Walk for Haiti

The walk is sponsored by Partners In Health, a Boston based charity organization spearheaded by noted Harvard University Professor and anthropologist Dr. Paul Farmer. Partners In Health helps provide education and health care to the people of Haiti. The walk proceeds are disseminated to the construction and maintenance of schools, hospitals and shelter. Funds help supply medicine, clean water and food programs and elevate the standard of living for Haitians.

The walk is a cultural experience consisting of a Haitian market place, entertainment (ZiliMisik), dance, food, and poetry by Jacques Fleury: The Haitian Fire Fly who will recite from his book Sparks in the Dark. There will also be a speech by a surprise guest from Partners In Health. The walk will be held on March 27th, 2010. Registration begins at 12 p.m. at St. Paul Parish Church 29 Mt. Auburn St. in Harvard Sq., Cambridge. Walk Pledge sheets, flyers and instructions for group leaders can be downloaded. Donations of $100.00 or more will get you a fabulous T-Shirt. We hope you will consider taking a short scenic walk around the Charles River to help raise money for a worthy cause. For more information and to download forms, please visit the website: www.walkforhaiti.org.

The Rise and Fall of Haiti

By Jacques Fleury: The Haitian Fire Fly

” ‘History is the memory of states’, wrote Henry Kissinger in his book A World Restored in which he proceeded to tell the history of 19th century Europe from the point of view of the leaders of Austria and England, ignoring the millions who suffered from those state men’s policies.”

The aforementioned excerpt is from Howard Zinn’s revolutionary book: A People’s History of the United States. It depicts U.S. history from the point of view of the common man. His method of operation is in direct correlation to what I’m about to do: tell you Haiti’s history from my point of view. History is not necessarily or essentially “the memory of states” as Kissinger puts it. It is the narrative of the people whose lives were impacted, fragmented or altogether destroyed by intransigent politics and capricious foreign policies of dominant powers.

First and foremost, I want to outline Haiti’s historical chronology; thus giving you a theoretical basis from which you can begin to undergo a more comprehensive understanding of the country’s history and its present state of political and environmental instability.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the island and named it Hispaniola. Taino-Arawak Indians, who referred to their homeland as “Hayti” or “Mountainous Land”, originally inhabited the island. In 1697 slaves were sent to Haiti. The island was cherished by European powers for its natural resources, including cocoa, cotton and sugar cane. And so the French shipped in thousands of slaves mainly from West Africa to harvest the crops. In 1804 after a slave rebellion led by a man named Boukman in 1791, Haiti became the first black independent state under General Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared himself Emperor. America feared that the slave rebellion in Haiti would ignite anti-slavery insurgents in the southern U.S. states. Perhaps this is one of the reasons America’s relationship with Haiti is strained to this day.