Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mini-Review of “An Unbroken Agony” by Randall Robinson – A Troubling Look at a Troubled Nation

I respect the work that Randall Robinson has done over the years. As Founder of TransAfrica, he put enormous pressure on South Africa to end Apartheid. In the early ‘80’s, when we lived in the D.C. area, on several occasions my family and I joined him picketing at the South African Embassy. So, I was looking forward to reading his treatment of the recent history of the Republic of Haiti, a country I hold dear. Long time readers of The White Rhino Report are aware that in the 1970’s I spent a year living in Haiti working as the administrator of a village hospital in the mountains high above Port au Prince. I could not be more disappointed in the book, “An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President.”

That Haiti has had a tragic history is beyond dispute. That the United States has a checkered history in terms of its relationship with the island nation is also a well established fact. I was hoping that Robinson would document the history of the troubled republic with solid historical research and informed commentary. What I found, instead, was a series of personal anecdotes outlining the alleged kidnapping of President Jean Bertrand Aristide by Americans forces. Interspersed among his personal recollections, Robinson inserts frequent sardonic anti-American comments that are not supported by the facts. Aristide may have indeed been forced to leave Haiti in ways that should upset any true lover of democracy, but Robinson does not make a cogent or believable case. This is not a carefully reasoned book, nor is it even an impassioned plea for the return of true democracy to Haiti. It is, rather, a thinly-veiled diatribe against America and the Bush administration.

Haiti deserves better support and advocacy than the kind that Randall Robinson is attempting to give it in this ineffectual book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Randall Robibinson needs to study the facts. I was there when Aristide fled from Guy Phillipe. Aristide fled. He was not kidnapped. This is an embarassingly poor rendition of the facts that are readily available by the US state department.