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#3209: L.A. Times article: responses from Wilentz and others

From: Amy Wilentz <amywile@panix.com>

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?

Amy Wilentz


From: SSeitz8935@aol.com

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 <chris-shelane@globelsud.net>

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?
Chris Chapman