arch-peace news and articles


Heads down in the island

Many Africans know about Haiti. While being in around here I’ve been asked about my home country, Dominican Republic, and its relationship with Haiti (we share the same island).

So far my answers dealt basically on explaining history, independence and current socio-economic status; I did not mention racism as a problem –despite knowing how the uncontrolled migration (from a poorer) affects stability or security perception.

I admit that I have given bad comments about Haitians three years ago, after a difficult early-bird experiences in public transport -not all days in life are perfect and full of happy thoughts. But two weeks ago two heads were chopped: one Dominican and one Haitian lost their lives after brutal actions in consecutive days.  The facts are still not cleared by the police; and some Herrera neighbors promised to take the Haitians out of the sector, no matter how.

It is a true story that have raised concerns on both countries. New complaints about xenophobia will for sure be raised by some organizations and Haitian activists.

Fellow Dominican bloggers have posted on the issue and readers’ comments show the disparities in thoughts of people from the eastern side of the island.

Definitely, I am against these actions, and hope the laws will be enforced accordingly. Yet, further social analysis should be done. This migration will not stop in a blink, and some integration measures should be taken before things get out of control (in schools maybe), for the sake of future generations on both sides.

Now, if I get asked again, I will feel embarrassed yet admit my part of guilt -as DR citizen- on this savage reaction.

Related blogs posts and news in spanish:

-La intolerancia. María Soldevila.
-Un país que pierde la cabeza. María Soldevila.
-Lo voy a tirar así, sencillo... Bracuta.
-Decapitan en plena calle a un haitiano en barrio de Herrera. Listín Diario.


Beatriz Maturana said...

I must admit that I did not know much about the Dominican Republic and as you said, a bit more about Haiti because often hits the news for the wrong reasons.

I just found this very informative and despairing article on Haiti entitled “Haiti: the land where children eat mud”, which discusses some of the reasons for their extreme poverty. According to the author, this is the only country in the world where slaves paid for their own freedom, starting in around 1804 until 1947 when the debt to France was finally paid-off. More recently, some blood-thirsty dictators (the “Papa and Baby Doc” Duvalier) looter the country and even sold (in various ways) their own population to foreign companies, including some US plantations in the Dominican Republic.

The article describes what is perhaps one of the most atrocious living conditions in the world. Indebted to the World Bank and IMF the country has to repay $US 1.6 million a month! US President Obama has stepped in and covered Haiti’s repayments for the rest of the year—surely an act that other leaders of wealthy nations could emulate.

After a nightmarish depiction of life in Haiti, where approximately 80% of the population live below the poverty line and 98% of its land is deforested, the author describes his arrival to the Dominican Republic, where “the road is thick with trees, their branches heavy with lush green leaves…” and life appears gentler.

People’s conflicts such as wars often have their root in poverty, exclusion and social injustice. These are concepts that in real life translate into the acceptance of child prostitution and child labour, ignorance and aggression, crime and all sort of dehumanising acts.

Find article: “Haiti: the land where children eat mud”, by Alex von Tunzelmann at Times on Line,

Beatriz Maturana

Post a Comment