Since the recent massive earthquake, we are learning more about Haitian culture, such as the estimate in the following article that more than half Haiti`s population is believed to practice voodoo. In 2003 the belief was given government sanction: Haiti makes voodoo official.An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Haitians already reside illegally in the United States and were given TPS by the Obama administration. Elite media have mostly lined up in favor of liberal immigration policies to welcome thousands of additional Haitians, despite the terrible unemployment among Americans. So there may be many more from this retro culure residing in America.The following item from a major newspaper is upbeat about voodoo`s position in society and how its practitioners are key to Haiti`s rejuvenation.
Haiti calls on voodoo priests to help battered nation heal, Boston Globe, February 2, 2010To the outside world, their faith has long been shrouded in mystery, ministering as much to the dead as the living, and associated with images of animal sacrifices and human skulls.But in postquake Haiti, the practitioners of voodoo have taken on a more practical role, enlisted by the government to help count the dead, tend to the injured, and soothe the psychologically damaged."One must understand that Haiti is voodoo," said Max Beauvoir, 75, the "pope" of Haitian voodoo and a former biochemical engineer who once worked for Digital Equipment in Maynard, Mass. "Helping Haitians is nothing else but helping ourselves."To make use of that resource, the United Nations has reached out to the vast and influential network of about 60,000 voodoo priests in Haiti, Beauvoir said. And the priests, firmly entrenched in their displaced communities, are eager to lend a hand."Priests are considered to be leaders," David Wimhurst, a UN spokesman here, said of the voodoo hierarchy. "And community leaders obviously have a role to play to help the humanitarian effort."
The article is essentially a voodoo puff piece, which required some skillful avoidance of unpleasantries like cruel animal sacrifice, zombies and bizarre ceremonies.Interestingly, the Times of London had a negative opinion about voodoo`s effects in the earthquake trauma because of its inherent fatalism: Voodoo faith `could hinder Haiti`s recovery from quake`.Plus, any discussion of Haitian voodoo should include the recent history of how the dictator Francois Duvalier (and later his son) used voodoo-infused terror to rule over his superstitious subjects. He convinced the people that he was a powerful practicioner of sorcery and should therefore be obeyed.So how strange and/or violent is Haitian voodoo?In Queens last June, Haitian immigrant Marie Lauradin was arrested for setting her six-year-old daughter on fire in a cleansing ritual. The girl spent 55 days in intensive care as a result and will be scarred for life: Mom, grandma charged in voodoo burning.
When doctors asked the family how the 6-year old-girl was burned over 25 percent of her body, her mother told police it was an accident, that she had spilled some boiling water.When the child was well enough to tell her side of the story, she said she was forced into a voodoo ritual.
In the video below, a Haitian neighbor is questioned about the ritual and said she was shocked, shocked that people actually practiced it. Of course, not every Haitian family tortures children, but how many more pre-primitive residents does America need in the 21st century?