“This time around, let the Yankees stay!”
Dutch journalist and documentary filmmaker Ton Vriens witnessed the catastrophe, traveling from North to South. Back in the States he wonders if the international community has the will to build up this country — so behind in development and corrupt from top to bottom.
(a translation of a piece for Dutch weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, February 10, 2010)
The atmosphere at the senate meeting on the night of October 30th seemed more vaudeville than serious politics. News photos of the nightlong session showed senators doubling over with laughter and excitedly jumping around the microphone. At the meeting many wild accusations were made throughout the night against the female Prime Minister. The scene was reminiscent of Graham Greene’s novel The Comedians, a portrayal of Haiti as a chaotic banana republic.
But The Comedians was published in the sixties, when turmoil and instability hit almost overnight in the decolonized nations. One would almost forget thatHaiti is is not exactly a young, emerging nation, inexperienced and giddy with its newfound freedom. Haiti was one of the few colonies that liberated itself at an early stage – the one and only slave revolt in history that actually succeeded. At the time of its independence in 1804, the population did not even share a common language, as they had been shipped to the island from all over Africa. The country’s revolutionary leadership — Toussaint L’Ouverture and others — baffled the Western world with its firm hand in organizing the masses and with its clever foreign politics. Read more