Every Waking Moment I’m Haitian, Too

Jose Vilson Jose

The New Year marked the 207th year of Haitian independence from French rule, a big footnote in time rubbed away into the crevices of Anglo history books. What many should consider a moment of celebration and exaltation gets shrouded in the dire situation that Haiti’s lived in since. Corrupt leaders, disintegrated economies, and disruptive occupants have ravaged a still proud country to its current state. Thus, I find it only appropriate that people choose to remember the one-year anniversary of the most devastating earthquakes in its history; what the world perceived as help towards the country turned into a loophole for the “First” world to re-intervene into the country’s politics.

It’s with this thinking that I had my first initial annoyance this morning. Maybe I should have stepped back because my friends and acquaintances are well-intended surely. Overall, as I read the messages, though, I couldn’t help but snicker when people asked me to take a moment for Haiti. I said to my screen, “What exactly does this moment look like?” Is it a Haitian emblem or using words like Ayiti or sak pase? More importantly, is this going to last another couple of years before some subliminal news story hits that the newly installed Haitian government can’t seem to get it together on their own, even when stories of the people’s will have come in droves? Do we forget this the way we forgot the tsnumanis, hurricanes, and un-unatural disasters that have hit the world over?

Because I haven’t. I can’t. No matter how little I speak the language or any of those social indicators, I’m still Haitian. Every moment I step in a positive direction, I do it for Haiti. Others do it for Southeast Asia. Others still do it for New Orleans. Whoever they do it for, they do it not as a “moment,” but an urgency. You have every right to. If you’re going to remember once a year and continue with your personal causes, then that’s your imperative. Few think about this, but if we’re products of our environment, we’re equally the representatives of them, even if we choose to not associate with it.

Thus, after January 12th, there will still be that feeling for me. It’s probably the longing to visit the side of the island I haven’t been to yet.

Jose, who’s just a writer now, no edublogging.