Stockholm Syndrome or the love of its executioners: an endemic disease in Haitians

Haiti, from its independence to the present day, is ruled by less than 58 heads of state. The latter are, for the most part, known for their incompetence, their lack of vision, their authoritarianism, as well as their contempt for public goods, the Constitution and the laws of the Republic, even of the people as a whole (although they often come from). During their reign, always stained with blood, what they generally succeed best, and in a systematic way, is the disintegration of the State and the weakening of institutions, with all the ensuing consequences. For those who have led the country during the last decades, they have won the Palme d’Or for their responsibility in the descent into hell of Haiti, because of their anarcho-populist policy and blind allegiance to “Whites”, whether they are left or right. However, sad is to note that, although the evidence of the failure of these autocrats, one always finds a group of people among their victims who incense them either during their life or after their death. This phenomenon is called “Stockholm Syndrome”, according to psychiatrists.

Stockholm Syndrome is a strange psychological phenomenon that causes a victim to develop empathy or even sympathy for their executioner or torturer. The history of the term dates back to a heist at a bank, Kreditbanken, in Stockholm, Sweden, on August 23, 1973 by Jean Éric Olson and Clark Olofsson who kidnapped four employees, including three women and a man. After six days, and at the end of the negotiations, all the hostages are released unharmed. Surprisingly, the ex-hostages take up the cause of their attackers who had nevertheless mistreated them and even tried to intervene in the face of the police who had come to arrest them. When the thug’s trial was announced, they collected money for their defense, refused to testify against them, and some visited them in prison, and one of them even had a romantic relationship with the ‘one of the thugs. This unusual behavior owes its name to the Swedish psychiatrist and criminologist, Nils Johan Artur Bejerot (September 21, 1921 – November 29, 1988). It was then theorized by American psychiatrist Frank Ochberg in 1978.

Indeed, this pathology is identified, at least, by three associated signs: on the one hand, the victim develops a feeling of understanding, of sympathy in the face of the gestures and speech of his aggressor, on the other hand, he does not complains of no aggression, violence or mistreatment, and finally she does not oppose him but seeks to justify his actions. It can manifest itself in a wide variety of cases (hostage-taking or kidnapping, blackmail of all kinds, violence against women, sexual assault, abuse of authority, etc.) and in family, professional and political circles. The most famous case is that of Patricia Hearst, 19, daughter of Randolph Hearst, an American billionaire, kidnapped by a terrorist group, in 1974, and who subsequently helped her captors to rob a bank and expressed her support for their militant cause. Let us also quote the story of the Austrian Natascha Kampusch in 1998, kept for eight years in captivity and attached to her executioner who, him, ended up committing suicide. Or the moving statements in front of the cameras of Patricía Abravanel, daughter of the Brazilian media magnate, Silvio Santos, in favor of his attackers, upon his release on August 28, 2001, a week after being kidnapped from her father’s home.

It should be noted that the reverse can also happen: hostage-takers or attackers show empathy towards their victims. We speak in this case of “Lima Syndrome“. It is also linked to a hostage-taking (some 500 people, including diplomats, military officials and business leaders) which took place in December 1996, at the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru, during which the kidnappers gradually released a large number of captives, the most precious, while refusing to execute them, despite the injunctions of their leaders, due to the sympathy they inspire, before the final assault be launched on April 22, 1996, after 126 days of resistance to free the others. These two phenomena, which surprise specialists as well as neophytes, have inspired many novels, films and series including “The Town” by Ben Affleck, “Des gens ruthless” by Griffin Dunne, “The world is not enough” by James Bon, “The Green Line” by Franck Darabont “La casa de Papel” by Aleix Pina. And we find in some forms of Marxist thought related ideas to explain why the proletariat does not rise up against its oppressors.

In Haitian political life, and in view of the facts that mark out our history, Stockholm Syndrome appears to us as an endemic disease at home. Many compatriots are never indignant at the tyranny and stupidity of the political leaders responsible for their miseries and sufferings. Rather, they seek to justify their cynicism, authoritarianism and greed. These naive victims, who have even become fanatics, go so far as to idolize their executioners. For them, they are always right and are seen as choirboys, liberators, or misunderstood envoys whose failure must be blamed on their adversaries who are very often considered terrorists or enemies of the Republic, according to the case. So they always brandish the “conspiracy theory” to exonerate these dishonest statesmen of their catastrophic management, including their savage repression against opponents. Any attempt to open their eyes would prove to be in vain, because they are resistant to the truth, and that, even if it means that they fall out with their relatives or friends.

I am not talking about these so-called collaborators or the “collaborators”, whose admiration or allegiance to the leader is part of a form of booty or unhealthy realism aimed at satisfying only their petty interests. “Any flatterer lives at the expense of the listener,” it is said. But many of these people who do not have access to basic services, vegetate in misery, while they remain convinced of the leader’s good faith and stick to his “ideals” until the end. hollow and wacky. So there needs to be a paradigm shift in the relationship between the leaders and the ruled in Haiti, centered on paternalism or motherhood, if we aspire to another society. The slogans of the candidates for the elections, such as “Papa Pèp” “Banm manmanm”, say a lot. The latter still believe they are invested with a sacrosanct mission to direct the destiny of the Nation and do not even hesitate, once in power, to wear high-sounding titles in their crisis of delirium or megalomania. They call themselves the Father of the Nation or of the Revolution, King, the Liberator, “After-God”, and so on. In the end, their results reveal a completely different reality and dispel any doubt. All development indicators are red. With a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of 1,149.50 US and a human development index ranked 170 out of 189 countries in 2020, Haiti remains the poorest country in the Latin America and the Caribbean region and among the poorest people in the world, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report, published on December 15, 2020.

All in all, for someone with Stockholm Syndrome, rebuilding themselves is a long process. The experience can be so overwhelming that the personality of the victim is deeply affected. Medico-psycho-social follow-up is essential by specialists in the field. In politics, it is necessary to reformat citizens, through an inclusive and nationalist education policy likely to create a new generation of men and women who are well imbued with their civic responsibilities and capable of distinguishing the ugly from the beautiful, the true from the false. In other words, the demagogue of the democrat. The agent has the obligation to work to improve the living conditions of his constituents, otherwise he is put out of the game, without qualms. And all forms of violence should be avoided in this democratic process, unless they prove to be necessary and inevitable. Fortunately, alongside his many Stockholm Syndrome patients who must be complained about because they are pitiful, there are lucid, consistent and courageous men and women, avant-garde who have never been afraid to denounce , and that, at the risk of their lives, the totalitarian excesses and the greed of our leaders whose only concern is to enrich themselves greedily with their clans while serving the cause or the interests of the anti-national oligarchy. Which makes them all zeros already belonging to the trash of history.

Junior Antoine

We want to say thanks to the author of this short article for this awesome content

Stockholm Syndrome or the love of its executioners: an endemic disease in Haitians