Aug 05, 2010 @ 2:39 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 6 Comments
“One of the hardest lessons we have to learn is that revolutionary struggle is scientific rather than emotional”- Assata Shakur
Tonight 8/5/2010 Wyclef Jean will be on Larry King Live to officially announce his candidacy for the President of Haiti. Since then I have had some serious debates with my parents and friends about Wyclef’s impending nomination. We live in a society where having an opposing opinion and speaking out against the masses makes you a certified “hater”. At the risk of sounding like a hater I am going to state plainly that I disagree with Wyclef Jean running for president of my beloved Haiti. The earthquake that took place on January 12, 2010 was an unfortunate natural disaster that has highlighted the host of compounding issues that Haiti’s next Presidents needs to tackle:
- The institution of restavec needs to be addressed and abolished (child slavery that is openly practiced in Haiti)
- Colorism needs to be addressed among the classes
- Child prostitution needs to be aggressively stamped out within the country
- Tourism needs to be established in the country
- Massive post Earthquake clean-ups need to be orchestrated
- The deforestation of Haiti needs to be addressed ASAP
- Haiti needs to figure out what fruits & vegetables that they can export to generate additional income
- Haiti needs to woe those Haitians living overseas to comeback to work and help rebuild Haiti on both an intellectual and physical level
- Haiti needs to actively pursue the funds that have been pledged to them by other countries
- The Haitian middle class needs to reestablished there is to great of a disparity between the haves and have nots
These are just some of the few immediate items that need to be addressed in Haiti. Wyclef is an excellent Ambassador for Haiti, but in my opinion he is not fit to lead Haiti in a presidential capacity. If Wyclef was trying to run for President of the United States we would call him a delusional narcissist trying to capitalize on his celebrity. We would immediately point out that he is not a college educated man, he has never shown any political prowess, and simply no one in America would feel confident with him running the free world. With that said, if he is not good enough to govern America why then would we trust him to run Haiti the first Black Independent nation since 1804? I remember when now Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was running for the presidency, I remember sitting in numerous classes and engaging in several conversations with both men and women who felt that no country would take America seriously with a female president. Many people thought that heads of states of other countries would scoff at us and mock us if we were being led by a woman. Now, at the time I was a die hard Hilary supporter and found that argument completely sexist, absurd, erroneous, and grounded in ignorance. Hilary is a highly educated woman who has always been in politics and has exhibited her intelligence and views. You might not have agreed with Hilary’s point of view, but at least you knew where she stood on matters. I can’t ever remember Wyclef making any real political statements. Needless, to say when I hear CNN and Haitian radio stations in Miami okay Wyclef entering Haiti’s presidential race I am trying hard to understand the logic behind the support.
We can all agree that Wyclef definitely loves Haiti and promotes the country well. Wyclef has been helping out Haiti long before it was chic for celebrities to do so. Wyclef has uttered these famous words; “from the hut, to the projects, to the mansion,” but that does not mean that he should enter the Haitian Palace which is the equivalent to the White House. Although the Haitian Palace is in ruin it still stands for something and should not be cheapened. Wyclef is not formally educated, he is doesn’t speak very good Creole. I know that I may be pegged as knit picking and being petty, but how can you lead a people whose language you grapple with? I for one do not feel confident with Wyclef representing Haiti on a global political stage as president. I can’t see him speaking before the UN and being taken seriously by other political officials.
