Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Fiction Matters: Haiti


Praying for Haiti

During my childhood my mom would send my brother and I to Avon Park, Florida for the summer. While there we attend a summer bible study at a local baptist church and was introduced to Haitian immigrant kids who became our summer friends and frienenemies. I was curious about Haiti, I had never heard of the island until then. I've featured her here on the blog After I grew up and moved to Atlanta I was introduced again to the Haitian community when I met my ex-fiance Gaspard. Naturally, I went to the library to learn more and was introduced to the wonderful writings of Edwidge Danticat.She won the American Book Award in 1999 for The Farming of Bones. However, my favorite novel is The Dew Breaker, which on my first book review blog back in 2004 here.





The story is about an American sculptor, who learns that her father was  a "Dew Breaker," a member of the Tonton Macoutes, a group of volunteers who tortured and killed thousands of civilians under the regimes of Fran├žois and Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti. Incredible story.

My favorite lines...
I immediately regret the question. Is he[father] going to explain why he and my mother have no close friends, why they’ve never had anyone over to the house, why they never speak of any relatives in Haiti or anywhere else, or have never returned there or, even after I learned Creole from them, have never taught me anything else about the country beyond what I could find out on my own, on the television, in newspapers, in books? Is he about to tell me why Manman is so pious? Why she goes to daily Mass? I am not sure I want to know anything more than the little they’ve chosen to share with me all these years, but it is clear to me that he needs to tell me, has been trying to for a long time.

“We have a proverb,” he continues. “One day for the hunter, one day for the prey. Ka, your father was the hunter, he was not the prey.”
 If you are seeking a great read about this torn island, I recommend any of her works.

And no... I will not respond to Pat Robertson' s statement regarding the Haiti earthquake, because it's beneath me.

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