Aristide, Chien Timide

This is the cover of a children’s book published by Grasset-Jeunesse in September, 2004, in France — six months after Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown for the second time. The co-authors are Joëlle Rodoreda and Véronique Willemin.

I found it in my son’s bookshelf just the other day. It’s about a dog named Aristide who is so shy he doesn’t want to go for a walk. And when Aristide is pulled along on his leash by a little French boy named Jean in a park somewhere in France, he gets so embarrassed that he actually turns pink!

Well, it doesn’t mean much — but the cover’s good.

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Google Killed Me

I bet you’ve never read a blog post written by a dead person before.

But Google has turned me into a zombie. See above: they have me long gone, departed for more than a decade.

Personally, as you can tell from the fact that I am putting this up on my blog in real time, I am not quite dead yet, though some might take issue with that statement.

Also, just for the record: I happen not to have been born in 1927. Somewhat later…

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No Show

Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier after his return to Haiti; photo altered to provide Baby Doc with Papa Doc’s thick spectacles

So for the second time, Jean-Claude Duvalier didn’t see fit to attend an appellate court hearing on his human-rights abuses on Thursday. His lawyers hopped up and down, denouncing the appeal for various picayune and Kafka-esque points of “law.”

I’m not surprised. Are you? Why would a person like Duvalier, raised and then elevated to power on an utter disrespect for any concept of the rule of law in Haiti (although he probably has come to respect the Swiss courts…) — why would such a one agree to come before a Haitian court to be judged?

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Baby Doc to the Dock?

Tomorrow, Jean-Claude Duvalier is supposed to appear at a hearing concerning human-rights charges against him. This is not a hearing put together by people who just feel like demanding justice from the former Haitian dictator; it’s a hearing ordered by an appellate judge   — a real judicial hearing.

Of course, Duvalier was also supposed to appear at this hearing on February 7, but simply failed to show up, demonstrating for any who doubted it his habitual disregard for Haitian institutions of justice. Rather than sending a paddy wagon to round him up  and bring him in, the judge merely rescheduled the hearing.

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Love and Character

Filibert Waldeck (see photo above) was one of Father Aristide’s orphan boys, back before Aristide became president of Haiti — although the orphans in what was called Lafanmi Selavi were not always actual orphans. I seem to recall that for a while, Filibert would talk about a mother up north. In any case, he’s someone I’ve known since my first days in Haiti. He is a character in The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier, my first book on Haiti, and also in Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti, which I just published.

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