I have no love for Jean Claude Duvalier. I have great admiration for Jean-Bertrand Aristide. And I have no idea what the return of either to Haiti means. Duvalier has returned a broken man but no one knows what he is capable of, even broken. Aristide returns he says to teach, but how will he teach, and who?
Haiti is facing into the second round of elections this weekend. It would be an act of mercy if neither Duvalier nor Aristide would opine as to who ought to be elected. It would be an act of grace if they would both encourage every Haitian who can vote to vote. That may be hard to do, given that Jean Claude has never before put much stock in the vote and that Jean-Bertrand's party was disallowed in this election. But perhaps grace and mercy will come.
Haiti has been promised support for the total restructuring of the country but much of what was promised has not come. The stability factor, so dear to the hearts of "responsible" givers, is not yet present in Haiti.
With the destruction and deaths in Japan and New Zealand we can better understand that catastrophe can come everywhere and anywhere. We can also see the difference in the ways that stable social and economic systems deal with calamity. The devastation and death in both New Zealand and Japan have been met by coherent strategies for rescue, support and recovery. The attempts to return to the old "normal" or even a "new normal," include basic assumptions of social and economic structure - electricity, water, shelter, public services, etc. The assumption is that they will eventually be provided.
In Haiti the "normal" was without these structural norms, and the "new normal" continues the same, leaving Haiti in the same mess as before, only with 200,000 dead and many more hundreds of thousands displaced, and no relief in sight.
Duvalier and Aristide are not what was promised by all the concerned governments and peoples of the world who promised, and in many cases carried through with promises, of, aid. They are the remnants of hopes (or fears) of the old normal, and perhaps they reach into the future to tempt or encourage a new normal of one sort or another.
The question remains: Why are they there?
Pray for Haiti during the elections, pray for Japan and New Zealand and all places of sorrow and grief.