Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Deibert, Michael. "Review of Peter Hallward's DAMMING THE FLOOD." MICHAEL DEIBERT, WRITER [blog] March 16, 2008.
Hallward, Peter. Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment. London: Verso, 2007. One of the major flaws of Hallward’s account becomes apparent early on and it is a major one for an undertaking of this nature: the book has no historical memory. In seeking at all costs to prove the author’s thesis of the essential uniqueness and saintliness of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas political party, Hallward ignores the inescapable fact that Aristide and Lavalas did not come out of a vacuum, but rather represented simply the latest manifestation by which bright, ambitious political leaders sought to harness the popular discontent at the criminal poverty that Haiti’s poor majority is forced to exist in on a daily basis. It is a discontent that had been harnessed with varying degrees of effectiveness in the late 19th century by Lysius Salomon, and in the mid-late 20th century by Dumarsais Estimé and François Duvalier (both of whom made it to the presidency), as well as by more marginal figures such as Daniel Fignole, the Port-au-Prince political leader who oratory was so skillful at whipping his slum-based followers into a frenzy that they became know as his rouleau compresseur (steamroller). . . . Read the rest here: http://michaeldeibert.blogspot.com/2008/03/review-of-peter-hallwards-damming-flood.html.