Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bleeding Blue & Red in Montréal.

It’s been 5 days since the earth has rocked my ancestors’ land. Far away, in the Maple Leaf, I feel helpless, restless but also hopeful because I know that like before, Haiti will rise from its ashes.

Over 40 years ago, my parents left this Pearl of the Antilles to start their young lives in Canada. It was the greatest gift they could have given my brother and me who have had every opportunity to thrive in Canada, where we were both born and raised.

The second greatest gift our parents gave us is the constant connection we’ve had with Haiti. During our childhood, our parents made frequent trips with us to Haiti, bringing us closer to its history, its culture, its people: our people. Since then, I’ve returned countless times as ateenager, as a granddaughter, as a young adult, as a businesswoman, as a lover and as a Canadian simply running away from sub-zero temperatures.

Still, my Haitian identity is in constant evolution because I‘m a Montrealer. Thanks to the particular partnership that exists between Quebecers and Haitians, it is not only possible for me to live this bi-culture, it is encouraged. And that is what I am most grateful for. I can think in Creole and express myself in French. I can listen to Tabou Combo on my way to a Habs’ hockey game. I can bring griot to a Shabbat dinner. I am Maple Syrup. I am Barbancourt Rum.

My family is safe & sound in Haiti. Still, it’s the collective support of fellow Montrealers and Canadians that has helped me deal with the immense sense of helplessness and for that too, I am grateful. Every Montreal has a friend of Haitian origin and we, are lucky for that.

Internationally known and loved musical group Arcade Fire hails from Montreal, and here’s their gorgeous ode to Haiti:


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