Dr. Patrick Treacy's speech at opening of Everland Haiti 2014
Everland Haiti is a children's home looking after twenty orphan children in Mirebalais in the Haitian mountains. It was built by Michael Jackson's fans in memory of his humanitarian legacy.
By: Ailesbury Media
Thank you dear friends form the bottom of my heart for such a loving and spirited welcome and thank you Bishop and Gladys for your kind invitation to open Everland Haiti on behalf of the Michael Jackson Legacy Foundation.
There's history in these hills around Mirebalais. Two hundred years have passed since Toussaint Louverture fought the English in these mountains. In 1803, he helped to free the slaves, and wrote a constitution founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.
When the Haitian uprising began in 1791, the world’s attention was focused on another revolution that was happening in France. Two years earlier, on 14th July 1789 the Bastille in Paris was stormed. From there, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was issued. It proclaimed that men are born free and equal in rights. However idealism and aspiration did not come to fruition. The French revolutionaries were torn between their assertion that freedom was a universal right and their equally strong belief that France needed overseas possessions to maintain their power and the prosperity. The Haitian revolution affected the whole of the western hemisphere and was the inspiration for uprisings that led to the independence of other surrounding countries. It happened at a time of great upheaval throughout the world, the growth of capitalism, the unfolding of revolutions on many continents, and after years of delay influenced President Lincoln to free the slaves in America. And from the grandchildren of these freed American slaves came another great black leader, Michael Jackson whose far reaching revolutionary ideas still shape the ideologies of our modern world. Michael Jackson
I have had the good fortune of knowing Michael Jackson and following his humanitarian life. His commitment and generosity, his energies and strength have been my inspiration. In 1992, he said,
“Our children are the most beautiful, most sweet, most treasured of our creations. And yet, every minute at least 28 children die. Today our children are at risk of being killed by diseases and by the violence of war, guns, abuse and neglect. Children have few rights and no one to speak for them. They have no voice in our world. God and nature has blessed me with a voice. Now I want to use it to help children speak for themselves. I have founded the Heal the World Foundation to be the voice of the voiceless: the children.”
Michael Jackson June 23, 1992
He launched Heal These Kids, at the Oxford Union and called for a universal bill of rights in every home to protect a child's inalienable right to love. It would include:
1 The right to be loved without having to earn it
2 The right to be protected without having to deserve it
3 The right to feel valuable, even if you came into the world with nothing
4 The right to be listened to without having to be interesting
5 The right to be read a bedtime story, without having to compete with the evening news
6 The right to an education without having to dodge bullets at school
7 The right to be thought of as adorable (even if you have a face only a mother could love)
Present day Haiti is a small spot on the map of the Americas. Since the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 130,000 people and reduced the capital city of PAP to ruble, media images of Haiti demonstrate the country's poverty, environmental problems and endemic political turmoil.
As I mentioned in the beginning of my speech, two hundred years have passed since Toussaint Louverture freed the slaves, yet in my humble opinion their heirs, their grandsons, are still not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this nation, for all its hopes and aspirations, will not be fully free until all its citizens are properly educated.
In my estimation, this was the greatest problem of the Haitian Revolution. Half a million slaves were freed but without education there were no people in the resultant hierarchy to develop the economy, to enact government policies and build a stable society.
The poor baby born in Haiti today, has about one-tenth as much chance of completing a high school as a rich baby born in the same place on the same day. There is a 78% chance they will be born into a family earning less than US$2 a day, and a 54% chance they will live in extreme poverty, which is globally recognised as living in a family earning less than US$1 a day.
· 80 out of 1,000 Haitian children never see their first birthday.
· 50% of primary school age children are not enrolled in school.
· 33% of girls over six will never go to school.
· 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade;
· 60% will abandon school before sixth grade.
Less than 40% of non-public schools are accredited.
· Only 15% of teachers at the primary level have basic teacher qualifications
· Nearly 25% of teachers have never even attended secondary school.
Less than 20% of schools have electricity;
Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but they should have the equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation, to make something of themselves.
Many believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the vast problems of this island, which in reality has failed to live up to the promises of equality or freedom. They look at an island with a long history of coups, dictatorships and foreign interventions with them memories of slavery hanging not to far away in the surrounding ethos. In the words of the late Robert Kennedy many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single person. A young monk began the Protestant reformation;
The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of a new society.
In the words of Michael Jackson
Let us dream of tomorrow where we can truly love from the soul, and know love as the ultimate truth at the heart of all creation. (http://www.brainyquote.com/