Watching this film I began to see some similarities between Haiti and Palestine. The fact that a democratically elected government has been subverted by the US and it’s allies because the winners were not acceptable as leaders. In Palestine it was Hamas and in Haiti it was Aristide – both winning with huge majorities – Aristide at 92%. The film covers the period 1990 to 2006 – the election of Aristide the US back coup of 1991, Aristides re-election up to the forced removal of Aristide following an intense campaign by the US, Canada and France of disinformation and destabilisation by stopping loans to Haiti and using thugs to terrorize the people. Once Aristide was literally forced out by the US marines, UN troops [MINUSTAH] were sent in following a UN resolution that the film implies was decided well before Aristide’s forced removal. The film reveals how the UN (with the backing of the US, Canada and France) and the Haitian police systematically rounded up members of the Lavalas (Arstide supporters) murdered and imprisoned them. Thousands of ordinary poor citizens were killed by the UN forces (led by Brazil and including Jordan) in a period of 22 months alone. The film directed by Kevin Pina is a powerful documentation of UN abuses in Haiti shown through the eyes of the Haitian people who despite the brutality and atmosphere of fear continued to protest against the unelected government and demand the return of the Aristide.
I caught the tail end of the Zimbabwean debate and again very rushed notes. The debate was very polarised between those that supported Muagabe and felt he was essentially a victim of Western lies and disinformation because of his land policy and Western neo-liberalism policies. On the other side were those who felt very strongly that we as Africans must condemn not just Mugabe but other African leaders who are denying their citizens democracy and justice. We Africans need to care more about democracy and freedom.
Instead of speaking about socialism or any other ideology there needs to be more focus on democracy, freedom, accountability. We need to be more critical of our own governments and civil society / social movements must become more vocal at challenging the present status quo. This is especially in the case of the African Union which is at the early stages of discussing how to implement a United States of Africa. Whose US of Africa is it to be – civil society needs to get in there now and campaign for transformational change which is citizen centered and underpinned by human rights. Otherwise the AU and the US of Africa will be a mirror image of the US neo-liberal and neo-conservatism. One person stood up at the end of the session and said that we need to wake up. That if she had believed the US on Cuba or Venezuela etc she would have been wrong and that we need to stop believing US propaganda about Zimbabwe. The response to that is was we don’t need to listen to the US just listen to the voices of Zimbabweans. What do they have to say!