After coming to some terms with the human scale of the current disaster in Haiti it dawned on me that some, all or most of our artistic treasures might be destroyed right now. The Centre D’Art, the murals of Bigaud in St. Trinite, the Presidential Palace itself (a gift from the US) and many other places. And what of the famous Hotel Oloffson? The place around which Graham Greene’s famous novel on Haiti “The Comedians” took shape and which also served as the center piece for the Hollywood film by the same name.
Updated on Jan. 25—Jimmy LeBon, a Haitian-American from Boston, traveled to the Dominican Republic last weekend in an attempt to enter Haiti to assist friends and relatives on the ground. Jimmy has been relaying a blog to a friend here in Boston — Elie St. Brice— who shared it with the BHR this week. Below (after the video) we print excerpts of his diary. Jimmy and his companions also filmed a brief video on Monday from the DR in which he urges other Haitian Americans not to try to come down "just yet." Jimmy has since made it into Haiti and is relaying information to friends and family here on ways that they can help relatives get out of Haiti through the D.R. The Reporter will update Jimmy's account with new excerpts as we get them.
Earthquake edition: Will be published on Jan. 21The Boston Haitian Reporter has published a special print edition of our newspaper that is now being circulated throughout Greater Boston's Haitian-American community. It is also available as a PDF version for online readers.
This special edition includes news articles and photographs documenting the Jan. 12th earthquake and the week-long struggle for survival that followed. It also includes a section "Voices from Boston" devoted to the reaction of Boston's Haitian community with more than 20 contributors, including Steve Desrosiers, Yolette Ibokette, Elizabeth St. Victor, Riché Zamor, Sr., Joseph Chery, State Rep. Marie St. Fleur and State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, Max Clermont, Michaelle Raphael, Belinda Ancion, Nancy Rousseau, Joelle Jean-Fontaine, NECN's Scot Yount, Jacques Jean, Fafa Girault, and Bill Forry.
The edition features an exclusive diary of Richardson Innocent, a former BHR staffer who survived last Tuesday's devastating earthquake while visiting friends in Delmas, Port-au-Prince. Innocent has been relaying daily accounts of his experiences in Haiti's capitol and the outskirts to the Reporter's newsroom.
The Boston Haitian Reporter, founded in 2001, is published monthly and circulated in Greater Boston. It is a publication of Boston Neighborhood News, Inc., which also publishes the Dorchester Reporter, Mattapan Reporter and Boston Irish Reporter newspapers.
For another vantage point on the last week's response in Boston's Haitian community, see this article in the Boston Phoenix.
Richardson Innocent: Former Reporter staffer relays the latest news from Haiti.Wednesday, Jan. 20 — This morning, at roughly 6 a.m., Haiti was jolted for ten seconds by another earthquake measuring 6.1. Richardson Innocent, in Cabaret, tells me that he is fine. A wall just collapsed behind the house where he is staying with relatives. No one in the village seems to be hurt.
“We were on the porch. Everyone was up anyway so we all just went out to the street,” he said. “We’re up with the sunrise here at 4, 5 o’clock. No one sleeps inside right now, so when the sun comes up, everyone’s awake and going to work.”
“I’m going to try and see if I can help somehow,” Rich says.
WGBH joins stations across the globe in airing Hope for Haiti Now, the benefit/telethon hosted by George Clooney, Wyclef Jean and CNN's Anderson Cooper, on Friday, January 22 from 8-10pm on WGBH 2/HD. Hope for Haiti Now features
performances and celebrity appearances, as well as live news reports from CNN. All donations directly benefit Oxfam America, Partners in Health, Red Cross, UNICEF and Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation.
Escape from Port-au-Prince: Patrick Jean Louis was among the Americans who were evacuated from Haiti aboard a U.S. military cargo plane on Saturday.On Tuesday January 12, Patrick Jean-Louis arrived in Haiti for the first time in seven years. Besides visiting family, Jean-Louis — who works at Roxbury Community College —had heard that Haiti’s economic situation “was moving in the right direction, so [he] went to see that.”
On the afternoon of his arrival, the 7.0 earthquake struck the two-floor building in Belleville where he, his uncle, and cousin were visiting. Jean-Louis asked his uncle, “What is that? It felt as though it was coming towards us.” His uncle replied that it was an earthquake.
Jean-Louis ran down from the second floor and out the door.
“It wasn’t easy getting out the house – the stairs were shaking.”
There were smaller, nearby homes that collapsed but Jean Louis reports that the larger buildings in the area, including the one he’d quickly left, were intact.
The Obama administration today has announced it will allow "certain" orphaned Haitian children to come to the U.S. where families are waiting to adopt them. The Miami Herald provides a full report here.
The press release, sent to the Reporter by the Department of Homeland Security is below:
SECRETARY NAPOLITANO ANNOUNCES HUMANITARIAN PAROLE POLICY FOR CERTAIN HAITIAN ORPHANS
The Massachusetts Haitian American Earthquake Task Force is teaming up with local artists, gospel choirs, and special guests from across the nation to launch a major fundraising effort this Sunday, Jan. 24 to benefit organizations working to support victims of the January earthquake in Haiti. The program will be staged from 3-9 p.m. at Madison Park High School , 75 Malcom X Boulevard , Roxbury.
“Will we have an earthquake in Cambridge?”
That’s one of the questions my students asked during a discussion about the earthquake. You can bet that in numerous schools and households throughout the country, the same question is being asked. It’s important that adults address children’s concerns during this difficult time. Here are some suggestions from Dr. David Fassler, a child and adolescent psychiatrist practicing in Vermont.
The Center for Future Civic Media at MIT has reached out the BHR and our staff and readers for help with a new database intended to help get emergency responders to Haiti's earthquake victims. A new text/SMS code — 4636— is being employed in Haiti to help coordinate emergency response to those in need. We are asking all of our Creole-English speaking readers to help with this effort ASAP. Please follow the directions carefully.
Here is a brief backgrounder from Christopher Csikszentmihalyi, who is directing MIT's efforts on the project: