15 August 2004

Invisible Men

Common Sense
John Maxwell

"I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fibre and liquids - and I might even be said to possess a mind.

I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me - you often doubt if you really exist. You wonder whether you aren't simply a phantom in other people's minds - a phantom in a nightmare which the sleeper tries with all his strength to destroy."
From the Prologue, The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, Copyright © by Ralph Ellison.

On July 15 an American corporation signed an agreement with the Cuban Centre for Molecular Immunology to mark the formal transfer of technology from a poor southern country to a rich northern country.

The Americans were buying Cuban expertise in the design and manufacture of anti-cancer vaccines.

You heard me right.

Anti-cancer vaccines? You still don't believe me?

Vaccines against Cancer!? Vaccines against the great, almost omnipotent killer?

Surely, had such a vaccine been developed in the metropolitan world the empyrean would have echoed and re-echoed until we were deaf! Had it been developed in the US it would have been big enough News to wipe even the US presidential election from the headlines for a day or two!

The Cuban breakthrough is not just one vaccine, but several, one of them a vaccine which is also a treatment for advanced lung cancer, one of the most dreaded manifestations of the disease

On July 15, Fidel Castro attended the signing of a cooperation agreement, the first in 40 years, between Cuban and US companies for the transfer of biotechnology directed at testing, licensing and manufacture of the vaccines worldwide.The agreement was signed between the CancerVax Corporation of the US and the Center for Molecular Immunology in Havana.

Dr. Donald Morton, US professor, outstanding cancer specialist, medical director and chief surgeon at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Los Angeles, California, described as unique and unprecedented the new Cuban approach - designing vaccines to stimulate the immune system.

The Cuban vaccine development began during the special period, during the 90s, after the Soviet Union had collapsed and Cuba was on its own and very nearly destitute.

The vaccine agreement is a paradoxical development because Cuba has come increasingly under the American gun. A year ago the Bush Administration made it a criminal offence for Americans to edit or even be involved in the editing of Cuban scientific papers. New restrictions were placed on travel by scientists between the two countries and, even more ironic, two weeks before the vaccine agreement was signed, the United States fined an American company $168,500 for selling vaccines for childhood diseases to Cuba. Another company, based in Panama, was fined nearly $200,00 for a similar offence.

No Black Victimhood

Colin Powell - only the second person ever to have been head of the US Armed Forces and US Secretary of State, has been speaking about the principles which guide his life. During a recent interview the black TV journalist, Armstrong Williams reported, "the four-star general kept wandering back to the territory of shame and self-defeat." For Powell, shame seems reserved for anyone who shirks his duty. For Powell, avoiding shame was a virtue learned young:
"Both of my parents showed up here on boats - one in Philadelphia and one in New York," Powell told Williams, "And they worked hard. They worked in the garment industry. They worked for minimum wage and it was simply unthinkable that the children of these immigrants would not do better. Nobody in my family dropped out of school. It would have been unheard of, unthinkable, and that was drilled into us and it was these expectations and these tribal rituals, family rituals that every family has, every culture has, were what kept us all in playing, kept us all going. . . . You were not allowed to shame the family."
That's exactly what some others of us think, which is why we make such a fuss about that part of our family that lives in Haiti or Cuba or anywhere else in the world. All 6 billion of us.

As Powell says "those people who spend their days ranting about how all blacks are victims have already given up. They have excused their own failures. Standing outside of society and simply pumping your fists in righteous indignation doesn't change a thing. It just makes it easy for those in control to label and dismiss you."

Which is precisely why people like myself stand inside of the society and work to make damn sure that all of us are inside the society and that none of us is invisible.

We are not going to give up.

I remember 40 years ago, being probably the only editor in the world outside of the London Observer's who published Nelson Mandela's speech at his Treason trial. It did not seem possible then that Mandela would have made it out of prison either alive or sane. Most of the world had no idea who he was. This week, Mandela's successor as President of South Africa, made it explicit that South Africa recognises Juan Bertrand Aristide as the President of Haiti.

The Haitian people have been in prison far longer than Mandela. They were the nineteenth century equivalent of today's Cubans, with a philosophy which was so threatening that they were quarantined, like Cuba today, and pressured and attacked and finally invaded and subjugated because they dared to assert that all humanity was equal in rights.

We do not 'excuse' Haiti by claiming victimhood. Haiti is and has been a victim of great power prejudice, hostility and oppression. And Haiti didn't ask to be a victim. She did not provoke her rape.

