Friday, 14 January 2011

Gerald Murray on the Quake and Haitian Spirituality


It’s been a year since the earthquake that hit Haiti left more than 250,000 dead and 1.5 million others homeless.


Q Ideas carries a piece by Gerald Murray on ‘Haiti One Year Later: The Quake and Haitian Spirituality’.


He devotes some space to outlining the cultural and religious background, noting that Haiti has three main types of religious followers – Protestants, katolik fran (Catholics who do not mix their religious practices with other rituals), and konn sevi lwa (those who combine Catholic rites with rituals directed to other spiritual beings, many of them of African origin).


But, for all three groups, it is Bondye (the word for ‘God’ in the native language, derived from the French bon Dieu, ‘good God’), not angels or demons or other lesser spirits, who was responsible for the earthquake.


Murray writes:


‘It is true that God is good. He gives us our rain, our crops, our children. But God can also be tough and even violent for reasons known only to Him. He hits us with hurricanes, with floods, and now with this terrible earthquake. Why? Haitian popular theology answers: We do not know. Like Job, Haitians know that God exists outside of our control, beyond our predictions – and far above our right to criticize. Whatever He does, whether gentle or painful: Bondye bon [God is good].’

1 comment:

brett jordan said...

what an excellent piece... thanks for pointing it out antony