Edwidge Danticat Quotes

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Image, The whole military structure in Haiti that existed until the early 1990s

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The whole military structure in Haiti that existed until the early 1990s was put in place by the American occupation. At the top there were Southern white officers, who led an army that crushed the indigenous resistance - the cacos. A high-ranking U.S. officer said when he arrived, "To think these niggers speak French!" Later, Haitian officers attended the notorious School of the Americas at Fort Benning. The threat from the U.S. is something that is always hanging over people's heads: If we don't behave, we'll have occupation again.

Edwidge Danticat

Image, When you write, it’s like braiding your hair. Taking a handful

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When you write, it’s like braiding your hair. Taking a handful of coarse unruly strands and attempting to bring them unity. Your fingers have still not perfected the task. Some of the braids are long, others are short. Some are thick, others are thin. Some are heavy. Others are light. Like the diverse women of your family. Those whose fables and metaphors, whose similes and soliloquies, whose diction and je ne sais quoi daily slip into your survival soup, by way of their fingers.

Edwidge Danticat

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Image, It seemed from the media that we were being told that all

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It seemed from the media that we were being told that all Haitians had AIDS. At the time, I had just come from Haiti. I was twelve years old, and the building I was living in had primarily Haitians. A lot of people got fired from their jobs. At school, sometimes in gym class, we'd be separated because teachers were worried about what would happen if we bled. So there was really this intense discrimination.

Edwidge Danticat

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Image, Jephthah called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The

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Jephthah called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, 'Let me cross over,' the men of Gilead asked him, 'Are you an Ephraimite?' If he replied, 'No,' they said, 'All right, say Shibboleth.' If he said, 'Sibboleth,' because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Fourty-thousand were killed at the time.

Edwidge Danticat

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Image, One of the things that sparked my interest in this is the

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One of the things that sparked my interest in this is the case of Emmanuel Constant, who started a militia called FRAPH that was backed by the CIA. FRAPH killed thousands of Haitians in the early 1990s. Now while Constant is living comfortably in Queens, other Haitians are being deported. I wanted to see how those who have been bruised by people like that deal with coming face to face with their torturers.

Edwidge Danticat

Image, We still have our people working in the cane fields in the

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We still have our people working in the cane fields in the Dominican Republic. People are still repatriated all the time from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. Some tell of being taken off buses because they looked Haitian, and their families have been in the Dominican Republic for generations. Haitian children born in the Dominican Republic still can't go to school and are forced to work in the sugarcane fields.

Edwidge Danticat