Divisive, ugly and flat out racist, the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that currently exist in the Dominican Republic are the stuff that Trump’s wet dreams are made of – and one professor at Howard has had enough.
Last month, Howard University African American Studies Professor Nikongo BaNikongo, Ph.D., filed a lawsuit in the International Criminal Court (ICC), located in Hague, Netherlands, on behalf of Haitian sugar cane-cutters in the Dominican Republic who have been denied residency for themselves and their children born in the country.
In recent years, controversial court rulings have caused hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent to be stripped of their citizenship and their basic civil rights.
The decision has prompted an outcry from human rights groups and calls to boycott Dominican tourism, but Dr. BaNikongo believes Haitians need more than just a travel boycott to get the justice they deserve.
The complaint he filed seeks to hold Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina Sanchez, criminally responsible for this injustice and asks that Sanchez be investigated for “Crimes Against Humanity stemming from the mass expulsion of Haitians and failing to exercise due diligence in securing the rights of Haitian workers in the DR.”
In an exclusive interview with theGrio, BaNikongo spoke about what he hopes to accomplish with the lawsuit, why African Americans in the U.S. should be paying closer attention to this issue and what the story of Haiti can teach us all about the steep price of freedom and pro-Blackness.
Haiti’s story impacts all Black people
With tensions riding high on domestic soil, many Americans aren’t necessarily concerned with the atrocities pervading foreign countries, especially not while Donald Trump is wreaking havoc in their own backyards.
But the professor thinks that mindset is not only narrow-minded, but also dangerous.
“Anyone who is Black should care about Haiti,” BaNikongo explains “They were the first independent Black republic and that achievement was important for all of us because it set the stage for African movements around the world. Haiti is exemplar in terms of the liberation of Africans and the fight against exploitation and colonialism. It is important to me as it should be important to all of us.”
While we are witnessing the absurd demonization of immigrant people under the Trump Administration today, BaNikongo wants us all to understand this kind of behavior already exists in other countries around the world, particularly in the Latin American and Caribbean nations right next to us.
For several generations Haitians have worked on sugar cane plantations, known as bateys, in the Dominican Republic. Over time, Haitian families have given birth to children born in the Dominican Republic and built lives there much in the same vein as immigrants do in America. However, unlike the United States, Dominican officials have declared that the offspring of Haitian-born parents cannot be considered citizens on the Dominican Republic, despite being born there.
And the reason why is both simple, and ugly. [Read More…]
Source: The Grio