Contrary to the opinion of Bishop Herro Blair and many other male chauvinists, people who are raped rarely bring it on themselves. Rape is an expression of power, it is not an expression of sexual desire. It is a tool for degrading and humiliating another, to take control of their bodies because you cannot take control of their souls.

In the sixties and seventies, when many of us, including the present Prime Minister of Jamaica were "Young, gifted and black" we thought that we would change the world and make it into a civilised place, one which we inhabited by right and not by sufferance. That is why I and forty other West Indians were arrested in London in 1968 protesting against the expulsion of Walter Rodney from Jamaica in "Human Rights Year", and it is why some of us today still refuse to bow either to superior force or to seductive blackmail.

When Thabo Mbeki, Ralph Gonsalves, Kenny Anthony, Bharaat Jagdeo and the rest of us are united in our rainbow coalition in defence of Haiti it is not because we espouse victimhood but because we are determined to ensure that Haiti is returned to the freedom and autonomy to which it is entitled and for which our ancestors fought 200 years ago and for which we still struggle. And we cannot endorse the transfiguration of bloody assassins into national heroes, as the La Tortue regime is planning to do this very week with a mock trial for the leader of the terrorists, Louis Jodel Chamblain.

If Mr Powell is serious - and since his parents were Jamaican I believe he must be - he must understand that a spuriously 'democratic' Haiti cannot be a trophy to be displayed on anyone's election mantelpiece, nor can such a cuckoo be part of our family.

What the Haitians fought for was not one man one vote, but all rights for all people.

It should by now be clear that what has been happening in Haiti over the last century is a form of constructive genocide, in which attempts have been made to obliterate the Haitian personality, deny the Haitian genius and to reduce the Haitian nation to the status of a maimed beggar on the side of the highway to civilised development

Professor Sibylle Fischer contends in her recently published work "Modernity Denied" (UWI Press 2004) - that Haiti has been penalised for its radical anti-slavery politics, its importance suppressed and ignored in historical and cultural records over the past two centuries. The story of Haiti has been told as one "outside politics and beyond human language, as a tale of barbarism and unspeakable violence." Unable to come to grips with the larger meanings of Haiti, a racist civilisation has simply written Haiti out of history.

Fischer points out that much of the prejudice against Haiti 200 years ago originated in the Caribbean itself: Between 1791 and 1805, the foremost Havana newspaper "the Papel Periodoco makes no mention of the revolutionary events in Saint Domingue: neither the abolition of slavery, nor the defeat of Napoleon at the hands of former slaves, nor the establishment of an independent black state in 1804."

Nothing. Not one word.

Verdant Ignorance

Judging by today's news, some of our Caribbean leaders and journalists are still in a comparable state of verdant ignorance.

Fischer writes:
"It might turn out that it is not enough to simply insist that Haiti be included in our accounts of the Age of Revolution and that the gaps in the historical and cultural records be filled. What would be needed is a revision of the concept of modernity itself so that the past struggles over what it means to be modern, who can claim it and on what grounds can become visible again.

"The suppression and disavowal of revolutionary anti-slavery and attendant cultures in the Caribbean was, among other things, a struggle over what would count as 'progress' what was meant by 'liberty' and how the two should relate.

"Sibylle Fischer's book is, she says, an attempt to think about literature, culture and politics transnationally, as forms of expression that mirrored the hemispheric scope of the slave trade, to think of what might have been lost when culture and emancipatory politics were finally forced into the mould of the nation state; and to think what might have happened if the struggle against racial subordination had carried the same prestige and received the same attention from posterity as did the struggles against colonialism and other forms of political subordination."
Taking Prof. Fischer's thought to a perhaps extreme conclusion, I might theorise that had the struggle against racial subordination received the same importance as political freedom, we might never have had Adolph Hitler and we might never have had 9/11.

Had it been otherwise we might have developed vaccines against HIV/AIDS years ago and nobody would now know what affirmative action meant.

But, even now, some of us - even some who used to be 'young, gifted and black' - still believe that culture can be preshrunk, history can be segregated and freedom can be rationed.

08 August 2004

The Anti-Bouckman League

Common Sense
John Maxwell

The gang now running Haiti seem to have tired of their 'Democracy' game. The charade is over, they seem to say, we can now display our true colours - because we know that the most important members of CARICOM are going to recognise us and legitimise us.

