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robertogreco : haiti   57

Verso: "The Funeral of C.L.R. James"
"C. L. R. James, the pioneering Trinidadian socialist historian and writer, died on this day 30 years ago in London with his funeral held a few weeks later at Tunapuna Cemetery, Trinidad. On the arrival back in Trinidad of his body, his long-time comrade John La Rose read passages of Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal - the great Caribbean poem of exile and return. In this article, Jackqueline Frost investigates the continental connections of James and Césaire, and the politics of return."



"In James’ systematic determinism, the return to the Caribbean for political intellectuals takes on the dimensions of a prophecy. This is the logic at work in the final paragraph of “Fanon and the Caribbean,” where James considers what the Algerian revolutionary would be doing in 1978 were he still alive. Though at the end of his life Fanon no longer considered himself Caribbean, James’ goal in this short text is to show that Fanon’s upbringing in Martiniquan society inescapably made him the political actor and thinker he was. In abandoning the West Indies for Africa, as part of a generation of Caribbean militants whose major political engagement took similar forms, Fanon affirms rather than negates his Caribbean identity. James claims here that “the moment Fanon heard that in the Caribbean Cuba was free and the other countries were gaining independence, he said then he would go back to struggle there with them.” Whether Fanon’s promise to return to the Caribbean can be considered authentic or apocryphal, the tendency of return permitted these sorts of thought-experiments. The ugly outcomes of James’ own return to Trinidad and Tobago and 1958 and his mid-60s venture into electoral politics, did not dissuade him from singing the accolades of West Indians and their society in advancing world civilization through their specific “creative contributions.” As James writes in Beyond a Boundary, he had discovered that what mattered was “movement: Not where you are or what you have, but where you have come from, where you are going and the rate at which you are getting there.”[xx] These are some of the words carved into his gravestone in Tunapuna, Trinidad. While returning to the place one comes from has a specific meaning for West Indians in the second half of the 20th century, James reminds us that no cultural object is ever disconnected from the society which produced its author. On the 30th anniversary of James’ death, his epitaph and the passages read at his Ceremony of Return caution us against ignoring the social worlds that we often hold in isolation from the political and poetic acts they generate."

[See also (referenced in the essay): https://www.marxists.org/archive/james-clr/works/1978/11/fanon.htm ]
2019  clrjames  caribbean  culture  franzfanon  aimécésaire  jackquelinefrost  cuba  trinidad  haiti  johnlarose  jorgelefevretavárez  decolonization  latinamerica  africa  claudiajones  jacquesstephenalexis  elsagoveia  géraldbloncourt  saragomez  jacquesroumain  nancymorejón  renédepestre  andrewsalkey  suzannecésaire  mikeysmith  walteriocarbonell  nicolásguillén  alejocarpentier  negrismomovement  negrismo  race  negritude  cam  sociology  orlandopatterson  wilsonharris  georgelamming  art  literature  politics  marxism  aubreywilliams  altheamcnish  stuarthall  1999  martinique  algeria  1978 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Is "Show Don't Tell" a Universal Truth or a Colonial Relic? | Literary Hub
"In his essay “The Storyteller” (1936), cultural critic Walter Benjamin mourns the death of oral and communal storytelling, taken over in modern history by the novel, the “birthplace of the solitary reader,” and information technology with a rise in capitalism. Yet, what Benjamin posits as the organic evolution of oral, communal practices of storytelling into modern modes of storytelling, consumed by a reader in “privacy,” is in fact, the understanding of a Western history of storytelling as a universal one. As Maggie Awadalla and Paul March-Russell suggest in the introduction to their anthology The Postcolonial Short Story (2012), many non-Western countries did not transition “organically” from oral to written storytelling with a rise in capitalism. For many formerly or currently colonized spaces like South Asia, Africa, Caribbean, American South and Native America, there has always existed a rich, vibrant tradition of oral storytelling, one that was marginalized, often violently, through an imposition of an allegedly modern, white Western language and culture. In their study, Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts (1998), Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin defend “orality” not as a cultural precondition that morphed into a more advanced written culture, but orality as a counterpart to writing, where both co-exist, complement and transform each other constantly. This coexistence of oral and written modes of storytelling continues to thrive in postcolonial spaces, including those of Asia and Africa.

In her now-canonical essay “Characteristics of Negro Expression” (1934), Zora Neale Hurston makes a strong case for the use of vernacular—especially dialect and rhythm—in Black writing. In his story collection, Creole Folktales (1988) and equally canonical co-authored essay, “In Praise of Creoleness” (1989), Patrick Chamoiseau offers a manifesto for Caribbean storytelling that aims to free itself of French colonial gaze by transforming Martinican-French literature through a militant use of Creole. And while not through cultural theories or essays, contemporary writers like Salman Rushdie, Vikram Chandra, Roxane Gay, Junot Díaz, and Edwidge Danticat, among others, bring a strong, self-conscious vernacular in their stories. Their fiction questions not only an allegedly mainstream Euro-American storytelling marked by narrative brevity and an economy of words, as lauded by Edgar Allan Poe, John Barth and Francine Prose in their critical writing, but also the dominance of visuality in many fiction writing workshops with their show-don’t-tell credo, bolstered by our cinematic and digital age with its preference for images over sounds."



"James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Sandra Cisneros, Gish Jen, Tiphanie Yanique, ZZ Packer, Rajesh Parameswaran—the list of contemporary writing affirming oral and aural alternatives over a sight-based focus of storytelling is long. And I haven’t even gotten started with poetry-in-color, including an aesthetic legacy of rhythm in writing spawned by Papa Césaire and the Négritude movement. What I’ve explored above is a brief sampler on a multifaceted use of orality that challenges the boundaries of a more standard Euro-American literary English with its emphasis on brevity, clarity, and good grammar. In playing persistently with language, sounds and syntax, multiethnic fiction does not shy away from “writing in scenes,” however, it does dethrone the reign of eyesight to stress the importance of other senses in fiction, and hearing in particular.

That said, the use of vernacular or dialect is far from unique to non-Western writers writing within or outside the West. Time and again, major writers across the world have challenged the status quo of a hegemonic language by using the vernacular in different ways. I’m thinking here of Shakespeare and Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s linguistic innovation within English and French respectively, and of pioneering poets like Kabir who used the vernacular in Bhakti poetry to challenge the rule of Sanskrit in medieval South Asian literature.

And yet, the examples of multiethnic fiction I’ve shared above have all been published in the last couple of decades, following complex literary and historic changes that include mid-20th century’s wave of decolonization that swept the “third world,” the Civil Rights Movement in the US, the institutionalization of Ethnic Studies in the American Academy, and the literary canon wars that followed. This recent, layered, global history has led to a higher visibility of non-white, non-Western voices in the Western metropolitan publication scenes of New York, London and Paris. The content within contemporary multiethnic fiction often talks of identity, home and displacement; they ask questions like who has power and voice and who gets marginalized or silenced, these ideas fleshed out obsessively in stories through plot, theme, form, language, or a combination.

Orality within fiction that is deliberately engaging with power dynamics between the West and non-West—as evident in the title of Rushdie’s story collection East, West—thus becomes more than just a stylistic device or virtuosity with craft. The shift in sensory focus within multiethnic fiction from images to sounds holds a mirror to our contemporary, complex literary history, guiding the reader further to ways in which these stories maybe constructed, read, or deconstructed. Orality here becomes a political stance, an ideological move reminding the reader over and again that what we consume as universal in story craft, literary history, or aesthetic taste is anything but universal."
orality  oraltradition  visual  via:vruba  2018  storytelling  walterbenjamin  culture  tradition  namratapoddar  globalsouth  maggieawadalla  paulmarch-russell  billashcroft  garethgriffiths  helentiffin  vernacular  zoranealehurston  creole  creoleness  folktales  writing  salmanrushdie  vikramchandra  junotdíaz  edwidgedanticat  edgarallanpoe  johnbarth  fancineprose  criticalwriting  howwewrite  literacy  multiliteracies  dialect  rhythm  patrickchamoiseau  caribbean  africa  asia  colonialism  english  alicewalker  imperialism  gishjen  jamesbaldwin  tonimorrison  tiphanieyanique  zzpacker  showdon'ttell  sandracisneros  roxanegay  ajeshparameswaran  négritude  papacésaire  haiti  aural  oral  sight  brevity  clarity  grammar  fiction  aimécésaire  martinique  léopoldsédarsenghor  léondamas  postcolonialism  louis-ferdinandceline  latinamerica  indigenous  canon 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Frankétienne's spirals: chaos theory, minor literature and generic limits | Mary Cobb Wittrock - Academia.edu
"This article elucidates the distinct relationship between Frankétienne’s spiral writing and Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers’ contemporary chaos theory demonstrating that chaos theory is an important paradigm to consider in literary analysis of the twentieth and twenty-first century. The open-ended nature of Frankétienne’s spiral interprets the Arrow of Time as proposed by Prigogine and Stengers; that is, that time is not reversible and the future and the past do not have a direct, linear rela-tionship. In essence, Prigogine and Stengers proposed that order evolves out of chaos. Furthermore, the fractalized, noisy, chaotic schizophony illustrated in his works imitates the bifurcation process in chaos theory when a system, far from equilibrium, undergoes self-organizing iterations from chaos to either order or morechaos. As a result, this analysis will examine how two of Frankétienne’s works, Ultravocal and H’Éros-Chimères, challenge the limits of traditional genre theory, and will show that his schizophonic writing exists in a state ‘far from equilibrium’ allowing a deleuzian minor language and literature to be exposed."
frankétienne  marycobbittrock  2010  haiti  spiralism  literature  isabellestenger  ilyaprigogine  chaostheory 
november 2018 by robertogreco
OAPEN Library - Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon, by Kaiama L. Glover
"Touching on the role and destiny of Haiti in the Americas, Haiti Unbound engages with long-standing issues of imperialism and resistance culture in the transatlantic world. Glover's timely project emphatically articulates Haiti's regional and global centrality, combining vital 'big picture' reflections on the field of postcolonial studies with elegant close-reading-based analyses of the philosophical perspective and creative practice of a distinctively Haitian literary phenomenon. Providing insightful and sophisticated blueprints for the reading and teaching of the Spiralists' prose fiction, it will serve as a point of reference for the works of these authors and for the singular socio-political space out of and within which they write."
haiti  literature  spiritualism  spiralism  kaiamaglover  2011  fiction  postcolonialism  frankétienne  jean-claudefignolé  renéphiloctète 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Inter-Actualités Magazine: Jean L. Dominique ak Frankétienne sou woman «Dezafi» / Radio Haiti Archive / Duke Digital Repository
"Frankétienne ak Jean Dominique pale sou woman Frankétienne ekri a, «Dezafi», ki se premye woman ki ekri nan lang kreyòl la. Frankétienne eksplike kisa kreyòl la ka eksprime ke franse a pa ka kapte, epi li eksplike koman zanmitay li menm ak Dominique te ede l ekri woman sa a.

Frankétienne and Jean Dominique discuss Frankétienne's novel DEZAFI, the first novel written in Haitian Creole. Frankétienne describes what Haitian Creole can communicate that French cannot, and the influence of Dominique's friendship during the writing of this novel.

Jean Dominique et Frankétienne se penchent sur le nouveau livre qu'a écrit ce dernier, « Dezafi », le premier roman publié en créole. Frankétienne explique comment le créole peut faire passer des choses impossibles à exprimer en français et comment son amitié avec Jean Dominique l'a aidé dans le processus de rédaction."
frankétienne  1975  haiti 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Review: 'Ready to Burst' by Franketienne - Chicago Tribune
"This is the book of an intellectual, French and Haitian style, filled with ideas, politics, snatches of conversations, contemporary retellings of folktales. Zombies, unnamed, stalk through its pages. Engrossing as all this is, it's right to be wary of a book that opens with this declaration: "I no longer worry about what I write. I simply write. Because I must. Because I'm suffocating. I write anything. Any way."

Here, back in 1968, Frankétienne is making his declaration against writing as a trade or business. For him, writing is a mission and a doctrine with a name: Spiralism, which he created in the mid-1960s along with two other highly regarded Haitian writers, Jean-Claude Fignolé and René Philoctète, all of whom were persecuted by Papa Doc's regime, like all members of the intelligentsia who did not come to heel. Described in somewhat ecstatic terms in the novel, both by an unnamed first person narrator and later, at greater length, by Paulin, Spiralism seems, to our contemporary minds, antiquated or wacky, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Spiritualism. But it is much more rigorous than that, and much closer to a literary theory and an aesthetic movement.

"Spiralism," the narrator tells us on the very first page, "defines life … not in a closed circuit, but tracing the path of a spiral. So rich that each new curve, wider and higher than the one before, expands the arc of one's vision." Whenever friends converse in these pages, we get a real sense of the intellectual and political ferment of the 1960s as it touched Haiti, from which the idea of Spiralism grew.

The narrator describes Spiralism also as a kind of "explosive vertigo," and that's how the reader feels as he or she follows Raynand walking to the wharf, or traveling out of the country to the Bahamas (briefly), or as he sails back to Haiti, or coming upon a political rally, or being hurled into prison, or ending upon his sickbed. Raynand walks everywhere because, he says, walking is "his sole and apparent freedom" in a book where Haiti is depicted as a sort of grand, inescapable penitentiary.

The book has the occasional stylistic flaws of its era ("Electricity. Mechanics. Ballistics. And from end to end, the tragicomedy of History. Vast circus of dwarves and clowns"). But the sinewy strength of the rest of the work pushes the reader beyond those fragmentary bits onward to an appreciation of the artistic whole. Frankétienne can bore you with a few paragraphs of blather on Spiralism and then stun you with simple language like this: "(He) carefully sparks the purple flame of a lovely little yellow lighter." Often, when reading a wild, passionate, exotic and surreal passage about a crowd or a scene or a landscape, I felt the pang of surprised recognition. You feel, too, as you will if you've ever been to actual Haiti, that you've gotten lost inside a fantastic and writhing Haitian painting. (Frankétienne is also a painter and a playwright.)

Those Haitian paintings, of markets, of crowds, of Vodou ceremonies, and other aspects of Haitian daily life, are timeless, and so is the Haiti Frankétienne describes, both for better and for worse. Timeless is Haiti's undercurrent of revolution. Timeless are its elite's pronouncements about the dignity of the individual. Timeless, too, is the appearance of the spiritual world in the world of daily life.

Equally persistent, unfortunately, are the untreated malaria, the abandoned children treated as slaves, the terminal tuberculosis, the lifelong unemployment, the degradation of women, the useless and corrupt government, the inconclusive political unrest, the endless ineffective blah blah blah (actually a phrase in Haitian Creole) of the Haitian intellectual class — all liabilities of a country that in the last half century and more has experienced the inroads of globalization as the direst of poverty.

We are so lucky, and Frankétienne is so lucky, that Kaiama L. Glover has come along to translate his works into English and to give Spiralism the international attention it deserves as a historic Caribbean literary movement.

I interviewed Frankétienne in 1986, when I first arrived in Haiti. I had no idea what he was talking about then and couldn't get over the fact that he had put his two names together. Thinking back on it, I'm sure he was talking about regime change and Spiralism. And now, having finally, belatedly, read "Ready to Burst," I know what he meant."
frankétienne  1968  2014  books  haiti  spiralism  amywilentz 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Frankétienne and Rewriting: A Work in Progress | French Studies | Oxford Academic
"In Frankétienne and Rewriting Rachel Douglas presents an elegant overview of Haitian Spiralist writer Frankétienne's literary praxis, connecting the author's ‘near-obsessive’ (p. 1) revising to broader postcolonial Caribbean literary phenomena. Douglas's study offers a comparative analysis of five major works, emphasizing the ethical and the aesthetic perspectives implicit in Frankétienne's ‘predilection for the process of writing over what is written; for production over finished product; and for the dynamic over the stable’ (p. 160). Douglas rightly insists on the importance of fully contextualizing the works in question, considering them always with respect to the changing historical, socio-economic, and cultural realities of twentieth-century Haiti. Yet, while noting the profound political imperative visible in Frankétienne's writings and rewritings, she is careful always to privilege the works' ‘literariness’ and the material, arguing that literary characteristics in Frankétienne connect with changing political, social, economic, and cultural circumstances in the Haiti he rewrites."

[See also:
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/481621
https://books.google.com/books/about/Frank%C3%A9tienne_and_Rewriting.html?id=ewyPMi4WZPAC
https://www.fabula.org/actualites/r-douglas-franketienne-and-rewriting-a-work-in-progress_31893.php
writing  howwewrite  process  frankétienne  2012  racheldouglas  kaiamaglover  2009  haiti  caribbean 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Frankétienne, Father of Haitian Letters, Is Busier Than Ever - The New York Times
"Frankétienne has had prophecies of death (his own) and destruction (Haiti’s).

The earthquake that wrecked this country in January 2010? It was foreseen, said Frankétienne, the man known as the father of Haitian letters, in his play “The Trap.” It was written two months before the disaster and depicts two men in a postapocalyptic landscape, now a familiar sight in his Delmas neighborhood here.

“The voice of God spoke to me,” said Frankétienne, 75, later noting he had also long dwelt on the ecological ruin he believes the planet is hurtling toward. As for his death, that will come in nine years, in 2020, he says, at age 84. He is not sick, he says, but he has learned to “listen to the divine music in all of us.”

And so the prolific novelist, poet and painter — often all three in a single work — hears his coda. He is vowing to complete a multivolume memoir “before I leave, physically,” while keeping up an increasingly busy schedule of exhibitions and conferences.

“I am going to talk about everything I have seen from age 5 or 6,” he said recently at his house-cum-museum and gallery. “And stuff that hasn’t happened yet because I am a prophet.”

Eccentric. Abstract. A “spiralist,” who rejects realism and embraces disorder. Frankétienne — he combined his first and last names years ago — embraces chaos as a style he believes befits a country with a long, tumultuous history birthed in a slave revolt more than 200 years ago and scarred by a cascade of natural and man-made disasters.

In chaos he finds order.

“I am not afraid of chaos because chaos is the womb of light and life,” he said, his baritone voice rising as it does when he gets worked up over a point. “What I don’t like is nonmanagement of chaos. The reason why Haiti looks more chaotic is because of nonmanagement. In other countries it is managed better. Haiti, they should take as reference for what could happen in the rest of world.”

Scholars widely view Frankétienne as Haiti’s most important writer. He wrote what many consider the first modern novel entirely in Haitian Creole, “Dezafi,” in 1975, and a play well known here that challenged political oppression, “Pelin Tet.” It is a biting work from 1978 that is aimed, not so subtly, at Jean-Claude Duvalier, the son of the dictator François Duvalier and himself a former dictator known as Baby Doc, who returned here from exile in January.

Although not well known in the English-speaking world, Frankétienne has star status in French- and Creole-speaking countries and was rumored to be on the short list for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009.

After the quake, his works gained more international attention, particularly in Canada and France. “The Trap” debuted in March 2010 at a Unesco forum in Paris that named him an artist for peace; galleries in New York have organized shows featuring his artwork. Still, he also holds informal Sunday workshops with young artists in Haiti to talk about and critique their work.

“He is not only a major Haitian writer, he is probably the major Haitian writer, forever,” said Jean Jonassaint, a Haitian literature scholar at Syracuse University.

Frankétienne’s output, about 40 written works and, by his count, 2,000 paintings and sketches, comprises dense, baroque affairs. He invents new words, blending French and Haitian Creole. Long digressions are de rigueur. His paintings, which he says are selling particularly well these days, blur swirling blacks, blues and reds, often covered with poems.

He admires James Joyce, and it shows. “ ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ was like a crazy book, just like I write crazy books,” he said.

Still, the Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat said Frankétienne remained popular among Haitians, in part because some of his plays had been videotaped and passed around in Haiti and in immigrant communities in the United States.

“Pelin Tet,” in which the grim life of two Haitian immigrants in New York deliberately echoes the oppression of the Duvalier era on the island, is a touchstone for many Haitians, said Ms. Danticat, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Frankétienne and was, in part, inspired to write by his rise to the top.

“His work can speak to the most intellectual person in the society as well as the most humble,” she said. “It’s a very generous kind of genius he has, one I can’t imagine Haitian literature ever existing without.”

Frankétienne was born as Franck Étienne on April 12, 1936, and raised in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, the son of a Haitian farmworker and an American businessman, who later abandoned her.

Frankétienne’s mother worked as a street vendor — selling cigarettes, charcoal, candies, moonshine — while raising eight children.

“Since I was 5 or 6 I was smoking or drinking, but my mother never knew,” he recalled. He was the oldest, and she strove to send him to school (he, in turn, tutored his younger siblings, leading him to establish his own school).

The school he attended was French-speaking. Frankétienne initially did not know a word of French, but angered at being teased by other students, he set about mastering the language and developing an affinity for words and artistic expression.

His best-known works came in the 1960s and ’70s, and he ranks his novel “Dezafi” as one of his most cherished. Set in a rural Haitian village, it weaves cockfighting, zombification, the history of slavery and other themes into an allegory of the country’s pain and suffering.

“It is the challenge of finding the light to liberate everyone,” he said. He wrote it in Creole, he said, because that was the voice of the characters he imagined.

But Frankétienne also felt a need to assert his Haitian identity, as people often look at his fair skin, blue eyes and white hair and doubt he is from this predominantly black country.

“They might think I am white or mulatto or whatever, but I am not,” he said. “I have black features, Negro features. My mother was an illiterate peasant and she had me when she was 16. She was taken in by an American, a very rich American. The American was 63 and my mother was 16 at the time.”

Switching from Creole to English, which he is usually too timid to speak, he added, “You understand who I am now?”

After completing “Dezafi,” he was frustrated that so few of his compatriots could read it, with nearly half the adult population illiterate. He switched to plays, even if that meant irritating the dictatorship.

“Dictators are mean but not necessarily stupid, so they knew I didn’t have any readers,” Frankétienne said. “What really gave them a problem was when I started with plays.”

Other writers and artists left Haiti during the dictatorship, but he stayed as his reputation grew outside the country and human rights groups closely followed him, providing, he believes, some cover from Mr. Duvalier.

Later, he joined other intellectuals in denouncing Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first democratically elected president after Jean-Claude Duvalier was overthrown. Mr. Aristide, he said, became fixated on power and tolerated corruption and thuggery in his administration.

“He is a ghost, too,” Frankétienne said of Mr. Aristide’s return in March after seven years in exile.

His only regret, he said, is that his work is not widely translated and better known. If he knew Chinese, Japanese, Italian or other languages, he said, he would put them in his works.

“Everything is interconnected,” he said. “We are connected to everything, everyone.”

