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