I recently had the privilege of reading the tragic article about Ms. Nadine Charles' and her daughter Eunice's flight from Haiti. The article has left such a painful heaviness on my heart that, amongst other things, I was compelled to write this letter.
Not only did this young woman flee a country that has the daily raping of women and children (as young as seven years old), but it also has mothers and/or their children, as well as unarmed men being shot down and killed on a daily basis. This past summer there was a massacre that involved U. N. Forces in which no known U. S. Stations here in Florida carried the news.
Yes there may be a few bad apples in the bunch, but in Ms. Charles' case, neither she nor her 18-month old daughter could've been considered as such. She made the mistake of being and unwed mother that caused her parents to throw her out of their home. (This is the type of family a good amount of us as Virgin Islanders may have come from or can relate to.) Ms. Charles then went to live with her uncle where more trouble started for her. After Eunice was born, she could not work or go to school because she had to care for Eunice. She was pretty much considered as "stuck". "Stuck" with no help insight against the daily violence around her, and the rapes of her, the other women, and their children. So when the opportunity for her to get her and her daughter out of this situation came, she took it.
Congresswoman Christensen, Senators, Customs and Immigration Officials, and who ever else may have a say in whether Ms. Charles is returned to Haiti or granted asylum, I am appealing to you! Please do not send this woman back to the life of turmoil that she escaped from. Yes we know that she did the wrong thing by allowing herself to be smuggled, but any "mother" would do what it takes to save or make a better life for their child(ren). It was a mother's instinct that caused her to reach out and grab that tiny hand nearby in the dark water that night. She could've tried saving just herself and not reach out to save who she thought was her baby.
If sent back she may be killed. Her uncle may not be able to take her back. Or the smugglers or their families might think she told them who they were and try to get rid of her. Or even the people who weren't able to get as far as she did might kill or harm her. It is a known fact that the majority of Haitians that are sent back to Haiti usually disappear and are never heard from again. They are either usually found dead or presumed dead. Do we really want this to happen to Ms. Charles? Especially knowing that she already paid the ultimate price– the loss of her beloved Eunice. Is this not a great price for someone to pay who made a mistake so early in life, to only further end up making a bigger one, one that cost the life of her daughter?
Again, I appeal to you (from a mother to a mother) please do not send this young woman back to Haiti. Please grant her asylum or some type of humanitarian relief, which would allow her to stay in the U. S. That way, she could make the life that she had wished for herself and Eunice a reality not a possibility. Rest In Peace Eunice Charles!
Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to email@example.com.