Author Archive

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Reading: Farewell Fred Voodoo

by Aida Silver
Note: This article was written by Alexandra Hanson-Harding. Please disregard the WordPress byline.

Most people in Haiti live on less than two dollars a day. Hundreds of thousands have been living in tent cities without sanitation since a 2010 hurricane rattled the tiny island nation. Then, a cholera epidemic killed thousands more. They have lived under vicious dictators and political chaos. And yet, as bad as those things are, even worse, argues Amy Wilentz in her fierce history and polemic Farewell Fred Voodoo, are the confused attempts by Europeans and North Americans to “help” Haiti without taking the time or effort to understand it. (“Fred Voodoo” is a condescending term used by some foreign journalists for the Haitian “man on the street.”)

It would seem appropriate to read a book about Haiti outside in the hot blazing sun. To sweat in empathy with the poor, suffering Haitians. Instead, I lie in my cool, comfortable, air-conditioned room with an ice cold Diet Coke. Why? Because I can. And, because Wilentz points out, that sweat would mean nothing.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011


by Aida Silver

Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a series that will run this week to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

This isn’t a story about 9/11. This is a story of the story of 9/11.

My story.

We all have our stories about it. Where we were, how we heard, who we knew who was somehow more intricately bound up in its History than we.

We tell these stories so that we can put this huge, hellish thing in a box. We define its boundaries, we say, here, this is yours but this is mine; and in doing so we also invite the rest of Us, the survivors, in. We share. We become aware of how we are all the same person, and this person is frightened, sad, angry, hopeless, hopeful, resolute, courageous, but no longer alone.


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