Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dear Prez - Wyclef Jean for President

So after the bulldozers,
what's the plan?

And whatever the plan,
consult with the women.
Always consult with the women...

Dear Prez,

Now that you threw your red handkershief into the mix, I thought it be proper that I offer some advice, along with my sincere respect which went full throttle when you and fellow Fugee members, Praz and Lauryn Hill presented an oversized flag of Haiti at the Grammy Awards for all the world to see. Haitians needed that, especially after we were placed on the high risk list of bad blood. You reminded us to be proud of our collective name. It's not usual for little Black kids to wanna be Black. Much less, Haitian. But that night, something broke. The stigma, no doubt. And that's when we told Sharpton to release Brooklyn Bridge. We made our point, and then all the cars proceeded to move again. So my respect goes back some years, even before LL Cool J was calling you a fake Jamaican (He wouldn't have said that if your Reggae was more Dancehall).

You're still gonna have to raise money to push your candidacy and find your picket sign. Face to Face is a decent start. But focusing on the youth is where the prize is. You already got pull. You just better know how to use your pull. We see what appeasing did to Obama's street credibility. Haitians don't wait for cable news to tell us how we feel. We just notice one mis-step and reach for the machete! So you know the food already. You know how we do. Best to keep reading your wisdom books and praying your shangos, if we're really gonna do this. I read what you said in Time Mag. Very clever to remind the haters that before governer there was the terminator. That's gonna come in handy at press conferences. But your constuency won't be limited to a state or districts. It'll be more about an effort to push back against decades of corrupt leadership and blatant civil rights violations that have become a way of life on the island. Your job won't be to perfect your role in the usual elaborate formalities, but to keep in mind that 60% of your nation is under 21. This means giving them something to do that's productive and rewarding. Otherwise, the crime lords will become their new daddies. Women will expect you to not think with your dik, so you should already be thinking which female in Port-au-Prince right now is commanding respect and make her your vp. The grown-ups will be suspicious and may even spy on you. Maybe hire a teen to get to your funding or a chickenhead to start a scandal. That's what you call generational slave mentality. Being so used to depending on someone else to govern you that you begin to justify your enslavement. Malcolm would translate that to, What's wrong, massa'? Is we sick?

Keep in mind, too, that your uncle who's also the Haitian ambassador to the U.S., Raymond Joseph is still considering entering the race. If he throws in a blue handkerchief, he may actually get the votes of the more established Haitians who tend to prefer the suit and tie approach. Corporate mindsets who rely on francophone traditions and don't care much for the RaRa (ask somebody). And then there're those whose fathers only taught them to be good, safe negroes. They don't want change. Because change, to them, means no more exploitation of children and women. Not that your unc would turn on his own people. But he's already been groomed to fit in Washington, though I gotta say I gave him mad props for reminding a racist senator that without Haiti there wouldn't be a South. Still, his votes may come from those who at least perceive that he won't let the youth set the tone. Cos if that happens, it would mean having a President with vision, and most grown-ups lack vision.

The easy part will most likely be winning the election, unless it turns out you work for Al-Queda! The day after when you're in your hotel--I imagine the Palais won't be ready 'til someone finally gives up where all the aid money went--as you let your wide eyes peruse the scene of an aftershock, you might want to make a list of To Dos, beginning with bulldozers, as in Where' they at? One no-frill Caterpillar costs $40,000. You put a Haitian kid on that thing and he'll make you a road and carry heavy sht to the dumping grounds, and even pick up your groceries for you! That's 40K out of the millions of dollars the current Haitian administration is keeping in pre-distribution. You know the food already. You know how we do.

The shaky part is the fact that the United States, along with other imperialist countries have historically kept Haiti in dependence mode so as to prevent another slave revolt. So Obama's administration, in particular, is caught between seeing the rebirth of the first free Black nation on this side of the globe and bowing to racist conservatives who just want Haitians to keep making baseballs while paying their elected officials to continue playing ghost.

