Stop the killings in Haiti now - Myrtha Desulme
BY BASIL WALTERS Observer staff reporter
Monday, December 06, 2004
A prominent member of the Haitian/Jamaican community has called for the return of democracy and the rule of law, as a matter of urgency, in the troubled French-speaking Caribbean nation.
Myrtha Desulme, daughter of the late Thomas Desulme, the Haitian who pioneered the establishment of the thermo-plastic industry in Jamaica, also called for a stop to political oppression in her country and urged human rights organisations and the media to "pressure the perpetrators to stop the killings in Haiti".
Desulme made her plea to hearty applause from her listeners at a discourse on Haiti's revolutionary history and her father's work - for which he was accorded the Order of Jamaica (OJ), the nation's fourth highest - at a cultural rally marking the 200th anniversary of the Haitian revolution recently at the Alkebu-lan Health Food Restaurant in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
The cultural rally put on by the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in association with the Ocho Rios-based all reggae radio Irie FM, also heard speeches from veteran journalist John Maxwell and former Observer columnist Louis Moyston.
Haiti has remained violence-torn since the forced departure of popular president Jean Bertrand-Aristide, who is now in exile in South Africa. He spent several weeks in Jamaica prior to leaving for the African country.
Aristide charged he was captured by the United States working in collusion with France, as rebels opposed to his rule advanced on the capital, Port-au-Prince. Both countries have strongly denied the allegation.
Desulme, who sits on the United Nation Education Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Haiti Bi-centennial committee and is chairperson of the Haiti/Jamaica Exchange committee, said the first thing that needed to be done was the re-establishment of the rule of law and democracy in Haiti.
Thanking the Jamaican people who have extended a hand of friendship to the Haitian refugees who came here this year, Desulme said there was need to identify and mobilise worldwide legal and humanitarian support and aid for the fleeing Haitian refugees.
"We have to support the call for an investigation by Caricom, the UN Assembly and the Congress of Black Caucus, we have to ask them to investigate the February 19 coup d'etat and the kidnapping of president Jean Bertrand-Aristide," she said.
"Part of the psychological warfare in the timing of the 2004 coup d'etat was to stop the world from celebrating the achievement of the African warriors who first put liberty into application in the western Hemisphere," said Desulme, whose family came to Jamaica in 1962.
"This coup d'etat," she said, "makes it even more critical for the African Diaspora, Haitians and human rights advocates the world over to highlight Haiti's 200 year-old struggle against debt dependency and foreign domination."
The cultural activist who returned to Jamaica in 1987 after studies that have taken her to Paris, Germany and Spain, repeated the charge that the demonisation of Haiti started when it declared itself the first free black republic in the world. "Black nationalism was scandalous, unheard of, unacceptable which should not be tolerated in a world dominated by European imperialism," she said.
"They really did their best from that time to start demonising Haiti. What I want to leave you with is this: the Haitian revolution was not just some slave getting up and deciding that they were going to fight. It was a revolution which lasted 13 long years. You have to arm yourself to prevent all of the propaganda you are going to be swamped with about Haiti through the media," she continued.
"The way to arm yourself is with the knowledge of your history... So when you hear the negative propaganda about Haiti, just remember Garvey's words that the white colonial system has made it a crime to be black and that is really Haiti's only crime, being a courageous black people who fought and won their freedom and have been paying for that victory for the past 200 years."
Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/70857_Stop-the-killings-in-Haiti-now---Myrtha-Desulme#ixzz2jL5WZ2gM