Haiti, Disaster, and Revolution
Oct 25, 2016
1 Min read time
Suffering in Haiti is a manmade, not a natural, disaster.
In early October, Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, killing hundreds of people and sparking fears of a cholera outbreak. The humanitarian aid community is rushing to provide relief. In this reading list, we look back at another natural disaster in Haiti: the earthquake of 2010. Junot Díaz documents the manmade catastrophes that it revealed; others explore how the media and the international community compounded the crisis.
- Junot Díaz, Apocalypse
What does an earthquake reveal about our neoliberal age? Junot Díaz shows us how to read the ruins of the earthquake, and think about our implication in natural disasters.
- Colin Dayan, “Civilizing Haiti”
Media reports about Haiti speak of death and decay, whereas humanitarians routinely call for compassion. Such representations ignore the island's history, and the intervention and exploitation that have defined the Haitian political experience.
- Jake Johnston, Outsourcing Haiti
Billions of dollars in international aid rolled in to Haiti after the earthquake. But little of that money went towards rebuilding the ravaged country, pointing to a crisis in foreign aid.
- Colin Dayan, The Secret History of the Haitian Earthquake
Colin Dayan interviews journalist Jonathan M. Katz about his book “The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.”
- Sidney M. Mintz, Whitewashing Haiti’s History
“To judge Haiti fairly, it is essential to remember that the country won its independence under the worst imaginable circumstances. The Haitians declared their freedom in 1804, when the New World was mostly made up of European colonies (and the United States) all busily extracting wealth from the labor of millions of slaves. The Haitian liberation shook the empire of the whip to the core. The inescapable truth is that ‘the world’ never forgave Haiti for its revolution, because the slaves freed themselves.”
October 25, 2016
1 Min read time