Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thoughts of My Connection to Haiti

Just when I was planning to continue the 'race talk' my BlackBerry vibrated. The vibration was a News Alert: Haiti Rocked by Devastating Earthquake. At that moment I had to readjust my thoughts. Gather myself. Prepare for the anguish I would walk around with Wednesday. As I clicked on the link that would definitely reveal horrible news my demeanor began to change. I became angry, frustrated, depressed, and hopeless. Then I put my link to 'Breaking News' down; and asked myself, 'Why has Haiti had to endure so much atrocity?' As I labored over the question I thought of another question, 'Why does it appear that most people of darker skin around the globe have it so hard? This is where I stopped and began to write in my tattered journal that has complex questions that God has REFUSED to answer via my aged prayers.

Talk radio is my secondary lifeline outside of my personal life. Most of you reading know this. Writing is my primary passion. You know this too.

Another passion is my quest to understand. As I attempted to make sense of my final question above, I heard a Christian zealot speak the following ignorance over the airwaves:

"Haiti needs to repent. The people worship witch doctors. They do not believe in the saving grace of Jesus...and, now they must look to Jesus to be saved. No other way will work for them. Haven't they learned this? God will eventually get their attention. Until then He will continue to send divine devastation."

While I would love to blast this statement with My Truth I will not give it any credence. Acknowledgement. This is one time when I will be what may be perceived to be arrogant, and say:
This fool does not deserve my education…knowledgeable anti-Christian rhetoric.

Haiti, the FIRST black led country in the WORLD and the FIRST independent nation of Latin America, was forgotten a long time ago. Haitian Americans rarely go back in numbers, the United States has treated the country like a stepchild for decades - and God, Himself, abandoned the people years ago.

It is obvious Haiti is a sore that seeps infection. Not many want to be connected to the country. I have met Haitians here on America's blood-soaked soil who are embarrassed by their nationality. To my surprise I received this avoidance of connection when I was describing my brief – but pleasant time spent in The Forgotten Place. At first I could not understand why this beautiful black-black woman would try to dodge her heritage. Actually, I was pissed...I in turn told her I was too. Then I left her with a name that I hoped would help her identify with Haiti’s remarkable history, François-Dominique Toussaint L'ouverture.

Inconsequently, the very people that I equally give a vigorous challenging time are the people who speak with such reverence for Haiti’s history. They are the same people who have displayed consistent compassion for the country. These Caucasian men and women are returned Peace Corps Volunteers. The love they gained for the people while they tirelessly gave all of themselves to Haiti is unmatched. When the Peace Corps leadership decided to evacuate the volunteers for the final time I recall the tears streaming down the faces of America’s majority of Peace Corps volunteers (white women). Nothing I said could console them. They wanted to stay. They regretted at that moment that they were associated with America’s bureaucracy, the Peace Corps.
I questioned then, ‘Why do these people have so much love for Haiti?’ Then…I traveled to this mostly Catholic nation to work. So much for ‘witchcraft’…?

As we go through this sad day with tears for Haiti; and later witness a painful Recovery Effort - I really want someone with some intellectual reason to help me with my question:

'Why does it appear that most people of darker skin around the globe have it so hard?

If the question is not answered I will be okay. Unfortunately, my quest to figure this one out will remain unachieved. Leaving me with my love and the hope my employer will allow me to take a leave of absence for 2-3 weeks. I have to get back to Haiti. The Forgotten darkies need more darkies to sacrifice for them.

Brian E. Payne


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

My faith in science is so much more pronounced than my faith in religion. I don't think religion has any place in the explanation of why recent natural disasters have affected darker skin people more (husband's village was wiped off of earth in the tsunami).

If I were to try and find a non-scientific explanation, I'd have to search the silver lining, because there is always one. In the case of Samoa and perhaps Haiti, a disaster of this proportion brings immediate resources but more importantly, more focused long term attention on a place that seems to get forgotten too often. While the numbers were smaller in Samoa, the percentage was very high. The morgue (the one morgue) couldn't hold all the bodies- and they culturally do not embalm. But it brought attention to a place that was slipping into the forgotten category including having family members who had moved on to NZ/Aus/US come home to help and remember from where they came. haiti has long been on the list of forgotten or to-be-adressed at a convenient time. Now it's in the forefront of everbody's thoughts and efforts (well, where I work it's the number one issue).

Who said God is White? that's stupid. God is beyond race.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to TS:

Science over religion ALWAYS.

I do try to extend faith at times without a religious disposition. Sorry, but I believe religion is ridiculous.

Faith extremely extended/practiced when I am prepared to put forth work to implement the adjustment/change I want. "Faith without works is dead." Is that a saying?

I like your perspective. Do you know that it is seated in biblical history?: Elements destroyed then a renewal takes place. That is all over that book! Most times God issues the destruction...

While I am not a proponent for the bible along the lines of facts. It is interesting that it is an ancient playbook that actually continues to play out its plays. Interesting?

End of the world analogy:

Earthquake kills thousands. Those who died go to a better place. Other than Haiti. Perhaps, heaven? The remaining are left on/in a hell of a place: Haiti.

It is sad however that something of this magnitude ONLY gets our FULL attention. So much so help is coming from every where.

Katrina repeated.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

Great message... And lets not forget the troubling history between haiti and its neighbor--the DR.. I await to see DR and Mother France lead in rescue efforts.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

just asked the same question, again, last night--why does it seem that the people who catch the most hell globally are people of color? i am deeply disturbed by this. and also, how much can haiti take? it's heartbreaking to say the least. and so many people say i'll pray for them, but i wonder--to whom do you pray? if there's a power mighty enough to fix this problem, wouldn't that be the same problem that could've prevented it? i'm so uncomfortable right now. this country continues to bleed after all of these years. i have to review the foreign policies that i'm sure have contributed to hait's misfortune because i don't remember all of the facts. i wanna help, i wanna scream, i wanna go and do something-small or large--to make a difference. don't know what else to say, but i am really feeling unsettled. hope none of you have family members who were caught in that disaster.

-A Peaceful Journey

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to A Peaceful Journey:

Yep, this one has gotten to me too. Here it is 1am, and I am up thinking. Trying not to turn the tv on. Avoiding that dreadful number that we are bound to receive: the number of the dead thus far.

Do we always have to have a reason to the WHY? I do. I have to have some 'sense' made of the mess. The tradegy.

Unfortunately no relationship with a God provides that for me. Perhaps for others, The Believers - but not for me. Even
When I was a Christian I could not get the answers that were needed.

What I do know is dark people have been through it. A historical snap shot is all one needs to get to that conclusion.

I will die wanting to know, The Why?

Forever questioning the the Being that supposedly gave me my mind.

*i asked a professed Christian today my question - gor an interesting response:

"God is white. He hates dark skin people."

Another response:

"Adam and Eve pissed God off. They were dark He paying the dark skin peopl

If the bible is true, God was a mighty disciplinarian. Actually, He was brutal. So, I don't put anything pass Him. He was known to get mad and respond in deadly vengence.

If He is in the payback business when will the 'light folk' get theirs? Slavery???


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

Wish I had an answer to your question on your blog. I guess it's one of those unanswered questions that one day will be answered when we leave this earth and our spirits dwell amongst the ancestors.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

haiti is in need of a spiritual cleansing and needs to move away from that vodoo culture because it is not hwlping their nation develop. Ask yourself why did not the vodoo gods save or warn them of this calamity. So this is a wake up call for that nation to turn to the almighty and get connected to the right spirit, i love my hatian brothers and sisters and it is sad but like the old adage says "good can always come out of a terrrible situation".


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to CR:

You are serious...I know you are. You mean to tell me that you believe because 15% of Haitians practice Voodoo that there is a need for spiritual cleansing? Please understand that 85% of the Haitian people practice Catholicism. From your premise, if not all Christian there will be Almighty's wrath sooner or later. You asked, "Ask yourself why did not the voodoo gods save or warn them of this calamity?" I ask, "Why didn't the Christian God save the Haitian Christian who are buried alive? Where is your God, Clem when times get tough?

Also, let's pretend everyone in the world are Christians. Does this mean the world's people will have God's protection?


