Entries tagged with Haiti

Document 07: L’événement

Non-Events I

Morning turns inside out. The engine
        is diseased, as it floats along
        approximate ice. High contrast
geometry of persons straightens out from
        meandering road. Desperate focus
never looks back. Progress makes possible
        a paralyzed attendant, set apart
        an end to himself (moral noise).

 —Frame: 1971–1990 (Sun & Moon, 1997), 13

Avenue Poupelard in the center of this devastated city pulses with life and reeks of death almost two weeks after the earthquake. Before what Haitians call “the event,” it was a chaotically bustling street of lottery kiosks and cybercafes, gated homes and shacks, churches and schools. Now, a coffin maker spends the day hammering wood as fast as he can get it, while the body of a 6-year-old boy decomposes in the ruins of a school. … More

The astonishment (aftershocks) bordering on terror (tremor), the (tin) horror and awesome shudder (shaking), which grip the spectator in viewing (victims) mountain ranges towering to (of) the heavens, deep ravines (research) and the raging torrents in (to) them, deeply shadowed wastelands (Wednesday) inducing melancholy reflection, etc. (but), is in view of the safety (shaken) in which he (we) knows himself to be, not actual (agency) fear, but (and) only an attempt (article) to involve (injured) ourselves (otherwise) in it by means of the (not) imagination, in order to (be) feel the power of (by) that very faculty, to combine (crumbled) the movement (measures) of the mind (more) thereby aroused with its (her) calmness (collapse), and so to be superior (seismic) to nature within us, and thus (toll) also that outside (ongoing) us, insofar as it can (who) have an influence on our feeling (fearing) of well-being.

—Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, trans. Paul Guyer (152);
“Fierce Quake Devastates Haitian Capital,” New York Times, 13 January 2010

Document 05: Haiti and Ideal

To Toussaint L’Ouverture

 Toussaint, the most unhappy man of men
   Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
   Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon’s earless den;
O Miserable Chieftain! Where and when
   Wilt thou find Patience? Yet die not; do thou
   Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
   Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
There’s not a breathing of the common wind
   That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
   And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.

—William Wordsworth

… More