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Doudou Joachim Column Picture ProfileJ’ai fait un rêve, mais un rêve Haïtien!
By: , Dated: 2/17/2014

We must all have heard or read about the famous speech made by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 “I have a dream” and all the transformational change he envisioned for a stronger and fairer society. We’ve also read about the late Mahatma Gandhi and his civil right approach on non-violence. In our more recent memory, we’ve read about the late Nelson Mandela, and the work and sacrifices he has made to advance South Africa’s interest. These leaders’ dream and aspiration have a common dominator: liberation. I am bit careful here not to use the word freedom or liberty because each has a subtle distinction, which all the linguists or lexicon-geeks out there can explain to you a lot better than I can. Invite them to your dinner table for a chat about the meaning and intricacy of words. Good luck and lunch on me! Anyway, my dream is not the same, but ironically similar after all. Confused! Hm! How could we not be confused and apparently stateless after we’ve allowed other to define us, I often ask myself? I guess that’s why I dream of a moment in our near future where Haitians understand what the word Haitian represents and how it deserves to be defined in all major dictionaries in the world. Think about, a) Considering the historic bravery of our forefathers who took down the mightiest empire of their time: Napoleon Bonaparte; b) Considering that we’ve helped to create some the world strongest economies in the late 18th century and a good part into the 19th century; c) Considering the amount of sufferings our indigenous ancestors went through in the 15th century; d) Considering what our land have produced for the richest countries in the world: cotton, bauxite, coffee, sugar, gold, and much more; e) Considering the living atrocities that have been forced upon our people after the destruction of all our resources, and yet we’re still standing; f) Considering the brainwashing propaganda that we all have been subjected to, and yet we’re still standing; g) Considering that we’ve been manipulated, mistreated, humiliated, and deprived of our own survival means, and yet we are still standing.

You see the point! If we can still be standing as a nation after all that we’ve been through, should I dare dreaming that Haiti can make history once more and many times over? Have you ever dreamed of you dreaming? A dream in a dream! Complex ones versus simple ones, etc…! I will leave it to the dream experts to explain to you the different levels and complexities of dreams. Again, invite one over for dinner. Lunch on me!

“I have a dream that one day man will not be judged by”… No, that’s not my dream. That’s MLK’s and I am not about to commit a plagiarism here. The simple dream that I have is as follow in reverse linear order, divided in two sections - macro and micro dreams. Don’t you worry (as if you were)! You will see the difference between both as you read along. I’ll go for the macro dreams first. Here it goes. Sitting in my couch savoring the sweet taste of my last piece of sugar cane that I brought from my December 2013 visit to Haiti, my eyes close slowly and I see that:

    1. One day, the world will seek to be like Haiti;
    2. One day, Haitians will teach others the true meaning of cultural liberation;
    3. One day, our children will know the strengths of their ancestors and march into their future with a strong belief that they can transform the world;
    4. One day, we will realize the mistake of migrating away to never look back;
    5. One day, our people will understand that our land can be fertilized again;
    6. One day, education will not be a means to segregate, but a means for progress;
    7. One day, communication will signify to understand each other, not a means for passing judgment of competence;
    8. One day, teachers will teach what they’ve studied and kids will learn in their maternal language;
    9. One day, government will govern, lead, and provide a national agenda for both the private and the public sectors to prosper and to compete effectively;
    10. One day, all Haitians will learn to say proudly that “we are Haitians and proud to be;”
    11. One day, small by small, we’ll seek to reconnect to our routs because staying disconnected is what makes it impossible for us to advance and to progress;
    12. One day, organizations around the world will know they cannot and must not provide 21st century aids if 17th century mentally has stalled as a result or misinformation, manipulation, geopolitical and economical deviation, and intended harsh punishments for simply daring to stay true to our historical lineage – a free people with a very rich culture and land;
    13. One day, we won't need to emphasize the difference between diverse types of knowledge as we will appropriately place all savoir-faire in our bucket of common progress;
    14. One day, we will believe, we will achieve, and we will live our purposes: mission accomplished!
It may be obvious to many that macro is synonymous to larger, broader, long term, abstractly distant, unbelievable, hard to accomplish, hallucinated-ly framed in the context of Cornucopianism, too objective, etc... Trust me! That may be all and much more. We have to realize what Haiti has dared to do where, in a macro sense, its freedom seemed retrospectively unreachable and its liberation undoable. Here freedom means what Haiti got from its conquerors back in the early 19th century and in the middle of the 20th century. Liberation is the ultimate goal and that’s where my dream seems to converge because of its proximity to realization and concretization. What may seems like a pause in my dream as I feel my eyes rolling as if I am about to wake up, I must have turned over to my other side to enjoy my couch moment a bit longer. That’s when I see a list of micro accomplishment that Haiti will be able to do:

