Not only do UN troops continue to rain teargas and rubber bullets on protesters in Petionville, but it's also literally raining. An off-season morning rain is unusual on both counts. I can't help but wonder if the rain is intentional - Creator and Creation trying to keep things calm. The sound of the rain mostly masks the noise of a protest taking place in the Petionville market, about 500 feet from where I sit, also protesting.
I may not be out in the streets, but as a foreigner that cares about this country and whose job it is to advocate for structural justice, I protest too. From my couch and on my laptop, I protest election results that maintain the status quo in direct opposition of the will of the Haitian people. I protest the morning's headlines that read, "Haiti protests blocking relief efforts" and "Demonstrations in Haiti Crimp Northwest Aid Efforts," as if this story is about us, unable to fix Haiti because the Haitians that we're here to save won't stop burning tires. I protest the headline that reads "Supporters of losing Haiti candidate take to the streets," as if Michel Martelly is a sore loser; whereas from my perspective, this isn't about Martelly at all. It's about the right to vote. I protest the narrative that insinuates that it's somehow Haitians' fault that they have no voice. To be fair, I also protest the narrative that insinuates that the situation in Haiti is entirely the fault of NGOs and donor countries and multilateral institutions (not that we don't have a lot to do with it). I protest the perception that all of the demonstrations taking place are violent. I also protest that many of them are - and not just when provoked by UN soldiers - and this makes me sad.
In the midst of all of this protesting, I feel pretty powerless. And yet, as a foreigner with a laptop that works for an NGO and has access to advocacy offices in DC, Ottawa and at the UN, I sadly have a hell of a lot more power than the thousands of people in the streets who are being disparaged by the international media while they face tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades in the rain to fight for their right to make their voices heard. And so do you.
We need to try hear beyond the news headlines and join in these protests by demanding that our governments (who funded 3/4 of these elections) assist in efforts to review election fraud and pressure the Haitian government to release legitimate final election results.