Haiti Once Again
Since gaining its independence from France in 1804, after a brutal war that lasted over a decade, Haiti has been fighting for its own survival in face of natural catastrophes and political disturbances associated with military coups or with invasions by the United States or the United Nations. Haiti Once Again offers an analysis of relevant points in the country's history and makes the connection with the AIDS stigma and its religious counterpart, the myth of the divine curse. The book presents a detailed analysis of the message of the satanic pact that has become so popular among some televangelists and missionaries, in an effort to allow the reader to develop an informed opinion on this subject and a few others concerning Haiti. If only the truth can set us free, its opposite will certainly keep us in bondage - even if we think we are free.
What people are saying - Write a review
Review by The Thinker
I enjoy reading Haiti Once Again. Born and raised in Haiti (with a long experience living also in the United States), I am already quite aware of my birthplace’s history. That familiarity prompted me to read the book intensely, passionately and with interest. Its title might at first suggest, “Haiti: Here we go again”, implying typical exposition of negative press. But surprisingly! “Haiti Once Again” displays first a meaningful title, easy to remember, and invites its readers to see Haiti quickly in terms of its past, present and a hope of a better future. The author, J. R. Gelin, has done an excellent work managing well documented facts and analysis in a small, convenient package.
The book’s cover is well designed and significant. Chains are broken! No more slavery in Haiti: the only successful slaves’ revolt in history! Yes, it’s true. Freedom! Independence! But to how much progress have those led the nation? Theories abound. Gelin considers historical, natural, human, religious and theological arguments often avoided by others. For example, he fearlessly evaluates the type of Christianity Columbus brought to Haiti. He objectively discusses the curse notion, popularized on TV by Rev. Pat Robertson as the cause of Haiti’s fate. I wish here to read more on the impact of vodou on the culture and mentality of the people. The writer uses his scientific background to address without bias the conclusion of American AIDS experts’ probe on Haiti and Haitians.
The author swiftly looks at some of the causes of Haiti’s ascent and deterioration, including the natural greediness of men (foreigners and Haitians alike). Compared to other writers on Haiti, Gelin (himself a Haitian) recognizes Haitians as a religious people (since the Indian times), and therefore, he freely and logically incorporates that natural element in his evaluation at times. But he does it judiciously so that the sensitive reader is not distracted from other factors affecting Haiti’s destiny. Excellent!
In “Haiti Once Again”, the author tries to characterize the Haiti once nicknamed “La Perle des Antilles” (The Pearl of the Antilles), by briefly showing here and there its stint with prosperity, its culture, its pride, its place in the concert of nations and in history. I wish to see that golden era and some themes developed more. But I sense that Gelin wants to keep the book balanced yet efficient in size, facts and truths.
One chapter gives the book a purely French flavor, without exhausting the English readers with repetitious arguments. The author draws creatively and practically an interesting parallel between Job (the popular Bible character) and Haiti. Both were subjected to the same types of actors and destructive forces. As Job came out restored, will it be true also for Haiti? Concerned readers are challenged to examine how they will respond: like agents of transformation? Here is hope. The book ends with calls for actions to a special group of people to contribute more effectively to Haiti’s restoration.
I do enjoy reading the book. I am recommending it to those merely curious about Haiti and to those who know or care enough to the point of hoping to see “Haiti once Again”. Happy reading!
Chapter 1A Very UNHappy Bicentenary
Chapter 2The First Encounter
Chapter 3The African Presence
Chapter 4The Beginning of the End
Chapter 5The Beauty and Power of 1804
Chapter 6The Litany of Violence
The AIDS Stigma
Chapter 8The Lie of the Pact
Notes and References