Like everywhere else, most people aren't as concerned with the politics as with their daily struggle to get to work, to earn a living, to provide for their families. Some people feel strongly; presumably they are the ones out demonstrating. Others are just waiting to see what will happen and don't necessarily think that a change of who's at the top will change their lives much one way or the other. I've heard people speak passionately on both sides of the current struggle, and each one was giving an incomplete picture.
Right now children in Haiti can't go to school. Businesses can't function normally. Hospitals can't treat people. Yesterday in my area things seemed almost normal, but then I talked to someone who had taken two hours to get to work (about seven miles), and she said they had to weave around all different back roads and cross several barricades (sometimes paying for the privilege).
Here's a six minute video in English giving some background.
Even in my own head and heart, any moment is an incomplete picture. Sometimes I feel hopeful and encouraged. (A student sent me some writing that was such a good start!) Sometimes I am discouraged and can't see any hope anywhere. (I got an email from an administrator at work with the word "predictable-ish" in the subject line!) I read about street merchants having their artwork cut up and burned by protesters. But I also had a chai party with a bunch of colleagues and people were speculating that maybe the worst was over already. Yesterday I read about people getting burned by an attack on public transport (both sides blamed the other). But then also yesterday, there was traffic out and "people were timidly resuming their activities," as the local media always expresses it. (I love that word "timidly" because it really is perfect. You can sense the tension everyone is experiencing, and people are ready to run and hide at a moment's notice.)
And today I saw a bird in my yard that I'm pretty sure was this guy:
It's all partial and incomplete.
I've been trying to do NaNoWriMo, with very limited success. I'm to the point where I hate everything I write and know for a fact that I have no words worth reading. Since my own writing is going so badly, here's someone else's for Poetry Friday this week. As Douglas Dunn says in this poem, "I Am a Cameraman," each sentence of mine "shrugs off every word I try."
I Am a Cameraman
by Douglas Dunn
They suffer, and I catch only the surface.
The rest is inexpressible, beyond
What can be recorded. You can't be them.
If they'd talk to you, you might guess
What pain is like though they might spit on you.
Film is just a reflection
Of the matchless despair of the century.
There have been twenty centuries since charity began.
Indignation is day-to-day stuff;
It keeps us off the streets, it keeps us watching.
Film has no words of its own.
It is a silent waste of things happening
Without us, when it is too late to help.
What of the dignity of those caught suffering?
It hurts me. I robbed them of privacy.
My young friends think Film will be all of Art.
It will be revolutionary proof
Their films will not guess wrongly and will not lie.
They'll film what is happening behind barbed wire.
They'll always know the truth and be famous.
Politics softens everything.
Truth is known only to its victims.
All else is photographs - a documentary
The starving and the playboys perish in.
Life disguises itself with professionalism.
Life tells the biggest lies of all,
And draws wages from itself.
Truth is a landscape the saintly tribes live on,
And all the lenses of Japan and Germany
Wouldn't know how to focus on it.
Life flickers on the frame like beautiful hummingbirds.
That is the film that always comes out blank.
The painting the artist can't get shapes to fit.
The poem that shrugs off every word you try.
The music no one has ever heard.