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#3209: L.A. Times article: responses from Wilentz and others
From: Amy Wilentz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In response to Kevin Pina's comment on my LA Times piece on Jean
Dominique's assassination, in which I included an aside on the uses of
the race word "wouj" in Haitian politics.
I was trying to remember just where I got the idea to include that bit
-- it's not something I write about much. I remembered: it was a section
in Jean Dominique's October speech about Dany Toussaint and the campaign
that Jean claimed Toussaint had launched against the following "ti wouj"
(Toussaint's word, according to Jean): "Robert Manueal, Pierrot Denize
et Jean Dominique."
Maybe Jean was wrong, but he ended up dead, and as Graham Greene says in
The Comedians: "Death is a proof of sincerity."
Might I ask: Who is Kevin Pina?
Re the Wilentz piece:
I am glad someone else concurred. I have forwarded the piece to many of my
Haitian friends, and none of us can actually get the gist of the article.
Who are identified as the good guys? The bad guys? If I remember correctly
(didn't print it out), the light-skinned elites (to which she likened the
beloved Jean Dominique) in her article seemed to be the persecuted. As I
right in this interpretation?
Maybe we're missing an abstract, obscure point, but what is it? sue seitz
From: chris-shelane <email@example.com>
I was happy to read Kevin's post about Amy wilentz' story in the LA Times.
When I read that story I thought maybe I'd lost it. This business of an
attack on 'wouj' was totally new to me but I thought, maybe I missed
My other reaction on reading the story was to ask, how serious is the LA
Times? I'm not a regular reader of the paper but like other Corbetteers
probably, I read their piece on the drugs epidemic in Haiti. In fact I'm
surprised no-one on the list reacted to it. It made the following
remarkable claim: "By most standards, the epidemic [of drugs trafficking]
has already begun. And behind it is a combination of ingenuity, geography,
anarchy and voodoo".
Voodoo? Again the LA Times makes me sit up and listen. Eagerly I read on to
find out on what basis the author makes this claim:
"During the past five months, U.S. Customs officers along the Miami River
have uncovered more than a ton of pure cocaine arriving from Haiti--but not
until after agents in gas masks spent tens of thousands of dollars drilling
deeply through mud, human waste and voodoo icons into the sealed, hollowed-out
keels of five aging Haitian freighters."
How must a journalist rub his/her hands in glee at the prospect of
incorporating a juicy reference to voodoo into a story on Haiti. Especially
if it can be woven into some business of political skullduggery or criminal
shenannigans. But seriously, couldn't the LA Times have done better? They
could have just as easily said that mud was a major factor in cocaine
smuggling and the corruption of the Haitian police force. That sounds like a
Zonyon! story, what do you think Guy?