I was driving with my high school friend Denis Evens last Saturday in South Beach Miami when we finally found a parking space to drop our car and go for a walk, grab a bite, and talk as we usually do.
Leaving the parking lot, a security guard adressed us in Creole with his open arms welcoming us in this beautiful, cosmopolitan, and touristic area: “Mesye sa nap fè pou peyi-a?” –
Hey guys, what are you doing for the country?”, he asked us.
“Kiyès ladan yo: isit la osnon laba-a?” – Which country? Here or there?” I interjected.
“Haiti,” he replied back with a bright haitian smile.
Evens asked him before we stopped at the street corner “what do you want us to do”? (Sa’w vle nou fè?).
He approached closer to us, told us his name is Delorme, and said “I don’t know, we have to do something… we have to do something…” (M pa konnen. Fo’k nou fè yon bagay).
Our conversation with Deslormes lasted less than 2 minutes just the time for us to wait for the lights to turn green, and cross the street going on our way to have some food and celebrate our retrouvailles and reminiscences.
It’s always a pleasure to spend time with some high school classmates. We can go back and retell our stories, and restart our projection of dreams and imagination for the future.
I am sitting at home today and reviewing this conversation with Deslormes which I want to put in in perspectives of my research on a systematic approach to bring ideas for a call of leadership in Haiti to stop the decline, and start the climb.
This is what I call HAITISHIFT which is the subject of my new publication to be released in 2019.
215 years in search of concord
It has been 215 years ago on a January 1st like today, Haitians started a new nation. For the last 215 years, Haiti has been on an enigmatic pursuit, a long search, and an insatiable quest to establish a state of peace, harmony, and concord instead of tyranny, chaos, and “krazebrize.”
Why do we fall again and again into the same old patterns, and traps our ancestors did? Why do the more things change, the more they stay the same? Why can’t we understand the same causes will always produce the same effects? Why do we want to prove others wrong in continuing doing the samething and expecting new results? What can we do to reverse, and stop the current of decline, and start the climb and the ascendence to the top?
To answer those questions, I am using a systemic approach based on the scholarship and the creative mind of New York Times Bestselling author Orrin Woodward who defined the “quest for concord,” as that “idyllic state of affairs in which neither tyranny reigns nor chaos rules.”
I am also reviewing a trajectory of the haitian history under the miscroscope of Woodward’s Power Pendulum construct in an attempt to better understand the rapport de force within the haitian society and its relation with the rest of the world from its inception to now.
James G. Leybun, in his book The Haitian People, defined Haitian politics as “complicated.”
“It’s complicated,” Leyburn said “not only in the sequence of events, but in the intertwining of color, caste, sectionalism, education.”
Haitians destroyed by force the slave system and created a new state. The former slaves had least prepation for governement, leadership, and buiilding institutions to regulate economic life, social interactions.
There were no guides, no blueprints, no models upon which the free blacks, and mulattoes would relay to build the new black nation in America.
But today, after 215 years, we are assured that we can do better to solve the quest for concord by studying and identifying the Power Pendulum in action. We can seek long term systemic solutions to our woes avoiding superficial quick fixes, social band-aids.
The Pendulum in Action
Few Civilizations in history achieve concord. The crux of the matter is how much force a free society needs to apply to maintain justice, creates, and accumulates wealth for the betterment of its citizenry.
Orrin Woodward, argues that “When too much force is applied, freedom is lost as society falls into coercion by all-powerful rulers.” On the other hand, he affirms “when too much freedom is given, justice is lost as society falls into the chaos of competing factions fighting for control.”
Haiti’s ability to create the proper balance of force and freedom has been foiled. We have been oscillating with two main ideas acted upon within a minority 10% of the population. 90 per cent of the whole population being mostly absent, and unconcerned with politics, and the state organization.
Those two main constructs are the following: Nationalists and Liberals. Nationalists apply extreme force, constraints to assume power, and total control. Their motto “Power to the greatest number.” Their most prominent leaders are Dessalines, Crhistophe, Soulouque, Alexis, Salomon… Liberals control with apparent freedom. Their line of sponsorship regroups Petion, Boyer, Canal, Dartiguenave, Lescot…
In one or another case, the masses are not integrated in the system. With the Nationalists, the 90% are plundered under cealeless forced labor for the benefit of the military ruling class. with the liberals, the 90% do not participate in the welath creation, and lost their appetite for work.
Haiti will improve when it has identified a leadership scoreboard of enough leaders, a good 10% of its population to learn the appropriate lessons from history and orient the 90% in the right direction. The Power Pendulum is a great mechanism, and a useful instrument to facilitate the learning process.
It is Georges Santayana, reasoning on reason, and common sense, who stated that “Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Our most important weapon today to win the battle of concord, and a just society, is knowledge. Ignorance is our biggest enemy.