Haitian Dreams

Jason Wilson in The Smart Set:

Screenhunter_01_apr_17_1720As we puttered along in the bumper-to-bumper Port-au-Prince traffic, rolling over occasional streams of raw sewage, Saíntil explained to us that his favorite actor was Shaquille O’Neal. He particularly liked Shaq in the movie Steel.

Saíntil made a quick shortcut through a dodgy alley and we passed a mangy, rabid dog fighting with an enormous pig — literally paw and snout — over the right to eat a pile of garbage. After the shortcut, we were back to a standstill, surrounded by the vibrant reds and blues and yellows of the crazy tap-taps carrying sardined passengers in the overcrowded streets, windshields emblazoned with “Christ Is The Big Captain,” “Lamentations 3:26,” and “Sylvester Stallone.”

As we pondered Shaquille O’Neal’s thespian work, Saíntil surprised again us by saying he often longed for a day when Papa Doc Duvalier — with his voodoo mysticism and his dreaded secret police, the murderous Tontons Macoutes — would be returned to power and end the utter chaos and lawlessness. Saíntil said this even though, at 49, he was certainly old enough to remember first-hand the violence of the Duvalier regime. “Many people believe that Papa Doc is still alive,” he said. “No one actually saw him buried in his coffin. People say they’ve seen him, late at night, walking the streets of Port-au-Prince.”

More here.