In the slaughter-house that is Haiti there aren't too many people to protest against the proposed actions of the governments of Jamaica, Trinidad, the Bahamas, Barbados, the bureaucrats of CARICOM to 'engage' the criminal conspiracy which calls itself the government of Haiti. I wrote a little song for them:

The Press is squared,
P.J's prepared,
It's time to end
Our Masquerade

Treacherous and Cowardly

In deciding to 'engage' with Haiti the Jamaican government, as I see it, is guilty of unspeakable cowardice and treachery - the more revolting because we could see it coming months ago - as I warned in this column. Messrs. Patterson and Knight held in their hands a large portion of whatever hope for Justice the Haitian people may have had. That hope was singed this week.

In the same week that the Haitians should have been celebrating the spark that lit the fire of their independence, their close friends and relatives silently, stealthily, were preparing to make a zombie out of Haitian autonomy, independence and hope of Justice.

'wa Kayiman celebrates the occasion on August 14, 1791 - 213 years ago, when the Jamaican escaped slave. Bouckman presided at a meeting to plan the rebellion against the French. At a place called Bwa Kayiman (Crocodile Forest) delegates from all over the north of Haiti pledged to throw off their chains and throw the French out of Haiti forever.

Bouckman is said to have invoked the God of the Africans, who he said,
takes us by the arm and guides us.
He will give us assistance.
Throw away the white God's image
Who is thirsting for the water in our eyes!
Listen to the call of freedom in our hearts!"
The delegates returned to their plantations. On D Day, August 22, 1791, the orders discussed and adopted on the night of August 14, were implemented. Thus started the great saga that culminated in the independence of the first black nation in our hemisphere. Boukman was killed in November 1791, in a French counteroffensive. His severed head was exposed with this caption: "Head of Boukman, the rebel leader!" - (Max Manigat)

There is controversy about whether Bouckman was a voudou priest/ obeahman, or a literate Moslem. In a monograph, Max Manigat reports: "It has been said that he had been given the name 'Book man' as was the custom in the English colonies of the Caribbean, in the case of many slaves who knew how to read the Koran."

The only facts that are well established about Bouckman are that he was a Jamaican and a very tall, big man of enormous strength.

Max Manigat says: Boukman gave the kick-off, others followed whose names now belong to universal history, and slowly but inexorably, from 1791 until 1803, the triple Haitian Revolution - anti slavery, anti-colonial, and social - of the "wretched of the earth" of Saint Domingue triumphed and became a reality.

It is a raw and savage irony that Bouckman's compatriots in Jamaica should now be about tto betray Boukman's heirs in Haiti.

Jamaica's Prime Minister, Mr Patterson, made his intentions clear even before President Aristide arrived in Jamaica in April. I read between the lines then, but I was told that I was being alarmist. We should praise Mr Patterson, I was told, instead of attacking him. This is what the Prime Minister said at the time:

I want to emphasise that Mr. Aristide is not seeking political asylum in Jamaica. His stay in Jamaica is not expected to be in excess of eight to ten weeks. He is engaged in finalising arrangements for permanent residence outside of the region.

CARICOM remains committed to the goal of restoring and nurturing democracy in its newest Member State as well as to social and economic development of the people of Haiti.

It was not true that President Aristide was finalising arrangements for permanent residence outside of the region. Aristide regards himself and is still regarded by most Haitians, by South Africa and other nations, as the only legitimate President of Haiti, and neither Mr Patterson nor Mr Knight, nor the US State Department can change that.

If Jamaica were to obey international law the question would not even arise. But Patterson and Knight a couple of years ago followed the example of North Korea, and resiled from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights/Optional Protocol on Civil and Political Rights. With that track record we can hardly expect them to take a principled view of the Haitian Affair.

The Mask is off, the Masque is On

In Haiti in the same week of Bwa Kayiman, the so-called government of Haiti staged an elaborate masquerade as part of its continuing effort to rehabilitate the noisome collection of murderous drug-dealing bandits who gave certain foreigners an excuse to intervene to depose Aristide in order "to save his life" and to "prevent a bloodbath".

While the world press is busy spreading flimflam about Aristide's "resigning amid a popular revolt" it should be remembered that the "popular revolutionaries" were able to enter Port au Prince only under the auspices of foreign troops. While they had employed their brand-new military issue M-16s to terrorise and murder unarmed policemen in Gonaives add Cap Haitien, they were unable to take Port au Prince - fearing that the so called 'chimères' who supported Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas were waiting to greet them with their ancient muskets and soul force.

Foreign intervention made it possible for Louis Jodel Chamblain and various other criminal gunslingers to enter Port au Prince without challenge.

