Archive for January, 2010
In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not in PNU…
It is hard to bring up Raila’s name in any discussion without turning the exercise into a convolution; one in which we can barely distinguish between fore planned events and strokes of luck, machinations and coincidences, demagogic charades and heartfelt positions based on real principle. The man has played his cards unusually close to his chest regarding the draft constitution and everyone at the table should by now be really worried if he might be concealing an ace in the hole.
Highlighting recent developments in the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution’s discussions will serve to put things in perspective at this juncture:
- The MPs opted for a presidential system where a strong presidency is checked by Parliament and Cabinet ministers are appointed from outside Parliament.
- Devolution will be at two levels, national and regional governments with 18 regions being created.
Admittedly these agreements are about as bland as our dullard MPs can be expected to come up with, but what should raise eyebrows is one unexpected turnaround by the niggly ODM brigade that has all along demanded an executive led by a Premier shadowed by a ceremonial President.
Now negotiations between egotistic politicians, which ultimately have a bearing on an unrepresented voting proletariat, are multivariate by nature and outcomes are often in a twilight zone. It is not immediately clear how a unanimous decision to go for the same old Imperial Presidency was reached, what is clear is that one Agwambo is chuckling as he sips on his vintage JDub Blue Label wherever he might be; what with the polls showing he is miles ahead of the rest of his weak-ass contenders for Presidency, what with the gullible PNU MPs duped into endorsing the same old “One centre of power”, what with the beguiled public applauding and lining up behind the “saviour” of the Mau complex.
The endgame is in sight and the floundering KKK alliance’s strategy is still unclear in light of what appears to be Raila’s latest coup (no pun intended), that is unless the KKK KANU turncoarts from the one party ancien regime engage in the last elections skulduggery and abuse of suffrage. Well, Ocampo might even make fewer the choices (choices indeed!) that KKK might have come 2012 by whisking a few elements away to grin behind bars. And that might not be a bad thing for them as it might save them the humiliation of having Raila hand their ass to them at the polls, which is as well, when you consider that conservatives incapable of defeating Raila on the battlefield of ideas have taken the battle into the sewers where they have the homefield advantage.
An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale is a hard to imagine and no doubt unwanted occurrence anywhere near a human settlement. However, it is clear that the devastation in Haiti has been directly contributed to by the state of impoverishment in the country. A 1989 earthquake also measuring 7.0 struck the Bay Area in Northern California and the casualties recorded were less than seventy people. Obviously poorly constructed buildings, congestion and a lack of disaster preparedness have a lot to do with the terrible figures of those injured and the dead in Haiti’s case. It is this poverty whose beginnings must be deciphered.
According to Pat Robertson Haiti’s hugely unfortunate lot made a pact with Satan in return for aid in driving brutal French colonizers and slave masters off, in his assessment, this explains their numerous misfortunes including this crippling earthquake.
Apparently the earliest person to attempt to organize escaped slaves in Haiti into a group of freedom fighters was a Voudou priest by the name Mackandal, he was a one-armed fugitive slave, originally from Guinea, who escaped in 1751 and spent the next six years staging successful raids and evading capture by the French until he was captured and burned alive in 1758. Now perhaps it is this initial leadership of the slave revolt by a Voudou priest that has Robertson talking about pacts with the devil, that I’m not sure of but I am sure of one little fact of history that has been largely ignored, even as the spotlight remains on Haiti, and that is the pact they made with diabolical empires that has kept them in penury and vulnerable to the ravages of nature and a heartless global capitalist regime.
Basically Haiti’s slaves, most being indigenous Africans, defeated the French in a fight for independence in 1804 thus effectively becoming the first non-slave republic in the Americas. After their ouster the French demanded reparations from Haiti equivalent to 150 million gold francs. This was however reduced to 90 million gold francs, which is over $20 billion US dollars by today’s rates. Haiti couldn’t afford this extortionate sum and hence France and other Western countries, including the United States, offered high-interest loans; by 1900, 80% of Haiti’s annual budget was being spent on repayment of this debt and the struggle to pay this debt took until 1947 to be done with. Haiti had enriched France a lot more than any of its other colonies prior to Haiti’s liberation and the subsequent reparation ensured Haiti never gained a solid economic footing.
Even worse, immediately after the 1804 revolution, the US refused to recognize Haiti because being a country that depended on slave labour it clearly couldn’t acknowledge a country of free slaves; thus Haiti was subjected to a devastating economic embargo by France and the US, sanctions that lasted 60 years and were only ended in 1863.
