I woke today with thoughts of Haiti. Six years ago a 7.0M earthquake moved thousands of people to respond to the devastation Haiti suffered; some to help, others to exploit. I found two apt quotes for remembering the occasion and aftermath: one on the significance of Haiti, the other on the bitter ramifications of that significance...
“By creating a society in which all people, of all colors, were granted freedom and citizenship, the Haitian Revolution forever transformed the world. It was a central part of the destruction of slavery in the Americas, and therefore a crucial moment in the history of democracy, one that laid the foundation for the continuing struggles for human rights everywhere. In this sense we are all descendents of the Haitain Revolution, and responsible to these ancestors.”
― Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution ...
“The two main criminals are France and the United States. They owe Haiti enormous reparations because of actions going back hundreds of years. If we could ever get to the stage where somebody could say, 'We're sorry we did it,' that would be nice. But if that just assuages guilt, it's just another crime. To become minimally civilized, we would have to say, 'We carried out and benefited from vicious crimes. A large part of the wealth of France comes from the crimes we committed against Haiti, and the United States gained as well. Therefore we are going to pay reparations to the Haitian people.' Then you will see the beginnings of civilization.”
― Noam Chomsky, Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World