Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Lavalas is a Haitian term meaning a washing away of things that are either of no use to the person or blocking one's blessings. It's a term that was also used during the period when then priest and later President of Haiti, Bertrand Aristide came to power as The People's Leader cos of the gangsta way he lead his nation. Gangsta in the sense that he pushed Kreyol as our official language (since 99% of us speak it, anyway) and stepped to the UN podium calling out France on reparations that were never given to Haiti. Not that the French give a damn--and this should explain why they look embarrassed whenever they show up to help flood and earthquake survivors--but it was the principle of it. Saying what needed to be said.

By the time the world witnessed a three-alarm earthquake crack Port-au-Prince wide open, Aristide was history, exiled by his haters. It seemed like a different type of lavalas had hit the capital. This time with rocks, trees, cement blocks and flying cars. It's an unfortunate way to do away with the old in order to allow the new in, though the 'new' was uncertain, what with poverty and corruption still standing strong among the rubble. And while folks on the island and those abroad are asking Haitian officials where all the cash went, another type of cleansing is on its way, threatening to shake the country some more. I'm talking about November 28th when Haitians once again head to the ballots. If you're a cynic like me, you're thinking it's gonna be the same o; another puppet leader to ensure Haiti's dependence on foreign aid.

Enter Hip Hop icon and Haitian activist, Wyclef Jean who made Haitians all over the globe proud when he and fellow fugees held up an oversized flag of Haiti at the Grammy Awards. For those of us who remember coming up in da hood and being picked on for being Haitian, it was a well-deserved heads up for all of us, together; and we've been having big love for Wyclef ever since! So it's no surprise to see the 62 candidates running for Haiti's 2010 Presidential elections start running scared at the mere idea of a no tin-tin-nad (that's bullsht in kreyol) kat who not only has the respect of the people but also the ears of world leaders. Even the most imperialistic officials know it's better bizness to develop fair trade agreements with Haiti. They see that exploiting poverty is, in the end, bad bizness because it only breeds criminal activity and limited movement, not to mention a bad rep in relation to international economic standards that make way for boycotts and sanctions. At this point, it's just not cool anymore to sht on people who can't fend for themselves. Customers won't buy if they know the product comes from bloody hands and soiled water for drinking and bathing.

Of course, just as there's a washing away, there're also forces that want to keep things the way they are. Sounds insane but wicked, ego-driven people are often crazy. Or they become crazy after being seduced by stupid money and the illusion of power. Anyone who knows their Haitian history will tell you that after L'Ouverture and Dessaline, we stopped seeing brilliant leaders come to pass; strong and proud men who loved their nation and people, and what the blue n white without the white means symbolically. Duvalier senior began as a good guy when he took politcal power away from the mulattos to end light-skinned domination over darker-skinned people. A standard that both the French and the Spaniards left behind before abandoning Hispaniola altogether. It was a well-needed readjustment of societal mindset until Papa Doc shocked the country by announcing he was Prez for life, dismantling his police department and replacing them with thugs who brutalized anyone who didn't honor their new leader. Like I said, it takes a certain amount of insanity to turn on your own. And this turning on your own has been the tradition of Haitian leaders decades after, supported by those who benefit from self-destruction. It's almost as if that's all they know. Corruption. Greed. Corruption. Greed. Ego/Power. Corruption. Greed. And an acute hatred for those who may look like you but can't afford even a bucket of clean air! In French, it's called 'haire-tien'-- Hating yourself. Of all the post-slavery psychosis, hating one's self is the saddest.

The Arawak called Haiti A-yi-ti to give name to high mountains. But high mountains can't force a man to do the right thing. All a mountain can do is rumble and hope he falls. Because now we got yet another fool. Another president who lead on paper and is now trying to postpone the upcoming presidential elections. Haitian law won't allow Preval to run again. Not that he was gonna win. The earthquake was one last reason to replace him. Everyone from county badges to fanfan next door is on the ballot. Enter again, Wyclef and his announcement that he's considering running as well. It tipped the electoral boat so much that the rest of the runners got shipwrecked! Not necessarily cos Wyclef's such a superstar already, but cos he's known for doing away with the politics and ego-trippin and simply throw bags of rice n beans where it counts. He also brings with him famous international friends who want to see Haiti rise again and be the pearl she used to be. But this takes a more universal lavalas; high mountain lavalas. Voodoo forces will have to either place the victory on Wyclef's divine path or put a woman in charge. At least sistas would be more protected. Ti-tid already had his time. Plus, he didn't part the seas like he was supposed to. But now, the same rumors that Wyclef may run are the same people saying if he does they'll kill him. And 'they' depends on where you stand politically. Either you're eating or starving. If Wyclef decides to answer the call--and the people are calling--then that would place him on mantle level for sure.

New runners got until August 7th to register. And because half the population of Haiti is under 21 young people, especially, are paying close attention to the election. Meanwhile, water keeps pouring over your head and mine; and together we let go and let God....


primamyrna said...

Something got to give, if Mr. Wyclef wants to step to the plate, porque no?
His Lavalas is soul soothing, Music.
If he can stay away from the snake oil dealers, the treacherous plunders. If his heart and mind are in the right place, and he surround himself with true patriots Haiti will rise.. Besides he doesn't come across like a self-hater, he looks comfortable in his hue.

primamyrna said...

..Saw Wyclef Jean on Larry King recently, it seem he wants an ambassadorial assignment, travel the world lobbying for Haiti,sounds good,
but who will hold the fort?