Thursday, 14 January 2010

Haiti - paying over and over for its rebellious past

The entry for Haiti on Wikipedia points out that it is

the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion [led by Toussaint L'ouverture and the Black Jacobins].
If you know any more history of Haiti, you might conclude that the country has being paying the price for that ever since. If you would like to read more I can direct you to an article written by socialist Colin Waugh who has made a study of Haiti. I shall re-read this article in the coming days.

Most people if they are interested in Haiti only tend to look at the ugly recent history. Too many people write the country off as a tinpot little island in the Caribbean where the population can't get its act together. Too many people apply the offensive and glib label 'basket case' to places like Haiti, without taking any account of the long and sometimes monumental historical events that make a place what it is.

In more recent times, it had seemed that there were signs of hope... until the earthquake on Tuesday.

I am active with an anti-sweatshop campaign called No Sweat. We have contacts with an inspiring group called Batay Ouvriye, that supports fledgling trade unions in Haiti, and with the Haiti Support Group here in the UK. I hope that we can get in touch with our colleagues in the coming days. It's hard to know what the future can hold for the country when everything seems to have collapsed, but we can at least try to help the people we have met and look for a way to continue their precious work.

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