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader A Peaceful Journey responds:

i don't use religion to justify natural disaters either or much of anything. and i also am disappointed that it takes a natural disater to highlight haiti. i was just chattin with a friend about this. haiti's been bleedin from the guts for years. makes me wonder--what does the media consider notewrothy? at what point of destitution is the news fit to print?
other than the donations i'm able to make (hoping they get there), i'm like a kindergartener with my fingers crossed and my eyes closed wishing i could move a mountain or click my heels three times to bring some type of lasting solace to that country. this is gonna be a long journey and i'm not too sure where god fits in. i feel like i'm rambling. my thoughts are all over the place. it helps to share them.

-A Peaceful Journey

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

Sometimes the worst things that can happen can turn out to be the best thing to happen. Sometimes things that seem like the best thing that can happen can be the worst. The best thing in Haiti's history was gaining their independence. It was an incredible accomplishment even by modern standards. I would never argue that servitude is a situation that renders a person or people better off but they actually ended up having it worsE. The slaves were freed before the revolt as many of you know but the leadership that followed was nothing to be desired. The sugar trade actually was re-established by Toussaint but clearly the very notion of a free black nation that wasn't afraid to kill whites was not a great bargaining chip for trade. Clearly we all know that the European nations cut them off. But a nation with few resources and a borken infrastucture had a great thing called FREEDOM. Therein lies one problem. Freedom doesn't feed the people and the leadership to follow was like many post revolutionary nations, oppressive and not serving the people. So there was this nation free but lost and cut off from the world and the industrial revolution. In many cases it's almost like the independence set them back 100 years. Again I am not advocating that they should have remained under French rule.

Now skip forward in time and the worst quake and disaster in their history comes. Now this is a tragedy of epic proportions. Yet I think Haiti can come out better than it was before this all happened. All eyes are on Obama to see what he will do. The Chinese are all over it as well as other Europeans. I see ton's of foreign investment and aid there to help rebuild. What can come out of this? Haiti was already broken and battered. Many of the buildings didn't need a 7.0 quake to fall. They just needed as strong wind. All of the lives lost there have a chance to not be lost in vain. If this place is rebuilt and the locals are employed to help build it then there can be a middle class established that could possibly help Haiti. They need TOURISM like a new born needs to eat. A revitalized Haiti could see that happen. The people have so much to offer but the island is a mess and needs some development. Not buidlings and things liek that but modern plumbing and sewage as well electricity in all places is one place to start.

As for those who have a false sense of what Christianity represents and say that Haitians made a deal with the devil and that they deserve this tragedy it makes me laugh. These same people worship a Jewish man that walked the earth thousands of years ago and proclaimed himself to be the son of God. They worship him so strong that nations have fought wars and slaughtered billions in his name (AT LEAST THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY). What I don't get about these people who say they are christian and then judge Haiti and her people is that Jesus (the man) said that "Let he who is without Sin cast the first stone" It's one of the first things you learn in Sunday school. I remember the white dude with blue eyes that played him in Jesus of Nazereth. He said it clear as day. Yet Pat Robertson who didn't just become famous because he is nuts but because millions follow him, is throwing a mountain full of stones on Haiti. What will Chrisitians do to make sure that this guy doesn't keep saying these things? Nothing but say they disagree and that he has forgotten what it is to be a Christian. haha I realized the a long time ago that the best way to hurt a wealthy Christian is to hurt his pockets. Stop supporting him and he can't make stupid comments because no one will listen.

I hope that Haiti recovers because she was once a sign of strength among islands of oppressed peoples. Maybe instead of us sending too many Christians down to save the people, we should send some scientist to help them figure out a better way to use their land.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata responds to LS:

I second that: more scientist, doctors, nurses, and engineers. Keep the missionaries out. Haiti does not need prayer. Prayer has proven not to work, and not just for Haiti. What will work is committed people prepared to make Haiti work again. Stop the Christian talkers at the airport gate! Send them to Capitol Hill. May be those prayers can help about that, Christians?? I won't get too excited though...the help now is a direct result of a tradegy. People eventually stop helping darkies after a while. You familiar with Africa, right?


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

A Peaceful Journey responds to LS:

very well said, ls! i totally agree with the sentiments here. prayer is not the answer.

the irony of how freedom contributed to their demise is something serious. even though i would rather this tragedy never happened, it can lead to some serious intellectual, critical growth for many if we allow ourselves, especially the uninformed, to delve deeper into the circumstances that created haiti as we know it. just glanced at the malcolm x poster behind my desk and his important words still ring true---of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.

-A Peaceful Journey