April 21, 1991 |
Throughout Port-au-Prince, Haitians were trying, for the first time in 30 years, to dig out of their own filth. From their wretched, unsanitary hovels, they came at twilight, pouring into the streets by the thousands. Most carried homemade brooms and rakes, others used their bare hands to assault the mountains of human refuse that had risen about them for so many decades, largely unnoticed and insignificant, until now.
February 5, 2010 |
Ulrick Mentor left his desk at the Haitian tax office a few minutes early on a Tuesday evening three weeks ago for an appointment. The decision saved his life. Since then, the civil engineer has been back to the federal building daily, leading a team of colleagues, working under armed guard, as they struggle to retrieve the bureaucratic foundation of Haitian society from the rubble of the four-story structure. "We have documents in here that go all the way back to our independence -- 200 years," said Mentor, chief engineer of the government tax office.
September 16, 1998 |
History can be tricky for a novelist or poet. Its constraints crowd the free imagination. Its tempos impose beats that throw off the writer's syncopation. Its enforced appointments fill up a calendar that asks to be left open for intuitive date-switches. Above all, its iron-track narrative discourages venturing cross-country. "This was" deflates "this might be." Of course there are splendid historical novels (though fewer poems).
February 6, 2006 |
ON JAN. 1, 1804, the victorious Gen. Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed Haiti's independence. As he did so, he called upon his countrymen to avenge their slaughtered dead by destroying the French citizens who remained on the island. He warned his followers that failure would cost them, for when it was their turn to descend into their tombs, their bones would be rejected by the unappeased spirits of their ancestors.
October 15, 1994 |
The brother of slain Justice Minister Guy Malary trembled as he stood in the pulpit of Sacre Coeur Church on Friday, his hands raised before a solemn audience that included some of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's most high-profile supporters. "Is it justice," he cried, "when they kill our people and then they are allowed to leave the country? "Is that justice?" he asked, referring to the lucrative, U.S.-sponsored departure of Haiti's military dictators.
January 19, 1986
Jennifer Merin's detailed survey of Haitian art (Nov. 17) is a splendid guide to artists and galleries in Haiti. The author has done her homework about Haiti's art history, and she writes knowledgeably about specific artists and prices of their work. For those readers not able to travel to Haiti, my Spirit of Haiti Gallery opened Nov. 1 at 1583 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura Harbor Village, Ventura. The gallery offers many of the artists cited by Merin. LAURA PECK Ventura