Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 25 minutes
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An estimated 300,000 children are abandoned to live and fend for themselves on the streets of Haiti. Many of these children are sold into slavery and suffer from severe abuse resulting in disfigurement and death.
“Haitian Slave Children: Forgotten Angels” is a short documentary on the important work undertaken by Michael Brewer, an American registered nurse who runs the Haitian Street Kids Inc. non-profit organization in Port Au Prince, the Haitian capital. Brewer’s organization has created the Family Circle Home for Boys, which provides Haiti’s abandoned children with the rare opportunity to enjoy shelter, food and security.
This film, created by Ron Becks and Young Man Kang, details several individual cases of abandoned children whose young lives have been tortured with unparalleled cruelty and pain. One boy had an automobile run over his legs while he was sleeping on street; the driver refused to aid the child, who miraculously survived without loss of limbs. Other boys were less fortunate, having had fingers smashed and eventually amputated from merciless physical abuse from vicious adults. One boy, pathetically, does not have a name. He answers to “Little Boy,” which is the only name he has been addressed by for as long as he can recall.
The Family Circle Home is not perfect, by any stretch. At one point, Brewer examines the shelter’s bare rooms and acknowledges the lack of furniture with an amiable “We’re working on it.” The shelter runs the constant risk of being overpopulated, so much that mealtimes are conducting in shifts because there is inadequate space to feed all of the children at once. Even Brewer’s private room is given to youngsters who camp out on his floor for a night’s sleep.
In many ways, it is a shame that “Haitian Slave Children: Forgotten Angels” runs less than an half-hour. The magnitude of the tragedy here deserves a full accounting on many levels, chiefly in hard questions for the Haitian government and its American puppetmasters on why such widespread child abuse is allowed to exist. The level of American aid to Haiti has been substantial for many years, but results from the use of these funds are nowhere to be seen in the streets of Port Au Prince or the lives of the children featured here.
Still, “Haitian Slave Children: Forgotten Angels” performs an invaluable service in highlighting Michael Brewer’s extraordinary humanitarian work in midst of a misery which most people in the civilized world could barely imagine. This is a heartbreaking and important film which deserves to be seen and discussed.
Posted on August 26, 2002 in Reviews by Phil Hall
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- INNOCENCE ABANDONED: STREET KIDS OF HAITI
- THE CARPET SLAVES: STOLEN CHILDREN OF INDIA
- D.O.A. IN A CIRCLE JERK…
- SPEND WEDNESDAY WITH BILL PLYMPTON’S “IDIOTS AND ANGELS” AT IFC CENTER
- CHARLIE CHAPLIN: THE FORGOTTEN YEARS
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