Walking on Fire by Beverly Bell
Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance

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Haiti, long noted for poverty and repression, has a powerful and too-often-overlooked history of resistance. Women in Haiti have played a large role in changing the balance of political and social power, even as they have endured rampant and devastating state-sponsored violence, including torture, rape, abuse, illegal arrest, disappearance, and assassination.

In Walking on Fire, Beverly Bell, an activist and an expert on Haitian social movements, brings together thirty-eight oral histories from a diverse group of Haitian women. The interviewees include, for example, a former prime minister, an illiterate poet, a leading feminist theologian, and a vodou dancer. Defying victim status despite gender- and state-based repression, they tell how Haiti's poor and dispossessed women have fought for their personal and collective survival.

The women's powerfully moving accounts of horror and heroism can best be characterized by the Creole word istwa, which means both "story" and "history." They combine theory with case studies concerning resistance, gender, and alternative models of power. Photographs of the women who have lived through Haiti's recent past accompany their words to further personalize the interviews in Walking on Fire.


About Beverly Bell

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Beverly Bell is associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and runs the economic and social justice group Other Worlds. Winner of the Outstanding Journalism Award from Women's International Center and the PENndash;New Mexico Award for Social Justice in Literature, she is the author of Walking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance and Fault Lines: Views across Haiti's Divide , both from Cornell.
Published July 24, 2013 by Cornell University Press. 292 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Taken collectively, the women (interviewed largely between 1991 and 1994, during Haiti's brief period with a popularly elected government) tell the same story—"survival, resistance, and occasional triumph by women with little formal power."

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Daily Kos

If interested they have a donation page here, if you want donations to go to Haiti click "Haiti Earthquake Relief Project."

Mar 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Walking on Fire: Haitian Wome...

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