What does a country’s per capita income say about it? Does a person who has to live on less than one US dollar a day have less intelligence/capability/goodness than a person who earns many, many times more? I think not. But he/she is worn down by sheer hard work, poverty and, yes, starvation. A sure-fire recipe for stunting talent and ambition.
I have been told that diet is always the cause of riots. The rich man, the poor man, the beggar, the thief; which one is more civilized?
The genesis of Third and First World has never been fully explained to me. The cold war theory sounds more like an excuse than an explanation. What really baffles me is the absence of the second world – the bridge between. Maybe the Second world is buried under the rubble of the old U.S.S.R.
If we allow the almighty dollar to determine wealth, we run the risk of designating Haiti a state of poverty when it is in fact a country so rich in culture and the mystical it’s like a Carnival of Flowers. After the 1791 slave revolt which culminated in Haiti gaining independence in 1804, this newly independent nation did an amazing thing. Around 1922 it paid reparation to France, the country they defeated in war, compensation for their freedom. In my mind, this was done to gain recognition by Europe as a sovereign Nation. Only a country brimming over with a wealth of cultural heritage and pride could have done this.
Adding a little depth to this historical fact; after the crushing defeat of the French at the Battle of Vertieres, European Governments were not happy campers. A policy of isolation was implemented against this new nation, placing them in a very serious bind. A promise of an end to the isolation was made to Haiti provided they made reparation to the former enslaver.
The former enslavers’ behaviour reminds this writer of the Sheriff in Bob Marley’s song, “he tried to kill the seed before it grows.” Money can never buy love, but the Haitians were told it would buy freedom, ironically, a freedom they had already won. Haiti has never been accepted inside the brotherhood of nations. On more than one occasion I have heard the question posed: Is there a conspiracy to keep Haiti in financial disarray?
The debt of gratitude owed to Haiti by her Caribbean neighbors has never been repaid. The good book says we should love our neighbors. Maybe it’s that lack of love and respect that has thwarted the growth and development of the region as a whole. As some of us know all too well, whosoever one chooses to respect and honour impacts directly on the altitude one attains in life.
To say a chain is as strong as its weakest link is stating the obvious, Caribbean people need each other. As I write, the whole world is gradually reshaping itself into economic blocks. We have no choice but to come together or perish in an increasingly clannish world.