Haiti is the first instance in the modern world of the enslaved taking their country back. And they’ve paid for it ever since.
In talking about what’s going on in Haiti now, this is the SECOND thing that should be mentioned…as it provides context for the enormity of the tragedy. Why is Haiti so poor that they had to tell American planes not to come (because they didn’t have the resources to refuel them)? There is really only one reason.
I’ve seen a few pieces here and there bring this up, but more have focused on the tragedy itself, sans context. And some have made the Katrina like turn towards looters.
I was on The Barbershop last week. We talked about Senator Reid’s “Negro dialect” comment about Obama made off of the record. We talked the Conan vs. Leno case. But we talked about Haiti first.
I had the chance to address the politics of Haiti, and an opportunity to connect this to former President Aristide’s desire to return. I did not. Kicking myself about it, but I thought I’d at least talk about it here. Aristide wants to return, many of his citizens want him to return. If Obama is willing to–in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation–bring Bush into the picture, then Aristide should be there. Before we even take into consideration the fact that he is “former President” largely because of a coup that many think the US helped in.
Later that day I had the opportunity to participate in a discussion about MLK and what he means today. Marc Steiner is a Baltimore jewel. He invited Mina Cheon, Mike McGuire, and myself to talk about what Martin Luther King jr. means at this particular moment. The discussion is worth listening to. Over 20 years ago a group of students took over the University of Michigan and forced them to dedicate MLK day to anti-racism. Although I do think about MLK on MLK Day, how young he was when he began, how his ideas changed as he grew older, what I really think about are those kids who had the audacity to believe they could make one of the largest and most prestigious public universities in the world, a better and more humane institution.