Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign featured a persistent attack on immigrants. So as a Haitian immigrant, I was surprised when candidate Trump praised our values and work ethic and declared to a crowd of Haitian Americans in Miami’s Little Haiti, “I really want to be your greatest champion.”
Apparently, Trump’s public declaration of love for Haitians — conveniently stated at an anti-Hillary Clinton rally — was contradicted by his private beliefs. The New York Times recently reported that he allegedly fumed at a Cabinet meeting on immigration in June that Haitians “all have AIDS.” (He also reportedly claimed that Nigerians would never go “back to their huts.”)… Seguir leyendo »
This is for all those Americans who like to complain about “the race card” being played whenever there is a confrontation between members of minority groups and the police. France is a country fervently attached to the concept of “color-blindness.” Keeping racial statistics is against the law. Politicians talk about the unifying value of “republicanism” and look unfavorably on organizations based on race and ethnicity.
Then there was the violent incident with a familiar ring: A policeman in a Paris suburb was accused of sodomizing a young man with a nightstick earlier this month during a confrontation. It brings back memories of Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant who suffered a similar fate in Brooklyn precinct cell in 1997 at the hands of New York Police Department officers using a broken broom handle.… Seguir leyendo »
A remarkable exhibition has been running at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac. The vast show, titled “The Color Line,” is billed as an examination of the response of African American artists to segregation. This is an exhibit on a grand scale, featuring 183 paintings, drawings and sculptures by artists from Henry Ossawa Tanner to Mickalene Thomas, and 498 documents, including books, films, flyers, newspapers, posters and videos. The show is as much historical as artistic, with long swathes of text that retell the story of the brief promise of equality after the Civil War as well as photos and postcards documenting the brutal imposition of Jim Crow and finally, the long political struggle that culminated in the civil rights movement.… Seguir leyendo »
I’ve come to dread writing about my native Haiti. It seems that when I sit at my desk and tackle the subject, my fingers are writing about yet another disaster. This time it’s the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, with a death toll in the hundreds and tens of thousands left homeless. The United Nations is appealing for $120 million to address the devastation that has hit a poor island nation that seems to have neither the capacity nor the luck to avoid catastrophe.
In 2010, it was the devastating earthquake that took an estimated 300,000 lives; a couple of years later it was the cholera epidemic, a disease unknown in Haiti until inadvertently introduced by U.N.… Seguir leyendo »
My wife and I were among the thousands as the nearly-full 80,000-seat Stade de France in Paris for the France-Germany game when a loud explosion behind us interrupted the good-natured cheering in the stands around us about 15 minutes into the match. I thought at first that it was a firecracker — a very big one — because it seemed so close. What I had actually heard was a suicide bomber blowing himself up outside the stadium several hundred yards and several levels below our seats. Two more explosions and two more suicides would follow.
There was no announcement to spectators, and the game went on — although, we learned later, French President François Hollande was quietly evacuated.… Seguir leyendo »