Book Review: Voodoo Intersection

Voodoo Intersection: Poverty, Crime and Disease in HaitiVoodoo Intersection: Poverty, Crime and Disease in Haiti by Yonie Richard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Voodoo Intersection explores the cultural relevance of the voodoo religion in Haiti, and places the poverty, crime and government corruption squarely upon it. Author Yoni Richard, a Haitian immigrant to the US, pulls no punches when describing the devolution of voodoo (what she calls inbred voodoo) and how it permeates the culture, usually to the culture’s detriment. It is a very quick read, and explains the basic tenets of voodoo and how they impact the Haitian daily life. It is a very blunt explanation, and very helpful to those who don’t know much about it. It is not a pleasant or politically correct tale, but accurate from what I know of history, and obviously poignant and meaningful to Richard, as it is the life she led and fled.

What I find interesting is the juxtaposition of the Haitian democratic revolution - did you know that Haiti is the world’s longest-running modern democracy? - to the US democratic revolution. Even though Haiti was first, the US’ is hugely more successful. Richard attributes that to voodoo, as the Haitian revolution was a voodoo inspired and directed enterprise, where the US was based on Christian principles. Hundreds of years later the US is thriving while Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries with the highest crime rate. Richard makes her point eloquently and succinctly, and is obviously passionate about helping her people, even from abroad.

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