After a patriotic frenzy surrounded Sarodj Bertin that swept Haitian internet bloggers prior to last night Miss Universe pageant, the soiree ended in bitter disappointment when one could only—in the flicker of an eyelid—get a chagrin glimpse of the Creole beauty. She didn’t have a chance. It was only her shadow that one could see parading behind the glamorized pageant.
Sarodj, a golden honey who walks in feline gestures, does indeed fit the Miss Universe profile; but like most of her former Haitian models who came this far, Sarodj was flatly overlooked. Her Creole elegance seemed to have lost in the shadow of her country’s misery and the glamorized richness that usually symbolizes the show. When it was over, Miss Mexico grabbed the crown, beating Miss Jamaica in the final round.
But the frenetic joy was just a hollow show, squeezed between the harsh reality of Haiti and a quest for a swift reemergence. Many Haitians would hastily throw their weight behind any one in a desperate search to show that their country can still stand. But Sarodj, despite her beauty, is far from being the one who can lead her fellow countrymen into forgetting their entrenched suffering, even if it is for a split second.
Her class of origin and her outright demeanor constitute a serious hindrance in a quest for higher achievement. Sadly, she falls victim of her own upbringing—classic petite bourgeoise from uptown Port-au-Prince who speaks a domestic French as a means to subdue their obvious nonchalance, even in the midst of their most successful moment of their existential realities.
She is the daughter of Mireille Durocher Bertin, an infamous lawyer and former spokeswoman for Raoul Cedras, who headed the military junta that overthrew Aristide (version1) and slaughtered thousands to hold on to power. Mireille never hid her gross detest for the Haitian masses, and she and Calixte Delatour, who ironically later became Aristide’s Minister of Justice, vehemently denounced the Governor’s Island agreement between Aristide and the coup plotters and were reportedly urged Cedras to kill thousands if necessary to prevent Aristide from returning to Haiti. Mireille was mysteriously gunned down in a Port-au-Prince busy street in 1995. Sarodj was only 9 years old.
Of course, just because a person’s mother is reactionary, it does not make him/her one. But Sarodj’s position on Wyclef’s candidacy and specifically her declaration on Fox News remind us of her mother, a bit. She is truly pretty, but her beauty seems more illusory than real.