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#4161: A question for Pierre-Pierre : Pierre-Pierre responds
From: sending mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For better or for worse, I guess I have to accept the moderator's rule that
whoever he deems a public person can be attack on the list. (I hope that
I've not misrepresented Bob's view on this) If I'm mistaken it is because I
see gratuitous and viscious references to journalists and politicians some
of whom are members of the list posted at will. Since I can't answer these
posts in the manner that the moderator deems acceptable. I will revert to my
middle class Haitian upbringing and explain myself to those who have found
me fair game for their vile and viscious name calling.
As a career journalist and now a "putchist in the making entrepreneur" I
would like this opportunity to share with the list a bit of who I am.
(Please allow me to be a bit Poincyeske. My posts are normally brief) I left
Haiti a mere wisp of a 8-year-old, where short pants and playing soccer in
the savannes of Fontamara. I came to the concrete jungle of NY and never
really liked it all that much. But like most people that age, I managed to
adapt to it and came to like it. I spent my early years attending anti
duvalier rallies in NY and D.C. I really didn't understand most of it, but
it was fun. We children got a chance to play and the parents let us roam
around. There was chanting and dancing and it was all captivating. We lived
and breathed Haiti. I remember when my mother was filling out her
citizenship papers, as a minor, I was eligible and she asked for my
permission and I replied to her that "I don't want to become an American.
When I grow up I want to return to Haiti and help my country," I replied to
her with all the arrogance of a 13-year old. Needless to say, several years
later, I did become a citizen, when I realized to join the Peace Corps I had
to be an American.
After a formal education in history and economics and an informal eduation
in street life, I decided that journalism was my way of "helping my
country." As that young boy in NJ, I used to hear stories how Duvalier used
to shut down radio stations and beat up journalists. I found that exciting.
I suppose that is one of the reasons I wanted to become a journalists. I was
at once lucky and talented when in 1990 as a young reporter, Haiti became
"one of the hottest stories in the world." I started with the Ft.
Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and set myself apart by challenging the cliche that
journalists stayed in their hotels, go to the embassy and interview their
drivers for their stories. I head out into the slums of PAP, the provinces
and interviewed hundreds of Haitians and relayed their stories to the rest
of the world. It was not big deal, I suppose except that the those stories
were not favorable to the powers that be at that time. They all chronicled
abuses and other atrocities. While white skins and American passports may
have shielded my colleagues, I didn't have the latter and I faced particular
danger. But not one moment did I even think about it. Guns were pointed at
me so many times that I lost my phobia of guns. I was determined to do my
job. My people were under siege and I had to get their stories out. Folks
they are all there on Nexus. I later caught the attention of New York Times
editor who hired me. I spent 8 wonderful years there but a couple of years
ago, I became restless because I saw that the world attention had shifted
away from my country while the situation remained critical. The Haitian
press seemed mired in rigid ideological battles that was not helping the
country move any further. Second and third generation Haitian Americans were
being turned off by Haiti.
I left my comfortable existence to start a publication, with my own money,
blood sweat and tears and a mountain of help from my friends. Altough less
than a year old, the newspaper is booming. Readership is fastly increasing
and advertisers are taking notes. We're not geniuses, we're just providing
what Haitians had been saying all along that they wanted, balanced, if not
objective, information about their country and community.
The newspaper, The Haitian Times, is not strong yet. It has a long road to
travel, but it's on the right track and I'm proud to be part of it, with all
its mistakes and problems.
So my friend, I'm not a saint, but I'm not evil either. I'm human and I err
every day. So I take great offense when some "blan" has the gall to call me
"putchist" without knowing anything about me. These mercenaries are part of
the problems of Haiti. My beloved land seems to attract these eccentric
oddballs, who try to pass themselves as some kind of savior. I wish they
would step back a little and let us fight for our own freedom. We've done it
before in 1804. I'm sure we can do it again. I'm reminded of the Civil
rights movement when Martin Luther King, Andrew Young and others had to let
these nice white liberals to take a back seat and let them be the spokesman
for their own cause. At that time, a new generation of black professional
was emerging and they felt their time had come. The rest, well, we know what
happened. Though things are not completely rosey for my black American
cousins, but they've managed to do quite a lot.
By the way, I'm not anti blan, as those of you on the list who know me are
well aware. I think a new group of Haitian doctors, lawyers and activists
who are emerging and can take over the leadership of their community with
the helf of course of well meaning "blans" Many of them are on the list
members. I guess I happen to have the biggest mouth of all and that's why
you hear from me.
Once again, I'm not going to let any right wing, left wing or whoever try to
define who I am. The streets of NY and the classrooms of Florida A&M
University did a great job. So now the next time, someone goes calling me
anything. Be careful. Like Karl Marx said the power to define is the power
to control and I'm not letting anyone define me. I can do a great job
myself. Thank you.
garry pierre-pierre (It's one of those funny Haitian names and I'm damn
proud of it)