[Blackstudies-l] "Between Hate, Hope, and Help: Haitians in the Dominican Republic" by Aida Alami

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Sat Aug 18 12:12:15 EDT 2018


*On the NYR Daily this week*

Freelance journalist Aida Alami is based in Marrakech, but she is
frequently on the road, reporting around North Africa, France, and,
recently, the Caribbean for her piece this week for the NYR Daily, “Between
Hate, Hope, and Help: Haitians in the Dominican Republic

Since 2013, when the Dominican Republic’s highest court ruled that the
children of immigrants with irregular migration status would retroactively
be stripped of citizenship, despite being born in the country, tens of
thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent have effectively been made
stateless. Alami has long been interested in the region. “I have always
been fascinated by Haiti, but I also thought it was unfair that the world
only paid attention when it made grim headlines,” she told me. “And the
media mostly covered it through the lens of violence and poverty.”

*Left to right: Tatiana Fernandez, Elino Orthela, Aida Alami *

She jumped at the chance, offered by the journalism nonprofit Round Earth
Media <http://email.nybooks.com/t/y-l-kiyuidk-tllljthykj-j/>, to
collaborate on different kinds of stories about the country. “Haiti is a
champion of sorts for former French colonies as it was the first to push
out the French, which later emboldened other colonies to rise up against
their occupiers,” she said. Being from Morocco, a former French
protectorate, she thought might help her to understand Haiti. “I decided to
focus most of my reporting not so much on those that perpetrate violence
but rather on those that resist it.” She spoke with activists, community
organizers, and religious leaders supporting Haitians and Dominicans of
Haitian descent, as well as deported minors and migrant workers of the
Dominican *batey* settlements.

She was already reporting in Haiti when she began hearing stories about
Haitians being abused in the DR. “I made a few trips to the border where
people were deported every day,” she told me. “They shared with me
troubling accounts. Still, it didn’t seem enough to report on the
deportees. I wanted to know what it was like on the other side of the
border, the Dominican side, in order to truly get a sense of what was
happening.” Today, issues of borders and belonging are making global
headlines, and it’s hard not to think of the US administration’s shameful
immigration policies, from the Muslim travel ban to family separations at
the border to trying to end DACA. “Of course, I had the parallel with the
DREAMers in the United States in mind, but not only that,” Alami said. “At
a time when European leaders and the Trump administration are also trying
to deport en masse, it just seemed like an incredibly relevant story

Alami calls herself “a real travel addict” for whom “airports have a very
comforting feeling of familiarity.” “I have maybe spent only a month in
Marrakech since January!” These days, she spends a lot of time in France,
where she is directing a documentary feature on anti-racism activists and
police violence. What motivates her to keep working on these difficult
stories? “I am the happiest when I can share with readers the stories of
those that life wasn’t kind to and who managed to rise above adversity.”

For everything else we’ve been publishing, visit the NYR Daily
<http://email.nybooks.com/t/y-l-kiyuidk-tllljthykj-t/> section of our site.
And you can now email us directly at daily at nybooks.com.

Lucy McKeon
Associate Editor, *NYR Daily*

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