September 11: A Fateful Date

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Saint Jean Bosco church before it was burned in 1988

In the histories of the Chilean, Haitian, and American people, the date of September 11 has great and sad meaning.

Chilean President Salvador Allende

Chilean progressives still remember that September 11, 1973 marks the assassination of President Salvador Allende after the bloody military coup d’état by General Augusto Pinochet in close collaboration with Washington’s CIA.

In the U.S., September 11, 2001 was the day of the attacks (contrived by sectors inside the U.S. government apparently) against the World Trade Center and Pentagon, in which about 3,000 people died.

In Haiti, the date is doubly tragic, as we remember both September 11, 1988 and September 11, 1993.

The World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the September 11, 1988 massacre against the congregation of St. Jean Bosco, where at least 13 people died, young and old. About 80 were wounded, and even a pregnant woman was stabbed threw her stomach, but miraculously she and her child survived. Former Macoute mayor Franck Romain with his red-arm-banded thugs carried out the attack with guns and machetes while Father Jean Bertrand Aristide, who narrowly escaped execution, was giving mass. They then burned down the church.

Five years later, on September 11, 1993, during the first coup d’état against President Jean Bertrand Aristide, another atrocity was carried out at another church. A death-squad defending the coup regime of Gen. Raoul Cédras and Col. Michel François dragged progressive Haitian businessman and democracy activist Antoine Izméry from a mass commemorating the St. Jean Bosco massacre at Turgeau’s Sacred Heart church into the middle of the street and fatally shot him through the head.

Democracy martyr Antoine Izméry.

Twenty-five and 30 years later, nobody has yet been brought to justice for either the Izméry execution or the St. Jean Bosco massacre. Until today, impunity reigns in Haiti. That is the sad reality on this sad anniversary.

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