Archive for the ‘New Awakening’ Category
[UPDATE Below: Article by Juan Cole]
One of the best definitions I’ve heard to date was expressed by Mildred Aristide in her interview with Amy Goodman March 22, 2011. You can hear the complete interview on Democracy Now website. Of interest was how Haiti was comparing to what was sweeping across North Africa and how that related to the Haitian people’s struggle for legitimacy as a free people. Here is what she said:
AMY GOODMAN: So, two U.S-backed coups, 1991 and 2004, and now the U.S.—well, President Obama calling President Zuma to say, “Do not fly the Aristides home to Haiti.”
MILDRED ARISTIDE: I think—again, I think it’s—it’s an inability, maybe, by the American political process to understand the kind of relation that Titide has with the Haitian people, and it doesn’t fit within the kind of policy frameworks that perhaps they have of—and so, it’s an unwillingness to see beyond that. I’ll attribute it to that. And, you know, in the meanwhile—
AMY GOODMAN: Explain a little more what you mean.
MILDRED ARISTIDE: Well, I think that—I think that the United States and a lot of those western European countries see politics a certain way, and I think that they have no right to impose that on other peoples. And, you know, if I’m rattling, I’ll rattle, I’ll continue.
But I attended, just the week before we left South Africa, at UNISA—there is a very, very important African lawyer, economist and really a profound thinker from Uganda, Professor Dani Nabudere. And he—and I had met him when I first came to South Africa, and he spoke at UNISA just the week before we left. And he was talking about what was happening now in Egypt and what happened in Tunisia and talking about the people’s revolutions, he said. And one of things that he said, and it really struck me, and I wrote a note in my notebook, he said that, for him, in his perception, is that the people—and I think it was in response to a question. They were saying, you know, “What’s the next step in terms of organizing this resistance that has been happening in Tunisia and in Egypt, for example?” And he said, for him, what was evolving—and he described it as an evolution in what the people are demanding and are requesting of the state—it’s beyond “We want a democratically elected government.” It’s beyond “We want a transparent government. We want elections every four years.” It’s a demand for a new kind of relationship with the state, a human relationship with the state. And it’s a humification—and I think he even used that—or rendering the state as a human being and saying, “We want a state that understands us, that feels us, that has a heart.” And he used terms that one would use between two people. And he said, “That’s what the people are demanding.” So it goes beyond electoral democracy. It goes beyond notions of transparency, which are on paper. And that’s what the people are demanding. [Emphasis added]
And I thought—I said, “You know, that’s what Haitians have been asserting for a long time. It’s a changed notion of state.” And so, I think that that’s one of the elements that led to, you know, the repeated elections of Lavalas. So, it’s not—and that falls outside the rubric or the framework of what the U.S. sees as what is electoral democracy and what qualifies as electoral democracy. So I found a lot of resonance in his explanation of this new kind of human relationship with the state.
And I would—and taking that further, and what Haitians have been saying, especially since the earthquake, in terms of what—you know, this tragic situation that they face and what they were demanding—and I think acknowledging that, you know, the rebuilding—or the building, I should say—could not happen, will not happen, in, as we’ve seen, six months or a year, but it’s a sense of seeing across from you a human face that is understanding, that has a heart, that is empathetic in the most profound sense with what is being experienced, notwithstanding an inability to provide immediate services. And I think that that’s—we’re approaching our destination. And I think that that’s something that Titide has always offered in all of the roles that he’s played—as a priest, as an educator, when he was president, and now as he will return to education and continue to be a person that always [inaudible].
A “new notion of state.” The old notion has nearly destroyed this earth and seriously put in jeopardy the human race. The young people are stepping up and asserting their right to claim life and to inherit this earth. Will the Universe respect their claim?
[UPDATE :: Wednesday, March 23, 2011]
Informed Comment by Juan Cole also speaks about this “Awakening.” Its the Popular Sovereignty, Stupid. He looks at this phenomena from a more American perspective – probably what this country is trying to impose on these people while their movement is still young and immature. Problem is, the older generation and those that support them are not going away peacefully. Just look at Egypt. Voting, modified Constitution, same kind of American-style Democracy retaining the Old Guard and their corrupt policies. A worthy read.