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Brian's Beat: Return to Haiti

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Ward 11 official website

I start my return journey to Haiti today, a trip that will span two days to get there. This time I am leaving from Winnipeg, after having spent the weekend here for the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It was a great and inspiring weekend seeing the beautiful building, spending time with great friends and listening to great music at Rightsfest. It is also wonderfully a propos, leaving a celebration of human rights for such a challenged and forgotten country as Haiti. 

Here it is, almost six months to the day since I first went to Haiti and I must admit that I am a bit anxious about it. I recently re-read my blogs from last time and realized the journey that I had been on over my two weeks there. Many of the emotions started flooding back, overtaking my memories. I haven’t talked about it much, but the emotional repercussions of my trip to Haiti still reverberate in my life. I have long suffered from depression, and on my return, I slipped into the deepest hole I have ever been in. The good thing is that it finally got me to seek the assistance I needed to be able to cope. And now, six months later, I will be putting those coping mechanisms fully to the test. So, yes, I am a bit anxious.

Friends have asked, out of concern, why I would go back. I have answered variously that someone needs to, or that the work is incredibly worthwhile, or that it is part of our obligation to the world. But, I think I heard it best last night at the RightsFest Concert when Bruce Cockburn was talking to the crowd. He talked about dignity and then hit on his belief that respect is a human right. And that really resonated for me: Respect is a Human Right.

Haitians deserve our respect. It is important that we demonstrate our respect for others by being there for them. I am going back to Haiti out of respect. Respect for their desire to set a path forward for their community. Respect for their striving, against all odds, to build community and a better future for their children. Out of respect, I will continue to go back.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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