I know that many of you in the U.S. and elsewhere are concerned about the future. We are concerned in Haiti too—the 21st Century has already brought us a coup d’état, manipulated elections, intense political oppression, an earthquake, a cholera epidemic and several deadly hurricanes.
Haitians often say “kenbe fem”- “hang in there”, “stand firm”. We use it casually, when friends take leave to face the daily challenges of life here. We use it more seriously, too, to encourage each other to stay strong in the face of particularly weighty challenges.
We not only hang in there, but we resist, mobilize and fight back. We successfully reversed the 2004 coup, stopped manipulated elections last January, survived the earthquake and hurricanes, and earlier this month, forced the UN to respond justly to its cholera epidemic.
Our secret to success is “men anpil, chay pa lou”- “many hands make the load light”. Haitians have been working together to defeat injustice since we kicked out Napoleon and abolished slavery in 1804. We inspired and assisted independence movements in South America, Africa and beyond over the subsequent two centuries and fought off occupations and dictatorships at home. We hope that our example, courage, strategy, persistence and collaboration can inspire and support your efforts to preserve justice in your countries over the coming months and years.
We hope that you can help us too. Friends from abroad have lent their hands to our previous victories, especially our recent ones. We will need you to fight with us now, to kenbe fem by our side, contacting your leaders, writing letters, taking to the streets and educating your media.
And we need your financial support. Year-end donations from allies like you are crucial for BAI and IJDH to keep fighting on the front lines, to keep winning victories against injustice. Together, united, all hands in, we are unstoppable.
Are you with us?
Bureau des Avocats Internationaux