Reflections From The Red Zone (Peaceful Demonstrations)

By: Richard Morse 

The concept of a peaceful demonstration is something that I’m having a hard
time wrapping my brain around.

In order to get thousands of protesting people in the streets, something
certainly must have gone wrong. I would suppose unfair economic, social or
political practices are usually the main cause of protests.

My question; is an unfair economic policy akin to violence?

When the U.S. started dumping rice and sugar into the Haitian economy, was
it economic warfare? Violence? Were the small Haitian farmers represented
at the import/export meetings or were the meetings simply attended by
Haiti’s economic elites and political carpetbaggers who would be made to
benefit from the new policy?

The Haitian American Sugar Corporation has been replaced with tanks of
petroleum reserves. Do we know how that deal was made? Is that violence? Is
it compensation? How many farmers were positively affected by sudden
transition to importing sugar? Are the farmers receiving compensation?
Someone obviously is.

When the import policy was conjured up, it was either done at a meeting
behind closed doors or an intimate restaurant in a setting that could be
only be described as non violent. Unfortunately the sectors of the
population that are violently assaulted by the policies can only have a
very non intimate public reaction in the Streets. The people negatively
affected by policy can’t simply have a quiet meeting in an intimate
restaurant and undo the policy.

They have to react very publicly.

What happened with the PetroCaribe funds? Who’s going to find out? Who’s
going to pay? Is this violence? What happened to the Earthquake funds? Is
the disappearance of these funds a violent act? War? A billionaire gets a
new hotel but so many of the displaced earthquake victims are living in
below poverty conditions. Is this violence?

So what happens when people take to the streets for non violent
Can five thousand people marching up a street be a non violent act? Is it a
threat? Is it self defense? Five thousand people willing to risk everything
in order to make a point, or make a change, is that violence? They’re
willing to risk getting shot, tear gassed, beaten, arrested, blamed for
violence.. Aren’t there better things to do during the course of the day
than go demonstrating? Why are they out there?

What happens when police try to disperse the crowd of 5 thousand with tear
gas and rubber bullets? Is that violence? Are we at war? Is Haiti at war
with itself? When did the war start?
Did the war begin when some people had a meeting and decided to dump
imports, when the parliament gave itself a raise, or did the war start when
the 5 thousand people took to the streets?

How about infiltrators? What happens when a peaceful demonstration is
infiltrated by opposition forces in an attempt to discredit the movement?
Who is to be held responsible? Who’s responsible if a demonstrator gets
killed? What if an infiltrator gets killed, then who’s responsible? Who
pays the price?

How about night time retribution that never makes it to the media. Men in
black masks armed with guns and machetes trying to seek out and destroy a
popular movement? Is the silent media escalating the violence by
selectively choosing what’s news and what isn’t news. How much of this is
violence, how much is non violence?

After years of
*unfair economic policies,
*lack of electoral justice,
*disappearing relief funds,
*forcing Haitian farmers to abandon their land and livelihoods in order to
become non land owning potential factory employees at unfair wages..

….After years of abuse, the Haitian people are once again taking to the
streets in 2017. The poorest people in the Hemisphere, under the grips of a
monopolistic economic elite that refuses to consider the needs of anyone
but themselves, are trying their best to rectify a bad situation. Who’s
side is Washington on? Who’s side are you on?

There is no such thing as non violence.
There are levels of violence, stages of violence, reactions to
violence..but non violence? Not possible.

Justice? Perhaps that’s possible. We don’t know yet.

Alas, just being a musician means I no longer have to worry about these
Our new album RAM7 has been recorded, the art work is nearly done.

Cordially and non violently yours,