Pretending that Haiti is safe isn't what we need right now
Updated: Jan 23
Trigger warning: Text mentions kidnapping and rape.
I'm exhausted. Exhausted and stressed. The other day I told Hubs that I haven't felt this constant stress about Haiti since 2004—I still lived there and kidnapping was ramping up. I'm worried, and I can't shake the feeling.
People are scared. The government is showing no signs that they care. People are going about their business knowing full well that they could be the next victim.
I've resorted to hoping and praying that my family and friends make it home safely every day.
Meanwhile, there's a faction of the dyaspora who are reminding us that people get kidnapped everywhere else on the planet. That we're making the country less attractive for tourists. That they just came back from a 10-day vacation in Haiti and that they felt safe the entire time.
I try not to curse people out here, but... Lanmèd!
Yes, kidnapping happens everywhere else on the planet. But it doesn't make the act any less appalling.
Yes, tourists may not wish to visit Haiti. Why does a tourist's opinion matter more than that of the population? Why do appearances matter more than the actual wellbeing of the population?
Not too long ago I saw a fellow dyaspora being very perturbed by an anti-kidnapping march. That person went as far as calling it a riot. First, eff you. Second, people have a right to demand better living conditions. Third, it's so easy to complain for protests and sit-ins, when you don't have to deal with the things people are speaking up against.
Yes, your trip turned out fine and nothing bad happened to you. I'm genuinely happy for you. But while you were there, Evelyne got kidnapped, raped and murdered.
And, of course, your 10-day trip was be bomb. You were only there for 10 days! Accept that your reality, as a visitor, may not be that of a person who actually has to deal with the stress on a daily basis.
This post isn't about warning people about travelling to Haiti. This post isn't telling you not to encourage others to visit our homeland. This post isn't even meant to scare you.
This post is simply meant to ask you to pay attention to what is going on and to be more empathetic, and to stop pretending that Haiti is safe.