My mother’s side of the family came from Miragoâne, the coastal southern city whose economy was bauxite. We have a range of hues across the skin color spectrum — from my uncle Lionel Duval, who could pass for white, if he wanted, to my dark mocha. We were close-knit, with Lionel being the patriarch and the family’s counselor. .
My mom always spoke reverently of my uncle because he pushed her to excel. He was very proud of me too. When I became a professional, he would swoon or call for a chat after seeing me on television or reading one of my stories. That’s just the way he was. He embraced his family’s diversity of skin color.
Strangely, this is not common in Haiti, and I never realized truly how special he was until the events that unfolded in Haiti last week. Our family’s multi-color bond was the exception, not the rule in Haiti.
The torture and assassination of president Jovenel Moïse by unknown assailants laid bare the reality in Haiti in ways that we can no longer hide. Contrary to popular belief, Haiti is not a Black country. It is a modern-day Apartheid state where a small minority of White people lord over the mass of the population who are Black.