Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ordered violation.

There is much eulogizing in Canada of Mark Bourque, the retired RCMP cop killed near the 'no-go zone' of Cite Soleil, Porte-au-Prince.

(no-go zone... How many times does that term come up in the media as shorthand for areas under the full force of colonial repression?)

from the Canadian Press service:

"Mark Bourque, who spent most of his career in the RCMP fighting organized crime, was remembered Wednesday as a spiritual man who gave up his retirement to help bring order to Haiti."

What sort of order did this spiritual man help to bring? Elections? What sort of order is 'brought' to Haiti--while the media construct the familar racist fable of how a people black and poor must be criminal, and thus Haiti must face the full force of order--a pre-packaged narrative like that presented about New Orleans...

UN forces continue to engage in massacres of poor Haitians. Canadian RCMP officers are there to train and work hand-in-hand with the HNP police forces -- read death squads, who have picked up where the anti-Lavalas paramilitaries left off after the coup. And the principal targets for maximum violence are poor women. Some Haitian women have told their stories to San Franciso Bay View journalist Lyn Duff.


"My name is Maria, and I’m a survivor of rape from the neighborhood of Martissant in Port-au-Prince. Right now I’m working with other women who have been victimized during this period of insecurity that began with the departure of President Aristide in 2004.

The situation the past year has been extraordinary. The repression against women has been taken to a new level, one that we did not experience in the last coup of 1991-1994. Twelve years ago, when the former military was in power, rape was used to terrorize. But today, today it is a whole different story. Today it is more horrible than anyone could have imagined...

...The goal of the rapist is not to take sex. The goal of the rapist is political. He wants to kill the memory of a different Haiti – he wants to kill the part of us that holds on to the demand that we had a few years ago for dignity.

The rapist does this by being invisible. He attacks at night or during the day – you don’t know when to expect him. He wears a mask and carries a gun. Even if you recognize his voice or if he is a police officer and does not bother to cover his face, you know that the person who is raping you is the very person who is charged with protecting you. So you know that you have nowhere to complain.

The goal of the rapist is to take over your mind so that you begin to believe his lie: That it is your fault you are being violated. The lie is that you are repressed because of who you are and if you would stop being a person from the popular zones, a person who has no money and no dignity, then you would not be violated. But you cannot change who you are.

It’s the fact that you are alive and breathe air that offends him. Eventually, you are so worn down by this war in your head that you begin to believe the lie and you hate yourself for being from the popular zones. You stop being able to remember who your enemy is. And that is when the rapist wins.

This war is between two ideas. One idea is that every one has dignity and is a child of God – that every person is somebody and has worth and deserves respect. The other is that the Haitian people cannot think for themselves, they should be controlled and repressed because the people from the popular zones are those who voted for Aristide and he is responsible for the small problems of the wealthy.

This is very important for us to share with foreigners because they need to know the situation of the women from the popular zones. And when a woman tells her story and hears that the foreigner is on her side, she remembers that being violated is not her fault."


They violated me. [When it was happening] I closed my eyes and waited for them to finish... One of the men told me to open my eyes and look at him while he [raped me]. I didn’t want to look at him. They hit me when I cried.”

Marjory is part of a growing number of girls and young women who human rights investigators say have been victims of mass rape committed by members of the disbanded military and their compatriots who patrol the countryside and Haiti’s cities, hunting down supporters of Haiti’s fledgling pro-democracy movement.

Marjory says she was targeted because her father’s trade union organized against a wealthy businessman and because her parents are members of Lavalas, the political party led by Jean Bertrand Aristide. Other victims say they were targeted because they or their family members belong to other pro-democracy political organizations or because they work with peasant unions or local women’s groups.

“Rape is becoming a common tool of oppression,” explains attorney Mario Joseph whose organization Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) has investigated hundreds of human rights cases in the past year. Joseph, who assisted in the prosecution of the human rights crimes committed during the last coup says that it is discouraging to see the number of convicted human rights violators who are now walking free and serving in the new American-installed interim government.

“Women and young girls are raped because their father or another relative is a member of Lavalas or is targeted [by the political opposition]. They are raped as a form of punishment. The victims do not feel they can go to the police for help with their problems because in many areas the people who victimized them are the ones running the show; they are the ones patrolling the streets as if they are police, committing crimes with impunity under the eyes of the UN. And even in Port-au-Prince, the former military has been hired into the national police force.”

According to Charles Leon, chief of the Haitian National Police, 500 former members of the Haitian Army have been integrated into the police force, with plans for an additional 500-1000 former soldiers to be hired within the next year. Haiti’s army was disbanded in 1994 by then President Jean Bertrand Aristide after soldiers committed numerous human rights violations, including mass rapes, during the 1991-94 coup.

United Nations soldiers have also been accused of participating in sexual attacks."

What sort of order has been created to rescue Haiti from its so-called 'failed-state status', a status that justifies 'humanitarian intervention'?

A colonial state of prison camps, torture, rape, murder, and the limitless potential for profit for the wealthy of Haiti, Canada, France and the US.

Rape orchestrated by the forces of order is not peculiar to Haiti. It happened in New Orleans too. The rape of black women, poor women, did happen, is happening. It was not a fantasy, But the media's story was. The fantasy was in who did the raping. It was not a media-ready-made-fantasy-black-criminal-underclass-mass bent on lust, "that cannot think for themselves, they should be controlled and repressed"... rather, it was the forces of order sent to contain and control.


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