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Dr. Maulana Karenga —

Each August, this month of memory and marking of heightened struggle, we inevitably and unavoidably turn towards Haiti in rightful remembrance and homage. We rightfully remember, raise up and reflect on its glorious history of waging and winning a revolutionary and world transforming liberation struggle. And we also raise up and recommit ourselves to its centuries old, current and ongoing struggle to regain its brutally interrupted freedom, and to develop and flourish in its own time and space.

Indeed, we who support the right of the Haitian people to be free, self-determining and sovereign know that African freedom is indivisible, and that Haiti’s historic revolution and liberation struggle was a decisive blow for us and victory for African and human freedom in the world. And we also know that the eventual victory of the Haitian people against occupation and oppression will be a shared victory, a shared gain and good for Haiti, Africa, us and Africans everywhere and for humanity as a whole. It is thus a humorless irony of history that two African countries, Kenya and Rwanda, have volunteered to serve as hirelings and handmaidens, pretentious proxies for imperialist interests and forces in Haiti in their continuing occupation, exploitation, plunder and oppression of Haiti and the Haitian people.

Not satisfied with hiding behind the UN mask of “humanitarian intervention,” the U.S., France, Canada and other members of the so-called CORE Group that ruthlessly rule Haiti under various guises, have now proposed that African countries lend a Black face, offer Black bodies and boots on the ground for their imperial project in and against Haiti. And Kenya and Rwanda have said they will play this self-degrading and oppressive role. It is clearly the sinister role of the mercenary, hired proxies paid with a pittance of salaries for soldiers turned hirelings, and favors and funds for the leaders and elites of the two countries still shamelessly tied to the umbilical cord of colonialism, imperialism and White supremacy.

Let us be clear about what’s taking place here in spite of attempts to disguise, deceive, and disarm us in our righteous resistance to this proposed proxy imperialist project. As Nana Haji Malcolm taught us in his discussion of so-called humanitarian missions in the Congo during its independence struggle, it is a way of imperialism to use words like this to mask mass murder and oppression. Thus, Haiti does not need to be saved from itself, but to be liberated from the U.S. and its co-conspirators and crime partners, the CORE Group, the predatory corporations and the oligarchs and local elites bound to imperialist interests.

Whatever nick name we give it, occupation is an evil, brutal, murderous and immoral policy and practice, and thus, it can never be humane or humanitarian. It is a merciless, massive and sustained policy and practice of violence against vulnerable people. Not only do we have the impressive and instructive evidence of history, but also current and compelling evidence of occupations in place with their savage and sustained suppression of the people, their racial and religious self-righteousness, and their apartheid walls and ways of oppressing and dehumanizing the people. Indeed, whatever “aid” that comes, comes with bullets, bombs, rifle butts and routine raids to terrorize and repress, and with cold-blooded killers called armies, assassins, police, special forces, interrogators and torturers, resource robbers and predators of every kind.

Let us not forget this country’s history of occupation of Haiti, first in 1915-1934 and then in 2004 until now. In 1915, the U.S. invaded Haiti, seized its gold reserves, its finances, banking, industry and farming, imposing a semi-enslaved labor system. They rewrote the constitution and made land theft available to them, censored the press, introduced racist and Jim Crow policies and practices and ruthlessly hunted down, imprisoned, tortured, killed and suppressed Haitian leaders and the Haitian people who resisted. And in 2004, the U.S. began its second occupation of Haiti and overthrew and kidnapped the first and only democratically elected leader of Haiti, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, taking him to the Central African Republic for some unknown fate. He was rescued and aided in receiving political asylum from South Africa by Atty. Randall Robinson and Congresswoman Maxine Waters and he returned to Haiti in 2011 to continue the liberation struggle.

Since 2004, the U.S. under every administration has ridden roughshod over the rights and lives of the Haitian people. They have routinely denied Haitians the right to seek asylum, deported them in massive numbers, attacked and racistly mistreated them at the border and continues to rule them with an iron racist hand, outlawing people and parties that oppose them, sponsoring and letting run wild against the people the armed paramilitary groups that they arm and allow to be armed against the people. Moreover, they are rapaciously robbing the country of its natural resources imposing a poverty on it it should not have if the people were allowed to benefit from their own natural riches such as bauxite, copper, gold, natural gas and abundant oil.

Again we have here a brutal and brutalizing violation and denial of the self-determination and sovereignty of the Haitian people, their natural right to be free and independent, to deliberate together and make critical decisions about their destiny and daily lives. And sending continental African military troops or getting Vice President Kamala Harris and House Minority leader Hakim Jefferies or CARICOM to co-sign this proposed entrenchment of occupation and oppression of the Haitian people does not add legitimacy to an illegitimate and immoral project. Propping up puppets to pretend Haitians are in control, providing security for the predatory corporations and others to continue their predation and plunder, and to increase police power to terrorize and suppress the people is not a humane, humanitarian path to rebuilding Haiti and serving the needs of the people. Indeed, it only increases the impoverishment, disempowerment and extreme suffering of the people, continued corruption, and the expansion of organized crime at the street level and the level of the international criminal imperialist enterprise

Certainly, no one can call this proposal of African proxies for imperialist interests and forces Pan-Africanism. And all this talk of brotherly and sisterly concern about the Africans in the Diaspora is pitiful and perverse self-delusion at best and shameless self-selling and betrayal of the Haitian and African peoples at worst. At the heart and soul of Pan-Africanism is solidarity and struggle for African and human good and the wellbeing of the world. As pan-Africanists, Nana Marcus Garvey, Nana Amy Garvey and Nana Kwame Nkrumah argued, worked and struggled for African people to be free and a force for good in the world. Our sacred pan-Africanist task, then, is to join Haitians and all African peoples in their righteous and relentless shared struggle for the freedom and good of African peoples, other humans and the world itself.

The Lavalas Party, a central force in the liberation struggle of the Haitian people and the party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, calls and struggles for “Justice, Participation and Transparency,” a legitimate government, a truly Haitian solution and self-liberation that will lead to and achieve “food for all, healthcare for all, schools for all, housing for all, employment for all and justice for all.” And they remind us on our various battlefields everywhere, that “Alone we are weak; together we are strong; all together we are the Lavalas (The Flood),” the powerful force for liberation and shared good in the world and a new history and hope for humankind.

Dr. Maulana Karenga

Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair of Africana Studies, California State University-Long Beach; Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (Us); Creator of Kwanzaa; and author of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, The Message and Meaning of Kwanzaa: Bringing Good Into the World and Essays on Struggle: Position and Analysis,;;