Saturday, January 16, 2010

the big hate - homage to haiti: a war nerd classic

Exiledonline | Haiti popped into the news again, and I decided it was time to tell the whole military history of the place. It’s got to be the most amazing, bloodsoaked, heroic, messed-up story in the Western Hemisphere: slave armies defeating Napoleon’s troops, huge castles built in the middle of the jungle, endless three-cornered war between whites, blacks and mulattos…it’s just incredible. In fact, it’s so wild and complex I’m going to have to divide it into two columns. This one will cover Haiti up to independence in 1803. Next issue I’ll bring it from there to the present.

Haiti is like the big slaughterhouse across the tracks: you kind of know what goes on in there, but you’d rather not think about it.

Every now and then there’s a bad stench when the wind’s blowing the wrong way, or the drainage ditch runs red with blood for a week — the kind of thing nice people can’t ignore any more. That’s when the do-gooders send a commission to investigate, or even send in the Marines to clean the place up. They stick around a while, till the blood starts slopping around their ankles, then pack up and head home. And nobody worries about Haiti for another few years.

You might remember we had Haiti all fixed up back in the Clinton days. Our boy was Aristide, a “slum priest” who went around sharing lice with the po’ folks and generally out-holying Mother Theresa. Except Mother Theresa didn’t live in Haiti. If she did, she’d be more like the lady that started the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda — she’d tell her followers to go out there and spread the word with Kalashnikovs and pangas.


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