A Pig’s Tail

January 2, 2013

At long last Leah Gordon & Anne Parisio’s inspirational film A Pig’s Tail (1997) is up on Vimeo. Thanks for that!

There have been several references to the story of the Haitian pig here at Zombi Diaspora. It is the “same pig” that Reginald Jean Francois spoke about in his story about the 2004 defacing of the replica of the Florentine Boar by UN troops in Haiti.  The story resonates very strongly with Colin Dayan’s talk at the 1804 and Its Afterlives conference discussed in the previous post, especially in terms of the competing justifications and rationales for animal slaughter/sacrifice. The description of the ceremonial welcoming of the all-new American pig to the island sounds like the kind of legal ritual she has been writing so insightfully about. It is also, on a more optimistic note, probably the ancestor the the ‘hybrid’ pig she encountered when she was last in Haiti. 

Although it was “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s Tonton Macoutes who carried out the extermination program, we should note too the central role played by USAID, whose director from 1977-79, two years prior to the total eradication of the creole pig from the country, was Lawrence Harrison also mentioned by Dayan, who in the interview linked to in the previous post and elsewhere, argues for a “cultural revolution” in Haiti (and Benin) to totally eradicate Vodou from the minds of its people on the grounds that it “gets in the way of democratic governance, social justice and prosperity”. The irony of this claim is made painfully clear by the Haitian’s interviewed in Leah and Anne’s film who explain how the Haitian pig helped them put their children through school, pay for medicine, buy land or build a house. As A Pig’s Tail shows so well, the pragmatic realms of utility and mysterious realms of the sacred are not so easily separated in Haiti.

Great to see once again the meeting of Edgar Jean Louis, Vodou priest and flag-maker, and Andre Pierre, the person who taught him “the way of the spirits” who is one of the key painters exhibited in Kafou exhibition.

André Pierre 'Ceremonie Vodou' (1970)

André Pierre ‘Ceremonie Vodou‘ (1970)

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One Response to “A Pig’s Tail”


  1. […] reference to the swine flu epidemic mentioned by Dayan’s the previous day (and discussed in the last post), that during the eradication, which was also the time of a disease effecting coconut trees and a […]

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