on Saturday the 20th of March 2010, Haitians and friends of Haitians across nationalities, colors and culture, came together in the continuing efforts for relief, reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti, in the aftermath of the most devastating earthquake in human history which occurred in Haiti on January 12, 2010 an event which led to the death of more than 200,000 Haitians.
There have been remarkable outpouring of support since then, but sadly enough though, the work is not done.
Relief, reconstruction and rebuilding Haiti must continue. The recovery of Haiti and her future is at stake.
And so, on March 20, 2010, a mammoth crowd of people attended a major public event which was held to raise funds in the support of victims of the earthquake in Haiti which occurred about two months ago. It was an evening of songs and entertainment.
It was deeply moving to be a witness to patriotism and nationalism in song dedications. Haitians and Haiti are still standing proudly, despite the recent traumatic experience in Haiti. It is rather easy, it should be easy, now not to love Haiti, a cynic could plainly ask and argue rightly so, that there is nothing left of the shell shocked, stunned and traumatized people and nation of Haiti worthy of any love, but Haitians still stand tall and proud and full of love for one another and Haiti and I find this fact most inspiring and reassuring. And in this, there is a message therefore, for all suffering peoples of the world.
Though the immediate emergency relief efforts for Haiti may have waned in the press, and hence the general public, may be shifting attention, this event New York City on March 20, 2010, demonstrated the importance of the huge needs which remains in Haiti. The tremendous needs of the earthquake victims cannot be emphasized enough. These human needs in Haiti range from the very basic essentials of every day life of water, food and shelter etc. Shelter in particular remains scarce in the face of the earthquake aftermath which have left thousands of Haitians homeless and in dire circumstances.
These dire circumstances are being exacerbated by the rainy season which is now upon us in Haiti. Many Haitians are still without basic human needs since the earthquake. Most of all, a great majority of the earthquake victims are living without the flimsy sheets and sticks which were provided to some, by emergency rescue and relief workers who acted as first responders, post earthquake worldwide efforts. And now, even those victims with flimsy sheets and sticks shelters, are now having to contend with yet, another force of the unforgiving nature by way on torrential downpour of rains and rainstorms which are now upon the island nation
The continuing needs in Haiti are just extraordinary. It spans from the basic daily living challenges to the longer term needs of rebuilding and reconstructing pubic infrastructures. A front page article, featured in The New York Times on March 20, 2010 exemplified these large expanse of needs and gaps which remain to be filled, including the near total collapse of the healthcare system, the general medical care as well as the psychiatric or mental care. All these in a nation with meager resources. All these in a nation in which citizens are still stunned and shell shocked from the earthquake, either from personal loss or the trauma of having witnessed the extraordinary losses which were incurred by other fellow citizens.
Amidst adversities piled upon adversities, Haitians remain the most resilient human group which anyone can find on earth. Haiti and Haitians have all through history, had their fair and even unfair share of calamities and catastrophes. Haiti have been the unfortunate recipients of foreign interventions, invasions and occupations and sundry manipulators, who have taken turns in manacling Haiti and Haitians and what would have been the regular pursuit of health, wealth and happiness.
France for instance is notorious and infamous for extorting an exacting and punitive exorbitant monetary, material and psychological value from Haiti, because Haitians dare to demand to be free. Free from political and economic strictures which were placed on Haitians and Haiti solely on racial superiority of white over black and or the French over hapless continental Africans who were bundled into the Caribbean and the so-called new world.
The government of the United States took over the mantle of oppression and subjugation against Haitians from where the French stopped or left off. The plight and predicaments of Haitians have followed a pattern ever since. The United States feared that a newly freed nation made up of freed Africans would spur and give the impetus to revolts by enslaved Africans on the soil of the United States, and since then, the United States have maintained a discriminatory race-based policy of oppression and subjugation as the US feared the inspiration which a resurgent and politically independent Haiti could hold for enslaved Africans on the US soil.
Haiti has been invaded, occupied and manipulated ever since. The abject poverty and political instability which have dominated Haiti was genuinely intended, it was manufactured, orchestrated and choreographed by those who were motivated by racial superiority and therefore, needed to annihilate any scintilla of hope for freedom and redemption by enslaved Africans whether in Haiti or the United States itself and the pattern has continued for 200 years!
Resilience borne of sturdy persistence and indefatigable nature and spirit are traits common with peoples of African descent. These are the traits which enabled African Americans to succeed in America against incredibly great odds. These are the traits, qualities and attributes which sustained victims of Apartheid regime in South Africa until majority rule was attained only recently.
Haitians and Haiti have been dealt the unluckiest hand or ill luck of the draw. Haitian and Haiti have endured ravages and decimations of slavery, then colonialism, the punishment of extortion exacted by the French, then foreign intervention, occupation and manipulations. As all these were not hard enough, the Gods joined in the devastations wrought upon Haitians and Haiti. Political instability became an expectation and so was high rate of unemployment and poverty, kidnapping and plethora of violence, all these, in a nation once prosperous. A nation which once was awash in wealth and self sufficiency. A nation which once exported surpluses from a thrived timber and wood industry, meat and animal husbandry, agriculture and food production which included abundance of rice etc.
This same nation is now pulverized and pauperized and literally and metaphorically on her knees! This same nation is now frequently ravaged by a multiplicity of disasters. In 2008 there were a series of severe Hurricanes. Then, there were mudslides and on January 12 2010, a cataclysmic earthquake followed path of previous disasters. It is as if men and the Gods are intent annihilating, decimating and ravaging Haiti in order to cause Haitians to be completely dispirited and defeated.
The world saw how Haitians shared the barest minimum with fellow Haitians. Haitians post earthquake, dying of extreme thirsts, were observed sharing sixteen ounce bottle of water with other Haitians who were equally dying of thirst and dehydration, it was the equivalent of sharing what you do not have enough of sufficiency of, or sharing half of nothing with your equally deprived neighbor!
The good news is that, despite all these tales of woes and regardless of all these gory and traumatic recurring experiences without a single breather or respite, Haitians are still proud, Haitians are still standing tall. All good people of the world are supporting these indomitable Haitians and Haiti to rebuild
The more that the world learns and knows a
bout Haitians and Haiti, the more the world would be assured and reassured, that Haitians and Haiti are made of sterner stuff.
This point has been made clear again and again, Haitians remain history’s trail blazers in Haiti and in the Diaspora, be it here in America or in Canada or France. This resilient nature and spirit of Haitians, this tenacity of purpose is once again demonstrated and replicated in the responses by Haitians, and friends of Haitians motivated by Haitians, to continue to support Haiti in the relief, reconstruction and rebuilding efforts post earthquake.
And it the large crowd at the sold out benefit gala concert of Saturday March 20, 2010 is any measure of these efforts, efforts which have taken place, and many more still planned and being replicated everywhere. Haitians and Haiti are surely on the way back to Haiti’s rightful place as the first nation, a nation of freed peoples of African descent, a nation unbowed, a nation prosperous and made sturdy with wealth, and above all, a nation bound to reclaim her rightful place and her glory.
Haitian Jazz On Broadway presented a Jazz for Humanity benefit concert in aid to earthquake victims in Haiti and it fe Charddavoine, Mushy Widmaier, Melanie JB Charles, Ginou Oriol, Obed Jean Louis, Felina Backer, Lamarr Re’nee and special guest was the Grammy Award winner Dave Valetin
The event was coordinated by Dawn Stith and Sonja Blackwell.
Please continue to support Haiti relief, reconstruction and rebuilding. Support Haitians and Haiti for the long haul