A Kreyol speaker in the Palace of Franse

History sometimes gets turned on its head, as it did last week when Dany Laferrière was inducted into the Académie Française. Laferrière was elected to this odd but august institution in December, 2013, so the induction was not a surprise, but still: amazing. You can be sure that not a French person living in Haiti in the early days of the slave colony, or in the centuries after, imagined that a true son of Haiti would ever be elected and inducted into Richelieu’s exclusive bastion of elite, supereducated, well spoken (no: perfectly spoken) Francophones.

read more

New narratives, and old ones

Sometimes, a misreading of your own work just deflates you. Just one little line, and you want to throw in the towel. Instead: let me rectify matters here. In her interesting, smart, and necessary book on Haiti, Why Haiti Needs New Narratives, Gina Athena Ulysse writes about, among many other subjects, Mac McClelland, the Mother Jones human rights reporter who covered Haiti briefly in the wake of the Haitian earthquake of 2010. I’ve written about this complicated writer, too.

read more

“Shut Up, Infidel”

“…One question, though, continues to irk us. Can we finally purge the dirty words ‘fundamentalist secularist’ from our political and intellectual vocabulary? Can we finally stop inventing wise semantic circumlocutions in order to make parallels between the assassins and their victims?”

read more

Five years — or is it three centuries?

We’re all checking the news this morning, and noticing — in the margins of the reams of words on Charlie Hebdo and the 19th-arrondissement network — that it is the fifth anniversary today of the Haitian earthquake that took hundreds of thousands of lives in 2010.

Everyone wants to know how Haiti is recovering from that catastrophe. It’s a good question that is more about how well the international community can deliver relief and recovery aid than it is about Haiti in particular. A brief answer to the question is this: some good was done with foreign help, but that’s not the most important question to be asking.

read more

Papa’s Baby

This photograph of Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier has been altered by this blog to give the former strongman the thick spectacles of his father, François (Papa Doc) Duvalier. the point being: he was not so different from his bloody-minded dad.

The dictator’s scion — nickname: Tet panye, or Baskethead — died on October 4 in Port-au-Prince.

read more

  • Once upon a time labor organized for situations like Haitian cane cutting in the DR. Where are the organizers?
  • DR story: “You leave to cut cane, & grow old cutting cane. Then you see your son cutting cane. … That hurts."
  • RT : . took no questions from press today and sent us to website for results. They 4got 2 mention, site's been down since last nite.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 67 other subscribers