Uma ocupação esquecida
«On News Desk today, Edwidge Danticat writes about the legacy of the U.S. occupation of Haiti, which began a hundred years ago, on July 28, 1915, and ended in 1934. “It is very hard to figure out what to commemorate, what to remember and what to forget, during a nineteen-year-long occupation,” she writes. “In my own family, there were many stories.”
One of the stories Danticat recounts relates to the assassination of Charlemagne Péralte, one of the most famous of the rebels, or cacos, who fought the American occupation. Péralte’s death, in 1919, is legendary in Haiti, owing in large part to a single photograph taken by an anonymous U.S. Marine photographer. The image, which is currently on view in the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale’s exhibit “From Within and Without: The History of Haitian Photography,” shows Peralte’s body tied to a door, covered only in a loin cloth, a Haitian flag behind him mounted on a flagpole bearing a crucifix. As the scholar Laurent Dubois explains in an essay printed in the NSU exhibition catalogue, the Marines produced hundreds of copies of the photo and disseminated them by airplane across the countryside, as a warning to the cacos.* Instead, the image of Péralte’s body, with its unintended evocation of a crucifixion, became an icon of the resistance. In the decades since the occupation, the image has appeared on Haitian stamps, been reinterpreted in paintings and poems, and helped to solidify Péralte’s status in Haiti as a martyr to the cause of liberty.
“From Within and Without: The History of Haitian Photography” is on view at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, in Florida, through October 4th.»
( em The New Yorker)