HAITI AND THE CLOUDS IN THE DARK
(Caribbean Journal) - By Ilio Durandis
A country is yearning for development. A people that is so desperate for change. A whole world is watching, and yet, the darkness is filled with clouds. It may not be possible to see the clouds, but they are there. Some people are blind to them. Others find them to be a nuisance. And a few can harness its potential. The clouds in the dark are potentially powerful that they can develop where there is no development. They can make change happen where the status quo is deeply rooted. They can turn pessimists into optimists.
On the eve of Haiti’s declaration of independence, the former slaves probably stayed up all night to think about what they had just done. It probably didn’t sink in them at the time that they were mavericks in a new world; that they were defying an old adage, by replacing it with a new ideology. No longer could people say the Negroes would rather be slaves than to be free. Haiti, on Jan. 1, 1804 put to rest the axiom that the black race was inferior to any other race and that it was incapable to be self-governed. We had entered a new age, and the clouds were present in the dark.
The 208 tumultuous years that followed Haiti’s independence are a clear reminder of the extent of misery and sacrifice that a people is willing to suffer to be free. Not simply free nominally, but to be totally free. The Haitian misery and hard life that one witnesses everyday is a message from the Haitian people to the rest of the world that nothing else is worth having, but total freedom. Until it is achieved, the clouds in the dark might remain in obscurity to many.
Independence is not the act of expelling foreign invaders from one’s home, but rather it is the act that protects everyone’s rights in a fair and dignified way. The clouds in the dark are independent from the darkness, for when the sun rises the clouds can be seen by all with the sense of vision. Just as the clouds are independent from the darkness, the poor are independent from poverty and the oppressed are independent from oppression.
Haiti is often dubbed the poorest of its region, as if this poverty has a stronghold on the nation, which in turn enslaves the people to remain poor. Until we fully understand the potential and power of the darkness’ clouds, we might have a hard time understanding the Haitians’ struggle and the people’s obsession with total freedom.
Haiti is what it is today because Haiti refuses to be anything else but Haiti. This is a country that is much more than what the eyes can see, and what the imagination can think. Understanding Haiti requires a deep immersion in a subconscious realm that, more often than not, few of us are willing to enter. The clouds one sees during sunrise are not the same clouds that one cannot see in the dark.
Haiti is poor and wealthy, dirty and clean, unstable and peaceful. It is a nation of extreme misery, and extraordinary wealth. Politically, the vast majority is at the extremity of opposite sides. Judicially, it seems like a lawless land with an abundance of laws. Structurally, it is cohesively segregated and fragmentally united. And yet, there is a magnet that keeps on pulling the opposites towards its center. At the end, everything is seen as relatively normal. This Haiti has all the potential to be a giant among the giants.
When the clouds accumulate, people can sense a storm coming. Sometimes, the storm comes as torrential rains, other times it might turn into a tornado. When the clouds get dark, people must seek shelter. Otherwise, lives might be lost.
Haiti is not at a point of no return as many would like to believe. There is so much that can be done, and the people are so hungry to be the change. It will take courageous leadership and great foresight to right this ship, but nonetheless, it can be stirred in the right direction.
The time has arrived to disperse the thick clouds in the dark, in order to prepare for a shinny and bright morning. We are capable of attaining that bright morning, but we must rid ourselves of the vices that have thus far prevented us for taking off for good.
Haiti is not a lost cause, never has been and never will. The clouds have been over our heads for so long that the meteorologists have not bothered to update their models.
Haiti will come out victorious. The Haitian people deserve better and will ask for much better. The forecast might indicate that a storm is coming, but until the storm has reached our shore, we still have time to prepare and evacuate. It is up to us, this generation, to once and for all disperse and dispel the clouds in the dark.
Our work is much, but our collective heads and wills are greater. We are ready to make change happen, and prevent the clouds from turning into a fatal storm.
Ilio Durandis, a Caribbean Journal contributor, is the founder of Haiti 2015, a social movement for a just and prosperous Haiti. He is a columnist with The Haitian Times.
Follow Ilio Durandis on Twitter: @durandis