It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light

Mwen se echantiyon yon ras kap boujonnen men ki poko donnen

Si vous voulez vous faire des ennemis essayer de changer les choses

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Randall Robinson: Corrections and Comments by Stanley Lucas

For the Record … Corrections and Comments by Stanley Lucas On Randall Robinson's July 22, 2007 C-SPAN Interview
Randall Robinson has written a book about Haiti's history, Unbroken Agony, which was published this year. On July 22, 2007, he gave an interview to C-SPAN covering his perspectives on a variety of issues, including recent events in Haiti. The following are some corrections and comments on the interview intended to clarify several of his misleading statements. -----------------------------------------

1. Mr. Robinson omitted mentioning that his wife, Hazel Ross-Robinson, not only has an extensive background working on Capitol Hill, but left the Hill to go to work for Aristide earning millions of dollars as a lobbyist defending Aristide's interests in Washington, DC ------------------------------------------------------

2. Mr. Robinson failed to mention if there is a connection between his book and the $30 million that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pledged to actor and Aristide supporter Danny Glover to produce a movie about the Haitian independence and its impact on Latin America. The thrust of Robinson's book is essentially an effort to gloss over Aristide's abysmal record of drug trafficking, human rights violations, election rigging and corruption by positioning Aristide's story as an extension of the Haitian independence movement. The absurdity of comparing this man to the founding fathers of Haiti is evident and an insult to the Haitian people. There is a concern among Haitians that their history is subject to being sold out to the highest bidder – and therefore can be manipulated, specifically by the Aristide supporters. Comparing Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Toussaint Louverture would be like comparing Martin Luther King to O.J. Simpson. It's appalling.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Overall, it is disappointing to hear Mr. Robinson characterize everything in terms of race. Haiti is 99% black and proud to be the world's first black republic. However, the independence was not just about race. Haiti's founding fathers saw beyond race to the universal values of freedom and equality. Haitians fought alongside Simon Bolivar in his quest to liberate the Latin American countries. They fought alongside Americans in the Revolutionary War It was not about Latinos or Americans. For Haitians, it was about freedom and liberation. It is true, however, that outsiders may have considered us a threat because of our cause and because of our race, but that did not have an impact on our purpose. There is a further concern among Haitians that the collective memory of the Haitian independence movement could be tainted by these assertions. President Rene Preval requested that Danny Glover shoot the movie in Haiti and include Haitian historians and movie producers in the project to ensure that the only successful black revolution on earth is portrayed faithfully and accurately. ----------------------------

4. Mr. Robinson does not know me or my family. My father was a businessman and spent his career with the US Agency of International Development (USAID), where he retired. My mother is a businesswomen in her own right and never worked in Haiti. Neither were involved in politics. To state that my parents were supporters of Duvalier is an outright fabrication.------------

5. Randall Robinson and Ron Daniels were not in Savannah Georgia. Neither was Danny Glover. The unveiling of Haitian Monument in Savannah (see pictures below) to Honor a Platoon of Haitan Soldiers who fought for American Independence at the Siege of Savannah Georgia in 1779 was an opportunity for them to show that they cared about Haiti. This was a unique opportunity to showcase Haitian culture and highlight a truly positive aspect of the US-Haiti relationship. The political leaders of Savannah really extended themselves to make this monument come to fruition -- as did the people of the Haitian American Historical Society. However, when they could have used a little star power or support from black leaders -- neither were there. This reinforces the fact that they really only are interested in selling Haiti's history to the highest bidder.

Stanley Lucas
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