Saturday, November 27, 2010

wait and see - eleksyon 2010

Less than ten hours before the polls open for Haiti's presidential and legislative elections, and I ask Titoine if he is going to go out and vote. "Map tan pou'm we," he says. "I'm gonna wait and see." Immediately my America-influenced reflexes come out and I want to answer things like "Don't let them intimidate you, go out and vote, Haiti deserves a chance!" But I don't.

I do believe that Haiti 'deserves a chance'. And I do believe that electing a good leader is crucial for this country to move forward (or at least not move backwards). I am just slightly unsure about the Haitian people's ability to choose that leader. Can a population with a literacy rate of less than 50% really know how to make an informed decision about who to choose to run a country that's been hit with every single disaster you can imagine (and some you can't imagine)? Can the right president be elected when people are voting 'out of sympathy' for this or that candidate, or plan to walk into the voting booth and decide then and there based on which picture they like better, whether or not the candidate is smiling, whether or not the background is yellow and green like their favorite soccer team? These things influence people's decisions in every single country in the world, but it is- through no fault of their own- the only deciding factor for many people here.

I am honestly ashamed of my lack of confidence in the Haitian people, and I sincerely hope that tomorrow's elections will be peaceful and that people will go out to vote. But most importantly, I hope that five years from now we will not regret the decision made. We will be proud of the person elected and will be in a situation that sure as hell does not include thousands dying of ancient biblical diseases and people living at the mercy of NGOs. Maybe then I will stop thinking that Haiti could use a dictator with a vision.

Map tan pou'm we.

1 comment:

  1. Your point of view (and that of many, I'm sure) was beautifully expressed. Thanks for helping to inform those of us on the outside about some of the incredible challenges facing the Haitian people as they try to choose a new path.

    M. Nelson