Now that perhaps as many as 3,000 Fanmi Lavalas supporters have been murdered, hundreds illegally jailed,and thousands more on the run or in hiding since March 1, - the Zombie government and its leaders, Messrs. La Tortue and Gousse, can set about restoring 'respectability' to convicted assassins like Chamblain and bring them into the bosom of the Zombie regime.

And all will be 'legitimised' when their fellow Zombies across the Caribbean get into serious 'engagement' with them. The cowardly and treacherous attitude of the major Caribbean governments cannot have been better or more diplomatically expressed than in an editorial this week in the Barbados Nation: IT WOULD be most ironic should the historic unity of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) be jeopardised because of disagreements among some Heads of Government on the basis for the interim Haitian regime participating in the business of CARICOM pending the restoration of constitutional governance.

I wonder if they or Messrs. Knight, Patterson, Arthur, Manning and Knowles would consider 'ironic' what happened in the Haitian Palace of Justice this week.

In the early hours of August 17, a sham trial in Port-au-Prince acquitted notorious Haitian rights abusers Jackson Joanis and Jodel Chamblain of the 1993 murder of businessman Antoine Izmery. Neither the judiciary nor the prosecution made even the minimum effort required by law to pursue this important case. The absence of effort combined with top Haitian officials' public support for Chamblain and his colleagues compels the conclusion that Haiti's interim government staged the trial to deflect criticism of its human rights record without alienating its military and paramilitary allies. The trial is an affront to the thousands of people who have worked and sacrificed for justice in Haiti over the last fifteen years.

Brian Concannon, an American lawyer who had been one of those helping Aristide restore democracy and law and order in Haiti, continues:

Antoine Izmery, a prominent supporter of President Aristide, was murdered on September 11, 1993, during Haiti's de facto military dictatorship (1991-1994). Mr. Izmery had organized a mass at Port-au-Prince's Sacre Coeur church, to commemorate the anniversary of the 1988 St. Jean Bosco Massacre.

Soldiers and paramilitaries dragged Izmery out of the packed church, in full view of the Haitian and international media, the diplomatic community in Haiti, and UN/OAS Human Rights Observers, and shot him on the sidewalk outside. Both Joanis and Chamblain were convicted, in absentia for murder at the 1995 trial of the Izmery killing.

Anyone convicted in absentia, under Haitian law, is entitled to a formal retrial whenever he returned to Haiti. The so-called trial was a travesty. The procedure itself was illegal in several respects.

The trial began on Monday, August 16, and ended before dawn on Tuesday, August 17. Only one prosecution witness appeared, and he admitted that he was not, in fact, an eyewitness. The prosecutor was obviously unfamiliar with the file, and appeared to be going through the motions, with no attempt to present a convincing argument to the jury. Many observers and journalists left the trial in the early evening, afraid of venturing out on the capital's streets after dark.

Amnesty International referred to the trial as "an insult to justice" and a "mockery."

It would be interesting to hear the comments on this case by two of our leading legal luminaries. Messrs. Patterson and Knight, are both Queen's Counsel, and Mr. Patterson a member of Her Majesty's Privy Council and therefore an adviser to her Majesty.

If they ever give their opinions, it would be educational to hear what the rest of the Privy Council, especially the Judicial Committee, would have to say.

A Busted Trifecta

Somebody, somewhere, must be 'tearing up' - in the American sense of the word - for a busted Trifecta.

In Venezuela, President Chavez was overwhelmingly endorsed - for the third time straight, by his people. In Iraq. Mokhtada El Sadr is still alive and on the loose - as I write, having apparently escaped martyrdom - so the civil war is postponed, and nearer home, Caricom has so far been prevented by three brave men, Ralph Gonsalves, Kenny Anthony and Bharaat Jagdeo - from certifying the regime of the Turtle and the Goose.

How sad, especially since I hear there is a big party convention next week in New York at which these developments, had they gone the other way, would have been greeted with rapturous applause and would have made big news, at least on CNN and Fox.

Such a pity.

01 August 2004

Is There Oil in Haiti?

Common Sense
John Maxwell

'Ten years from now, 20 years from now, you will see, oil will bring us ruin. It's the devil's excrement. We are drowning in the devil's excrement.'
- Juan Pablo Perez Alfonso, former Venezuelan oil minister and a founder of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), speaking in the early 1970s.

The Sudan is the largest country in Africa, one of the largest countries in the world, about a quarter the size of the United States. It is really several nations, cobbled together into a national entity to suit the administrative conveniences of the British Raj.

