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 In Champs Mars the parks are filled with tents and tarps and the National Cathedral has been replaced by open air churches.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:

January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail