Pooja Bhatia

Pooja Bhatia lives in Northern California.

Diary: Media Theranos

Pooja Bhatia, 4 November 2021

Ben Smith’s story in the New York Times about the attempted fraud dealt a severe blow, but Ozy Media wouldn’t have died so swiftly if it hadn’t been for the torrent of follow-up stories, many of which relied on information from people who had worked there. For us, the week Ozy closed felt like a virtual reunion. We gathered round the bed of the dying patriarch. We lamented the blight on our CVs, and the years of work and good faith we’d given the company. Tentatively, we asked one another if we were talking to reporters, and if so which ones. We dug around for our employment contracts and parsed them: would we be sued if we talked? Could this or that off-the-record story be traced to an individual? We criticised the emerging stories for neglecting certain angles, or overlooking the actual journalism. Some of us said we couldn’t face talking about it to anyone, let alone a reporter. Most of all, I think, we asked ourselves why we’d stayed so long.

Short Cuts: After the Assassination

Pooja Bhatia, 29 July 2021

‘Cherie​, I’m in danger.’ On 8 July I woke up to a WhatsApp voice message from my Haitian friend M. She was hiding under the bed, the phone pressed close against her face. ‘All these men have invaded, men with weapons. We don’t know what to do.’ Before dawn the previous day, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, his body reportedly riddled...

From The Blog
23 March 2021

Update: Marie Antoinette Gauthier and Louis Buteau were among 15 prisoners released on 26 March, after an appeals court ruled their arrests illegal. Two supposed coup-plotters remain in prison, reportedly because of a clerical error. 

No leader is universally scorned, but Jovenel Moïse comes close. Turnout was 18 per cent in the elections that made him president of Haiti in 2016. Since then there have been government-linked massacres, including one that killed at least seventy people, a spike in kidnappings, an uptick in murders, rampant inflation, blatant corruption and pervasive fear. For almost all Haitians life has got much worse. Moïse has ruled by decree since January 2020, when most parliamentarians’ terms expired. He has replaced all the country’s mayors with people who report only to him. He would like to cement his authoritarian grip by forcing constitutional reform with a referendum in June.

The End of the Plantocracy

Pooja Bhatia, 19 November 2020

The​ movement for Black liberation made its world-historical debut in August 1791 when ten thousand slaves in the north of Saint-Domingue rose up and laid waste to sugar plantations. Within three months, the numbers involved in the insurrection had grown eightfold. Sugar production almost ceased. Fortunes burned. Planters fled, and some were killed. By 1794, the rebels had compelled France...

From The Blog
18 September 2019

In the Bahamas, there are more immigrants from Haiti than from all other countries combined. They make up perhaps 10 per cent of the population, which totals 400,000, but it’s hard to know for sure. Among their ranks are thousands of people born in the Bahamas to undocumented parents, who are effectively stateless: the Bahamas does not grant birthright citizenship. Merely to appear Haitian is to risk detention and deportation. A 2014 policy requires non-citizens to carry passports. According to rights groups, the police use the policy to harass and extort money from Haitian immigrants afraid of being deported. Round-ups and raids are frequent. Last year, the courts halted a government plan to raze Haitian shanty towns. Hurricane Dorian has accomplished what the government could not. 

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