A country turned upside down struggles for hope
Haitians will turn to religion and survival of the fittest in this latest chapter of misery, writes Ian Thomson
Published 15/01/2010 | 05:00
Haitians are just as likely to show extraordinary resilience and selflessness as they rally together
By any standards, Haiti represents a very great concentration of misery and dashed hopes. In January 1804 the African slaves overthrew their French masters and declared the world's first black republic. Haiti became an emblem of slavery's longed-for abolition. And the slave leader, Toussaint L'Ouverture, was hailed by William Wordsworth, among other Romantics, as a "morning star" of the Americas.
Since independence, however, emperors, kings and presidents-for-life have misruled the Caribbean nation through violence and theft of public funds. The constitution is made of paper, they say, but the bayonet is made of steel.