3 leaders of Haitian women’s movement killed in the earthquake

Myriam Merlet was one of three leading activists in the Haitian women's movement who died, a victim of the earthquake.Watching the news coverage of the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti I have experienced something of a horror overload. The endless images of anguished people searching for relatives, bodies piled in mass graves, child amputees in hospital beds crying out in pain, desperate people fighting over water… it has on a few occasions hit my compassion response so hard it kind of short circuited, leaving me feeling not much at all.

It’s the fact that every single life that has been lost or scarred is a world full of pain for that person and their family and there are just so many such lives affected. And when I heard of the deaths of 3 inspiring women’s movement activists it struck a particular chord. Myriam Merlet, Magalie Marcelin and Ann Marie Coriolan were women with every chance to escape the daily struggle of life in Haiti for more affluent shores but each of them had a deep sense of their identity as Haitian women and a vision to improve life for all women in the place they chose to call home. Between them they had already managed to improve advocacy for women, tell women’s stories through media campaigns and research, empower women to expect more from their legal system in cases of gender-based violence and reform rape law in a country where before 2005 rape was largely dismissed as a ‘crime of passion’. I was struck by this quote from Coriolan’s daughter:

“She loved her country. She never stopped believing in Haiti. She said that when you have a dream you have to fight for it,” Wani said. “She wanted women to have equal rights. She wanted women to hold their heads high.”

Read the whole article at CNN.com here:



2 Responses to “3 leaders of Haitian women’s movement killed in the earthquake”

  1. 1 est January 21, 2010 at 12:23 am

    very very sorry to read this. they sound like terrific women. i know what you mean about the horror. i’ve been working on haiti this week and find myself not much caring about anything else – all other things seem desperately trivial.
    there are some pretty amazing women still alive, though. saw this video with jon snow, thought it was incredibly powerful.
    the stories of hope are there. it’s important i think that we try to keep faith with the people there

  2. 2 Angie January 26, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Thanks for posting about these women, it’s horribly sad. The Earthquake is a tragedy for all of us, and I can’t even imagine what the people of that Island are going through. I also could not stand the thought of all of those children who are lost, alone, injured or dead. I will continue to read your blog. You are great at expressing yourself and speaking up for feminism, and women.

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