Like many Haitian-Americans, Guy Bocicaut was surprised Sunday to hear that former dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier had returned after 25 years in self-imposed exile. "With his return, I have mixed feelings," said Bocicaut, a Norwalk realtor who worships at the Stamford Church of Christ. "I am hoping for the best, but based on past experience we just don't know what's coming."
Bocicaut left Haiti 32 years ago and has been back three times since the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. Asked about his feelings, he wrote a letter to The Daily Norwalk to explain. It is printed in its entirety below:
It is often in the darkest moment of a country's history that it finds its way to the light. The return of Baby Doc Duvalier to Haiti after the earthquake of a year ago and in the middle of a disastrous election is probably Haiti's darkest hour. Yet, it can also be the best chance Haiti will ever have to start a new political culture that is rooted in peace- building, forgiveness and reconciliation. What I think would help the country a great deal at this troubled time is an open and honest dialogue between Duvalier, the victims of his government and Aristide, the ousted president. We, as a nation, will never experience political stability until such time as we renounce vengeance and violence.
I don't know if I am qualified to call for forgiveness since I was never victim of any political injustice. However, I remain convinced that forgiveness and reconciliation are our only chance. I would love to see victims like Patrick Lemoine (author/subject of "Fort Dimanche Dungeon of Death" ), the Sansaricqs and many others call for a national day of reconciliation and peace building.
Another thing I think we, Haitians, need to realized and to work on collectively is that Haitian governments -- past or present -- are a reflection of who we are as people. The people who make up the government do not come from other planets. They are the very product of Haiti. It is time for each and every one of us to start taking responsibility to be the change we want to see in Haiti. Honest people will make honest government. Caring people will make caring government. In light of the political history of our nation, we seriously need to start looking introspectively. We need to start focusing on what we are doing to each other instead of what other nations are doing to us. Growing up, I was told that the Duvaliers were the cancer of Haiti. If that were true then, why is that twenty-five years after Baby Doc left Haiti, the country is ten times worse than when he was in power.
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