    1. Soon, we will know that we are important contributors to our own enlightenment;
    2. Soon, we will decide that it is time to reclaim our values, our creeds, and our liberty to be Haitians;
    3. Soon, we will start to make our leaders accountable;
    4. Soon, education will be ours to live and share with friends and neighbors, not a mere political or feel-good project developed by thousands of well-wishers;
    5. Soon, civic education will be re-implemented from pre-k all the way through our professional lives;
    6. Soon, moral values will be a subject of our impulsion; it will be our second nature; it will be our compass to behave in an evolving immoral society;
    7. Soon, parents will learn to be responsible adults; they won’t be a mere presence that is more of a burden than a guide for children;
    8. Soon, children will grow in their natural pace;
    9. Soon, Mayors will be leaders for members of their respective communities, providing acceptable regularities and common guidelines for progress: education, security, tourism, taxation, finance, zoning, economic development, etc...;
    10. Soon, people will respect other's privacy concern by lessening the noises both in the early morning and at a certain time at night;
    11. Soon, we will know our responsibility to protect our environment, to clean our street, to maintain our health by walking more than riding motorcycles from within very short distances, to understand our role as protectors instead of destructors of our eco-system;
    12. Soon, we will know that it is a right to have clean water, to have available medical assistance at our reach, to have electricity to help reduce the risk of violence, to protect our rivers, to stop the geological destruction of our land;
    13. Soon, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and all those involved in transporting people or merchandises will learn the virtue of patience, of humility, of kindness, and of respect for people's lives;
    14. Soon, we will reclaim our cultural pride by allowing our kids to play “lago deli, cash-cash luben, roslè, pensh, sote kòd, etc…,” and develop innovative ways to transition these fun games from generation to generation; Haitian kids teaching children of the world how to play games that do not encourage violence, games that do not promote sexual behaviors to our youths, games that embrace outdoor and safe activities, games that promote social human investment;
    15. Soon, we will carry the torch of our ancestors that have taught us to be our neighbor’s keeper (what some may call being part of a healthy extended family);
    16. Soon, we won’t simply be “jacks of all trades and masters of none.” We will have an education system that develops the “jacks of all trades” and allow them to function effectively in our society. More importantly we will have “the masters of all” who will coach the “jacks of all trades”, help to renovate and implement a system with the common goal of “Nou Tout Konekte” without prejudice;
    17. Soon, police will provide security without bribery; the justice system will work for all citizens; transparency will guide our principles of governance; adequate qualification to occupy a private or public function will be the acceptable norm; complacency will equate mediocrity;

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Then I woke up to the sound of a mixture of nice Haitian songs, first “kè-m pa sote” that quickly shifted to “map parie Ayiti ap chanje”, and quickly shifted again to “m-ta renmen wè peyi-m dekole,” etc… Quite frankly I love the dream, and instantly thought that I should share with my friends. I know my friends have other friends who can share with their friends and on and on. That’s the objective of Nou Tout Konekte, isnt’ it? If for some it is not, you can think of it in the context of what Liberation means: Shared Total Freedom + Shared Total Liberty. (L = STF + STL)

Before falling asleep again in my very comfortable couch, let me let my mind go loose a bit by explaining what I think the L = STF + STL means. We may have never thought of L this way since many of us have left Haiti to travel abroad where speaking English gives more meaningful strengths to our self-esteem than speaking Creole does; while denying our nationality, which has the undeniable effect of marginalizing the chance for any sustainable progress for Haiti, gives us confidence that we belong. Regretfully, I have come across many Haitians who proudly proclaim “I am not hanging out with Haitians” or “I will never buy (borrow) a house where other Haitians live,” etc. Many seem to think that running away will solve the fundamental problem of social acceptance by the self-labelled superior groups. That's a myth that needs to be debunked.

