My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Port au Prince, and Haitians everywhere. I have been flipping between CNN & CBC since news of the earthquake broke Tuesday evening, and can not comprehend the devastation; the grief.
Jamaica is on the same fault line as the one that cuts through Hispañiola. It is called the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault. Earthquakes – even small tremors – are terrifying. I experienced small earthquakes & after-shocks in Kingston during the ’90s. I’ll never forget watching the road from our high school lab windows in one of those minor quakes. It actually heaved up and rolled towards us. Not breaking just moving like a terrible slinky. Knowing just that little bit is what makes this tragedy in Haiti boggle my mind. The people are in dire straits. Stranded. It’s impossible to just blog-as-usual.
In trying to make sense of this, I turned away from the tv and to my bookcase. I found this account in Old Jamaica Memories edited by Al Campbell of Kingston’s great 1907 earthquake. W. Ralph Hall Caine is speaking about what happened on today’s date in 1907:
At 3:32 Kingston was happy and well. At 3:33 the city was seemingly a hopeless wreck, with the very sun itself obscured from our vision. All man’s handiwork of a generation, nay, of a whole century or more, was instantly flouted. A whole community lay in ruins and in tears, in suffering and in death…
I also found this in one of my favourite poems, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land by Aimé Césaire:
At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat, toppled from its common sense, inert, winded under its geometric weight of an eternally renewed cross, indocile to its fate, mute, vexed no matter what, incapable of growing with the juice of the earth, self-conscious, clipped, reduced, in breach of fauna and flora.
At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat…
Ay Ti. I hope that the Caribbean plate will be quiet, and the fault line still. I also pray that relief will reach the people as soon as possible.