Haitian Studies Association

Announcements > President’s Message (January 12, 2020)

President’s Message (January 12, 2020)

12 janvye 2020

One respè tout moun!

Se avèk anpil emosyon map ekri premye lèt kòm Prezidan Asosyasyon Etid Ayisyen (H.S.A. nan sig angle a). Mwen ann Ayiti pou jou ki make 10zan depi tranblemanntè a te frape peyi a. Menm jan ak zanmi, vwazin/vwazen, etidyan, ak kòlèg, kè m sote lè m tande sou sak pase kounye a nan Pòtoriko.

Tou dabò, sa k make m sou 12 janvye pi plis se te kokennchenn solidarite anndan Ayiti. Solidarite ki te demontre alepòk sa a se te san limit, epi san parèy. Menmsi nan medya etranje yo pa wè sa a, anpil ote ayisyen temwaye menm bèl istwa: se te pèp la li menm ki te ‘ewo’ nan epòk sa a. Vwazin/vwazen tap pataje manje yo te genyen, rad, dlo, chodyè, kiyè, zouti travay. Moun ki te gen kay ki pat kraze tap akeyi fanmi, vwazin/vwazen, manm òganizasyon, etidyan… Brigad tap retire moun anba dekonm. Moun tap fè yon envante, kiyès ki te gen ki kantite lwil, diri, ki kapasite bokit oubyen chodyè pou pran dlo… eskwad tap pote premye swen, epi tap rekonekte fil kouran. Fanmi nan pwovens te fè yon pakèt sakrifis pou akeyi plis pase 630,000 moun ki te sòti Repiblik Pòtoprens la.

M pa sètèn ap gen yon gwo bwi anvè 10zyèm anivèsè sa a lòt bò… lòt kriz entènasyonal (parezanp an Iran, rechofman klimatik, vyolans kont imigran yo nan fwontyè Etazini, ak kriz ekonomik kap toujou fè anpil moun grangou) ap domine nouvèl. Gade nan yon lòt jan, kriz moun ap konfwonte ann Ayiti se yon siyal kisa ki ka fèt toupatou si sistèm kapitalis neyoliberal mondyal la ap kontinye fè ravaj.

Mwen setèn paske se sa m viv, pèp ayisyen an ta ka ofri yon seri bon leson pou lòt pèp.

Jounen jodi a, Ayiti nan yon sitiyasyon tèlman difisil. Pri premye nesesite pa janm sispann ogmante. Leta a pa bay dlo depi peyi lòk la te koumanse. Ti boutik yo pa preske gen anyen pou yo vann… tèlman moun yo pe sòti anba lavil pou achte machandiz. Pirèd, pa gen lajan kap bwase nan peyi a. Depi kèk semenn, te gen yon ti souf nan peyi lòk la… men klòch la deja ap sonnen. Deja moun yo ka wè kantite petwòl la bese. Sa fè 2 jou nan fè nwa. Demen lendi 13 janvye, manda Palman an pral fini, ki fè Prezidan an – ki gen yon gwo opozisyon – ap gouvène pa dekrè. Te gen 3 milyon moun ki te pran lari pandan gwo peyi lòk la pou mande Prezidan demisyone… men li toujou la. Premye janvye Prezidan an pat ka komemore viktwa Revolisyon Ayisyen nan Site Endepandans lan jan tradisyon an mande poutèt yon antèman… pèp la tap tann li.

Tout sa pou di, lavni a rete ensèten.

Sa k sètèn se moman kriz sa yo ki oblije nou menm chèchè yo non sèlman ekri men aji, angaje nan solisyon. Fòk nou pote kole pou pote yon chanjman.

Ane sa a, 32yèm kòlòk H.S.A. a, pral okazyon pou nou fè sa a. Pou premye fwa nan istwa enstitisyon an, nap reyini nan Wachintonn (8-10 oktòb), kote nou kap fè echanj avèk enstitisyon ki ap travay sou Ayiti. Nan jou kap vini yo, nap lanse apèl pou kontribisyon yo.

Epitou, ane sa a nap bay espas pou nou menm manm pou òganize yon seri Atelye Travay sou tèm nap chwazi. Atelye Travay yo se yon modèl pou moun kapab gen yon kolaborasyon pi serye, pou gen yon konvèsasyon pi dinamik kote nou kap revize tèks ki deja ekri, oubyen planifye yon lòt konferans, oubyen piblikasyon ansanm. Se pou nou espas la ye!

