9.14.2008

Gonaives

Gonaives, Haiti is the city where the Haitian people declared independence. Imagine, then, for a moment, if the city of Philadelphia, days after a storm, had water that ran knee-deep through the biggest streets in the city, if 500 people were gathered together in the Cathedral there, to escape the floodwaters, crammed into the choir gallery. Imagine if Galveston had been hit by Ike, three times in the space of a few weeks, and that there was nowhere to evacuate the people to, and that the poverty rate was so high that people were already dying before the storm even came. The three seminal revolutions in the turn of the 18th century were the American, the French, and the Haitian. America now considers itself the beacon of democracy in the world, France, the birthplace of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite. Haiti is the great grandmother of decolonization, the lady who frees men from kings and despots, but also from empires and slavery. These other mothers of modern liberty are wealthy, now, and comfortable. Haiti is a collection of human beings, forced to drink the infected waters that flood their own cities, forced to eat the muddy earth that is the birthright of years of neglect and isolation. Anyway, it hurts to see human beings living the way the souls of Haiti are forced to live, now. If you care to donate, I know the organization Yele Haiti has a good reputation, and is right now distributing food and supplies there.