HAITI is everybody's cherished tragedy. Long before the great earthquake struck the country like a vengeful god, the outside world, and Americans especially, described, defined, marked Haiti most of all by its suffering. Epithets of misery clatter after its name like a ball and chain: Poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. One of the poorest on earth. For decades Haiti's formidable immiseration has made it among outsiders an object of fascination, wonder and awe. Sometimes the pity that is attached to the land -- and we see this increasingly in the news coverage this past week -- attains a tone almost sacred, as if Haiti has taken its place as a kind of sacrificial victim among nations, nailed in its bloody suffering to the cross of unending destitution.
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