To be fed, clothed, and bandaged by the same hands that flog you to your soul-reaving labours: that's what it is to be a slave.
Haiti's new ghosts, wafting out of freshly-dug mass graves, are joining hands with the ghosts who have haunted that tragic nation since the fall of Louverture--the self-manumitted spirits of those who fell while fighting to be free. They were not slaves: their struggle unshackled their souls before their deaths unshackled their bonded bodies. By proudly refusing the lash, they forsook also their masters' meat.
I can see those lordly, magnificent old ghosts sadly drawing into their phantom fold the freshly perished thousands and weeping over the slave-like lot to which their blighted lives had been consigned, despite the brilliant triumph of Louverture's legions. For the newly dead were slaves.
They were slaves when they watched helplessly as American grandees deposed and cast into exile the prime minister they had so arrogantly presumed to choose; they were slaves when--shortly after setting forth upon their bright new Aristide-free dispensation--they were reduced to eating dirt under the watchful eyes of heroic Western "nation-builders". They've been slaves throughout the tear-drenched chronicle of catastrophically cynical American interventionism that the last ten decades have scrawled in blood upon Haiti's petrified soul. And it is as slaves that they now accept our "aid" whilst lying, starving and raving, amid reeking hills of rotting corpses. They are slaves, and they are expected to bow to their masters in gratitude for the gift of their cold porridge.
Much of Haiti's porridge is ours. Much of Haiti's flogging has been ours. To any man or woman who believes that the former fact extenuates the shame of the latter, I could not without deep anxiety entrust the care of a dog.