MIAMI, USA (sentinel.ht) – A friend of mine exclaimed her excitement about attending the Haitian Compas Festival this year because former President Michel Martelly would be returning to the stage for the first time. “As if he had ever left,” I chuckled to myself.
Taking all things into account, it’s hard to understand how someone aware of the issues in Haiti, even slightly, could entertain themselves with the support of Martelly.
There is this complacency, acceptance, passiveness or short-memory, among many Haitians that can be likened to insanity. If anyone acted in these ways you wouldn’t be wrong to suspect they suffer from some form of mental disorder.
A British journalist, and many others before, best expressed his dumbfounding over this disposition that many Haitians have. In a February 8, 2016 report, Gavino Garay, talked about the political uncertainty in the country after the departure of Martelly from the presidency a day before without a successor.
The journalist spoke about the violence of the previous weeks, dozens of killings, many of which were police officers. He harped on the impending violence, civil war, that loomed. He did not forget to mention the further crumbling state and economic situation left behind by Martelly and the tenuous task left ahead to establish a provisional government that can begin to restore order.
Yet, intertwined in this bleak report on Haiti, the journalist, with a tone of disbelief, spoke of how Haitians were turning their focus to the National Carnival. Indeed, I share in the disbelief and do so every year. The journalist taking comments from carnival-goers on the situation only disturbed me more than the situation itself.
One reveler said: “Carnival is our culture. It is everything we have and everything we wish for.”
Another said: “It’s true we are facing a big political problem, but we should come and show out because Haiti is our culture it is our country, because without carnival there is no Haiti…”
Well, this is not representative of MY culture. I have argued over the past 5 years, especially, about the ridiculousness of the massive government expense in money and resource that is dedicated to bonboches such as the National Carnival that less than 1% of the population actually participates in.
This is not representative of MY culture. Carnival, which has been reduced to nothing more than an event promoting intoxication, sexual promiscuity, violence, the exact same things which are the themes of the majority of Martelly’s music and performances, is not my culture.
I consider myself one who projects virtues and honor, these are enough for me to avoid such an event but if not for you, here are some of the facts of Martelly’s tenure as president:
Over the course of 5 years Martelly did not organize elections, effectively silencing the voice of the poor and already down-trodden people of Haiti. His actions in this sense threatened Haitian national security, internally, and quite literally threatened the existence of Haiti, externally.
Martelly’s administration was the first to have hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal granted by the 2008 Petrocaribe deal. Rather than invest in Haiti, his administration racked up a more than $3 billion [US] debt, largest in the country’s history, and it will have to be paid back. The means to pay back the debt don’t exist.
The Haitian gourde has plumetted against the U.S. dollar precipitously in the most rapid decline since the currency was established, from 40:1 to 63:1 and steadily dropping.
All this is not to mention the attacks on liberties, the political imprisonments, the morality and honor lost, and the estimated 1.5 million people that are in real danger of dying from hunger this year.
I enjoyed Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly’s music before he became president but I have loved Haiti for a lot longer and will so until I die. I can’t imagine the lowly Haitians trying to scratch out a living out of nothing and permit myself to contribute to his post-presidency music or performances.
I do intend to boycott the Haitian Compas Festival and any Martelly performance less a sincere mea culpa and a little more from him. To me, it’s just a matter of duty, taste, decency.