Ko gledamo posnetke opustošenja, ki ga je rušilni potres pustil na Haitiju, se verjetno vsi sprašujemo, kaj se je v preteklosti dogajalo s to majhno državo, da v njej danes vladata takšna revščina in kaos? Vsaj delni odgovor na to vprašanje lahko najdemo v knjigi Petra Hallwarda Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment, oziroma v lažje dostopni recenziji in povzetku knjige, ki jo je lani napisal Slavoj Žižek za New Statesman: Democracy versus the people. Tule navajam le kratek odlomek:
Haiti was an exception from the very beginning, from its revolutionary fight against slavery, which ended in independence in January 1804. “Only in Haiti,” Hallward notes, “was the declaration of human freedom universally consistent. Only in Haiti was this declaration sustained at all costs, in direct opposition to the social order and economic logic of the day.” For this reason, “there is no single event in the whole of modern history whose implications were more threatening to the dominant global order of things”. The Haitian Revolution truly deserves the title of repetition of the French Revolution: led by Toussaint ‘Ouverture, it was clearly “ahead of his time”, “premature” and doomed to fail, yet, precisely as such, it was perhaps even more of an event than the French Revolution itself. It was the first time that an enslaved population rebelled not as a way of returning to their pre-colonial “roots”, but on behalf of universal principles of freedom and equality.
Haiti thus had to be made an exemplary case of economic failure, to dissuade other countries from taking the same path. The price – the literal price – for the “premature” independence was truly extortionate: after two decades of embargo, France, the old colonial master, established trade and diplomatic relations only in 1825, after forcing the Haitian government to pay 150 million francs as “compensation” for the loss of its slaves. This sum, roughly equal to the French annual budget at the time, was later reduced to 90 million, but it continued to be a heavy drain on Haitian resources: at the end of the 19th century, Haiti’s payments to France consumed roughly 80 per cent of the national budget, and the last instalment was only paid in 1947. When, in 2003, in anticipation of the bicentenary of national independence, the Lavalas president Jean-Baptiste Aristide demanded that France return this extorted money … /…/
The story goes on today. The Lavalas movement has won every free presidential election since 1990, but it has twice been the victim of US-sponsored military coups.
Še povezava na nedavni Hallwardov sestavek o potresu in Haitiju v Guardianu: Our Role in Haiti’s Plight.