On the very day of the horrific earthquake in Haiti, television evangelist Pat Robertson made an equally insensitive remark about the Haitians making a deal with the devil to gain their freedom from the French. This statement itself and the critical timing of the remark are in stark contrast to how God wants us to treat our fellow man. Christ has instructed his followers to love one another and help those who are less fortunate, especially in a critical situation like this.
In 1791, Haiti began a bloody revolt against French slavery. Robertson's statement may stem from what some believe-- that the revolt began with a pagan Vodou ceremony. At the time, Haiti was transitioning from a traditional pagan religion to Roman Catholicism. However one sees it, IF this ceremony was a plea for the devil's help, it took him 13 years to deliver. It was 1804, when Haiti won its freedom.
The French refused to accept Haiti as a soveriegn nation and took measures to employ other nations in the western world, including the U.S. to reject Haiti as a participant in the world trade and finances. As a result, by 1825, the 21st anniversary of Haiti's freedom, the country was bankrupt.
DEAL WITH THE FRENCH, NOT THE DEVIL
In 1825 Haiti was seeking a way to enter the world market. Haiti invited the French to a summit to help find a solution. The deal made would be the catelyst of Haiti's economic downfall. The French offered Haiti its freedom in exchange for reparations paid to the French government for ITS lost revenues --with the loss of the crops and slaves given up when Haiti won its freedom. 1922 was the year when the final payment was made. In addition to this financial debaucle, a series of corrupt dictators, overpopulation from the influx of the slave trade and constant indebtedness has led Haiti to the state of poverty that exists today.
Hopefully, the outpouring of concern for the people of Haiti in the wake of this tragedy will challenge the world to act on their responsibilities to fellow human beings. It may even give those countries that exploited Haiti to make amends and help create a world that is more tolerable for people who have suffered so much, even before the earthquake struck.
RAYS OF HOPE
Many people have already been involved in trying to provide relief to the victims of the earthquake. The outpouring of help in the wake of the current crisis has brought together many individuals of different cultures and walks of life. Fortunately, all these groups are focusing on the needs of the earthquake victims.