Wednesday, November 5, 2008
We went to a young people's art exhibit last week and were struck by Haitian students' perceptions of Haiti and what it means to be Haitian: Images of death, violence, brokenness, environmental degradation, the scales of arbitrary justice, the fist... Haitian young people have a lot to be angry about. In spite of a fierce national pride, most of the young people that we've met don't think that Haiti has anything to offer in terms of a future. The statistics are certainly not in their favor: more than 2/3 of the population is not formally employed, 80% under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty, extensive deforestation and soil erosion, inadequate infrastructure and supplies of potable water, rapidly rising prices of basic commodities... the list goes on and on. You probably see it in the news.
Sometimes it seems like we've successfully pillaged and bled this country until there is almost nothing left. But even while these pieces depict the tragedy of Haiti's history, they are also full of the contrasting images of peace, community, creativity hope and strength: the dove, the mermaid, creation, the human heart and body... Haiti is teaching me to see beyond the hopeless statistics and see LIFE. I am constantly being reminded here that life and beauty overcome, even in the face of some of the most systemic and categorical injustices imaginable.
To see more from this amazing exhibit:
- Lexi from Ben's account