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The Walls of Port-au-Prince Speak

For the poor Haitian living inside Haiti, a people without national or international voice and outlet, the walls of Port-au-Prince have become monumental boards to demonstrate the mass’ thoughts, social and political activism. The walls of Port-au-Prince speak and tell it all! Graffiti is used as expression for a people lacking representation.
Touring the city, from Delmas to Petion-Ville, Debussy to Anba Lavil, the streets of Christ-Roi and Champ de Mars are tattooed with messages one should not ignore. It has become the norm for the mass to cry out through these walls their concerns are put to rest. In the ghettos throughout the world one may observe the graffiti tagging style of the voiceless but for Port-au-Prince, most important is what the walls are saying. Right across the street from the United Nations headquarters, someone took the time to write, “USA=UN=Thieves=Zenglendo (petty robbers) Give Haiti A Chance.”
It doesn’t stop there. A little walk will tell you more, “Down With The ONG Thievery!” “Down With Occupation Respect The Haitian Government!” “The Mass Cannot Hold Any Longer!” Why is the message that reaches our international community different from what reads on the ground? Somehow the people’s voice has been interpreted by a sector made up of a few with outlet to speak nationally and internationally. Contrary to their faithful report of Haitian views, the murals say, “Praise Titid!” Titid is the nickname the commonly disparage and down and out Haitian has given to Jean Bertrand Aristide, the former Haitian President illegally ousted by the coup of (please insert date for me).
If the national and international powers who are pushing forth with the agenda of democracy for Haiti are truly sincere then the voice of the people should not be buried in murals of spray paint and at times marking with choal chalk. The Haitian mass has always displayed an acute perception of their own reality. The mass is aware of the political machinery of decision makers who profess to act on their behalf, yet fail to include their voice. Communities that have been ravagedly destroyed by the earthquake of January 12, 2010 also use murals of graffiti to scream for help. In the section of Rue Armand Holly, Debussy the mural reads in plain English, “Homeless Group of Debussy We Need Help Please: Such As Water-Food-Medicine-Wool-Shelter-Tent-And Jobs Too.”
It is common for the voices on the walls to be dismissed as movements from chimere thugs who only wish to cause political disruption and violence. The act of denying those voices a proper channel to speak marks the ground for frustration and stifled anger which boils daily and bubbles with steams of chaos. The Haitian consciousness is alive and working through the activism of youths who will tell whomever chooses to ask, “The young poeple are tired because there is no life for us to go to school and get an education and even after we finish school without a maren or paren (Godmother or Godfather inside connection), we are left in the streets and ignored.”

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
May. 05, 2012

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