Saturday, January 14, 2012
Speech of Stanley Lucas at the Mass of Remembrance on the Second Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.
Excellence Dr. Jill Biden, Wife of the Vice President
Honorable Cathy Russell, Chief of Staff of Dr. Biden
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First, Monseigneur Lafontant, let me thank you for your prayers and kind words.
Dr. Biden on behalf of my country and President Martelly let me thank you for your prayers and support.
Every morning I wake up and count my blessings. And every morning I wake up and remember the 320,000 souls who lost their lives on January 12. I remember my best friend a journalist Wanel Fils, we never met, we became friend over the phone and for three years we did together a radio talk show defending Haitian citizen interests. He died on January 12 and I did not have a chance to meet him before. I remember Magalie Marcelin, Myriam Merlet, Hubert Deronceray, Micha Gaillard and so many others...
There but for the Grace of God go I… We all could have been in Haiti on that fateful day. Many of us lost family and dear friends. We keep them in our hearts every day, and look for ways to honor and remember them. We owe it to them to honor and remember them.
For me, I honor my friends by finding ways to make them proud; by attempting day in and day out to restore Haiti to the country that we know it can be because of the country it once was. We owe this to them so that their deaths and this staggering loss was not in vain.
Haiti was a country that fought for freedom and liberty for people all around the world. After throwing off the shackles of slavery to become the world’s first Black Republic, Haitians actively supported the cause of liberty around the world. Haitians fought alongside the Bolivarians in South America in their quest for freedom; we gave safe harbor to the Jews seeking refuge from the brutal Nazi regime; we fought alongside the American revolutionaries in Savannah, Georgia. In Greece and Belgium too, Haitian soldiers lent their support. That is the type of country that Haiti was.
Haiti was also a country with a vibrant economy and a bright future. Decades of an international embargo to punish the slaves followed by decades of corruption and selfishness and failed leadership, however, undermined our vibrancy and proud history.
The world was shocked at what it saw in Haiti in the aftermath of the tragedy. How could we have invested so much in this tiny country and have nothing to show for it, they asked? How can my brothers and sisters be living in these conditions, Haitians around the world asked? Haiti rarely makes the news and rarely draws the attention of the world, but the depth and scope of this tragedy put a spotlight on the problems in our country. January 12 was a tragic and horrendous wake up call.
But did we wake up? Are we honoring the fallen victims of the tragic disaster? Two years later are we making them proud?
Everyone will have their own answer to this question. Today is not a day to be political and the answers to these questions are complicated and somewhat political. But I believe that everyone could agree that while recognizing some progress, that there is also disappointment about the slow pace of recovery. We still have 600,000 of our brothers and sisters still living in the streets among them two three months old babies, pregnant women and the elderly. They are continually threatened by the next Hurricane season scheduled to start on June 1st this year. Many are pointing fingers at who is to blame for the slow pace of recovery. President Martelly's Administration prefers to focus on solutions and provide what’s needed for our people. We also like to think the American people and the world for their generosity and prayers.
At the end of the day, if it is it is to be, it is up to us as Haitians to make proud the January 12 victims. It is up to us to turn the tides in our country. It is up to us to ensure that these deaths – while incredibly tragic and mourned daily – were not in vain. The incredibly loss must propel us forward to restore our country so that this type of event would never take such a staggering toll on our country again.
From the Bible, Galatians 6:10 – “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Let us do good and restore our country.
Lets follows the path and the legacy left by our forefathers, lets follow their instructions "In Unity their is strength"
God bless you.