There's also talk about you not being fit to run a country. And it's coming from people who love you, not just the haters. Because they see you more as a youth ambassador who can flex his muscle wider than a President; cos Prez means having to be a politician and say sht you don't mean, do sht you despise, all for the sake of national and international stance. So one of your top fives will be to convince them that you won't turn out to be a joke. You know the food already. You know how we do.

So after the bulldozers, what's the plan? And whatever the plan, consult with the women. Always consult with the women.

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- The Miami Herald sat down with Wyclef Jean late Thursday, a few hours after he registered to run for president of Haiti in the Nov. 28 elections. Excerpts of the interview:

What inspired you to run for president?
What inspires me is the youth of Haiti. Over 50 percent of the population is a youth population. I always say I'm being drafted by the youth for this job. I feel that I've done everything I could for this country I've known, from carrying the flag to all the way to the World Cup to speaking on behalf of my country in Congress and getting them to pass certain bills, one of them being a Hope bill for the textile companies. I feel that the only thing I could do right now is to be of service for my country for the next five years.

How would you describe Fas a Fas (Face to Face), which appears to be an emerging youth movement in Haiti and why is it important right now?
Fas a Fas is Face to Face, meaning versus running the other way. Let's deal with the problem, and don't hide what it is. Cause if we know what it is and we have a straight dialogue we can help fix it, and that's what the youth want. They don't want lies no more. Just why are we not educated? No, really, Wyclef, for over 200 years, what happened? Why is it no one wanted really to give us education? Why did we go from an export in sugar to more than half of the world to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? Why? So Fas a Fas is saying, well, give us the aid that doesn't cripple us but aid that helps aid ourselves, and that's job creation and education.

What separates you from political predecessors and the other candidates who are running or potentially running?
What separates me is that I'm a neutral candidate, meaning I can sit and talk to any political party. I could even sit and talk to all the candidates. I don't have a problem with anyone. I believe that every political party has a view, and I think that view is worth listening and getting a piece from every view, and helping move the country forward.

The political arena in Haiti can be a little tough and that requires politicians to have a thick skin. What have you done to prepare yourself for politics here?
My DNA is of Haitian descent. I was born on October 17, the day of [Haiti's founding father] Jean-Jacques Dessalines' death. I'm not looking at this like I have to prepare for war but, then again, I'm not going into this being naive. I have watched the political instability. But I feel that there's a lot of eyes on Haiti right now and the way they have run the system they are going to be able to do that again, you know. It's like murder mystery: Someone gets assassinated, no one talks about it, cause there's really intelligence. ... But to know you're going into a tough situation means that you can be part of changing the situation and I am not going into this naive at all.

What would you say to critics who argue that your foundation, Yéle Haiti, has had its financial problems, and wonder what makes you qualified to run the country if you can't keep your expenses in order?
I would think the Haitian government has had their financial problems worse than Yéle Haiti. And I'm talking about over 200 years. Billions of dollars as pledged by donors, and that never, until today, they don't have answers for where the donors have donor fatigues. I would say, with Yéle Haiti, yes, we've had problems but my job is if there's a problem, fix it. As commander in chief, you're going to make mistakes, right? But you have to be able to fix a problem. So if there's an accountant problem, who's the accountant? Get rid of him, bring in that guy. Let's deal with him. Who's the CEO? Okay, bring in another CEO. That's what you call governing. So the idea of mistakes being made will be made. I will tell you, you can't question my leadership, cause when Yéle Haiti was attacked I took all the weight by myself, meaning I stood up and didn't blame it on no president or accountant. I said, well, I will deal with it. That's what a leader does. You deal with the problem straight. You don't pass it off to anybody. I don't have nothing to hide, you understand what I'm saying to you? It's like somebody says, well, Clef has a lien on the IRS, for $2.1 million, that should show you a loan on how much Clef really makes a year. That alone, tells you, you know, and then tell my accountant fix it, get it straight. At the end of the day, I'm a human being. In business everybody makes mistakes, including Donald Trump. You know, but at the end of the day what can't be questioned is my honesty. As a man, I'm honest. Like I said on CNN, I'm going to make millions a day. If I say let me do what I do I'm going to make my millions every week. That's what I do. But at the end of the day I make millions and wear a flag on my head. And I'm saying representing Haiti. What does that mean right now? That means nothing after the earthquake. January 12th, 250 people in the rubble, 1.5 million people living in tents. The only thing I could do right now is to run to be the president of my country right now.

