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You are extremely naive or blind, Lt. Col. Lapan
by Wanda Sabir

Dear Lt. Col. Lapan:

I am responding to an email forward of your letter to my editor at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, where the story about U.S. Marine atrocities was printed Wednesday, May 19, 2004, about Haitian Flag Day 2004.

We have several reports from eyewitnesses verifying the claims Marguerite (Laurent) states in her article. Since their arrival on Haitian soil, the U.S. Marines seem to have done nothing to help the poor and now under siege Lavalas supporters.

While criminals run the police force and hunt Aristide supporters throughout the countryside, the U.S. Marines, according to eyewitness reports, facilitate the massacres by standing aside or shooting into crowds, arresting and torturing victims themselves, then disappearing the bodies so that there is no proof.

How can you say that these reports are fallacious when we have American citizens, journalists and members of the accompaniment units who have seen otherwise? A few persons who returned just two weeks ago reported back on Thursday, May 20. I was there. Visit www.haitiaction.net for more information or www.flashpoints.net.

The Bay View doesn't want to discredit the U.S. military; however, peace is not what the occupation is all about. It's about crippling a country that was lame, yet beginning to take giant steps toward democratic leadership and rule - rule of law, which is something the Marines in Haiti and elsewhere seem to have forgotten.

Now, you can give me your side of the story, but if the protest was as large as witnesses say, then how can you be certain that what was reported is factual? Were you there? Do you have pictures? We do.

Congressmembers Barbara Lee and John Conyers' House Bill 3919, The Responsibility to Uncover the Truth about Haiti (TRUTH) Commission Act, an investigation into the events that led to President Aristide's kidnapping by U.S. Marines, the installation of new leadership, namely Prime Minister Gerald Latortue, and these peacekeeping forces U.S., French, Canadian, etc., what the Haitians call "occupying forces," the Group 184, Andre Apaid, war criminals such as Guy Philippe, etc. - is necessary to find out why American forces are in Haiti in the first place and what this occupation means.

No one here at home can figure out why the U.S. is so interested in Haiti. There's no oil there. It's a democracy.

Is it simply as Bush is quoted as saying the other day that a Black nation can't rule itself, the same sort of comment another president made about the Philippines?

Is this what fuels this antagonistic relationship that goes back over 100 years - racism, bigotry? I'm certain the brave men and women who volunteer to serve their country do not support such foolishness.

Haitians helped America become an independent and free nation, and this is how our country shows its thanks, by undermining its progress every step of the way, supporting coup after coup, including instigating and carrying out one itself, on Feb. 29 of this year?

Either you are extremely naive or blind, Lt. Col. Lapan.

CARICOM refuses to recognize the current government. OAS had a vote yesterday (Thursday), despite U.S. disapproval of the call to investigate Aristide's removal.

Why is the U.S. military there? Why have soldiers displaced medical students and set up camp in the medical school? Why are convicted war criminals in positions of authority and allowed to terrorize those who testified against them? These men were in prison; now they control the prisons. Children are being killed, shot point blank just because their parents believe in justice and democracy - what America supposedly stands for.

How can you say that the situation is getting better? Hasn't U.S. presence made the situation worse? There is a direct parallel between what is going on in Haiti and what is happening in Iraq regarding the U.S. military. The only difference is that in Haiti, most if not all the casualties are on the Haitian side.

Wanda Sabir is arts editor for the Bay View. Email her at wsab1@aol.com.
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