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Weighing in - Is this A Punishment for Haiti?



So, you know I had to talk about it, right? First, let me share Pat Robertson's quote so that we are all on the same page. Then, let me share my thoughts.........



Here is what Pat said.....
"And you know, Christy, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon III and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. ‘They said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the French.’ True story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor. That Island of Hispaniola is one island cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty, same islands. They need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come, but right now we’re helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable." (source)
I want to share a little bit about Haiti. Haiti is a richly historic land. It is the land of the most successful slave rebellion in history, which led in that nation's becoming the 2nd independent nation in the Western Hemisphere, and the 1st black governed republic. 


Haiti's progressiveness in rebellion against slavery directly affected the anti-slavery movement in the United States, greatly influencing The Louisiana Purchase and the American Civil War. (source)


Haiti is also a third world country - the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living below the poverty line, and it is 50% poorer than Nicaragua, which is the next closest Country. 


Haiti is a country where witchcraft, voodoo and Satanism exist and are widely practiced. Nearly half of the population practices voodoo. Roman Catholics make up 80% of the population...yeah, that equals more than 100%...It's a long explanation, but if you belong to any denomination, it is sort of akin to how only 100 members fill your pews any given Sunday, but your actual role reported to the denomination says 300 members belong to your church....It has to do with French rule over Haiti in the 1800's, trying to limit the religion of Voodoo and force Catholicism on Haitians. Initially, the French allowed 'dances' on weekends - which were Voodoo ritual, but forced the conversion to Catholicism. Eventually, the French waged war on Voodoo, which was unsuccessful, and so you have a combination of Catholic practice with Voodoo characteristics and dual membership to religious sector. 
Yeah - it's a full study - and you can look more into it if you like... (source).

All of this I share with you for this reason.............I live in the United States - country not unaffected by the rich history of Haiti. A country where Witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism and Christianity, Hip Hop, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many other religions are practiced, daily. This is the truth, and God is not pleased.  There are many here who have made a pact with the devil - does that mean God is going to destroy us all? Pat, where were you win the Twin Towers fell with your facts on who inside the rubble made a pact with the devil for corporate success?


Now back to Pat's statement -we are so focused on the beginning that we didn't see the end, so let me dissect it. What Pat Robertson said is indented and italicized. The rest is all me, baby....:

And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free,
 Haiti's progressiveness in rebellion against slavery directly affected the anti-slavery movement in the United States, greatly influencing The Louisiana Purchase and the American Civil War. Because of the boldness of the Haitians, and their cohesiveness and commitment NOT to remain enslaved, I am free today.
and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor.
the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living below the poverty line, and it is 50% poorer than Nicaragua,

"That Island of Hispaniola is one island cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republic. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc."
The island of Hispaniola remained under Spanish control until 1697 when the western third of the island became a French possession. (In 1804, the western part of the island became the Republic of Haiti.) This area, which the French called "Saint Domingue" , gaining independence on February 27, 1844 (from Haiti) was the richest colony in the world thanks to large sugar plantations which were worked by hundreds of thousands of slaves imported from Africa. In 1791 a slave revolt broke out in Saint Domingue. The Dominican Republic has adopted a liberal economic model, which has made it the second largest economy in the region. Though long known for sugar production, the economy is now dominated by services.The country's economic progress is exemplified by its advanced telecommunication system.Nevertheless, unemployment, government corruption, and inconsistent electric service remain major Dominican problems. According to the CIA Factbook "The country suffers from marked income inequality" and has a Gini coefficient for income distribution of 49.9. (The Gini coefficient is commonly used as a measure of inequality in resources or wealth) Both sources can be accessed by clicking on links (Wikipedia and Dominican Republic Tourism) 


I quote these sources to say - yes, Dominican Republic is rich but not without problems, so did somebody over there sell something, too, Pat? Dominican Republic is not the shining example of the half of Hispaniola that said 'no, we won't enter the pact with the devil, we will serve GOD...no, that is not what happened, and therefore, not the reason the Dominican Republic is rich...the deductive reasoning doesn't flow and is misleading in Pat's statement.
Haiti is in desperate poverty, same islands.
And it is 50% poorer than Nicaragua, the closest country. The price of rice, where it can be found, increased from $180 to $200. Pat is right. Haiti is poor. Poor the way we were poor growing up, but didn't know it. Okay, I know I am tripping here, because we owned our home, but still - we struggled while my parents were making a come up, we lived modestly, we played out back in real dirt and grass and water, and we didn't know what we didn't have. By some people's standards, we may have been perceived as poor. But we lived in the old Mt. Vernon - all black owned businesses, banks, homes; all black produced goods, arts; all of my sisters teachers were black and my pre-k teacher was black - she looked just like me - and it was all good until the government (French folk, Sister Haiti) came in and saw that it was good......and told us we were poor and underprivileged and disrupted and tore up our community, and wrapped it in so much red tape it takes 10+ years to restore one landmark, dear Lincoln Theatre...(this is me, stepping down off the soapbox)
"They need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come, but right now we’re helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable."
Haiti needs to have a great turning of God, and we need to touch and agree for that turning....so that out of this great tragedy, some good may come. Right now, we are helping a people who are suffering, and that suffering is something we cannot even fathom. 


In that last end, I do not disagree with Pat - Haiti needs to have a great turning of God and we need to be praying all on one accord. I do not find what he said to be horrendous. He actually stated fact that is historical - he read it somewhere. He didn't make it up. He added his own thought, just as I did. Some valid, some not - saying that the Dominican Republic is rich because they did NOT make a pact with the devil is pure idiocy. 


