The one thing that unites us…


If you take away natural disasters, random and ephemeral moments of global dejection, I can seldom think of something that brings all Haitians together. Sometimes you’ve used every other thought, read as many books as you possibly could but still come up empty. What is the one meaningful thing that unite us, all of us, Haitians?

First of all, let’s throw the « First independent black republic » tag out of the window. As painful as it may be, we can all agree that a green card- heck! even a Dominican visa, is more valuable than  Haitian nationality. With all due respect to Dessalines, Toussaint Louverture and all our great Heroes, I don’t think we, modern Haitians, value patriotism as much. At least, we can’t afford to let our love for the country take precedence over our needs. This is quite odd, since in the US, patriotism is the one thing that unites all Americans. It’s the one part of the State of the Union that draws applause from both sides of congress. Veterans are loved and respected everywhere. What is the one thing that’s powerful enough to overcome partisanship or hatred for one another in Haiti?

In Haiti, we’ve traded patriotism for resiliency. We are survivors. We don’t run from misery and sufferings; we adjust to them. As we mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters who were electrocuted during the Carnival street parade in Port-au-Prince, I can’t help but notice that disappointment and sadness are the only things that unite all of us. It took the death of 20 of our own, to make Roberto and Shabba acknowledge the unnecessary and shameful nature of their beef.

When I read the statement declaring a day of mourning and that the final day of the annual celebrations was canceled, I felt proud. I was so damn proud of Barikad, the government, and the people who attended the parade to honor the victims. It was a beautiful moment. Yet I’ll go to bed disappointed once again, that it was just that: a beautiful moment of sadness. Why can’t we expand those moments of togetherness? Gonaives, January 12th, can we find something perennial and less random? Why is sorrow the only means to showcase our love for one another, for our country?

I look forward to the day when we can all be happy and proud of something that includes our politicians.



Mechanical Engineering, University of Florida


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