I Almost Got Killed In Haiti On December 17, 2001
On the the morning of December 17, 2001, six years after former President Aristide who was in exile in the United States had returned to Haiti, I sat down in front of my mother restaurant expecting my ex-girlfriend to come to the city to spend Christmas. On my left was my younger brother, Gregory. He sat down in front of his cabinet fixing necklaces and broken watches for some of our neighbors. To my right were customers who made small talk and waited for my mother to serve them. I jetted a look at the kitchen’s restaurant, I saw my mother looking as beautiful as flowers with a black apron on filling up plate after plate with rice and beans for her hungry customers. And customers never mind to wait because political chats were one of the best meals on the menu. People used to come to the restaurant not only for my mother delicious launch, but also to talk politics. They would come to listen to the news, and the best place to hear about the government’s harsh actions was in front of my mother’s restaurant. People would arrive in the early morning and fill the table until late into the evening. There were always a plethora of great and horrible days in front of the restaurant. But December 17, 2001 was not a great one. It was eight days before Christmas. December was one of the best months for the business’s profits. Customers meandering in to buy groceries to prepare for Christmas. As usual, one the country’s favorite Christmas songs , a beautiful tune by Lionel Benjamin, was playing on the Radio. Children were out singing, dancing, and playing. Santa Claus will soon come and bring gift for them. I looked across the street from the restaurant and saw the everyday line of people waiting to get drinking water from the only pump the whole village used to have. Many were dancing and singing along with the Christmas song. Customers were eating and talking about their Christmas plans, eager to prepare for the holiday that was right around the corner. Suddenly, the music stopped for a breaking news. “Can I have your attention please?” a journalist asked over the speakers. “Fifteen minutes ago, over two hundred men well armed in military uniforms ambushed the Palais with the intention to kill the President. Fortunately, the President was not yet in office, but a lot of guards , government officials, and civilians have been killed. Now these rebels are fleeing the country to the Dominican Republic with powerful gun shooting at everybody. Please, evacuate route national number four. My mother restaurant was about twenty five feet away from the sidewalk of route national number four (the principal route that connect Haiti to the Dominican Republic). And I sat no more than three feet away from the route. Many people lost their lives on that day. I thank God I survived the tragedy.
To know more about that event, you can purchase a copy of my book here on my site or any book stores in the United States. Thank you.