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Volume No. 2 Issue No. 29 - Wednesday February 27, 2008
In response to Dominica terror island
By Gabriel Christian

gabriel christian
Gabriel Christian reacts to COHA analysis.
Dear Mr. Kozloff: I have just read your article on the COHA website titled "Dominica Terror Island" with dismay. I am a Dominican by birth who, in concert with other concerned Dominicans, have worked for a lifetime promoting Dominica's development and good relations between Dominica and the US. I am familiar with your work, having read some rather balanced articles from you in the past on various on-line journals.

I must say that your article on Dominica, even where well intended, does a disservice in this sense: the average reader will not discern anything other than the island has now become a wretched cesspool of anti-American sentiment and part of some sordid anti-American cabal. As you know, that is simply not true. It is simply not fair or accurate to draw a parralel with Grenada in the 80s.

Dominica is a country with long standing ties of friendship to the United States. Many US citizens study in Dominica and/or consider Dominica their home. The overwhelming majority of Dominicans have consistently sought to promote US tourism and investment in Dominica.

Dominica has no army, but is an English speaking country which has much affinity with, and close historical ties to, the US. For that reason the US army is where Dominicans have served, as far back as World War One.

Currently one US general officer, and several other senior NCOs of Dominican heritage, serve in the US army in Iraq and Afghanistan. They, like the many US citizens and residents of Dominican heritage, would be shocked and dismayed at this portrayal of their place of birth.

Dominica, however, is a sovereign nation. To that end, the island has also built friendly relations with neighbors such as Cuba and Venezuela. All of these links have benefited Dominicans and none of these countries, to my knowledge, have insisted that the island join them on any anti- US crusade.

Despite such links, Dominica has never been drawn into any action injurious to US national security interest. While you may have intended to serve the truth by warning about the quaint and distracted politics of some who now seek high office in Washington, your article's inflammatory title undermines your effort and provides grist for the propaganda mill of those who are prone to believe the worst about Caribbean and Latin American people who seek self determination and equitable development.

It is for that reason, that I implore you to revisit your article or attempt some clarification. Your readers would be most enlightened where you were to write an article which speaks to:

1. An island which has a 97% literacy rate - despite having so called "grinding poverty" and having witnessed the decline in the fortunes of its banana industry.

2. An island with a life expectancy of 79 years for males and 82 years for females despite having so called grinding poverty.

3. An island which has universal health care, despite having so called grinding poverty.

4. An island descended from captive Africans who were, against their will, pressed into slavery; and many of whom fought such slavery by force of arms for over 200 years. And whose troops in the British army service at Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica in 1802, mutinied and struck a blow for freedom before being repressed in the most barbarous fashion. Yet, by that virtue, the British were compelled to free 10,000 slave soldiers in the biggest emancipation of enslaved peoples in the British empire prior to the abolition of slavery in 1834. That is our noble and freedom loving history.

5. An island whose indigenous people resisted their extinction, still survive on their own land and who now have a representative in the national cabinet. Yes, an indigenous Carib/Karifuna people whose health care indices are superior to that enjoyed by many other indigenous people in the Americas who are discriminated against- to include many of those who languish on so-called US reservations.

6. An island whose governments have been duly elected in free and fair elections since independence in 1978, without the taint seen in recent elections in some powerful and "wealthy" countries.

7. An island whose young Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his cabinet were able to stave off national collapse and maintain the ship of state by determined - though not perfect - management of the island's scant resources after the imposition of harsh conditions concomitant with the IMF assistance referenced in your article; with scant assistance from traditional allies.

8. An island which has consistently maintained a friendship with the US, despite the fact that several US governments over the years supported apartheid in South Africa and dictatorship in the Caribbean region such as in Haiti.

9. An island which was selected in November 2007 by National Geographic as the top island in the Western hemisphere for eco-tourism due to its maintenance of a pristine natural environment, despite the economic difficulties it faces.

10. An island considered the Nature Island of the World, which welcomes all who come in peace and love; and which has no interest in conflict amongst its sister nations of the Americas.

All of that to say that COHA would be doing the most elementary norms of justice a favor where it featured the real Dominica and our worthy aspects, over the presumed "terror island" that some would consider it to be due to its acceptance of Cuban assistance or Venezuelan fuel assistance. Understand that, while I appreciate your efforts over the years to give a fair hearing to Caribbean Latin American issues, your latest attempt re Dominica falls flat where peaceful intent - or tranquility - is concerned.

The article is overly dramatic where it uses the term "terror" in relationship to Dominica. You know too well that tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed in recent times merely because they live in countries associated with that term.

Simply put, like most peace loving people, I do not want Dominica to be bombed where people idly use that term - "terror island." We know the life of certain people on this earth have been considered cheap for centuries; but we desire to turn a page.

You may have already - inadvertently - caused hardship to an island hotelier, taxi driver, craft seller, or farmer, where visitors or potential investors who read your journal may be now scared off. We have seen the power of the US media at work before, where the ill-informed are not offered truth.

Indeed, your article operates as a disincentive to foreign investment, something that many patriotic Dominicans and others who love Dominica have been trying to promote all these years. Shared among Capitol Hill staffers and other Washington, DC policy makers who read your respected journal, your article would - regrettably - serve more to inflame the ignorant and confuse the wise.

Again, for an organization which would seem to favor the best values of those in the US who are peace loving, the caption and tone of your article was most unfortunate.

It would do us all well Mr. Kozloff, where you issued some clarification to the effect that Dominicans are a people who desire the peaceful development of their country and the right to maintain friendships with all those who assist their survival: to include the US.

This is the time when progressives like you should come and visit Dominica, and stay a while. In so doing, you would truly appreciate the love and friendship of our people and the total absence of anti-American sentiment amidst the natural beauty the island's people have preserved for the benefit of all mankind.

Trusting that you will give those of us who care for Dominica's development an opportunity to have a more balanced and respectful portrayal of our true state of affairs, I remain yours,

Sincerely, Gabriel J. Christian, Esq. E-mail to a friend

nature isle tropical gourmet

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Volume No. 2 Issue No. 12
Paradise, Eden
Skerrett's Letting Loose
Haitian Migration
Morne Aux Diables
Nature Isle gourmet
Cinderella gets gher dance

Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences
Decatur Travel Agency
Dominica's Official Website
Volume No. 2 Issue No. 15
Street stories
In support of Dominica
Lil miss wob dwiyet
Community policing
Antigua new chair of G77
Failure of aids vaccine
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