FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Redemption Songs

One year ago this morning, millions of Haitians rose to greet the cool January sunshine. They walked the streets of Port au Prince, on their way to work, through the damp corridors of the capital. The National Palace towered over Champs Mars and the bells of the National Cathedral greeted the market women who gathered long before sunrise. Thousands of mothers kissed their children goodbye for the day and hundreds of schools throughout the capital echoed with the voices of students eager to learn after the Christmas holiday. The parks of the city smelled of fried food and charcoal smoke. It was Tuesday, it could have been any Tuesday, but for over 200,000 people it would be their last.

Twelve hours later as the sun dropped into the bay of Port au Prince the city collapsed. In just 30 seconds over 50% of the buildings in Haiti’s capital city were reduced to rubble, dust filled the air and hundreds of thousands of voices were silenced under the weight of crumbled cement. In Champs Mars survivors rose from the ground and stared in horror at the National Palace, the once proud building reduced to a shell of its former glory, the bells of the National Cathedral lost forever in a heap of twisted metal and shattered glass. Mothers ran through the darkened streets frantically searching for their children, imagining them as they walked off in the morning sun, starched uniforms, smiling faces. Schools which, hours earlier, bustled with the energy of youth lay in ruins and the pages of children’s notebooks floated in the nighttime breeze, rising above the rubble like lost dreams. The shocked and injured flooded the city parks and the smell of charcoal smoke was replaced by the smell of fear and smoldering ruins.

Now one year later and the streets once again echo with voices. It is Wednesday, but not any Wednesday, it is a day of mourning, a day when everyone in this city rose with the names of their lost loved ones on their lips. We woke with the sun to the songs of grief and praise that filled the streets. In Champs Mars the parks are filled with tents and tarps and the National Cathedral has been replaced by open air churches. Mothers hold their children close and the schools which are still standing are quiet, closed for the day in remembrance of all that was lost. The parks of the city are still home to the hundreds of thousands of people who remain homeless one year later.

But if you could hear the singing that fills the air on this January morning you would understand that Haiti’s spirit can never be reduced to rubble as her buildings were. It is as though those that lost their lives one year ago today have returned to sing with their brothers and sisters who survived, reminding them that Haiti will never perish.

To all of our friends and supporters around the world, we ask you to hold Haiti in your heart on this day of remembrance. Take a moment to hear the songs radiating from the heart of the Caribbean and join me in appreciating what Haiti has to teach the world; that no obstacle is so great that it cannot be overcome, that those we have lost will always walk alongside us and that we must never lose our humanity.

SASHA KRAMER, Ph.D. is an ecologist and human rights advocate and co-founder of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL). She is an Adjunct Professor of International Studies at the University of Miami. She can be reached at: sashakramer@gmail.com.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
Franklin Lamb
Hezbollah Claims a 20-Seat Parliamentary Majority
William Loren Katz
Oliver Law, the Lincoln Brigade’s Black Commander
Ralph Nader
The Constitution and the Lawmen are Coming for Trump—He Laughs!
Tom Clifford
Mexico ’70 Sets the Goal for World Cup 
David Swanson
What Else Canadians Should Be Sorry For — Besides Burning the White House
Andy Piascik
Jane LaTour: 50+ Years in the Labor Movement (And Still Going)
Jill Richardson
Pruitt’s Abuse of Our Environment is Far More Dangerous Than His Abuse of Taxpayer Money
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
Pardons Aren’t Policy
Daniel Warner
To Russia With Love? In Praise of Trump the Includer
Raouf Halaby
Talking Heads A’Talking Nonsense
Julian Vigo
On the Smearing of Jordan Peterson: On Dialogue and Listening
Larry Everest
A Week of Rachel Maddow…or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ronald Reagan
David Yearsley
Hereditary: Where Things are Not What They Sound Like
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail