I’ve studied books and videos about Haiti for more than 20 years, at first doing reseach on a couple of books I wanted to write, then out of sheer interest. I haven’t written about the devastation that has swept that country in the past couple of weeks because there seemed to be nothing I could add in the way of helpful present-day information.
Now that things have settled just a bit, I find myself musing on the fact that our media has done a good job of giving us facts and figures, but nowhere do I find columns and writeups and broadcasts that give us the “soul” of the Haitian people. Ah yes, we have idiots like Pat Robertson, who calls himself a man of God, who ascribes the devastation as God’s punishment of the Haitian people for their massacre of the French long ago. Of course he says nothing about the horror that Black Haitians lived through under the French enslavement, thought to be one of the most inhuman known.
Yes, so much of the Haitian population is uneducated and poorer than in most other places. But it is a well known fact that our country in the past has not always given a fair shake to Haiti and neither have other countries helped. Voudou is mostly their religions. Known as voodoo here, it is often spoken of as a clownish religion, of no significance, but that is far from true. I think Voudo is a brilliant blend of African paganism — forbidden slaves by their French masters — and Catholicism.
The Haitian slaves adroitly gave their pagan African gods the names of Catholic saints and proceeded to worship. And in this worship, the drums of Africa reigned supreme. Those drums are credited by many writers as being a unifying force that led Haitian generals like Christophe, Dessalines and Petion to overcome the French and free themselves.
Go to your library and read a book or two about Haiti, google the country and its people and talk with Haitians if you can. What you find will be a far cry from that our media sees fit to write about.
[To the reader who wrote asking how to join Facebook. Please excuse my delay. I couldn' t figure out how to reach you. You just put Facebook.com in your browser address line and it brings up a screen for Facebook. Look it over carefully and you'll see "Join." Click and follow their instructions. Hope this helps. If it doesn't, please contact me at MySpace.com/francinecraft. ]