Representative John Conyers,
In today's multinational media, too often we see images of suffering without any kind of historical, factual, or other background. The trouble with this routine lack of context for images we see is that such presentations permit us to feel sympathy while absolving us of responsibility for our policies which may have helped to generate the situation. Why was that Vietnamese child burned by napalm? Why did the Somalis drag dead, naked U.S. Marines through the streets? The viewer has very limited tools to discover why.
It is difficult to consider the weight of Haiti's troubled past and present with words alone. The great contribution of Hello Haiti... is to eliminate the gap between what we see in others as subjects and what we should know about ourselves as a nation. By combining narrative with visuals, the study of the whole story becomes an appeal to our sense and our senses, and a plea for resistance.
Americans should know how their noble intentions are subject to grotesque distortion through the instrumentality of government policy, and they should come to recognize the people on the receiving end of this policy as people; as people who are, after all, very, very much like ourselves.
These photographs bring this home to us with a jolt. Haitians bear an agonizing destiny. Their daily life is a trial of which most Americans can hardly conceive, but the fate of most Haitians is not far removed from that of a growing number of poor people at home: to experience daily hunger, to lack decent housing and neighborhoods, to lack decent medical care, and to have door after door of opportunity closed. The people you will meet in this volume are not exotic; they do not look very different from ourselves and our neighbors. In fact they are our neighbors. May we learn to treat them as such.
Hello Haiti... is a narrative of the human spirit, walking the reader through scenes of desperation and heroism, and the extraordinary reality of daily life.