Tents Beyond Tents
The World interview

Haiti's Scapegoats - Homophobia Spikes After the Earthquake

By Caroline Bins

In collaboration with the American editorial cartoonist Matt Bors , including contributions from the Haitian artist Chevelin Pierre, I have created a video which incorporates animated illustrations to paint a picture of a group particularly impacted by the  earthquake. 

Picture 5

In a country where 85 % of Haiti's population is devoutly Catholic, many  gay and lesbians hide their sexual orientation for fear of being discriminated or harassed. The major exception is Voodoo, a spiritual belief which does not discriminate against gays.

Knowing this as we went to Haiti, what piqued our attention was the reports of increased homophobia in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. A visit to Haiti's only LGTB organization, SEROvie only corroborated these reports further.

At the height of the post-earthquake catastrophe 1.5 million Haitians were homeless according to the international organization for migration. But haiti's lgtb we spoke to said that with the loss of their homes they had become "more visible" to outside verbal and physical abuse. Twice, while we were in the camp, our main subject "Jean -Francois" was taunted and called Masisi or faggot.  All of our subjects recounted how church priests and religious radio programs blamed them for the earthquake. An accusation that they heard time and again.  

Why combine illustrations with video? 

Two of the three subjects we interviewed wished to remain anonymous fearful for their safety.  Also they did not wish to disclose their sexual orientation to their families. While there are many ways in video's to conceal someone's identity I was interested to collaborate with Matt Bors to see how we can tell stories otherwise difficult to report.  

Also, we wanted to test the boundaries of both video and comics and yet remain journalistic. Drawings are often associated with fiction but Bors and I were interested to stay within the confines of reality. 

He worked from his own sketches, pictures and freeze frames taken from my video footage.

Caroline Bins is a Dutch video journalist currently residing in San Fransisco. In July 2011, she traveled to Haiti with the editorial team of Cartoon Movement.


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steve talbot

Very well done, Caroline. Congratulations to you and Matt Bors and Chevelin Pierre. The cartoon/animation is great.

Laguerre Charlemagne.

Moi je pense que c'est un tres bon travail d'autant plus que l image des caartoons ici n'a pas toujours ete bien cerné mais avec ce bijou je crois qu'un adulte ne se trouvera pas ridicule avec ces dessins aussi poignants que l'histoire qui est racontée au fil des pages.Je tiens à adresser mes filicitations à tous ceux qui ont bossé et plus particulièrement à Chevelin et aussi à Phares.Vous etes je suis sur capable d'aller plus loin encore que ce petit bijou offert à/pour l'histoire sinon à ceux et celles qui ont compris qui digèrent le fait qu elle soit partagée.Merci enfin à nos morts qui sont partis pour etre desormais plus proches de nous dans un silence sonore bien sur pour ceux qui savent écouter la voix de l'amour et du discernement.Djasmy et Phares je m attends a bien d'autres choses encore.
Laissez moi un peu vous faire une remarque toute petite cependant:
Je crois que sur deux ans et meme avant il y a quelque chose qui devait,à mon sens,etre mis en exergue.C est le fait que la solidarite passagere qui a accompanee cet evenement tragique auraut du etre mise en evidence dans l histoire qui est contee ici et en le faisant on peu plus facilement et evec confiance avancer de maniere positive car reconnaitre nos erreurs dans ce qui s est passe est aussi un signe de respect envers ceux qui sont partis.je ne continuerai pas car cela me fait mal car on n'a pas encore compris totalement ce qui s est passé.on n a pas le droit apres deux ans de porter une certaine reflexion mais au contraire une reflexion CERTAINE sur ce qui nous est arrivé TOUT CECI AFIN DE CONTINUER A AVANCER AVEC PLUS DE CONFIANCE DANS LA NECESSITE DE REFAIRE BIEN.

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