Frankétienne added, “The only thing not chaotic is death.”"
frankétienne  haiti  2011  literature  chaos  death  writing  form  theater  poetry  creole  language  identity  education  zombies  voodoo  vodou  voudoun  slavery  history  jeanjonassaint  edwidgedanticat  babdydoc  papadoc  jean-claudeduvalier  françoisduvalier  disorder  order  nonmanagement 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Spiralism: Haiti’s Long-Lost Poetics of Protest | Public Books
"Kaiama L. Glover’s choice to translate—brilliantly—this particular work may be seen as a gesture toward reconnecting Spiralism with the broader literary history of the Caribbean, a field largely dominated by Martinican thinkers such as Aimé Césaire and Édouard Glissant.

What is Spiralism? The novel opens with lyrical flights that lay bare the movement’s objectives:
More effective at setting each twig aquiver in the passing of waves than a pebble dropped into a pool of water, Spiralism defines life at the level of relations (colors, odors, sounds, signs, words) and historical connections …

Re-creating wholes from mere details and secondary materials, the practice of Spiralism reconciles Art and Life through literature, and necessarily breaks with the hypocrisy of the Word … Spiralism uses the Complete Genre, in which novelistic description, poetic breath, theatrical effect, narratives, stories, autobiographical sketches, and fiction all coexist harmoniously …


These first pages are not set off from the main narrative as paratextual commentary; instead, they are woven directly into the fabric of the text they foretell."



"Unlike other Franco-Caribbean genres such as Négritude or Créolité, Spiralism does not announce a geopolitical project, but its social dimension is made explicit in Ready to Burst. Like Jean-Paul Sartre’s notion of Total Literature2—a genre that would be legible to both the oppressor and the oppressed, and that would be the synthesis of destruction and construction—Spiralism’s Complete Genre is meant to be accessible to all. As Paulin, the writer and Frankétienne’s fictional alter ego, explains, Spiralism must tailor its shape to the needs of proletarian readers: “Our age doesn’t lend itself to reading literary works, boring in their too often useless length. … Between the fatigue of the night before and that of the day after … the laboring classes only have limited time—if they have any at all—to read printed characters. … And so, it’s a question of stating things quickly.” Spiralism aims to cleanse the written word of its bourgeois nature by freeing it from the conventional sentence. Thus unshackled, Paulin explains, the word acquires velocity and magnitude. It becomes “Inflated with meanings. Swollen with allusions.”

Spiralism is, perhaps above all, a state of mind in the face of life’s absurdity. “Whirlwinds. Vertigos. Storms. My life beats to the rhythm of turbulences,” declares Paulin. “I am a Spiralist. … It’s not that I’m looking to be scandalous. But because life itself emerges from the cry of blood. Wayward child of pain. Of violence. And that, too, is Spiralism.” On the one hand, these semantic splinters perform the feeling of insularity, of oppression, of restlessness, and of fragmentation that characterized the life of the Haitian people under the Duvalier regime; on the other hand, the resistance they stage against traditional literature symbolically punctures all forms of dictatorships.

Spirals are intrinsically infinite, incomplete. Paulin never finishes his novel and eventually vanishes into thin air, having perhaps been a figment of Raynand’s imagination all along. And much as the spiral gives and takes, Frankétienne reminds the reader that his work’s self-proclaimed aesthetic allegiance matters less than the sheer fact of writing: “I no longer worry about what I write. I simply write. Because I must. Because I’m suffocating. I write anything. Any way. People can call it what they want: novel, essay, poem, autobiography, testimony, narrative, memory exercise, or nothing at all. I don’t even know, myself.”"
2015  spiralism  haiti  poetry  poetics  protest  frankétienne  kaimaglover  aimécésaire  édouardglissant  literature  form  corinestofle  jean-paulsartre  canon  legibility  renéphiloctète  jean-claudefignolé 
november 2018 by robertogreco
“The Poetic Inflections of a Voice Addressing a Tribe of Men Besieged by Beasts”: Radio Haiti’s Cultural Programming - The Devil's Tale
"Sometimes it feels as though Radio Haiti’s story, like that of Haiti itself, is eclipsed by crisis — that Jean Dominique’s assassination has become the principal lens through which we understand and remember Radio Haiti. But the loss of Jean Dominique and the injustice of his murder matter because his life mattered, because Radio Haiti’s many decades of work and legacy matter. Before the symbolic weight of memory, before the burden of hindsight, before the doomed prophet, there was the daily work of the station — all of which lives on in this archive.

