I was born in Port-au Prince, Haïti. My two parents are from the South of the island. I am still reeling from the images of devastation. At the other end of the world, on the coast of a different sea, I get so choked up, I have to walk away from the television screen. I am not even a first-hand witness. Friends and colleagues are sending messages hoping that our families are all right. Thank you for your empathy. My partner isn’t speaking much. Close relatives have been found, but so many are still missing. The city of his youth is gone. The country of my birth is suffering terribly. “Incomprehensible and cruel tragedy”, said President Obama. Surely this small and proud nation should have been last on the Earth’s hit list! Can anything good come out of such devastation?
I am a firm believer in human resilience. How else could Haitians still be standing, and this first Black Republic still be hobbling along? But somehow, this is just too much. Intolerable. 100,000 dead, wounded. How many more crippled emotionally.
My parents left Haitï 50 years ago. I can only imagine what some members of the Diaspora feel as they frantically try to locate their loved ones — all the while wondering, in some cases, if they were right in leaving them behind. I hear the US neighbor is sending help. Also, France the old amie/ennemie. Even China is showing pictures of a few dozen technicians in orange suits rushing to vehicles taking them to the airport. But, it will be the Haitian Diaspora: the taxi drivers, the cleaning crews, the teachers, the doctors, the friends, who will come through again and again. I pray that each human being living in the desolate aftermath will find in himself or herself the will to survive. God bless you.