Haiti - In Edwidge Danticat's essay "Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work" (from her 2010 book of the same title, pp. 5-10), she describes how in 1964 Haitian artists staged performances in French of Caligula because they saw a likeness between Haitian dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier and Camus' portrait of the death-obsessed Caligula. In Camus' interpretation, the mad emperor first kills as many others as he can to see if he can achieve a "freedom" from all human rules, and then when that doesn't satisfy him in despair he arranges for his own murder. Danticat translates into English some of the lines from the play that affected Haitians the strongest, for they eloquently portrayed the twisted logic of a dictator's madness: "Execution relieves and liberates. It is a universal tonic, just in precept and in practice. A man dies because he is guilty. A man is guilty because he is one of Caligula's subjects. Ergo all men are guilty and shall die" (8). It was safer to perform such a play than it was to criticize Duvalier directly, since on the surface the play appeared to be merely a history play about ancient Rome. But the Haitian audience immediately understood the subversive relevance of Camus' dictator to their own situation, even though Camus' play was written almost two decades before Duvalier's rise to power. Danticat relates that the 1964 performances of Caligula took place (ironically) at a government-sponsored community center in Bel Air, a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. They were staged by amateurs in a reading group sponsored by the Alliance Française that was called Le Club de Bonne Humeur, the Good Humor Club.
I was very competitive with my siblings about reading and wanted to read everything my sister (who is 8 years older than me) read rather than “age-appropriate” books. Therefore I skipped over things like “5 Children and It” and “Treasure Island”, etc. So recently I’ve started reading them and discovered “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett who is a very interesting woman and it’s a wonderful read. The way she describes the excitement and therapeutic value of getting things to grow is just spot on and struck a strong chord with me at the moment.