Most of the population is black, including many of those described as Arabs. Sudan has been at war with its people almost as soon as it gained independence from Britain in 1956.

"In the oilfields of Sudan, civilians are being killed and raped, their villages burnt to the ground. They are caught in a war for oil, part of the wider civil war between northern and southern Sudan that has been waged for decades. Since large-scale production began two years ago, oil has moved the war into a new league. Across the oil-rich regions of Sudan, the government is pursuing a 'scorched earth' policy to clear the land of civilians and to make way for the exploration and exploitation of oil by foreign oil companies." - Christian Aid, 2003.

The depopulation of the countryside began when Chevron first discovered oil in 1980. The genocide has continued under the auspices of several oil companies, including companies from the US, the UK, Canada, China, Austria, Britain, Sweden and Malaysia.

The Real Price of Oil

The attitude of the oil companies may be summed up by the comment of US Vice President Dick Cheney, when he was CEO of Halliburton six years ago: "You've got to go where the oil is. I don't think about [political unrest] very much."

There are several civil wars in progress in the Sudan but the major struggle is between the government of the Sudan -;Arab, and its black citizens in the south of the country. Without going into the political details, it is enough to say, and accurately, that the Sudanese government has for several years pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing in which over 2 million poor people have died, more than a million made homeless, while famine and misery stalk the burned and devastated land.

It isn't as if the Western world has not known about the real price of its oil.

Republican US Senator Sam Brownback told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2000 that "Sudan's bombing of churches, refuge centres and other civilian targets is one of the worst cases of religious persecution in the world, and the Clinton administration is not doing enough to stop it."

Senator Brownback said then that the US should intervene, giving development assistance to the people in the south or break diplomatic relations with the Sudan.

A spokesman for the State Department responded that Sudan's war is so complicated that its "difficult at times to take sides". The spokesman, one Mr Seiple, said that concerted international effort would be ncessary to stop the slaughter.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the NGO, uman Rights Watch, released reports revealing the extent of atrocities committed by the government of Sudan. Two years ago, Christian Aid, another NGO, released even more damning reports on the bloody slaughter of the innocents being conducted under the auspices of oil companies. Christian Aid said that oil companies, in building the Sudanese oil industry, offered finance, technological expertise and supplies. The government, employing its new riches, is emptying the land of its people, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands. Oil industry infrastructure - roads and airstrips - are used by the army and its allied militias in their campaign of murder, torture, rape and starvation.

Christian Aid says that the oil companies, including one from high-minded Sweden, remain largely silent. "Those directly engaged in production claim they have no knowledge of oil-related human rights violation on their land and that, however deplorable, human rights violations are not linked to their activities

According to Christian Aid: "Government forces and militias have destroyed harvests, looted livestock and burned houses to ensure that no-one, once displaced, will return home. Since the pipeline opened, the increased use of helicopter gunships and indiscriminate high-altitude bombardment has added a terrifying new dimension to the war. 'The worst thing was the gunships,' Zeinab Nyacieng, a Nuer woman driven hundreds of miles from her home, told Christian Aid late last year. 'I never saw them before last year. But now they are like rain.'"

The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), a Trotskyist outfit, reported in May that "Khartoum is backing an Arab militia known as Janjaweed (or Fursan or Peshmerga) for the purpose of terrorising the local settled black African population." It has also encouraged the region's nomadic Arab tribes, the Baggara, to do the same.

Africa Analysis reports that at a recent meeting of the Baggara it was resolved to "empty the province" of its majority African population, and even to erase the name of Darfur, literally "home of the Fur", the largest African group comprising approximately four million of the region's six million people.

Rape as Policy

According to WSWS:
"The Janjaweed, armed with automatic weapons, ride in to the peasant villages on horseback. They burn the huts and round up the young men who are often executed. Parents are sometimes forced to watch whilst their daughters, some as young as six, are gang raped. Many are subsequently branded or executed along with their parents. Bodies are often dumped into village wells in order to poison the water.

"Mosques are often torched, with Korans desecrated and religious leaders killed. All livestock, food and possessions are taken and the village left uninhabitable.

"The Sudanese military follows afterwards to mop up. Alternatively it carries out bombing raids beforehand. Sometimes the Janjaweed and the military arrive together and set up a command post at the local police station prior to instigating a reign of terror."
According to an African Union delegation,earlier this month the Janjaweed militia had chained people together and set them on fire.

