Haiti: Lyrics lampoon UN

As its policing role brings it to some of the world’s most violent areas, the UN is used to dealing with violence. But people in the impoverished island of Haiti are having a go at the UN using a more subtle weapon: lyrics. The country hosts some 9000 UN troops, charged with bringing stability and weakening the power of local militia. Inevitably, the presence of soldiers amongst civilians leads to friction. And where does this friction erupt? During Carnival..

There are many people in the country that claim the UN is not doing enough. At the recent Carnival in the town of Port-au-Prince, some bands were heard to be lampooning the UN, calling them “tourists” in their meringue style songs. “Since the UN is now a part of our society, I touch upon it in my music,” Fresh La, lead singer with the band Vwadezil said in an interview with The Jamaica Observer. “They’re taking a long time to bring peace to the country, and that’s keeping us from moving forward.”

The Carnival is often used as an opportunity to make fun of politicians and air grievances. “I think it’s part of the Haitian tradition of carnival to make fun of things, even serious things,” Edmond Mulet, the special UN representative to Haiti, told the Observer. “It’s a way of conveying some sentiments which are genuine and I don’t blame them for that. On the contrary, I think they should be welcomed.”

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