As events unfold here in Port-au-Prince around Jean-Claude Duvalier’s return from exile on Sunday, his being detained and charged with corruption by Haitian prosecutors yesterday, only to be released last night and returned to the Karibe Hotel having had his passport confiscated, I can’t help but repeat how surreal it feels—like living on the edge of a bizarre Caribbean twilight zone where reality contorts itself into a banana republic parody of all things right and just and good.
In the midst of this twisting of right and wrong, caring and corruption, goodness and greed, I’m reminded of why I began this blog in the first place and why I called it “reinventing the event horizon.” I’m reminded of the quote from T. D. Allman’s After Baby Doc I cited in my first post back in November. It bears repeating, as Allman associates Haiti with the same “convoluting” of reason we see happening here this week:
Haiti is not simply one more of those tropical dictatorships where to rule is to steal, and headless bodies are found by the road. Haiti contorts time: It convolutes reason if you are lucky–and obliterates it if you are not. Haiti is to this hemisphere what black holes are to outer space. Venture there and you cross an event horizon. (After Baby Doc, 1989)
Wrap your brain around that statement and you may begin to understand how Haiti feels this week—how this warping of the already absurd, not only wearies me, but worries folks the world over.
Remember, an event horizon is the edge of a black hole, a bending in the space/time continuum beyond which no light can escape—in many ways, a point of no return.
Was the earthquake an event horizon for Port-au-Prince? Will cholera bend time and space so there’s no escaping the dis-ease that’s plagued this place for centuries? Will fraudulent presidential elections and now Baby Doc’s return from exile push the Haitian people into further darkness?
Is there light for Haiti?