Haiti, fly zone
Presenting your ID-card, deciding whether or not to put your earplugs on, forgetting to put your seatbelt on and being scolded by the stewardess in English or Spanish, then finding a more or less tiresome activity to spend the few dozen minutes of flight. Here is a recurrent and compulsory waltz by now, to which we have all been subjected for more than a year.
As far as I'm concerned, it was always a pleasure to see the landscapes change beyond the car or bus window. The road was never too long for me. Watching small markets along the road and nice seasonal fruits was a real delight. Also, after every town, I would always try and guess, again and again, the name of the little village I was passing through. I scanned the hills and measured the vastness, which is exactly the task ahead for when this Country will get back on track and its people will change their everyday life. Unfortunately I can no longer indulge in this exercise of the mind on national roads. Yesterday, I took the helicopter to travel less than 80 km. Two weeks ago, it was the plane, to cover 288 km. Since gangs ended up getting their hands on almost every road leading to the capital city and thus forced all those who can pay to leave Port-au-Prince and go back there by plane. So, for those who've had the privilege to embrace the clouds these last twelve months, landscapes have remained ordinary, and our view of our damn land is asymmetrical. Indeed, in our heads Haiti is becoming a flat place, and the semantics behind its name will seem a farce to us in a short time. Nevertheless, all of this would be not so hard to endure, if only the immense majority of population, incapable of affording a trip in fly zone, wasn't forced to cope up with fear on the roads every single day. At checkpoints organized by gangs who ask for a ransom to let people pass, things can rapidly take a slippery slope and become fatal. By now, also this is part of our ordinary landscapes. Fly zone and guilty privilege.
(Pierre Michel Jean, photographer)