Barely a week after the Senate rejected former Justice Minister Bernard Honorat Gousse, President Michel Martelly’s second designated Prime Minister, an unsightly, distasteful aspect of Haitian history charged to the headlines and revealed the real incurable disease decaying the country’s progress.
As political stagnation strangled the starved nation, some legislators dove head first into race baiting, their hands at each other’s throats. The conflict between the executive and the legislative was “not only a power struggle, ” declared Senator Edwin Zenny (South East), “but also a class and color struggle.” Zenny deliberately sniped his Senate colleagues with those comments, namely brothers Joseph and Wencesclass Lambert, the other two senators from his department, and Moise Jean-Charles (North). Zenny, who divorced his party, Parliamentary Group for Renewal (GPR), to support his good friend President Martelly, labeled his homologous partners “traditional intellectuals and imbeciles working to deter the country’s progress.” The Senator did not like his colleagues’ comments, calling him a privileged mulatto. In his response, the third generation Lebanese descendant held nothing back. “ I did not choose the color of my skin,” he lashed out, emphasizing he could not be blamed for being who he is.
The latest turn of events exposed a centuries-old elephant, seemingly invisible, that people cautiously get around to avoid conflict. However, social class and color are never far from the nation’s mind. Whether in the air people breathe, the size of their dreams or simply the hands they shake, those twins continually manifest themselves in Haitian life. It is the perturbed ex-fiancée at the wedding ceremony determined not to hold his or her peace forever: lurking, waiting for the ultimate moment to roar.
Whether fairly or unfairly, race baiting seems to always resurface when conflicts reach unprecedented levels of saturation or when people feel pinched, including learned leaders who should know better. “Senator Moise Jean-Charles revived the color issue when he called me a mulatto,” said Zenny who reasoned President Martelly needed his own party to govern. “Former Presidents Jean Bertrand Aristide and Rene Preval both married mulattoes,” he emphasized. As characterized by critics, the need for comprehensive race relations in Haiti could not be more evident.
- Martelly marks 100 days in Haiti with little progress (repeatingislands.com)
- Deducting Contributions to Haitian Earthquake Relief on Your 2009 Return (turbotax.intuit.com)
- Anger in Haiti as new leader stumbles in politics (sfgate.com)