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#955: Ethnic Cleansing, Dominican-Style? Antoine comments
From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>
No matter what the Organization of American States or the United
Nations may say about it, in practice it will be up to each individual
country to define their citizenry. If the Dominican Republic refuses
to grant citizenship status to children born of Haitian workers on
Dominican soil, Haiti should accept this as a fact, welcome those
unwanted people in its bosom, and start to deal earnestly with its
responsibilities to meet the most basic level of necessities of its
Certainly we know that Dominican society in general has horror
of the "black" and desperately would like to increase the
whitening stock among their gene pool. But neither you nor I
can change that, and we can only hope that future generations
of Dominicans will get over their great national anguish and
evolve to a more humane concept of race. But in the meantime
what practical steps can we take to help our rejected brothers
on the Dominican side, when we have utterly failed to protect
those within our own borders?
No government of Haiti, since Stenio Vincent who accepted
a shameful settlement brokered by the United States of a few
dollars per head of Haitian killed in the genocidal act of 1937,
has done anything of significance to help improve the plight
of Haitians crossing the border to find work in the "bitter cane"
fields, or to guarantee their physical security against serial and
arbitrary actions taken against them by the Dominican armed
forces. In the diplomacy field, this has been the one area of
"benign neglect", which History will no doubt identify as one
of criminal negligence and total irresponsibility from the part
of Haitian governments across time.
Who is the Haitian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic?
There is none. Who are the advocates or monitors of migrant
workers ' rights appointed by the Government of Haiti? I want
some names, and I want to know what they have been up to.
So we send an official government delegation to the Dominican
Republic, and we receive the Dominican President in Haiti...
What guarantees did we extract from them? What programs
were initiated to put a stop to the sort of debacle we are
So once again, we are faced with what to do, while we are in
a situation of extreme weakness, extreme unpreparedness.
We have to devise an emergency solution, perhaps to prevent
History from repeating itself, and have to witness another
massacre, ironically in the year of publication of "The Farming
of Bones" and "Why the Cocks Fight". Cannot Haitians and
Dominicans sit at the same table, and begin to address our
great historical and humanitarian conflicts? Why should we
react only when there is an urgent crisis, and worse of all
should we pursue partisan aims to exploit this situation from
a political point of view?
We need to hear from the Haitian Government. Yes, they
should present their grievances to the Organization of American
States, the United Nations, and the World Court. They need to
present their case forcefully to the Court of Public Opinion, which
includes most importantly Dominicans residing in the Dominican
Republic and elsewhere. We need to develop a dialogue and
strong ties between our two people. We need to develop strong
and effective diplomatic relations. We need all Haitian Rights
groups to focus attention to this problem and to maintain a level
of discourse on this subject all of the time while the problem
persists, and not just when the Dominicans start rounding up
Haitian people like ordinary cattle.
To understand the socio-historical grounding of the current crisis,
I suggest that you read the extremely informative articles in the
"Haiti's Relations with the Dominican Republic" page of the
Windows on Haiti website. The internet address of this specific
page is: www.windowsonhaiti.com/haitidr.htm . In particular, read
the article entitled "Antihaitianismo in Dominican Culture".
I join Daniel Simidor's call to respond to the great danger of the
moment. Let us think also about establishing the Haitian-Dominican
conflict resolution as a long-term priority for the Haitian Government,
for Haitian Rights groups, for all Haitian and Dominican citizens.
Guy S. Antoine
Look thru & Imagine!