“Today Is a Day To Remember”


“Today is a day to remember,” said a mid-fifties man outside the Ministry of Health in Port-au-Prince this morning. “Not a day for protest.”

But not everyone agreed with him on how to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians. A group whose name roughly translates to Interceptive Resistance Against Forces That Expel gathered outside the government building to protest displaced people being thrown forcibly, and sometimes violently, out of their tent camps by police or landowners.

Photos by Mark Murrmann

After a prayer ceremony in the middle of the street, they took to marching and chanting slogans against MINUSTAH, the unpopular United Nations force supposed to keep the peace. They yelled that all they’d gotten from foreigners is cholera (repeating a common conspiracy theory) when what they really need is houses, that Haitians need to take their own country back. They spray painted the sidewalks and a Red Cross car with “Down With NGOs,” covered a UN ambulance with graffiti, and threw rocks at a passing truck full of heavily armed MINUSTAH soldiers.

Though they were intense, these protesters numbered less than a hundred. As the man outside the ministry pointed out, most people spent the day remembering. Throughout town, groups, many religious, organized walks and tributes. Thousands packed a “celebration of life” of songs and prayers near the national palace. The marches and impromptu dance parties were upbeat, with a lot of singing and shouting and, in some cases, moonshine.

Even yesterday, at the ceremony held at the mass graves on the edge of the city, only one woman was prominently crying. (So many photographers crowded to take pictures of her that her friends eventually covered her face.) And today’s protest at the ministry started off on a weirdly celebratory note. As the demonstrators amassed and prepared to start hollering for reform, a police brass marching band struck up a happy tune.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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