By Jean H Charles
I have been in a depressive mode lately in looking at the state of the state of the world in general, and my own country, Haiti, in particular. As usual in a perfunctory manner, each October on or around this time, the United Nations through its Security Council renews the mandate of the United Nations military intervention in Haiti with a friendly pat that it has been doing too much of an excellent job to call for a recall of the troops. Yet at a cost of $865 million per year, with $3.5 billion spent so far, the UN force has very little to show for its twenty years on and of military presence in Haiti.
Jean H Charles MSW, JD is Executive Director of AINDOH Inc a non profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol
Indeed the country is today, according to the Wall Street Journal, the poorest one in the globe.
I have learned recently from authorized sources that Brazil is spangling several decorations on its chest because of its achievement in the command of the military detachment in the country. It can now be on the short list of contenders for a permanent seat on the Security Council.
The learned as well as the unlearned observer would quickly conclude after a week spent in Haiti that the UN military intervention in the country might be the biggest international cottage industry scam against a small nation in dire need of nation building skills as well as the rebuilding of its own military force to combat drug trafficking, prevent natural disasters and serve as a first rescuer in the hurricane prone country.
The horde of NGOs that still ramble all over Haiti after the devastating earthquake has not put a dent in the extreme misery of the Haitian population. Each time I ventured outside of my home to observe these resilient men and women who refuse to give up on life, hoping for a better future, I have this strange feeling of hope and desperation.
Outside in the wider world, the hoopla in the Muslim world over the 13-minute, badly edited movie of a Coptic Christian zealot against the Prophet Mohammed has died down. The hurricane season in the Caribbean, albeit not completely over, has not caused major damage in the region. The dry season in the United States especially the Mid-West, the food basket of the world, is already causing price increase in the major commodities, especially such staples as corn and soybean.
In the United States, a crucial election will take place. The American people will decide whether to give a second term to Barack Obama, who was enthroned in the first place to take care of the black issue in the United States and in the rest of the world; using the lowest standard of evaluation, he has failed badly in that mission in the United States, in the Caribbean and in Africa.
Mitt Romney, the poster boy who succeeded in rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympics from disaster in Salt Lake City is suffering from an aura of deficit in the country stamped upon the Republican Party that became more like the Democratic Party since the departure of Ronald Reagan in 1989 some twenty three years ago. Both parties have been conducting two wars with a gobbling deficit leading the States and the world into a spiral meltdown since George Bush senior.
In the rest of the world, the Syrian people are still enduring the demonic mandate of its President Bashar-al- Assad, who insists per fas et nefas: his entire nation can be exterminated as long as he shall remain in power.
In Europe, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are in a convulsive mode because of austerity measures imposed by Angela Merkel of Germany, the lender of last resort.
In Africa, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which awards the amount of $5 million plus $200,000 for life per year to a leader of the Continent who demonstrated good governance and caring for his people during his leadership, could not find any candidate eligible for the prize amongst all the 53 countries of Africa. (I have asked the Foundation to extend the eligibility to the leaders of the Caribbean and maybe the region will become at last what it was meant to be, and a paradise for tourists and for its citizens!)
Here we are, in October when the august body in Norway, the Nobel Committee looks at the state of the world and confers an award on the man, the woman or the institution that has advanced further the cause of peace, harmony and prosperity in the world.
The choice has fallen upon the European Community, the EU as it is usually called.
In my calendar of topics to choose for my weekly essay, I have targeted the EU as a winner to showcase and here, as a confirmation of my premonition, the most coveted award, the Peace Prize of the Nobel Committee, has been given to the EU.
Here what I wrote a year ago in Caribbean News Now under this byline:
“I used to be a fervent admirer of the European Union. It invaded Greece to bring civilization to the motherland of civilization. It spread into Italy to rein in the culture of Sicily, as such preserving the nation. It is present well beyond the borders of Europe; in Haiti it is funding roads, infrastructure and agriculture. It is found in the Caribbean, in Latin America, in Africa and in Asia, delivering goods like Santa to all governments good and bad, hoping to create an aura of good faith and wellness throughout the world”.
Caribbean News Now, December 15, 2011
My anecdotal encounter with the EU was when Greece was finally admitted into the EU around the year 2000, a good friend of mine, Captain Dimitri from Greece told me millions from the EU is being lavished onto Greece to try to improve the living condition of its citizens but the local politicians have been using the money for corruption and living high, including inflationary pension costs to most.
The European Community, an institution since its conception in 1945 after the Second World War with six founders, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Netherlands, was created to bring peace, prosperity and harmony not only to Europe but throughout the globe. It has evolved now into a community of 27 nations. The Treaty of Rome in 1958 introduced the Common Market; it matured in the sixties with the Merger Treaty that brought joint control over food quality and production with no border control between members. The seventies brought into the Union, Portugal and Spain, freshly liberated from their dictatorial governments.
The Schengen treaty in 1985 and the Maastricht one in 1993 spread throughout Europe the free flow of goods and persons within a community of 500 million, people larger than the United States with a gross national product of $17.6 trillion, representing 20% of the world business.
To become a member of the European Union, a nation must have a regime that was elected democratically, with a stable democracy, respecting human rights and the rule of law as well as the principles of a market economy with competition as a guide.
Perusing the literature on EU operations in Haiti, I found they are spending 257 million Euros in the country in programs that include infrastructure, roads building, governance, support to the national budget and bi-national cooperation with the Dominican Republic.
Personally I wish to admit that the cream on top of the cake in Haiti has been the EU. The road from the border town of Ouanaminthe to Cap-Haitian was a nightmare for years; it is now a pleasant outing. The road to Hinche, (Highway no 3) is a hedonistic experience for nature lovers. Funding is on the way to link Hinche with Cap Haitian making the travel from south to north of Haiti a first class venture for the first time in the country 200 years life span.
Yet the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to EU is for a work in progress. The EU will deserve the coveted prize when, in its funding to the nations of the world, it includes money to create nations out of the separate entities that form one country. The people of one nation must learn to gaze on the glory of its past and join hands to build the future together.
In that sense I am nominating the first and former prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew as the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize winner. He has accomplished that feat in the peninsula that includes Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. On his 90th birthday, it will be a prize well deserved!