Letters & Opinion

Back-to-Basics from a Dose of Daylight Darkness!

Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

It’s Back-to-Basics across The Americas and the Caribbean following the latest total eclipse of the sun by the moon last Monday, April 8, 2024, that left tens of millions experiencing the thrill of daylight darkness for just-over four minutes, even if just-watching could have affected their sight forever.

On Monday, millions crowded into special places in Mexico, the USA and Canada – and some parts of the northern Caribbean – to catch a rare glimpse of what’s always described as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event each time it happens.

Like with everything-else that really excites people everywhere, this strange meteorological phenomenon has become a thriving industry, starting with the sky-rising profitable sales margins from special ‘eclipse glasses’ that supposedly shield anxious viewers from possible harmful effects of the invisible rays.

In the states, towns and villages in Mexico, the US and Canada — where the eclipse would best be seen – ‘Eclipse Tourism’ also kicked-in.

The 2024 eclipse was first seen in Mazatlan in Mexico, then a-thousand-miles-away in Dallas, Texas, after which it plunged the state of Ohio into darkness.

Eclipse Tourism figures also zoomed skyward on both sides of the Niagara Falls, where the eclipse crossed from the USA into Canada.

The event was also observed in many different interesting ways, including a mass wedding.

According to a BBC Report, “In Russellville, Arkansas, 300 couples from across the country signed up, saying ‘I do’ just before the sky went black. And as the sky brightened, the group cut wedding cakes and danced — all part of the aptly-named ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ festival.”

Unfortunately, however, the lunar and solar phenomenon also eclipsed attention across The America and the Caribbean, even though (and thankfully) very briefly about everything-else.

For example, as the millions spent four minutes slipping and staring into darkness on Monday, none remembered (or seemingly cared to) that on that same day 220 years earlier (April 8, 1804) Haiti made its historic Declaration of Independence, with the deadly theme ‘Freedom or Death’.

Nor did most seem to care that even as they stared into nothingness, an entire people — in neighbouring Haiti – were and are still being treated like nothing in their own homes and homeland, no-less than the Palestinians in Gaza.

Haitians aren’t being bombed from the skies, but nor are they being ‘barbecued and eaten’ by ‘murderous gangs’ ‘raping and killing women and children’ and which now ‘want to take control’ of Haiti.

The myths about Haiti are many, but the lies and propaganda are worse than ever today, with Haitians still being largely seen and regarded among too-many, as less-than-human beings, eternally ignorant and born to starve, from birth to death, in the forever-poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

But, as with all countries that have had genuine revolutions, not all that’s shown and heard about Haiti is always true – yes, not even all seen with bare eyes — because what’s seen is usually what’s shown.

Last Monday, while the world stared at the total eclipse, the two leaders of the joint paramilitary forces in control of the Haitian capital, Port au Prince, reminded the world that (after the eclipse) their attention will still have to return to the fact that his forces oppose any foreign intervention, whether by the USA, France or Canada, Kenya or CARICOM.

In the days since, more people everywhere, including Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda Gaston Brown, have been stating the obvious: that those planning Haiti’s future must speak to the armed groups controlling the city, the airports and all the capital’s infrastructure.

In the meantime, the outgoing government is playing cat-and-mouse with the incoming proposed transitional administrative administration, the former questioning the constitutionality of the latter — and thus delaying the transition that’s a condition for activation of the March resignation by outgoing Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

CARICOM is united in leading the engagements with the Haitians associated with the proposed provisional council, but divided in their levels of commitment to participation in the proposed Multinational Security Force (MSF).

Trinidad & Tobago has indicated it will not send soldiers to Haiti, but Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas and Jamaica have been named as willing to participate in the MSF, while the majority of other CARIOM member-states are still biding time over whether and/or how-to.

In the meantime, while many are still talking about having safely watched the eclipse on TV, Canadian soldiers have started training Caribbean personnel at a special base in Jamaica, to participate in ‘peace-keeping’ in Haiti through the proposed MSF, increasingly-funded by the USA.

The US is providing arms and other military/security support to Canada for the training, while some nations in South America also express willingness to join the MSF.

El Salvador, for example, says it will relocate its soldiers in Mali to Haiti; and Gambia is also willing to send troops.

So, while CARICOM is talking about and planning a peaceful transition through free and fair elections in two years’ time, other nations are not-so-secretly preparing to land boots and guns in Haiti once again, with UN backing — but without UN troops.

There are already unspecified numbers of American and Canadian troops in Haiti, dispatched to ‘protect’ US and Canadian ‘interests’ and ‘citizens’.

But all of that was completely ignored during Monday’s daylight darkness, leaving Haiti totally-eclipsed from the hearts of millions in The Americas and The Caribbean who simply don’t know Haiti’s rich history!

Yet, it’s not only Haiti that was eclipsed on Monday…

So was the end of the Holy Lenten and Ramadan seasons for Muslims and Christians, especially in Palestine, where neither could have broken their fasts in usual manner, but rather in rubble, outside demolished churches and mosques, or in bare streets — and all under relentless Israeli fire.

Clearly, while millions watched-away, Israel’s slaughter continued — and its backers continued delivering arms while talking about providing alms for the victims of its genocidal apartheid.

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