Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Haiti on Bourdain's No Reservations

I’m a big fan of Anthony Bourdain and No Reservations.  This past Monday he was in Haiti.  It was an inspired show, from a gesture of good will that turns sour to a personal recollection of the aftermath of the earthquake, every segment was devastating, infuriating, and hopeful.  It’s the conflict of all these emotions that makes the episode tough to watch.

After a night of reflection, what strikes me most is how the camera, the crew, Bourdain himself looked to find a lighter side to Haiti, and yet it was elusive.  On all the faces of the people you saw the look of defiance and strength, but not lightness.  In all the neighborhoods they passed you saw the cracks and rubble from January 2010’s earthquake.  I know their is laughter.  I’ve heard about it and I’ve seen it, but for an hour I saw destruction and strength and survival.

As Bourdain says, it’s easy to forget, to push the negative images out of our minds.  The simple thing is to develop Haiti fatigue, or Egypt fatigue, it’s just too simple to turn off the TV, to stop reading the articles, to stop caring.  Development is a long-term effort and Haiti wasn’t so developed before the earthquake, but the quake was a sucker punch laid on a staggering boxer.  Maybe the country is still a little punch drunk.  Much like No Reservations, this post doesn’t end on a happy note.  But the strength of the Haitian people is obvious to anyone who watches for five minutes.  Here’s to betting on that strength.

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