Ezili Danto

Ezili Danto
August 01
Ezili Dantò is an award winning playwright, a performance poet, author and human rights attorney. She was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in the USA. She holds a BA from Boston College, a JD from the University of Connecticut School of law. She is a human rights lawyer, cultural and political activist and the founder and president of the Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN). She runs the Haitian Perspectives on-line journal and the Ezili Dantò Newsletter. Ezili’s HLLN is the recognized leading and most trustworthy international voice in Haiti advocacy, human rights work, Haiti news and Haiti news analysis. HLLN’s work is central to those concerned with the welfare of the people of Haiti, Haiti capacity building, sovereignty, institutionalization of the rule of law, and justice and peace without occupation or militarization. Ezili Dantò is also an educator who specializes in teaching about the light and beauty of Haitian culture; the Symbolic and Archetypal Nature of Haitian Vodun; the illegality and immorality of forcing neoliberal policies on Haiti and the developing world... Since the UN-imported cholera outbreak on October 2010, Ezili' HLLN has insisted that environmental clean-up, clean water and sanitation are the only permanent solution to stop the UN cholera spread. Zili Dlo is a humanitarian project that provides free clean water. For more go to the Ezili Danto/HLLN websites at http://www.ezilidanto.com/ and http://www.ezilidanto.com/zili

MAY 17, 2011 3:15AM

Haiti: Time to remember Kandyo, the Malfini and Mongoose

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Part 2- History Matters: Time to remember Kandyo, the Malfini and Mongoose

Sometimes when I write a piece, I know it's not finished. As I was writing the essay on the House hearing where Republicans blasted USAID's Haiti relief as pathetic, I couldn't help but wonder to myself "where are saviors, Sean Penn and Paul Farmer, now? I tried not to say it, but that was just too much work.

So, folks, I've simply lost the battle to try and be uhmm, more "can't we all get along!"

This piece will somehow be incorporated into US False Benevolence: Haiti: Failure of Foreign “AID” is Structural to recall that at last week's Congressional hearing in the House, so-called "progressive" Paul Farmer, the Deputy UN Special Envoy to Haiti could have been sitting in the position of Rajiv Shah, the current Director of USAID.

This is to point out that there is no difference between the current USAID Director and the Deputy UN Envoy for Haitians. NONE.

One comes from big Monsanto-style agribusiness, the other from the humanitarian sector. The net result of both their involvement in Haiti are to bring more lost of Haiti sovereignty and more dependency. They just have different styles for making self-serving convenient alliances. Different styles for getting Haiti's masses to the same result on behalf of the global oligarchy - to more dependency, domination and endless debt. Different styles for expanding neoliberalism, privatizing disaster relief, opening up new export markets for dumping US goods and services in neo-colonized countries, all behind the benevolent mask of bringing “aid” and UN or US “humanitarian help.”

I need not remind Ezili Network members that Farmer was running for the Executive Director position at USAID that Rajiv Shah now holds. As the head of USAID, Shah, is being blasted about USAID 's failures. If Shah is a failure in Haiti, so is Farmer as Deputy UN Envoy - the consolation prize given by the Clinton/Obama Administration to Farmer when his nomination to head USAID did not fly.

The failure of both positions is built into the system these organizations preserve. USAID and the UN Security Council serve the same global oligarchy and its profit-over-people interests.

Their functionaries, like Shah and Farmer, necessarily serve these interests not liberty or sustainable, progressive change for the world's masses. Same thing with both the Republicans who are shocked, shocked, indignant, indignant by USAID failures with earthquake disaster relief aid in Haiti and the Democrats whose administration is under fire for said USAID failures right now.

It's a nice piece of drama that hearing, the rhetoric, the concern for Haitians because US response has been "pathetic and disappointing." But it's just that, mostly fiction, a piece of theater. Congress preside over the laws of tied aid.

Both Republicans and Democrats created and sustain the operations of USAID.

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are about to put USAID out of the business of creating export markets in the former colonized nations for US big business interests. The truth is, USAID’s so-called “progressive” or “humanitarian” work, represents 50-years of failure. But, USAID is still “open for business” because, as Shah once, in an effort to solicit more taxpayer funds, clearly explained: USAid can assist in the creation of the (U.S. export) markets of tomorrow. (See also, the Bumper's Amendment, prevents U.S. government aid from being spent on agricultural programs overseas that could benefit crops that might compete with U.S. exports on the global market.)

So please folks don't be confused about the power play between the malfini and the mongoose. Between Democrats and Republicans. Or, "between Wilson and Harding," to quote one of Haiti's most favorite satirist.

