viernes, mayo 11, 2007

“Rêve Haïtien”

Ben Fountain's collection of stories, "Brief Encounters With Che Guevara," includes one particularly worth to mention in this blog. In “Rêve Haïtien” the main character is an OAS observer living in Port-au-Prince during the time of the military regime which ruled the country between 1991 and 1994. Some one hundred fifty former colleagues of mine (and I) fit that description. We were all fourteen years younger and MICIVIH was the joint UN-OAS adventure we were part of. “Rêve Haïtien” plot takes place in Pacot, Champ de Mars, near the Church of the Sacred Heart and in the Salomon and La Saline neighborhoods. Paintings of Hector Hyppolite, Antoine Obin, Préfète Duffaut, Frantz Zéphirin and many others populate the scenes. Reluctantly, the idealist Mason believes he found his purpose in life the day he became involved with an inspired smuggling scheme aimed at financing an armed resistance to the military junta.

A reviewer of the book says "Fountain has taken a lot of risks here (…) putting characters in situations they wouldn't likely be in.” Ha, ha, ha. Sounds too awkwardly familiar, but it’s just art (and literary criticism) imitating life, again.

When I came back to Haiti two and a half years ago, some old friends of MICIVIH times were already here and others joined us later. The time arrived for some of the most experienced to leave but a brand new generation of “fresh” observers has come (and gone) to develop their own “Rêve Haïtien.”
Here we are, past and present, hanging together on the eve of Mercedes' departure, surrounded by the ubiquitous paintings of some of the finest artists in Ayiti.