Nou menm nan konsèy la te koute manm H.S.A. Non sèlman gen kriz ann Ayiti men sistèm ansèyman siperyè answa li menm an kriz tou. Nan lojik neyoliberal la, gen mwens travay pwofesè plentan epi gen mwens opsyon pou vwayaje. Tout sa a egzije H.S.A. vin pi dinamik epi reflechi sou ki wòl nap kontinye jwe, e sitou ranfòse sipò pou kòlèg Ayiti yo. Fòk H.S.A. gen wòl nan karye nou tout manm nou yo. Fòk H.S.A. reponn ak bezwen manm nou yo, nan yon kontèks kap chanje. 32 lane pa de jou… nou gen yon gwo basin konesans – sou literati, listwa, lang, edikasyon, relijyon, travay atistik, sosyete, politik, ak kilti. Mwen menm, mwen te grandi anndan H.S.A. ki te bay bonjan ankadreman pou jèn chèchè yo… antanke yon manm nouvo jenerasyon an, map resevwa flanm H.S.A. nan men fondatè nou yo avèk anpil imilite. Se pou nou tout kenbe flanm nan pou l pote yon limyè pou moun kap vini yo, pou Ayisyèn/Ayisyen kap viv nan yon kriz san parèy, epi pou nou menm menm.

Nou la pi rèd!

Mark Schuller, Prezidan

Kriswa, Pòtoprens

 


January 12, 2020

One respè tout moun! Honor and respect everyone!

I write this first letter as President of the Haitian Studies Association with great emotion. I am in Haiti for the day marking 10 years since the earthquake struck the country. And like my friends, neighbors, students, and colleagues, my heart trembles as I hear about Puerto Rico.

To begin, what struck me most about January 12 was the enormous outpouring of solidarity from within Haiti itself. The solidarity on display at the time was limitless, without equal. Even if foreign media didn’t see it, many Haitian authors witnessed the same story: the Haitian people were the real heroes of the time. Neighbors shared their daily bread, clothing, water, cooking utensils, household tools. People whose houses weren’t destroyed welcomed family members, neighbors, organization members, students… community brigades pulled people out from under the ruble. People created an inventory of who had what quantity of oil or rice, what capacity vessels had to collect water… teams offered first aid, reconnected electricity wires. Families in the provinces made many sacrifices to welcome more than 630,000 people who fled the Republic of Port-au-Prince.

I’m not certain that there will be much media coverage of the 10th anniversary overseas… other international crises (for example in Iran, climate change, violence against immigrants at the U.S. border, and the ongoing economic crisis impacting millions) dominate the news. Seen from a certain viewpoint, the crisis people are confronting in Haiti is a warning about what can happen everywhere if global neoliberal capitalism continues unabated.

I am certain – because I have lived and experienced – that the Haitian people can offer a host of lessons for other peoples.

Right now, Haiti is living an extremely difficult situation. Prices for primary goods never stop climbing. The government has not given water since the peyi lòk (lockdown) began. The mom-and-pop stores have almost nothing to sell… people are afraid to go out and restock their merchandise. Worse, very little money has been circulating. For the last several weeks there appears to have been a little breather from the lockdown… but signs are apparent that this may end soon. People are already commenting on the limited quantities of gas. One result is two days of blackouts. Tomorrow, January 13, the Parliament’s term expires, which means that the president – who has a large opposition – will govern by decree. 3 million people took to the streets during the lockdown to demand the president leave office… but he’s still here. January 1, the president couldn’t commemorate the victory of the Haitian Revolution in “Independence City” (Gonaives) as tradition dictates because of a funeral… the people were waiting for him.

All this is to say, the future remains uncertain.

What’s certain is that moments of ‘crisis’ like this oblige us scholars to do more than write but act, engage in creating solutions. We need to do our part to bring about change.

This year, the 32nd annual conference, will be our occasion to do just this. For the first time in H.S.A.’s history, we’re meeting in Washington (October 8-10), where we can have productive exchanges with institutions working on Haiti. In the next couple days, we will launch our call for presentations.

In addition, this year we will give space for members to organize a range of Working Sessions on themes you will choose. These Working Sessions are a model for people to have more intensive and intentional collaborations, more dynamic conversations where we can workshop pre-circulated texts, or plan another conference, or a collective publication, together. The space is for all of us!

We in the board have heard H.S.A. members. Not only is Haiti experiencing crisis, but higher education itself is also in crisis. Following a neoliberal logic, there are fewer full-time tenure track jobs being offered and less travel options. All this requires that H.S.A. becomes more dynamic, and forces us to reflect on our role we continue to play, and how we can reinforce support for our Haitian colleagues in Haiti. H.S.A. needs be relevant to all members and our careers. H.S.A. needs to fulfill the needs of our members in these changing contexts. 32 years is not insignificant… we have a large reservoir of knowledge – on literature, history, language, education, religion, arts, society, politics, and culture. I am a product of H.S.A.’s mentoring and commitment to emerging scholars… as a member of the upcoming generation, I receive H.S.A.’s torch from the hands of dedicated founders with much humility. We all need to bear the torch for future generations, for Haitians living in an unimaginable crisis, and for ourselves.

Nou la pi rèd!

Christ-Roi, Port-au-Prince