Recall Beloved that Barrack Obama's only real successful bipartisan move so far has been with Haiti. He's brought us no sardine delicacy, but the same old, same old. Obama consolidated his own power - that is, clearly showed white America or Officialdom exactly where his principles stood, less there be some confusion, by appointing, for instance, coup-d'etat-George W.Bush (the Malfini) along with "Operation Uphold Democracy"-Bill Clinton (the Mongoose) as co-head of US disaster relief in Black Haiti after the earthquake.

Stop being so CONFUSED folks by the rebranding of the same old fascist. The good cop/bad cop play-acting of the Democrats and Republicans or that of the "progressives" and the "right wingers."

At the end of the day, in Haitian folkloric peasant parlance, Haiti is the chicken and the malfini and the mongoose are just fighting over which will either swoop down from the sky (the malfini -bird of prey) or crawl from the ground (the mongoose) to eat you - the chicken!

So, when you watch the Republicans blast the Democrats at a Congressional hearing, or when you hear Michel Martelly's inauguration speech where he plays on the people's emotions and hopes, remember how Preval's 2006 inauguration speech fooled the masses and made us hold our fire, waiting, waiting, hoping, hoping, hoping he really meant to bring the UN slaughters and occupation to an end.

Preval said "Juan Gabriel Valdez manda w fini!" - UN your mandate is over!.

Oh, how excited and hopeful some of us all were then!

Preval's added Novocain was the music that was played throughout his 2006 inauguration. He didn't play "kè m pa sote" like Martelly. The anesthetic was different.

At his inauguration, playing over and over again, tugging at the disenfranchised people's subconscious, Preval's inauguration message and proceedings was conducted to the instrumental of music every Haitian patriot knows - "Desalin pa ple wè Blan mannan..." The cymbals would go boom, boom on the part every Haitian knows. And though the words weren't sung, the revolutionary lullaby of the Ancestors held our tongues and we hoped, hoped, and hoped, in vain for the occupation to end, for the UN slaughters and the indefinite incarcerations of the poor to stop...

Preval's political party was called Lespwa -"hope." The people were summarily betrayed and brought sweatshops under a US legislation called the HOPE Act.

Some illogical Haitians now, in 2011, "hope," ohh so pathetically, so emotionally, so DESPERATELY hope, with even less basis with former Ninja, Martelly! (According to the testimony of assassinated priest Jean Marie Vincent, Michel Martelly went on FRAPH raids against Lavalas voters.)

Remember also, as you watch the circuses of more upcoming finger pointing in Congress on the failures of the NGOs and US foreign aid (benevolence) or with UN staff re-shuffling to Haiti what Haiti satirist, Kandyo, said about the first US occupation (1915 to 1934):

"Se pa te Wilson. Se te Harding.
Tout 'homme' te konprann yo te pral manje bwat 'sardine'.
Yo voye delege komisyon dankèt.
Neg rakonte Blan sa Blan fè.
I am satisfied.
Good morning!"
-- Kandyo, renowned Haiti satirists, traveling griot and performing playwright

We've been here, Beloved. Done that. History matters, must not be forgotten. The only response shocked and indignant US official "concerned" after Haitians - Neg rakonte Blan sa Blan fè - testified to the whites about the massacres the whites (blan/foreigners) occupying Haiti presided over back during the first US occupation was, as Kandyo summarizes it: - "We're satisfied. Good morning!" Nothing was done because the domination and slaughters to assist the U.S. bankers' Haiti interests, were as relevant back then as they are today. (See, “Inquiry into Occupation and Administration of Haiti," - The U.S. Senate Investigates the Haitian Occupation. Interview Haitians about marine conduct in the guerrilla war against Haitian resistance, 1922.)

Oh, and less I forget one of life's not-so-small-ironies, I hear "Haiti is-Open-for-Business- to-US-Bankers"-Michel Martelly is said to be a relative of Kandyo.

Kenbe fèm Aysyen, pa lage.

Ezili Dantò of HLLN
May, 2011


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the Bumper's Amendment, prevents U.S. government aid from being spent on agricultural programs overseas that could benefit crops that might compete with U.S. exports on the global market.


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I try to think about things like that a little differently, although the record on foreign aid isn't great in terms of efficacy.
Foreign aid does not have much of a political constituency in most places, because the people you are giving money too are not voters for those doing the giving, which leads to tying the aid in ways that are not based solely, and sometimes mainly, on economic criteria.
If you add to that the nature of bureaucracies pointed out by Weber, that they have to rely on routines because of their size, they tend to do the same things over and over and over again, which the employees eventually have to go along with to get along, even if they would like things to be different, because the spirit of most bureaucracies is to only allow for incremental change, which often although not always means no change.
You have a new president, and hopefully the emigre community in the U.S. can point out new things, and voters matter, so the best thing for Haiti is for Haitian-Americans to speak up about positive changes in such programs, which has been the strategy of the most effective domestic-foreign lobby, which is obvious who that is.
Dependency (not autonomy) no doubt works very good for US and multi-national corporations. :(