Nation building is the answer!


By Jean H Charles

Vendredi 20 août 2021 ((–

For the initiated the coincidence is not unusual. Pay attention to the eye of August it is more piercing and much more malevolent than the eye of March. Indeed is seems the month of August carry all the bad omen that did not come during the year. Haiti and Afghanistan occupy the news in this second half of August 2021. An earthquake of the magnitude of 7.2 strike Haiti reducing in rubbles several cities of the South of Haiti, killing 1900 people and injuring 5700 causing 13694 destroyed houses, 13785 damaged ones and 30.200 sinister families on August 14th.

The next day on August 15 Kabul fell down and the Taliban took control of the national Palace while the President fled the country. A two decades military operation, that last twenty years and spent one trillion dollars with 2500 American citizens lost lives, 150.000 Afghan  killed, finished quickly in one day.

Afghanistan and Haiti two mountains countries suffered of a deficit of nation building initiatives. I remembered when Condoleezza Rice the Security adviser to President Bush declared at the outset of the war: “we do not do nation building”. I say in my mind and in some writing at that time the United States has lost the war. And indeed they lost it twenty years later. That was exactly what the mission should have been in the business of. Nation building as prescribed by Ernest Renan to the combatants in 1888, when the great empires of Prussian and Ottoman were being dismantled. If you want to build your nation out of the rest of the empires he said: you must remember five important principles:

  1. You must instill the sentiment of appurtenance amongst the citizens so they will worship their founders and willing to construct together that nation for the foreseeable future.
  2. You must build decent institutions and adequate infrastructure all over the country so the citizens will stop to be nomads in their country and abroad.
  3. You must demonstrate an affirmative action towards those that have been left behind, in the case of Haiti as well as Afghanistan the world of woman, the rural world and the world of the ghettos.
  4. You must look for and apply the divine mission of that nation, in the case of Haiti, be an emancipator, one that rushes to the help of the countries in internal division.
  5. Last but not least, the youth of the nation must arm themselves with the highest knowledge and apply diligence and creativity to send the country to its highest level.

These elements of nation building were not in the curriculum of the military investing Afghanistan. It is difficult to fathom for twenty years the United States have not taught to include an institution like my alma matter, the School of Social Work of Columbia University to provide the Defense Department with an army of community organizers who will be embedded with the army helping the Afghan to do nation building using the very own resources of the country.

I remember the first manifestation of the Taliban taking no order from no one. The destruction of the Buddhist religious site old from a millennium which was seen as a world heritage edifice. The Taliban had shown their colors. They will use the tactics of the guerillas to get rid of the occupant. In a country where the warlords rule in isolated rural villages it is easy to understand why corruption and mistrust were the ingredient that sustain the lifeblood that nourish the relations between the parties.

Afghanistan like Haiti is a mountain country with isolated villages often with no bond that link one to the other. Derriere morns gain morns. There are more mountains behind the mountains. Switzerland is also a mountain country. But it has made a web of links that hold the cantons together and form the nation of Switzerland with all the elements of democracy and du vivre ensemble.

The School of Social Work prepares the organizers to empower the downtrodden so they can have enough confidence in themselves to advocate for their rights and find the means to achieve long term solutions to their problems. The legendary professors like George Bragger, in the 1970’s who marry social policy with social action to force New York City to be hospitable to the newcomers, are in retreat or dead. They did change the culture of New York City to make it the most enjoyable place on earth. Haiti and Afghanistan could be like New York, the jewel of the earth!

Haiti has descended into hell for the past sixty years due to governments chosen by the international community for the country. From Francois Duvalier in 1957 to Jovenel Moise in 2021 a succession of regimes has continuously and uninterrupted inflicting harm and injury to the Haitian population. In addition, a plethora of nonprofit organizations has descended unto the country inflicting more harm under the guise of solving the problem. Haiti complicated political situation is compounded by several catastrophic events. An earthquake destroyed the capital city of Port-au-Prince with 300.000 people. Several hurricanes ensued, the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and now the earthquake of 14 August hurting 3 departments, the South, the Nippes and the Grand Anse.  

Where do we go from here in Haiti and in Afghanistan?

Haiti needs a czar of reconstruction and of reborn to usher the nation in the right direction. That pause will give the country the time, to start over and restart de nouveau when Haiti was lead by Dumarsais Estime to Paul Eugene Magloire 1946 to 1956 dubbed Haiti’s golden age.

This pause is to avoid the rush where five years from today, the southern part of Haiti was struck by a hurricane. Jovenel Moise with a boat load of material given to him by the oligarch became afterwards the President of Haiti.

Without the color of politics we can with a clear mind shape the recovery of Haiti. In terms of environment, Haiti must be in an urgency mode. The chaotic housing structure we see in Jalousie (morne l’hopital) is a biblical disaster in the waiting. It is now repeated in most major cities of Haiti.

I wrote the definitive book on nation building, for the nation for the homeland. It is offered as a blueprint for the building of Haiti.

With the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan, it may seem too late to try nation building.  The international community can dangle the tools of the community organizers of Columbia University as a carrot to induce the Taliban to modernize the country. The majority of the population after twenty years of living a western style fashion will rebel in the medieval culture of the Taliban. Between living in mass the country or remaining in Afghanistan after twenty years of building the army as the institution that would sustain the population, helping the people to build their nation by themselves would be wiser. Haiti and Afghanistan are seating on mineral rich land that include lithium and rare earth that make them very attractive to foreign powers.

They can be a prostitute that are being used or abused or they can be the fiancée that become the queen for the enduring suitor who will agree to do the slow process of nation building in Haiti and in Afghanistan with the natural resources of those countries.

Jean H Charles MSW, JD

Is the vice-President of Sove Lone

Sove Lone is an organization dedicated to do nation building in Haiti under the leadership of its President Jude Elie.


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