The Metayer Brothers


From Haiti, a tale of social banditry, revolution, and revenge.

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  1. Human-rights workers alleged in 2002 that Metayer had ordered a man involved with an anti-Aristide political party to be burned to death…

    …but he was a champion to the poor here.

    Some champion. I wonder if the burnt man was anyone’s brother.

    Sounds like Metayer deserved what he got.

  2. joe

    Tell me again– why was it so important to retain Aristide?

  3. You have been selected to win a free trip to Haiti.

    The reaction to that is telling,
    even if it is be after peace.

  4. What does “social banditry” mean?

  5. “Social bandit” is Eric Hobsbawm’s term for the Robin Hood/Jesse James figure who exists outside the law but has a reputation as a champion of the dispossessed.

  6. Andrew on April 2, 2004 06:25 PM

    Could have something to do with the “Rule of Law”

    Even if the elected official is objectionable you put up with him/her until he/she can be relaced thru lawful means.

  7. “Tell me again– why was it so important to retain Aristide?”

    It wasn’t. What was important was that his power be brought to an end through an election, and the precedent of peaceful, democratic succession of power established. Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp? Do you genuinely not see a difference between my working to defeat Shrub next November, any someone organizing a gang with assault weapons to seize the White House and Capitol?

    Re: smartass Hitler remark: First, you lose the argument. Second, and once coming to power democratically, he demolished the democratic institutions that would have made him stand for reelection (and probably lose). In your reasonsing, that’s not a big deal, I guess.

  8. Joe,

    And Aristide didn’t demolish democratic institutions? The last, so called, election in Haiti was a total sham. He abolished the army and replaced them with his own personal political police force, that was used to terrorize the people as effectively as the old army ever did. But he was a leftist, so I suppose that that excuses everything in your eyes.

  9. The key issues regarding Aristide’s legitimacy and the circumstances surrounding his ouster are twofold.

    One, was the last election that he won legit?

    Two, were there alternatives within a “rule of law” framework to mob violence to effect the redress of any wrongs done by him? For instance, in the US, we have impeachment and the next election. Was either of those options viable in Haiti?

    I don’t know enough about the situation to know how those questions would be answered, but I’d say if the answers are all no, then street revolution may have been the only reasonable solution. But ultimately, democacy is only meaningful when all those questions can be answered yes.

  10. Overlord,

    The NSDAP got well under half (more like a third) of the vote. Hitler was able to put together a coalition and get the chancellorship only through a backroom deal with Hindenburg and Pappen. Had it not been for the financial backing and political support of the big German industrialists, who saw him as useful for keeping the commies down, he’d never have gotten anywhere. Without the Reichstag fire and state of emergency, he likely would have been returned to the private sector in short order.

  11. Isaac Bartram,

    Adolf Hitler came to power more or less democratically as well.

  12. “And Aristide didn’t demolish democratic institutions?”

    Yes, he sure did. And with no international oversight and the withdrawal of the programs that were building democratic institutions in Haiti, he was able to do so without anyone saying boo.

    You can keep trying to lay all the blame on Aristide, Overlord, and you can keep posing behind the idiotic “anti-thugocracy = pro-Aristide” formulation, but all it does is demostrate your lack of commitment to the concept of “a nation laws, not men.”

    BTW, I just learned that my parish priest baptized Aristide when he was an infant. Small world.

  13. Kevin Carson,

    Like I said, Hitler came to power, “more or less” democratically. My point is not that his rule was legitimate, but rather that it was illegitimate. A elected leader is not, or at least should not be, an elected dictator. Even if he had come to power through a squeaky clean process, once he assumed dictatorial powers, all his legitimacy was forfeit and the people had the right to get rid of him. The same goes for Aristide, he had become a corrupt tyrant and so the people had every right to overthrow him.

  14. Joe,

    But what’s your point? If you’re agreeing that Aristide demolished democratic institutions (whether or not you’re right blame outsiders; hey, where’s Jean Bart to point out you shouldn’t blame non-Haitians for Haitian problems?!?), doesn’t that support the notion that Haitians could not depend on the rule of law to remedy their situation?

  15. “doesn’t that support the notion that Haitians could not depend on the rule of law to remedy their situation?’

    Yes, it does. The project of growing democracy and the rule of law in Haiti was abandoned by the Bush administration, and both allowed to collapse. When the situation reached crisis level, America’s response was not to try to support those two pillars of decent society, but to hand their executioner a pistol.

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