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27927: Re: Ferdinand: : (reply) Re: 27922 Fenton (fwd)

Anna Ferdinand

Dear Mr. Fenton,

I think you give a very good presention of the evidence that you have
uncovered.  This has been lacking in the past two years since Aristide's
removal from power.  However the audience that you were presenting the
information to had only what they had seen in the film to go on.  I lived
through the time of the "swell" against Aristide.  The first time I remember
realizing there was going to be trouble for Aristide was when the students
began marching.  I saw the opposition politicians when they had very little
backing.  It was almost a joke.  But the first student marches against
Aristide, after he had interfered in the affairs of the state university by
subverting the internal elections, were a change in the tide.  This was not
IRI sponsered.  This was in direct response to his specific actions.

To make these observations has nothing to do with my political beliefs and
everything to do with my powers of observation, of the thousands upon
thousands who were in the streets.  This reality does nothing to lessen the
truth of what you and Rossier have done a thourough job of uncovering.
Omitting it however, does nothing to help the truth.  After you spoke, a
woman next to me asked me to elaborate.  I told her of the climate of
violence and fear created by the people who admitted to having been armed by
Aristide.  She said, "well can you blame him".  In a way I don't.  I
remember some one from Cite Soleil saying to me if Aristide disarmed them
they would bring him down; they would  never let anyone come in and gun them
down again as they did during the first coup.  That was in 2002.
Unfortunatley it happened anyway.  Then there was the crew in Gonaives, once
pro- Aristide, who turned agaisnt him.  Another case in point that building
up armed supporters from out side the heirarchy can be iffy.  At any rate
she said to me, "Wow, I certainly didn't get any of that from the film or
the speaker."

I am an avid Democracy Now listener, have been for years, and felt the same
way about her coverage.  The reality of what was going on in the streets was
completely lacking in the same manner you accuse the mainstream media.  As
journalists it was our job to be present in those marches where cascading
rocks, armed attacks and gas from the police were par for the course.  These
were always absent from the Lavalas marches who were safe to march in the

The day after the Lavalas crew broke into a University building terrorizing
the people inside, destroying books and computers and smashing the knees of
the rector, I followed the Lavalas crew who were holding five fingers in the
air.  It was simple.  That is what I believed, that Aristide should finish
his  term and if they could just let well enough alone, there could be
peace. But suddenly it had gone too far.   I held up two fingers in the air,
a peace sign, but also a sign for two more years, the remainder of his term.
I just got angry glances until I explained. I wished somehow it had caught
on.  The reality was that it was a hard time to fight for crystal clear
ideals in such a dirty rotten atmosphere, coming from all sides.

It's easy to speak to a group of well intentioned people who don't have the
whole story.  I had hoped for a more rounded discussion and did feel I had
been clipped off a little prematurely. That feeling does not take away from
the fact that you have done a wonderful job in bringing out the story where
Aristide had little control. In the face of such an obviously racist and
dominant system, he would have truly had to have been a savoir.