Subject: “Birth Of a Nation” indeed!
Date: Jun 2, 2004 5:53
Below you can find the letter to the editor to the San Francisco
Chronicle which I sent in response to their opinion piece on Haiti
which took up a number of pages of their Magazine, last Sunday, May 30.
Since the editors have not phoned me, I think I can be confident that
they have decided not to use my letter. They have also chosen not
to use press release I have sent them nor did they send a reporter to Hastings
College of the Law where they could have heard from the head of a law school
in Haiti who was part of a panel presentation on current circumstances.
In fact they have printed absolutely nothing on the ongoing murder of the
democratic supporters of the elected government of Haiti which was overthrown
in the coup of February 29.
“Birth Of a Nation” – Adam Hochschild could have found no
more appropriate title for his hit piece on Haiti than the title of the
1915 film excoriating American blacks who fought for freedom and celebrating
the rise of the KKK in the South during Reconstruction.
Mr. Hochschild's article describes the immense wealth produced in St.
Domingue's sugar plantations without mentioning the word slave until halfway
through his second page. The "wealth of St. Domingue [which
made] it the battleground for more than a dozen years of almost
unbelievable ferocious warfare" was the product of the slave labor
which finally Mr. Hochschild mentions "was far more deadly than slavery
in the American South ? [and] one of the hardest ways of life on earth."
Yet astonishingly Mr. Hochschild concludes his article by attributing
to Haiti an "almost unparalleled legacy of violence" which he says
"has crippled the land to this day." Perhaps if he had visited Haiti,
as I have, and seen, as I have seen, the iron collars and chains which
in 1996 were displayed in the museum in Port-au-Prince, he would know more
clearly who was the more violent in Haiti's birth as a nation. He
have seen people working hard, building neighborhood schools, planting
trees on deforested hillsides. He would have realized that a country
which had to labor more than a hundred [and fifty] years to pay the price
of its freedom which France exacted in the "restitution payments" Mr. Hochschild
slightingly mentions in his second to the last paragraph, the
value of which "restitution" was ten times the $15 million price for
the Louisiana Purchase.
As a long time subscriber, I am dismayed and angered that the Chronicle
has chosen to print this, and other pieces of opinion, while firsthand
reports of the deathsquad attacks on the real democratic workers in Haiti,
which are being supported and in some instances being participated in by
our own military, are being ignored in spite of the fact that the necessary
information and contact information has been supplied to the Chronicle's
foreign desk on a regular basis.
1340 Ada Street
Berkeley, CA 94702