Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thoughts on Haiti's National Palace

I have heard reports that they have started tearing down Haiti's quake-ravaged National Palace today. It was a powerful symbol for the country (not to mention an architectural gem). At the same time, I know a number of Haitians who have told me nothing good ever came out of there. For me, very mixed feelings. I remember walking past there for the first time in 1997, watching U.S. ambassador Brian Dean Curran present his credentials to René Préval there in 2000, watching Jean-Bertrand Aristide glower down at people from a golden chair with his white American bodyguards behind him from 2001 to 2004, saw Boniface Alexandre and Gérard Latortue there 2004-2006 and then Préval again 2006 to 2011. One of my most poignant memories was, after I watched Préval and Kofi Annan hold a press conference in 2006, walking to the front balcony as a band played a slightly off-key rendition of La Dessalinienne and gazing across the  Champs de Mars towards the slums of Bel Air rising just beyond, wondering when the day for those people would come.

Photo © Michael Deibert

No comments: