The First Black Republic

Our own Justin E. H. Smith in his blog:

Haiti I get so tired of hearing that Haiti is un pays maudit, as if God designated particular geographical regions for exceptional hardship, as if having enough money to build to earthquake code were a question of theodicy. I heard this exact phrase, that Haiti is a damned country, from my French neighbor just this morning, who served as a UN peacekeeper for two years in Port-au-Prince. I hear exactly the same thing from the many Haitians I know, or only briefly encounter in the back of their taxis, in Montreal. They are proud of the fact that Haiti was the first Black republic anywhere, and one of the first republics in the western hemisphere, but are resigned to what they take as a simple fact, that the legacy of Toussaint Louverture was doomed to failure from the outset. In fact, Pat Robertson's senescent account of Haiti's plight –an account that happened to go viral, but was really only meant for the ears of elderly, bedridden Americans who lack the initiative and the computing skills to check these things out for themselves– is really just a slightly more crude version of what almost everyone says about Haiti. Even Haitians say it.

More here.