Monday, December 19, 2011

In Haiti: Bare Chests, Bad; Bare Breasts, No Problem!

On Sunday morning I went for a run from the mission/orphanage where we are staying. To get to the main road, I ran down a half-mile dirt road past a small beach on the Caribbean Sea.  As I was running past a spring that ran to the beach, I saw a young woman who was washing her clothes and herself.  It was already over 80 degrees at 9 am so I was running with my shirt off.  The woman at the spring was doing the same.

When I got to the road, I turned right with high hills to my left.  Another spring ran down the side of the mountain and in the spring was another young woman ten feet from the road and dressed the same as I was--naked from the waist up.

A half-mile down the road a motorcyclist sped toward me gesturing to put my shirt on.  A few minutes later another one did the same.  I put my shirt on.  Clearly I was in violation of some local custom.  Or maybe the problem was aesthetic.  I could see lots of reasons to tell an old guy to put his shirt on while running.

I suppose bathing by the side of the road is a fact of life here and old guys running with their shirts off is not.  But I did think that most every guy I have ever known would like to live in place where shirts were mandatory for men and optional for women.  

The Philosopher of War and Terror and Politics: Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt 1906-1975 Today a friend asked and I were talking about politics and how refugee problems have led to wars in the pas...