In the south of the Sudan, a peace agreement was being negotiated between the non-Muslim opposition led by John Garang and the government under which Khartoum would remain under Muslim Shari'ah law but religious rights would be guaranteed to the rest of the population. "A secret rider had been thought to exist between Washington and Khartoum which undertook to remove the Shari'ah from the constitutional basis of government in Sudan. This was to be a potential vote winner for the religious right in the US elections - to be trumpeted as the first time that a radical Muslim country has converted into a secular democracy." - WSWS

Whether such a rider exists, in April, the United States opposed a resolution by the European Union in the UNCHR referring to the concern about the scale of human rights abuses and the humanitarian situation in Darfur. The resolution passed by 50 votes to one, with two abstentions. The only negative vote was that of the US.

On Friday this week, the UN Security Council passed a resolution, backed by the US this time, calling on Khartoum to disarm the Arab militias and halt the genocide in Darfur.

Incidentally, according to the Associated Press on Friday, "ChevronTexaco Corp.'s second-quarter profit more than doubled as high energy prices extended a recent roll that is shaping into the most prosperous stretch in the oil giant's 125-year history."

Is there Oil in Haiti?

On July 19, the Institute of Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) released a nineteen page report: Human Rights Violations in Haiti: February-May 2004 and on July 26, the IJDH issued an update paying particular attention to the direct human rights violations by the so-called "interim Government" of Haiti. Another report by the Haiti Accompaniment Project, corroborates and reinforces the findings of the IJDH.The reports are published at haitiaction.net.

Briefly, the various reports disclose that the interim government and its criminal satraps and accomplices have begun a second wave of repression against the political majority in Haiti - the Fanmi Lavalas (Lavalas Family) the movement supporting President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

The IJDH report documents in grisly detail the horror that is Haiti now. It corroborates earlier reports about massacres immediately following the overthrow of President Aristide.
"The Director of the State Hospital Morgue in Port-au-Prince reported that the morgue had disposed of over 1000 bodies in the month of March alone. Although some of these may have died of natural causes, in a normal month the morgue disposes of 100 cadavers. The Director said that many of the 1000 disposed bodies arrived with hands tied behind the back and bullet holes in the back of the head.

"The Catholic Church's Justice and Peace Commission reported finding 300 cadavers in the street in February and March, most with bullet holes, and estimated that the total number of killings could be as high as 500."
Lavalas supporters as prominent as Mayors and Haiti's best known folklorist have been summarily arrested without charge. In the case of folklorist Anne Auguste, even her six year-old granddaughter was brutally taken into custody when the 69 year-old woman was arrested at midnight some weeks ago. The child has since been released.

The IJDH report includes photographs in colour of mutilated bodies piled in the morgue on May 20, after another massacre, pictures of other victims, including one beheaded by his murderers. Among other victims of the repression are two Lavalas activists rounded up and killed at night by a detachment of US Marines in Belair - one of Haiti's largest slums and a stronghold of the Lavalas.

The repression is no respecter of age, sex or condition. Young and old are murdered, women, young and old, and children are shot or beaten or otherwise abused.

"Victims' families report that hundreds of less prominent Lavalas supporters have been arrested throughout the country, often in violation of several constitutional provisions. These reports cannot be confirmed, however, because the prison authorities do not allow independent human rights groups full access to the prisons and prison records. Preliminary investigations do indicate that significant numbers of supporters of the Constitutional government are incarcerated without a warrant or judicial order in Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes and Gonaïves. In addition, there have been persistent reports of police conducting large, sweeping arrest operations in poor neighborhoods that are considered Lavalas strongholds. The police claim that the arrestees are common criminals, but as there are no warrants or subsequent judicial action, it is impossible to confirm this claim."

The reports can tell only of those cases about which informants will speak. Very many people refused to speak because of fear of reprisals and many others were unreachable because they are hiding from the terrorists.

Radio stations are shut down, journalists, professors and members of parliament arrested, and there is no news about these activities from the corporate press either in the United States or elsewhere. And Norway, as high-minded as Sweden, is busy arranging a conference between the various actors in the debacle, to prepare, it is said, for "free and fair" elections!

It is impossible for the facts not to be known to the United Nations or the United States, but, as in the case of the Sudan, they seem to be waiting for the horrors to age, like good wine, before they can contemplate action.

The Barbadians and Trinidadians are reported to be in favour of recognising the government of the face-choppers and rapists. I wonder what their reaction would be if the same things were happening in Jamaica or Guyana?

Once upon a time I heard that Freedom and Liberty are indivisible, that Justice must be universal, and that compassion was not only a virtue but a duty.

I was misinformed.