It’s a pleasure for me to join you today and go together with you on this trip, where we are going to look back on the year 2010 events in Haiti – that poor and small piece of earth with an amazing history that has been occupying the news since the beginning of the year.
I just turned 30 years old a few days ago and the milestone fills me with dreams for my country. Dreams powered by strength and hope – this is precisely what you need to live and survive here.
2010 will always remain in Haitians’ minds and hearts. On January 12th a terrible earthquake of 7.3 magnitude hit Haiti and destroyed our main infrastructure, a country that was already plagued with deep struggles. At that moment, all the world’s attention turned to us. Some of you discovered for the first time a country were people were living like fighters, like heroes.
We had to adapt to an even more complex and difficult situation than we’d been living in before, and, notably, we are dealing with it. Before that quake I had a video studio. It is gone, so you can imagine like thousands of other haitians I had to adapt my life and career to survive. Survival is a key word in Haiti, and this year revealed the true meaning and test of it.
The January disaster killed about 300 000 people and left 1.5 million homeless living in tent camps. We topped that off with a Hurricane, cholera outbreak and fraudulent elections.
The hurricane came as little surprise: we are used to these, though perhaps I can say that we could have avoided having too much victims. But as usual, our leaders are unprepared for good decision-making. The cholera outbreak should also shock no one: who doesn’t know that when you are living in bad sanitary conditions, you are exposed to the worst diseases? We can spend days and months saying and giving proof that the United Nations Nepalese soldiers imported the cholera. But, tell me why in 2010, in this century, people still have to drink dirty river water? It has already killed upwards of 3000 people and 50,000 have been treated in hospital. It has reached all 10 departments in Haiti. And nobody can predict when we’ll be able to contain this epidemic. Is this not enough to wake up the conscious of our public servants? No, not in Haiti because then came the fraudulent elections: who can remind me of the last time we had good and supposedly democratic elections here? Is a poor democratic record any reason to maintain old bad habits and fight at any price for power? Meanwhile, your people die in the tent camps and streets…
Life in Haiti is uncertain. Still, there is hope and progress, and as we welcome 2011 we have to believe that 2011 will be better. 2010 was violent. 2010 was crazy. The time has come for us to seriously think about a mentality change – some habit changes, some radical turn around to definitely look and work for the best of our society, our country. If not our kids will receive a poisonous heritage and will have to fight and relive our struggles. Remember, the most popular heroes are the ones who fought for a collective cause.
Happy New Year to All!