Think about it! What conclusion do you draw of someone who seems to always be defensive? Instinctively, we see culpability written all over such person's face. See, instinct is as close as we can get to express the true nature of our conscience. In other words, this is where the truth resides most of the time. Then, use logic to decipher the contextual nonsense of what the self-acclaimed superiors tell us? Why being so literally forceful and brutal about a claim of superiority? If it is that obvious, do you think it would have needed such brutally arrogant proclamation? Let me make one point clear here, I am not suggesting or advocating for or against the existence of so-called superiors versus so-believed-to-be inferiors. I am simply allowing myself to wonder and write about a massive psychological and mind reconstructive game/propaganda to create diverse human groups which have no organic meaning. If this psychological game is not intellectual stupidity at the highest level, and yet believed to be true by many, I don't know what is. The bar of intellectual and cultural liberation is set so far up purposely, it has never been easy, it’s not easy, and it won't be easy to reach. But, it will be reached with cultural enlightening because “We Connect.” We must all know by now that the best way to solve any problem is to recognize there is one. We know there is a problem of perception, of manipulation, of discrimination, of mis-education, of mind-reengineering. Let's solve it in similar ways as the great Toussaint Louverture wished to liberate us from the French.

One thing is certain that our intellectual elites have failed us through no fault of their limited human will and capacity. That's how they've been trained to teach. They bought into a system all heartedly and they bring us all on board with them. I believe that true enlightenment occurs when one recognizes his/her limit and is open to changing course if organic and holistic evidences point elsewhere. Haiti can be the country that helps to solve this predicament for all black nations throughout the world, which should start by believing in our natural capacities, accepting our identity, cleansing our psychological wounds, and moving on to make the world a better place to grow subsequent lives.

Let’s pretend to agree that human progress equals no more poverty, no more hunger, no more wars and crimes, no more discrimination, etc..; and that industrial/technological progress equals going to the moon, building railroads, planes, performing MRI, inventing phones, the internet, manufacturing arms, munitions, etc...Stay with me here. Black/Haitian culture recognizes there are species in the world and accept them as such. Has it ever come to your subconscious level of thinking to wonder about the possibility that the untainted black culture may probably be the only culture that accepts chicken for the animal they are…chicken, men are men, women are women, trees are trees, etc.? Our culture recognizes that each has a natural tendency or function (not defined by people) in a balanced society. There have been many mistakes made in the past that have created necessary outcries. For instance, one can think about the sufferings of people put into slavery, men mistreating women for centuries, today’s new form of slavery in Haiti like the living condition of our brothers and sisters employed as “restavèk,”etc... These inhumane mistakes, which are getting some attention for corrective actions by some brave people, should be treated as what our natural instinct tells us. In other words, as bad as these mistakes were and continue to be, and the lasting negative impact they have on us all, we should not change the fundamental of our nature in the process of looking for a solution. Moreover, let me try to tap a bit deeper into your subconscious, it is also worth mentioning that the black culture may be the only group that has not fully embraced the experimental process of trial and error: cloning, animal breading, etc...

Anyway, if a true balance is to be made between human progress and industrial progress, I think there are lots of wasteful investments that could have been avoided. That is my dream that one day Haiti will find this essential equilibrium, and will happily share it with the rest of the world.

Doudou Joachim

Stratford, CT, February 17 2014

Peace! Love! Success! Paske Nou Tout Konekte!

One day, the world will seek to be like Haiti.

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