Haiti like many other West-Indian islands suffers from the “brain-drain”. The majority of the the educated Haitians have gone to America to study and for financial reasons they do not feel that it would be economically feasible to comeback and use there Western education to help better Haiti’s situation. Due to this intellectual drain people who are not as capable and refined feel forced to step up and attempt to lead. In no way am I implying that Haiti is a country filled with C students, but those who can help Haiti the most either refuse to lead or they’re so disconnected from Haiti by major distance its impossible for them to lead. Colonialism runs very deep through Haitian veins. Years of French rule and slavery has severely damaged the Haitian psyche. Haiti has yet to have a president that has made good on its promise, but we cannot allow our history of bad leadership to make us susceptible that we will accept anything with our eyes wide open! It is going to take more than celebrity to save Haiti. In order for Haiti to heal from this catastrophic emotional and physical blow that was dealt to it on January 12, 2010 it needs a grassroots movement. First and foremost Haitians need to unite and see themselves as one country and one people. Haiti needs a leader that will restore the people’s faith in government again. The Haitian people and government has been pillaged by every president that has left office. Corruption is so rampant and normal in Haitian politics that it appears that the people have become desensitized to it. Wyclef’s charity Yele Haiti has come under great scrutiny about its spending practices. On January 14, 2010 TheSmokingGun.com gained copies of Yele Haiti’s tax returns and exposed the major financial discrepancies within the organization. Yele Haiti has existed for 12 years, but filed its first tax return in August 2009. Wyclef and partners earned more than $410,000 for rent, production services, and appearances from concert benefits through the charity. Between 2005-2007 Yele Haiti paid nearly $225,000 in promotion and $300,000 for consultants. In 2006 the tax return showed that Yele Haiti paid $31,200 in rent to Platinum sound studio. I do not find it economically feasible for a charity to be paying for studio time and for high priced PR. Wyclef states that 100% of the proceeds collected from Yele Haiti goes to Haiti directly, but thr truth is that less than 50% actually makes it to Haiti. According to Gawker.com Sanjay Rawal Yele Haiti’ founding executive director resigned in 2005 due to Wyclef Jean’s and fellow members “lack of financial commitment” to the organization. Sanjay Rawal felt the spending lacked strategy. Thesmokinggun.com has also reported today that Wyclef Jean has a $2.1 million dollar tax lien against him for a home in Miami. Both the state of New Jersey and New York have filed tax liens against Wyclef, but he has satisfied those liens in both states respectively.
With all that said if Wyclef, can’t manage his personal finances and the finances of Yele Haiti or can’t hire people with better financial integrity to manage his funds and charity funds, how then can we trust him to be use financial prudence and manage the budget and deficit of Haiti? When Obama was running for president many celebrities rallied for Obama and supported him financially. Jay-Z did not throw his bid into the election pool he supported the best candidate. Money plus celebrity does not automatically make someone qualified to run for president or lead anything. Wyclef instead of being a front-runner should use his celebrity and “money” to support a more qualified candidate. Haitians are so oppressed by poverty, colonialism, and a failed government that it makes Haitians very gullible. With this said, choosing a president should not be made on an emotional knee-jerk response. The Haitian people deserve a worthy candidate. I find it very suspicious that Wyclef is going on an American talk show to announce his presidency for Haiti. I have never seen an American president go to another country to announce there presidential nomination. I feel that Wyclef is going to be a puppet that is going to be controlled by too much American influence. I appreciate the help of America and the aid it is giving Haiti, but Haiti is its own country and is democratic and does not need outside political influences from anyone. Haiti is not Iraq or Afghanistan and doesn’t need big brother co-signing or managing its elections. Haiti doesn’t need another president that is going to be an American mouth-piece. I doubt that Obama would want to take such an active role in Haiti’s democracy the way George W. Bush did, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Celebrities running for office is not a new novelty. The 4oth president of United States was an actor President Reagan who gave America the worst economic policy called Reaganomics that ensured that poor people stayed institutionally poor and also the current Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger who under his watch the State of California is balancing a 18 billion dollar deficit. Haiti cannot afford to trust its future to the monster we call FAME and CELEBRITY. L’union fait la force is the motto of Haiti and as Haitians we should unite to behind a worthy cause and candidate. The office of a President no matter what country it is is a dubious honor that should not be able to be bought!
“The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave”-Assata Shakur
Categories: Mind Over Chatter