Wyclef, a man chosen to be the ambassador for Haiti has recently appeared on radio ads asking Haitians to "give up crime and work to improve the country." Full article here, below are the highlights:
"...you should not be raping women, kidnapping people and children, because there can be no excuse for doing so,"
"I reject these evil practices"
I'm sure Wyclef means well, he seems like a decent guy, and I have no doubt he loves his country and its people. I'd also like to add that I don't really have a problem with what he's saying. After all, raping women and kidnapping children kinda got played out in the 80's, right? What does bother me is the eerily Bush-like, fundamentalist phraseology of the line :'I reject these evil practices.' I'm figuring thats either a Haitian thing I'm not hip to, or maybe he just finished watching an episode of Charmed?
Seriously though, to me Wyclef is saying this:
"Many poor Haitians choose to do bad things, and maybe if I, as a millionaire celebrity, ask them to stop, they will stop because they respect me. "
Aside from the immediate problem I have with a rich person telling poor people to do anything; what he is saying seems to imply that the crime and violence going on Haiti are solely the product of personal choices. It implies that all is well in Haiti and yet, for some inexplicable reason, people keep committing crimes.
If you know anything about Haiti you know all is not well and it never has been. The kind of poverty that Haitians have endured over at least the last 40 years, is nothing short of violent torture; and that is not hyperbole. Haiti, has consistantly been the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and now, there are Haitians who are forced to eat dirt to survive!!
The U.S. has played a healthy role in helping to create the Haiti that exists today and is unwilling to play an equal role in improving living conditions there. As a black man, I have to say, I'm not exactly surprised, but its still sad nonetheless.
If I could speak to Wyclef, I would implore him to study the connection between, politics, economomics, and crime and analyze the environment that most of the people who become street criminals, grow up in. I think he would find that, poor living conditions, generally produce criminal activity and that this holds true pretty much all over the world. Then I would ask him if he thinks that a millionaire ought to be asking poor people to stop committing crimes, when the solution to crime is rooted in economics and education?
I'd hope that after his studies, he'd no longer look at the guns and street crimes that kill Haitians, and instead focus on the political corruption and economic rape that is killing them softly
Labels: Crime, Haiti, sociology, Wyclef