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February 11, 2010

A bridge for sale in Haiti

With the power of voodoo and the United Nations on their side, Haitians should have this whole earthquake thing sorted out presently.

“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.’’

So there you have it: Voodoo priests are community organizers and, one speculates, vice versa. Just take care where you repeat the comparison. It is either empowering or racist depending on who says it.

A related thought: I had been wondering what might draw Scientology to Haiti in the wake of the quake. It is not as though the average Haitian can afford the Bridge to total freedom.

But there is one thing Haiti has that Scientology might want very much: Sovereignty.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 11, 2010 09:55 AM