Haiti On Fire Part II: A Message For Barbecue: Be Like Malcolm X

By Dr. Ron Daniels\Vantage Point Vignettes

Photos: Wikimedia Commons\YouTube Screenshots

Haiti is on fire now in large part because of the terrorism being inflicted on the First Black Republic by a notorious gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, who goes by the name “Barbecue.” For months a heavily armed coalition of gangs called the G-9 Alliance under his command has controlled the majority of the Capital of Port Au Prince. But it is the most recent brazen attacks on police stations, government offices, the airport, the seaport, hospitals, pharmacies, schools and prisons where thousands of inmates were released that has catapulted Barbecue into the international news. The world is now his stage as he boldly strides around giving interviews to the BBC, CNN, MSNBC and journalists from news outlets everywhere.

Barbecue claims to be interested in rescuing the nation from a parasitical elite and corrupt politicians. He recently threatened “civil war” if the current illegitimate Prime Minister Ariel Henry does not resign. Henry is presently stuck in Puerto Rico and unable to return to the country. Under pressure, he has agreed to resign once a Presidential Counsel is formed to select an Interim Government. This development has not deterred Barbecue’s militia from “barbecuing” hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the Capital region, wreaking deadly havoc on women, children and the elderly, causing what the U.N. is declaring a humanitarian disaster.

Barbecue is a bad man, a death dealing bandit who must be neutralized, deterred, or persuaded to discontinue his horrific behavior. Is there any hope for redemption, reformation, transformation of Barbecue? He’s a former officer in the Haitian National Police, who was fired for police misconduct and brutality. He has also been accused of participating in several massacres. Barbecue has expressed his admiration for the ruthless dictator, Jean Claude “Popa Doc” Duvalier, who ruled Haiti with a bloody iron fist from 1957 – 1971. But, when I first read about the mysterious Barbecue, he was quoting Malcolm X. Apparently, he also fancies himself a modern-day Black Robin Hood, attacking the elite in defense of Haiti’s impoverished masses. This Jekyll and Hyde political persona doesn’t add up?

Haiti is on fire and Barbecue’s G-9 militia constitutes an existential threat to the current plan and process by the Montana Accord Movement and its allies (which I support) to create a path towards a genuine, Haitian conceived democracy. In a recent article in Reuters, University of Virginia Haiti politics expert Robert Fatton said even if there is a different kind of government, “the reality is that you need to talk to the gangs.” Professor Fatton concluded: “If they have that supremacy, and there is no countervailing force, it’s no longer a question if you want them at the table,” he said. “They may just take the table.” That’s not good. There must be a way out of this dilemma.

Perhaps, there is hope in the Malcolm X side of Barbecue’s persona. Malcolm never committed the kind of atrocities that Barbecue is accused of committing. But, as Alex Haley notes in The Autobiography of Malcolm X, “He rose from a hoodlum, thief, dope peddler, pimp… to become the most dynamic leader of the Black Revolution.” I confess that this may be naïve on my part, but perhaps Barbecue can be induced, incentivized to dramatically and productively change his behavior. Perhaps, he is not beyond redemption. Not that he will hear it, but in my summary remarks at a recent Forum/Rally on Resolving the Crisis in Haiti at the historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC, I challenged Barbecue to “stop quoting Malcolm and start acting like Malcolm.”

My message to Barbecue is, in the spirit of Malcolm X, stop terrorizing the people and start defending the people; stop destroying neighborhoods and communities and start building and preserving them; become a true liberator by directing your militia to feed, cloth, educate and provide healthcare for the people like the Black Panther Party did in the era of the 60’s in the U.S. They were inspired by Malcolm.

There are likely institutions and leaders in Haiti, beginning with the faith community, that are willing to extend a hand to encourage you and your allies to engage in a process of truth and reconciliation to heal the wounds of the first Black Republic inflicted by your forces. The ultimate outcome could be an exchange of guns for jobs and social economic benefits which your transformed organization could dispense. It’s that “swords into ploughshares” thing.

Come to the Table Barbecue and use your ingenuity and leadership skills to develop social and economic programs to enhance the education, skills and opportunities of the people as part of a process of building the new Haiti. The choice is yours. Be like Malcolm and become an agent for liberation and development or become a pariah, a social outcast whose legacy will be death and destruction heaped on your own people. The choice is yours!

READ HAITI ON FIRE PART#1

Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Founder of the Haiti Support Project and Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus, York College City University of New York. His articles and essays appear on the IBW website www.ibw21.org. His weekly radio show Vantage Point can be heard Mondays 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST, USA on WBAI, 99.5 FM, Pacifica in New York, streaming live via www.ibw21.org. To send a message, arrange media interviews or speaking engagements, Dr. Daniels can be reached via email at [email protected] 

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