Furthermore The US occupied and ruled Haiti by force from 1915 to 1934. For 19 years, the US controlled customs in Haiti, collected taxes, and ran many governmental institutions. It is not clear how many billions were bilked from Haiti by the US during this forced occupation. From 1957 to 1986 Haiti was governed by US backed despots “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier, support for these dictators was premised on their supposed “anti-communist” leanings in total disregard to their cruelty and affront on the human rights of Haitians. The Duvaliers’ corruption stacked up Haiti’s debts even further and as a result it is estimated that the country now is indebted to the tune of more than $1.3 billion in external debt, close to half of this debt having been accumulated by the US-backed Duvaliers.
A little over 30 years ago Haiti was self sufficient in rice and sugar production. Today the country has to import most of its rice as well as sugar, this is because Haiti was forced by the IMF and the World Bank to open its markets to the world allowing the US to dump millions of tons of US subsidized rice and sugar into Haiti’s markets hence putting local farmers out of business and consigning the country to being the third largest world market for US rice.
In 1991, Haiti got its first democratically elected president in the person of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In less than a year he was ousted by the CIA. Curiously US-backed forces restored Aristide to power in 1994 while starting another spell of US military occupation between 1994 and 2000. Haiti is currently under UN occupation, has no formal army and Aristide has been banished to exile.
Yes, Haiti might have made a pact with the devil but that devil is no amorphous spiritual being, that devil embodied by the nations by the US and France in their tacit collusion that has reduced the republic of Haiti to the basket case that it currently is.
While my take on religion is one of scepticism, the important thing is I find it hard to reconcile or indeed find parallels between faith and organized religion, granted I have a streak of indocility running through me but some pronunciations by some of the most revered religious leaders is a complete travesty to the tenets of most of the major world religions.
In the wake of the Haiti disaster in which tens of thousands of poor souls have been lost, buried alive in heaps of concrete and steel, Mr Pat Robertson of the 700 Club had a dismaying explanation for this natural calamity:
“It may be a blessing in disguise. … Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. Haitians were originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal. Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”
The disturbing remarks were made on the TV program 700 Club, a program with ostentatious sets not unlike those of most TV evangelists, the agenda, ironically, was to raise funds for Haiti. He deliberately failed to tell his viewers that the reason for the rebellion against the French rule some 200 years ago was because of slavery and that Haiti became the first free black republic.
Personally as a Christian, albeit a fringe one, I find the said ‘pact’ remark both absurd and deeply offending, especially there being a subtle racial undertone in which the actions of a group of black slaves fighting successfully to break the yoke of enslavement are equated to making a pact with the devil. Pray, how and where would a whole country meet or communicate and somehow unanimously agree to have such a pact to begin with?
Keep in mind this is the same man, who in the aftermath September 11th attack in New York, blamed the ACLU, abortionists, pagans, feminists, homosexuals, and People for the American Way for pissing off God and allowing the terrorists attack to happen.
So is there someone out there who is actually listening to agreeing with this ‘pact with the devil’ slavery supporting hogwash?
Visit Haiti Pics for photos of Haiti, now and then.
Visit Haiti Relief to see what you can do.
Some of the controversies Robertson has been involved in include:
- Blood Diamonds (Source: Wikipedia)
According to a 2 June 1999, article in The Virginian-Pilot, Robertson had extensive business dealings with Liberian president Charles Taylor. According to the article, Taylor gave Robertson the rights to mine for diamonds in Liberia’s mineral-rich countryside. According to two Operation Blessing pilots who reported this incident to the state of Virginia for investigation in 1994, Robertson used his Operation Blessing planes to haul diamond-mining equipment to Robertson’s mines in Liberia, despite the fact that Robertson was telling his 700 Club viewers that the planes were sending relief supplies to the victims of the genocide in Rwanda. In response to Taylor’s alleged crimes against humanity the United States Congress passed a bill In November 2003 that offered two million dollars for his capture. Robertson accused President Bush of “undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country.” At the time Taylor was harboring Al Qaeda operatives who were funding their operations through the illegal diamond trade
- Seemingly advocating for assassination of Chavez
“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war … We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.” –Pat Robertson, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
- Misrepresenting equal rights movement
The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” –Pat Robertson
- Referring to Islam as a political movement bent on world domination
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have to recognize that Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law.” He characterized the American Muslim community as “Islam light” and went on to say Muslims “want to take over and we want to impose Sharia on you. And before long, ladies are going to be dressed in burqas and whatever garments they would put on them, and next thing you know, men are going to be allowed to have wife-beating and you’ll be beheading adulterers and so on and so forth.”