Jalousie Redux

Jalousie Redux

Just so everyone can see the hypocrisy of the Jalousie paint job I wrote about earlier, here’s a picture my brother, a cardiologist who has been working in Haiti, took from the rue Panamericaine a little more than a month ago. To the left, the nicely painted, festive, cheerful, postcard-ready slum of Jalousie. To the right, the continuation of the hillside, Jalousie adjacent slums, as they truly are, without the rouge and mascara. The perky houses on the left, painted by the municipality of Petionville, a town just up the hill from Port-au-Prince, can be seen from the new Royal Oasis hotel, built with post-earthquake loans from the World Bank and the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund. The honest, unpainted, nonbotoxed true shantytown cannot.

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The Long Whodunit

The Long Whodunit

I counted Jean Dominique among my friends. I listened to his show on Radio Haiti Inter every morning when I lived in Haiti in the mid-1980s, and we were on friendly terms up until the day he was assassinated at his radio station on Delmas in Port-au-Prince on April 3, 2000, along with the station’s security guard, Jean-Claude Louissaint. Now that a Haitian court has handed down a nine person indictment, how much closer are we to the truth about these killings? If he were alive, Jean Dominique would be the first to point the finger at his killers and say their names out loud into a live microphone.

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“Shut Up, Infidel”

“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?”

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Four Years After

Four Years After

Four years after the earthquake, Haiti has rebounded, according to Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

How did Lamothe frame the recovery he claimed for Haiti? First, in terms of government ministries that are being physically rebuilt. And then: housing. On that subject , the prime minister talked to the Herald in government-speak that was hard to unravel (“Out of 3,000 social housing, we have 1,500 that were inaugurated,” he told the Herald’s no doubt confused Jacquie Charles. He mentioned roads, and clinics, and a center for children. Most of his figures seemed incredibly inadequate, given Haiti’s needs.

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Mon camarade, mon frère

Mon camarade, mon frère

A few months after the Haitian earthquake of January, 2010, I drove around Port-au-Prince with my old friend and beloved mentor Dr. Rénald Clérismé,a former Catholic priest and former foreign minister, a Yale PhD who never lost the common touch. He was instrumental in organizing peasant protests in Haiti’s Northwest in the mid 1980s, and he tried later to keep Pres. René Préval’s government grounded in the popular and peasant movements. Rénald died on Oct. 29 in Port-au-Prince. Here’s what I wrote about him after he and I spent the day three years ago visiting old sites from his long years in the capital [photo: Julie Brown/Yale]:

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