This week's catatastrophe in Haiti has made me aware of just how little I know about many places around the world. As I've watched the video footage of the earthquake aftermath, I've felt not just a need to do something to help, but a more basic need to know, "Who is Haiti?"
It's no surprise that as a film reviewer, my first research led me to an internet search about the Haitian movie industry. (Don't feel bad, I had no idea Haiti had a movie industry either, which only reiterates my point in the opening sentence of this column.) Sometimes the best way to understand a culture and its people than by watching movies made by the people of that culture.
Check out the following website, belfim.com, which is the Haiti Internet Movie Database. You'll find everything from gossip about Haiti's biggest movie stars to a discussion thread about Haitian perspectives on Avatar. (Did you know that the theme in Avatar about the sacredness of trees has its own historic significance to the people of Haiti?)
Meanwhile I cling to hope for the survivors of this terrible disaster, I can do both things that have been on my mind: help, by texting the word "Haiti" to 90999 to automatically donate $10 to the relief effort; and learn, by educating myself about the culture and history of our Carribean neighbors.