By Etant Dupain, Haiti Response Coalition
Etant Dupain talks with resident of Camp Koray
Refuse the climb to Morne Cabrit (named Goat Mountain for its steep slopes), turn left and drive for ten minutes if you have a good car – walk for fifty minutes if you have good feet. Turn again, and enter the second road on the right. You are in Koray.
There are no lights; the road is not paved. There is only dust and ancient forsaken grass growing in this area.
It is here that the Haitian government and the United Nations, along with the American Embassy and their NGO acolytes, decided to construct a humiliating village to put the victims who lost their homes during the earthquake.
The most significant thing about Koray is that the people are from the spontaneous camp at the Petion ville Golf Club. According to the American Embassy, the people living in that camp were in danger because it was a geographically vulnerable area, although no such case was ever reported before the presence of the victims there.
In the area of Koray there are no trees. After four in the afternoon, the mosquitos reign. Around this sizeable camp, which will be receiving internally displaced people from more than five other camps in Petion ville and Delmas, are deforested mountains that the victims have as a mural to look at during the day. One doesn’t have to ask how this plain, filled with little tents, is affected by rainfall.
Imagine that you are on a plain without trees, with nothing but dirt and deforested mountains surrounding you, and you hear that there will be more than five hours of rainfall…
The second place to ask this question is at the American Embassy, which promised in 1986 to deliver seven million trees to help combat erosion in Haiti. Ask them also: why there is “danger” just below the residence of the Ambassador, who is the neighbor of the Petion ville Golf Club, and the real reason that people are being displaced from their camps.
The victims have been displaced to an area without trees, without water, mixed with dust and burning sun, and a wind that declares war against the people, tearing up tents that wouldn’t hold up for two months even without wind.
The matter requires reflection. If there is wind strong enough to detach a tent, a raging sun and no trees to give people shade, even the dust could make a little peace and recognize that it is an inhabitable place. But, this isn’t the reality. It is people who aren’t in need of a bathroom and aren’t thirsty for water who can’t see these problems.
Much of the local press, like Radio Metropole, have praised this camp as a good example for the forced displacement of more than one million three hundred thousand people who do not have any place whatsoever to live. Perhaps this is because Dessalines already gave away all the people’s land, making them always live in the street and without hope.
Joseph Mucioleme, a fifty-five year old man who lost his house on January 12, had left Gonaives in 1983 after losing all his pigs when the U.S. Government and the Governement of the Dictator Jean Claude Duvalier killed the Haitian Creole pigs under the pretext of the African Swine Fever.
Joseph was a refugee in the Petion ville Golf Club with his two children; today he is one of the victims who live in the isolation of camp Koray. In his tent, Joseph has rice and oil he received two days ago, but he has no means to cook the food because he doesn’t have a stove or any of the other ingredients to prepare food.
Hunger in the desert is like running from the rain and falling in the river, according to Joseph. The most grave aspects of Joseph’s case is that all of his family are in Port-au-Prince, and it was in the lower part of the city where he could find work hauling loads to buy food for himself and his children. Now he is dispensable – condemned to this high desert until he is deported the same humiliating way.
It costs 100 gourdes, or $2.90 U.S. dollars, to take public transportation back and forth from the city. If Joseph had a radio, he could have heard about the arriving NGOs and all the money they received in his name, while he is obligated to spend the rest of his life in the desert camp unless he finds the money to return home.
None of this is surprising. The government, the United Nations and the Haitian elite – the bourgeois class – have had time to make the false assertion that 70% of all that the country has lost was lost from the holdings of the bourgeois. That is to say, they have had the time to decide how they will redistribute the new debt they call funds for reconstruction.
Don’t allow the personal interests of the bourgeois and the acolytes of the Preval government to lead us to forget the Haitian heritage of the Konbit, the concept we practice of working together.
The international community and the government are not intelligent because they are playing with fire when you consider the numbers of victims searching for a peaceful way out of the crisis who have been patient as they encounter problem after problem. This is a provocation by the international community and the government by not taking on their responsibilities.
Don’t criticize me if I finish without mentioning that Koray has no school, health center, public market or good road. Not only do they not have these things, but there isn’t even any sign that these things will be provided. At the moment you are reading this there are people being coerced to live in a cemetery in a desert.
Dessalines said: If Haiti is paradise it must be paradise for all Haitians, the same as if it is hell it must be hell for all Haitians.
Charlemagne Peralte: long live just war.
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