The beautiful red and blue colors flew high as we celebrated Haitian Flag Day on May 18, 2010. In the midst of celebration, we paused to reflect on our past, present, and future.
Haiti has always had such a long and vivid history. Our rich culture, melodious music, beautiful countryside, and delicious food has made a lasting impression on many nations.
We struggled against the French to become the first black republic to gain its independence. We struggled to establish order in our government. We struggled to find work, feed our families, and educate our children. We struggled against our international reputation as “the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.” We struggled against the stereotypes placed upon those who immigrated to the United States to better themselves and the lives of their family. We struggled against the derogatory names and insults. We struggled against the disease we supposedly helped spread in the States.
We faced challenge after challenge, overcame one obstacle after another, and disputed allegation after allegation. We fought against poverty, hunger, and now natural disasters.
In 2008, we were struck by four consecutive hurricanes–Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. These hurricanes flooded Gonaives, washed away our crops, and killed hundreds of people and livestock.
Then on January 12, 2010, our lives were changed forever as a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked our nation. Our cries pierced the once quiet, blue skies as we mourned the loss of over 200,000 men, women, and children. Our beloved landmarks were fractured or completely destroyed as if a reflection of our broken hearts. We stood death straight in the eye. Many perished but many more persevered.
Today, with the help of our international friends, we are rebuilding our land. The Haitian people are UNITED now more than ever. Haitian or not, this is a team effort. The words etched on our flag remind us of what we can accomplish when we work together. “L’union fait la force” is not just our motto, it is our way of life.
We stand in solidarity, pledging our lifelong commitment to the rebuilding of Haiti. Our beloved country will rise once again. This is the time where we must set aside our differences and work collaboratively to preserve the land of our ancestors. Their unity led to one of the largest slave rebellions ever recorded in history. They had one vision in mind, FREEDOM! Together, they attained it. Do not let their courage and bloodshed be in vain. Haiti must rise again.
Remember the words of our national anthem, “La Dessalinienne.” For our country, for our forefathers, united let us march…for our forbears, for our country, let us toil joyfully. May the fields be fertile and our souls take courage. For our country and our forefathers, let us train our sons. Free, strong, prosperous, we shall always be as brothers.
Let us unite with one vision in mind, to lift Haiti to new heights. We owe it to our children, our parents, grandparents, and the many generations who came before them.
God has blessed us tremendously. He has a greater purpose for our nation, our people. We are faithful and resilient.
Despite our adversities, the Haitian people will continue to press forward.
Author: Kristia M. Beaubrun