The 7.0 level earthquake that rocked Haiti is only the latest of blows for the beleaguered nation.
The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is expected to sustain major loss of line from the quake, which saw its presidential palace, among many other buildings, hard hit by the blast.
Dear friend and Dunreith’s colleague Dimitry Anselme wrote on Facebook last night about trying without success to contact friends and family there because the phone lines were down.
While about 80 percent of the nation lives in poverty, the country’s story is not solely of colonialism, political upheaval, violence and a desperate struggle to survive.
It is also the home to MacArthur Award winning author Edwidge Danticat. I have not read much of her fiction beyond a few short stories, and was very moved by Brother, I’m Dying, the story of her mute uncle who died in American custody after feeling political persecution and sure death in Haiti. The memoir tells the story of the relationship between her uncle and father, but also of her own memories of having stayed behind with the uncle and aunt when her family originally moved to the United States. Danticat pairs her father’s decline with her pregnancy, and interweaves broader social themes of exile, the Haitian diaspora, life under the notorious Duvalier family and United States immigration policy after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
I have written before about Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder’s luminous biography of Paul Farmer, another MacArthur Award Winner and the co-founder of Partners in Health. Farmer has written prolifically about health and global social inequities; Pathologies of Power is worth checking out when you have a chance.
In the meantime, though, our thoughts and prayers go out to Dimitry, his family and all other effected by the latest tragedy to befall this tiny nation.