Aristide’s Letter

Today I just read a letter coming from the pen of the former President of Haiti, Jean Bertrand-Aristide. ( He did not send it directly to me:)Read it below:

P. Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Pretoria, South Africa

Dear Friends,

May the spirit of International Day in Solidarity with
the
Haitian People continue to spread!

If the more than 10,000 people killed in the 18 months that followed
the
February 29, 2004 coup d’état could speak, what would they say?
Would they
join voices with the young women raped and sexually assaulted since the
coup?
Would they remind us that these women are estimated to constitute half
the
population of Haiti ’s shanty towns? Would they unite with the
voices of the
3,200 people imprisoned in a National Penitentiary built to hold 1,200
prisoners? And what of the countless others who were inhumanely abused
and now
clearly betrayed? What would their message be?

They would rise in chorus with Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine to say Mési,
thank
you, for the solidarity demonstrated four years later.

Because they cannot, I will: Thank you.

Thank you to each and every participant in the 56
actions
organized in 47 cities across four continents as part of the 3rd
International
Day of Solidarity. Your solidarity strengthens the people’s
determination to
continue to affirm human dignity and struggle for true democracy,
justice and
peace.

United to all our Haitian sisters and brothers who, on
that same
day, condemned the kidnapping of February 29, 2004 and called for our
return to
Haiti, let us continue to drink from this historical stream of
solidarity with
grateful thanks to our mother Haiti. “Gratitude is the least of the
virtues but
ingratitude is the worst of the vices.”

Ab imo pectore, from the bottom of my heart,

Dr.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Pretoria
, March 11, 2008

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What is History?

I’m current reading John Tosh’s The Pursuit of History. The book provides a general introduction to the discipline of History. A few thoughts have captured my attention in many regards. First of all, Tosh reviews the main tenets of E. H. Carr’s work: “What is History,” in which he notes several important points. According to Carr, “History was an unending dialogue between the past and the present.” In this aspect, the present is interpreted by the past and its existence is contingent and depends on past events. In other words, the present can only be meaningful when it is studied in light of the past. Carr could also observe further that History is, ” To learn about the present in the light of the past means also to learn about the past in the light of the present. The function of history is to promote a profounder understanding of both past and present through the interrelation between them” (62). Hence, we could also conclude that the present and past complement each other in respect to their interrelationship and interdependence. So what is the job of the historian? It is to reconstruct the past against the background of its historical milieu. But, that is not the only job of the historian. The historian expect labors to find continuity and discontinuity between the present and the past. The reconstruction of past events is a matter of the historian’s preference, discrimnation, and careful selection of (his)source materials. Moreover, Carr has also demonstrated that, “At every level of historical enquiry, from the choice of source materials through to the finished work of history, the present intrudes on the reconstruction of the past” ( Tosh, What is History,? Xii.