Port-au-Prince: Capital of Pain


1 : a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss
2 : a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and suffering

This “bar-coded” child is the symbol of the total helplessness of people in Port-au-Prince.

ruth fremson nytimes haiti earthquake

I am heartbroken by the utter distress/despair of Haiti. So much misery and suffering caused by a few seconds of random natural violence…

damon winter haiti earthquake

“Tout est enfin divisé
Tout se deforme et se perd
Tout se brise et disparait
La mort sans conséquences”

jean michel basquiat haiti michele roohani

“Everything is finally divided
Everything is deformed and lost
All breaks and disappears
Death without consequences” Eluard

jean michel basquiat haiti michele roohani radiant child

I wonder how Basquiat would have seen all this suffering in his fatherland; he painted some prescient images in 1980’s…

jean michel basquiat haiti michele roohani untitled

Damon Winter has taken striking pictures of the inconsolable Haiti.

damon winters haiti ny times michele roohani

10 thoughts on “Port-au-Prince: Capital of Pain

  1. “la vie est un conte, plein de bruit et de fureur, raconté par un idiot, et qui ne signifie rien” Shakespeare

  2. Dear Michele:
    You asked: How to keep hope alive amid such misery and suffering?
    Here is my answer:
    In my opinion: Hope is created within us and works just for us not for others. I can hope for somebody as long as I want as a courtesy and as a kindness, but the truth is my hope cannot go beyond its purpose, calming and raising hope in others and does not do miracle for them. Universe is not cruel and gives us what we want and death is not the end of the road but a beginning trail to a better life. Mother Earth is alive and suffers developing hatred her children play in, so she needs to adjust. She chooses those who suffer the most to improve their future life for they are not happy with want they have now. It is pure love and answer to what we attract to ourselves. This is a difficult concept to grasp and I am as confused and as shocked as you are. Why them and not me? I did not send the invitation for I am happy or at least try to be happy with what I am and what I have. Were those who died? I do not think so. So I do not allow misery and suffering come to me for if I do it will. If I suffer the color of my skin (ie: Micheal Jackson) then the only way out of it to die and be reborn white. So, let us hope for ourselves to stay put submitted with trust in love. We will be protected. I am sure those dead are blessed with the love of universe and poised for a better life.
    And remember life is a restaurant, order what you want yet nonchalant.

  3. Hi Mehr..

    I think so called optimism and Hope is overrated..

    I reproduce the para for recent article in Time by Barbara Ehrenreich
    – Overrated Optimism: The Peril of Positive Thinking

    Fortunately, the alternative to optimism is not pessimism, which can be equally delusional. What we need here is some realism, or the simple admission that, to paraphrase a bumper sticker, “stuff happens,” including sometimes very, very bad stuff. We don’t have to dwell incessantly on the worst-case scenarios — the metastasis, the market crash or global pandemic — but we do need to acknowledge that they could happen and prepare in the best way we can. Some will call this negative thinking, but the technical term is sobriety.

    Besides, the constant effort of maintaining optimism in the face of considerable counterevidence is just too damn much work. Optimism training, affirmations and related forms of self-hypnosis are a burden that we can finally, in good conscience, set down. They won’t make you richer or healthier, and, as we should have learned by now, they can easily put you in harm’s way. The threats that we face, individually and collectively, won’t be solved by wishful thinking but by a clear-eyed commitment to taking action in the world.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1929155,00.html#ixzz0dDNcmudU

  4. Hi Entropy
    Thank you for paying attention to my words. I am an architect and my mission is to provide health and safe living environment for my clients. So, the question is not to be ignorant and not be prepared. The question is why calamity hits me and not others and if with hope I can save others?
    I do not want to debate but to express my opinion and I do respect other people’s opinion in the same time.
    Where in the world positive thinking is harmful as the article put it? The whole universe is the result of thought. What I am talking here is the truth versus reality. Reality is that I die and it is painful. Truth is that reality plus a knowing that why I die and what happens after. Do we know the truth? This means that truth covers the reality but reality is not the truth.
    So I strive to discover the truth to understand the reality better not the other way around.
    For if I have the truth I have the reality. Universe is peaceful and truthful and loves its creatures like a mother does. So when a catastrophe happens to me, I personally do not blame God, I blame myself for I believe I got what I wanted. The following poem tells it all about me and what I think.

    He who lived all his life, drowned in the daily thought.
    He nourished his wisdom tree, to grow out the drought.
    He who thought he was wise, declared the knowing all.
    Cut his wisdom by the root, failed to grow it tall.
    He who stereotyped his knowledge, worthy to offer.
    Made himself and others oppressed, apt to suffer.
    I have neither the knowledge, nor I am as wise.
    Life rewards me always, happiness is the prize.

  5. Hi Mehr

    Thanks for sharing enlightening thoughts and beautiful poem, which captures the essence.. for cynic like me its almost therapeutic..

    “I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it”

    -Albert Camus

  6. “Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation” Kahlil Gibran

  7. Excerpt from Gabriel García Márquez Nobel Lecture- Dec 1982

    In spite of this, to oppression, plundering and abandonment, we respond with life. Neither floods nor plagues, famines nor cataclysms, nor even the eternal wars of century upon century, have been able to subdue the persistent advantage of life over death. An advantage that grows and quickens: every year, there are seventy-four million more births than deaths, a sufficient number of new lives to multiply, each year, the population of New York sevenfold.

    Most of these births occur in the countries of least resources – including, of course, those of Latin America. Conversely, the most prosperous countries have succeeded in accumulating powers of destruction such as to annihilate, a hundred times over, not only all the human beings that have existed to this day, but also the totality of all living beings that have ever drawn breath on this planet of misfortune.

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