Monday, February 15, 2010

François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Haiti's first earthquake


At the moment, the biggest disaster that celebrities are lending their faces to is Haiti. I have mixed feelings. Many actors show up for the big ones but are silent for the small ones. I question if some see Haiti as an opportunity for self-promotion and tax deduction rather than a heart felt action to help those in need. Matthew McConaughey is a great example of walking the walk. He has stayed focused on New Orleans long after it has been fashionable.

One of the reasons that Haiti is devastated from the earthquake was a man-made cause. His name was "François "Papa Doc" Duvalier" and his greedy son Jean-Claude. Like many rulers through time, his rise started with good human deeds. He became famous for fighting malaria (using medicine combined with voodoo) People called him Papa Doc and he liked it. This is where the story starts to change direction.

In America we think black and white. In Haiti, it's Mulatto vs. Black majority. Papa Doc wanted power. He garnered majority black support and took over. Shortly after he had a heart attack. After recovering, he accused his stand-in Barbot of trying to steal the country. He had him hunted down and heard rumor that he had transformed into a black dog. ..Yes, I said turned into a black dog. Being superstitious, Duvalier had all black dogs killed. He also ordered some human heads on ice. Yes, I said heads. After executing officers he would read their names at roll call and follow it with…"absent".

Living Colour's song, "Cult of Personality" certainly fits here. He believed he was a voodoo priest that walked with Jesus Christ. He even re-wrote "The Lord's Prayer" with a Duvalierist variation. After his death, Haiti was run by his son-of-a-gun son, Jean-Claude, who stole most of the country's wealth. He is living in exile in Paris contemplating donations to Haiti.

So this Smackum! goes double Duvalier for father and son. Their egos and greed impeded Haiti's ability to progress structurally, leaving them vulnerable to the disaster we have witnessed.

The cartoon of the dog is not a caricature of Papa Doc. This is one goes to the black pooches that gave their lives for Duvalier's voodoo B.S.

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