“Dazed people walking the streets of Port au Prince keep saying the same thing: “Haiti is dead.” And on one level that’s true — this small country has just endured one of the most searing natural disasters in history, and death is everywhere. Death is on sidewalks, on the roads, in rivers, buried in rubble and noticeable only by its smell. The scale is so unimaginable that the usual human traditions and courtesies for the dead have been suspended: many thousands of bodies have been collected by backhoe and dumped into mass graves with no more ceremony than the rubble that goes into the same pits.
But admidst the carnage and chaos there have been remarkable glimmers of hope and strength, of heroism and selflessness. I’m sleeping in my truck in the parking lot of a hotel; outside the walls thousands of Haitians, with nowhere else to go, are camping out on the streets. But as night descends the singing starts, jumping voices sounding through the darkness, spirituals and ancient songs sung from those streets late into the night. I listen to this from inside the truck as I drift to sleep; its jarring and achingly beautiful.”
Photo Chris Hondros/Getty Images
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