And finally, I go back to this part of Pat's paraphrased description of what the mysterious 'they' who represent all of Haiti at the time of the pact making said:

"They said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the French."
This 'they' was in such oppression, suppression, depression....(was the richest colony in the world thanks to large sugar plantations which were worked by hundreds of thousands of slaves imported from Africa)...and the conditions were such that 'they' would make a pact with the devil just to be free of this misery, who would say - which one is the greater evil, and look upon the head of hell and say 'give us free'?



My daughter and I watched the world news together with my Mom this morning, which is part of the reason I couldn't continue to keep silent. She said to me, 
"Mom, I texted Yele on my cell phone to donate $10. I had to do it. Can you see the Mother's sitting next to their baby's, dead? A 12-year old girl gave the report from her viewpoint, and she was just like me. She said she doesn't want to leave Haiti. It is her home and a beautiful land, and she loves it."
My daughter has the heart of a missionary, and the wisdom of her own ancestors, including her Grandmother Mary, C.M.E. Missionary President, and her Grandfather the late Rev. Theodore Sanders, who never mistook the value of any human, young or old, but welcomed all, from the youngest to the poorest; from the gangsta to the junior pastor. 


She has a discerning eye, as well as a Spirit. I could not deny that she had done the right thing. I just explained to her to check with me first the next time, because I already donated on our behalf and I went on and paid the cell phone bill today. I reminded myself to discuss it with my children when I donate funds, time and energy as well, and let them be a part of the experience. 


When someone makes a statement in national media, like Pat Robertson did, and others as well, let's examine the statement, and have something solid to say about it, before we cry foul - so we can back up the cry.


Today, I cry out to God for the people of Haiti - then and now. I know He is able, and I say 'Abba, Father'




Comments

  1. Dominician of Republic is poor too. Who said they are rich?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Steady economic growth has brought considerable wealth to some Dominicans, but a considerable sector still lives in extreme hardship, without access to social services or proper educational opportunity. Recent figures are not available, but in 1989 it was estimated that the richest 10 percent of Dominicans accounted for al/tamost



    GDP per Capita (US$)
    Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
    Dominican Republic 1,179 1,325 1,325 1,366 1,799
    United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
    Jamaica 1,819 1,458 1,353 1,651 1,559
    Haiti 500 607 527 481 370
    SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.



    Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage
    Share: Dominican Republic
    Lowest 10% 1.7
    Lowest 20% 4.3
    Second 20% 8.3
    Third 20% 13.1
    Fourth 20% 20.6
    Highest 20% 53.7
    Highest 10% 37.8
    Survey year: 1996
    Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
    SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

    40 percent of national income, while the poorest 10 percent received only 1.6 percent.

    While free primary school education is available, many children fail to complete their early education, often because they are required as workers to supplement family income. There is no national system of health care or old-age pensions. The state occasionally attempts to lessen the impact of price rises by subsidizing basic foods such as milk powder or rice and by job-creation schemes in the poorest neighborhoods.

    Dominican society is highly stratified, with a very small and very wealthy upper class, a medium-sized middle class, and a very large working class or poor peasant class, many of whom live in absolute poverty. The middle class encompasses professionals such as teachers or hospital workers or those involved in retail, while the poor include agricultural and factory laborers, those working in the informal sector, and the unemployed. There is little upward social mobility, with the exception of musicians or baseball stars who may escape a life of poverty and become millionaires.

    The poorest areas of the country are to be found both in Santo Domingo, where shantytowns sprawl around the edges of the city, and in remote rural areas. Perhaps the most impoverished district is in the southwest, near the border with Haiti, where thousands of Haitian migrants and poor Dominican families inhabit rudimentary shacks.



    Read more: Dominican Republic Poverty and wealth, Information about Poverty and wealth in Dominican Republic http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Americas/Dominican-Republic-POVERTY-AND-WEALTH.html#ixzz0ciBSguiU

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dlo - I appreciate your comments. That is exactly what the Gini coefficient is all about. This is a way to report riches and wealth in a manner the represents basically, one member of the household having 100% of the wealth while the other members have none, and then stating, the whole house is wealthy. I quoted that in my opinion....the media will quote to you, as did Pat Robertson, that the Dominican Republic is wealthy...and Thank you for the history.....(The Gini coefficient is commonly used as a measure of inequality in resources or wealth) Both sources can be accessed by clicking on links (Wikipedia and Dominican Republic Tourism)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bravo, this is an excellent assessment. I am very impressed. I appreciate that it is not just an off the cuff response, but a well thought out example of how a rebuttle should be given. "SAY THAT THING OUT LOUD ELIZABETH" I so want our voice to be heard and our comments to be respectable. New commentary for a brand new day, BRAVO!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a wonderful article. God can and he will put the peices back together for the people of Haiti. We must do our part by finding a way to give and praying. For, we know that the prayers of the righteous availeth much. I believe that God is going to work many mircles in the wake of this disaster. People like Pat Robinson give our God a bad name. We serve a God of a second chance, who was there during the quake and will be there far after we have all forgot and He will speak expressively to his children in Haiti. There is a remant there and He will be bringing them home.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As I continue to watch the devastation in Haiti I am so disturbed....wow can you believe there are still people waiting to be rescued.....I personally don't think there has been enough coverage on the disaster.

    ReplyDelete

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