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Promoting compassion for our Haitian brothers and sisters

Dear Editor,

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”—Malcolm S. Forbe

Dorian has demolished the shantytowns in Abaco and the lives of many people living there were lost — mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children. Yet, some of us are still not sympathetic towards the remaining survivors and are not feeling their pain.

Social media has gone wild, ablaze with xenophobic commentaries.

“The prime minister has lost his head and is pandering to the illegals. He better get it right. Get them out of our country. We do not want them here. Wipe them from the face of the earth.”

Comments like these are repeated over and over on voice notes. These are harsh comments coming from a nation that is supposed to be governed by Christian principles.

Why do we hate the Haitians so much while giving other nationalities a pass?

Is it because they’re black and poor or is it because they speak another language?

Other nationalities from all over the world are here illegally and not a peep about them.

The only sin the Haitians have committed is to seek a better way of life for their families. Right here I pause to ask the question, what would Jesus do? How would Christ handle this?

I heard someone say they hate them because they are arrogant, ungrateful and biggity and they practice witchcraft.

Has it ever come to mind that arrogance and being biggity are their only means of defense? We treat them like crap and don’t expect them to stand up and defend themselves, exploiting them at every opportunity, renting them houses unfit to be occupied, having them work for chump change while holding work permits over their heads. And when they complain we call them ungrateful.

As for obeah, the Haitians did not bring it here.

Almost every Caribbean country practices witchcraft that was introduced to the islands by slaves brought in from Africa.

Variants of Obeah are practiced in The Bahamas and in the Caribbean nations of Barbados, Suriname, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Virgin Islands, as well as by the Igbo people of Nigeria.

In some cases, aspects of these folk religions have survived through amalgamation with Christian symbolism and practice introduced by European colonials and slave owners.

The Bahamas is not exempted.

No. I’m not Haitian. I said it before and I will say it again. Like all other countries, The Bahamas has immigration policies that must be maintained at all times.

Those in breach should be held accountable and face consequences to the full extent of the law.

Illegal immigrants are breaking the law and should be treated accordingly. But in the meantime, while solutions are being sought, especially after Dorian, shouldn’t we be as compassionate as we possibly can?

It is because of man’s inhumanity to man that the downtrodden will be buried in so many unmarked graves.

Hundreds of people are missing and presumed dead.

Illegal immigrants tend to be a burden on most countries, especially small countries such as The Bahamas. But does that absolve us from being humane?

God wants us to love others through genuine and sincere kindness and compassion. This means that we should not be critical or judgmental of others.

We should not be hurtful or take advantage of others.

Likewise, we should also not treat others with indifference.

We should help those who need help.

And when we are wronged, we should forgive.

If we love God, we will do these things daily — constantly — not just to those who are close to us like family and friends, but to everyone.

Dorian has left us in a position that compels us to think out of the box. Let us proceed with caution before we bring damnation upon our heads.

The world is watching and is being kind towards us; let us extend that kindness to others, lest it be wrested away from us.

God bless us all.

   – Anthony Pratt

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