What would be your priorities if elected?
Really, when you look at the situation people are talking about decentralizing Port-au-Prince because they want to make it sound pretty. So the first thing they say to you is we're going to get 1.5 million people out of a tent. And you look and say, that's nice. How you going to do it? The idea is this: Education, job education, security, agriculture, and health. When I tell you job creation, it means if you want to get the people out of the tents you have to start identifying agrarian cities, provide the people with a piece of land and a home and this is how you decentralize.

So versus talking about it right now, you should be building agrarian homes with 20,000 homes here, 30,000 here, 60,000.. . . When they get there you got to make sure they have a piece land so that they are growing something on that land. And you have to make sure there's a school, and that they are going to school even if you can't provide them with a hospital right now there's a clinic. Now think about it? What would it cost to do a agrarian village. Do the math: 1.5 million people. If you provide villages, agrarian cities, 10,000 per people, there's enough money in the government to do that. Why are we not doing that? We are we going toward red tape? That's cause everyone is doing construction, bids and ideas. Why are we doing bureaucracy when people out there are burning up in them tents? That's what I'm saying.

What do you love most about Haiti, if you had to pick a single thing?
My love for Haiti is the people. You know, it's a great thing when you look at someone and you look into their eyes and you basically see you.Sean Penn just said on CNN that he hasn't seen you in Haiti over the past six months.

What do you make of his claim?
I feel that it is irresponsible for him to attack my character like that, without proof of talking to me. Because everything he is saying is pure speculation. Because he is in one little area and for the people he's responsible for he can't let that be judged for 9 million people inside of a country. That's very unprofessional. I look forward to having a fas a fas with him.



Note: Turns out Wyclef didn't consider checking electoral rules. So maybe he's not as bright as we thought. But he still got pull and still can make a difference, depending on who becomes the next Haitian President. He says he'll appeal. But I say, if you gotta force the issue it's probably not part of the divine plan!


KidHaiti said...

There was a time I thought very highly of clef, but as he's gotten more famous and quite possibly corrupted by American (capitalist/imperialist) ideals, I no longer believe his heart is in the right place. I'm not even going to recount his mismanagement of Yéle funds and his numerous capitalist ventures that have been self-serving. If elected president, all this youth talk will prove to be more rhetorical band-aide for a psychologically broken, hungry and at times ignorant masses who'll grasp at anything to keep from drowning into a sea of despair. Haitians don't need another spineless puppet/poverty pimp as their president.

If he is cleared to run and is elected, I sincerely hope he proves me wrong. Until then, I’m going to remain skeptical of his true motives for running. I’ll know more as soon as we know who is publicly backing his candidacy.


K. Koromantee said...

I can relate. guess we'll just have to wait and see. you're not the only one who's cautious. some worry that he may even be killed. it's gonna be interesting to see how he handles the bourgeoisie. stay tuned...

Ocean Morisset said...

I still think it's a mistake for him to run and probably self-serving. With not an ounce of political clout, or experience for that matter the undertaking of Haiti's top office is a huge one, one that cannot be mastered by even one EXEPRIENCED candidate.

that interview was whack because he did not concretely come up with answers or plans for Haiti. most of what he said was rhetorical. That right there is cause for caution.

I say Wyclef is of much better use making music and being a voice for the people, but not in the position of president of Haiti. but then again, with Sweet Mickey in the running, it's a political free-for-all!!

K. Koromantee said...

I hear you, o. but i don't trust the suit n ties. and i imagine he's gonna have to start learning how to talk that bullsht talk just to keep the frenchies cool. i just want a break in the formula we've been using. that's if he even wins. i like what you said about sweet mickey running also, by the way. it shows both the democracy and the silliness of it all. but i'm still hopeful!