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‘We should be there, in Haiti’: Statement by Dr. Jean-Bertand Aristide

January 15, 2010

by Jean-Bertrand Aristide

President Jean Bertrand Aristide could not hold back the tears as he came to the end of his statement, broadcast Jan. 15 from exile in South Africa, his wife, Mildred, seated beside him: “Today this spirit of solidarity must and will empower all of us to rebuild Haiti,” he said, his love for his people and his yearning to be with them palpable. – Video frame: Democracy Now!
We thank all the true friends of Haiti, in particular the government and the people of South Africa for their solidarity with the victims of Haiti.

The concrete action undertaken by Rescue South Africa and Gift of the Givers is a clear expression of ubuntu. Ubuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.

As we all know, many people remain buried under tons of rubble and debris waiting to be rescued. When we think of their suffering, we feel deeply and profoundly that we should be there, in Haiti, with them, trying our best to prevent death.

To symbolize this readiness, we have decided to meet not just anywhere, but here, in the shadow of the Oliver Tambo International Airport. As far as we are concerned, we are ready to leave today, tomorrow, at any time to join the people of Haiti, to share in their suffering, help rebuild the country, moving from misery to poverty with dignity. Friends from around the world have confirmed their willingness to organize an airplane carrying medical supplies, emergency needs and ourselves.

While we cannot wait to be with our sisters and brothers in Haiti, we share the anguish of all Haitians in the Diaspora who are desperate to reach family and loved ones.

Soufrans youn nan nou se soufrans nou tout.

L’Union fait la force. Kouraj! Kenbe! Kenbe!

Youn soutni lòt nan lespri Mèm Amou an.

Our love to the nation now labeled the poorest of the western hemisphere. However, the spirit of ubuntu that once led Haiti to emerge as the first independent Black nation in 1804; helped Venezuela, Columbia and Ecuador attain liberty; and inspired our forefathers to shed their blood for the United States’ independence, cannot die. Today this spirit of solidarity must and will empower all of us to rebuild Haiti.

Ukwanda kwaliwa umthakathi.

Thank you.

Dr. Aristide is Haiti’s first democratically elected president and remains the beloved and preferred leader of the vast majority of Haitian people. He was kidnapped and forced into exile by the U.S. military on Feb. 29, 2004, and has been living in South Africa with his wife and two young daughters. This statement was previously posted at HaitiAnalysis.com. Watch Dr. Aristide deliver it on Democracy Now!

One thought on “‘We should be there, in Haiti’: Statement by Dr. Jean-Bertand Aristide

  1. marie morabito

    his crocodile tears will not move many- while in the comfort of south africa he has yet to contribute a dime of the stolen money he is living off- and by the way the black caucus has also yet to raise one penny for haiti- mr. aristide never stopped to convince his “people” that america was an ennemy – and today it is the USA the leader in doing good along with the rest of the world- so while he is waiting for clearance to go back, he would need the ok of Mr Obama, Mr Bush without forgetting Mr and Mrs Clinton- so good luck! he so much had haiti prepared for a disaster that the slums he encouraged by having people abandon the provinces to come and live in filth in port au prince – those slums today have all collapse- so these deaths are on his conscience- this man sat for two terms, con all in the process, stole money, threatned, kidnapped, and in the end, left a broken country which has been set back 100 years- so to that kind of so call dictatorship under the wings of democracy – haitians so no more!

    Reply

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