So much comes before death; so much remains when death is no more."



"Radio Haiti’s archive, like a cemetery, like Haiti itself, is a place that could be defined by tragedy, loss and death. The archive, like Haiti’s history, is filled with human rights violations, massacres, impunity, and assassinations.

Yet, listening to artists and iconoclasts, creators and truth-tellers, I recall those same words: It was not death that I found here, in Radio Haiti’s archive. I found intense life here; I did not find death at all."

[See also:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Haiti-Inter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Dominique
https://soundcloud.com/radiohaitiarchives ]
haiti  radiohaiti  frankétienne  culture  2016  katrinamartin  laurawagner  archives  voodoo  vodou  voudoun  jeandominique  émileollivier  mimibarthélemy  edwidgedanticat  amoscoulanges  tiga  georgescastera  sytocavé  rogergaillard  jeanfouchard  kettlymars  danylaferrière  garyvictor  yanicklahens  ralphallen  jeanrenéjérôme  rose-mariedesruisseau  radiohaiti-inter 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Dézafi | The University of Virginia Press
"Dézafi is no ordinary zombie novel. In the hands of the great Haitian author known simply as Frankétienne, zombification takes on a symbolic dimension that stands as a potent commentary on a country haunted by a history of slavery. Now this dynamic new translation brings this touchstone in Haitian literature to English-language readers for the first time.

Written in a provocative experimental style, with a myriad of voices and combining myth, poetry, allegory, magical realism, and social realism, Dézafi tells the tale of a plantation that is run and worked by zombies for the financial benefit of the living owner. The owner's daughter falls in love with a zombie and facilitates his transformation back into fully human form, leading to a rebellion that challenges the oppressive imbalance that had robbed the workers of their spirit. With the walking dead and bloody cockfights (the "dézafi" of the title) as cultural metaphors for Haitian existence, Frankétienne’s novel is ultimately a powerful allegory of political and social liberation."
books  toread  frankétienne  haiti  novels  1975 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Postnationalism Prefigured Caribbean Borderlands, by Charles V. Carnegie: Book Details | Rutgers University Press
"We do not consider it noteworthy when somebody moves three thousand miles from New York to Los Angeles. Yet we think that movement across borders requires a major degree of adjustment, and that an individual who migrates 750 miles from Haiti to Miami has done something extraordinary. Charles V. Carnegie suggests that to people from the Caribbean, migration is simply one of many ways to pursue a better future and to survive in a world over which they have little control

Carnegie shows not only that the nation-state is an exhausted form of political organization, but that in the Caribbean the ideological and political reach of the nation-state has always been tenuous at best. Caribbean peoples, he suggests, live continually in breach of the nation-state configuration. Drawing both on his own experiences as a Jamaican-born anthropologist and on the examples provided by those who have always considered national borders as little more than artificial administrative nuisances, Carnegie investigates a fascinating spectrum of individuals, including Marcus Garvey, traders, black albinos, and Caribbean Ba’hais. If these people have not themselves developed a scholarly doctrine of transnationalism, they have, nevertheless, effectively lived its demand and prefigured a postnational life."

[via: https://twitter.com/AlJavieera/status/1053699628858671104 ]
books  toread  charlescarnegie  postnationalism  caribbean  nationstates  bordr  borders  migration  immigration  haiti  marcusgarvey  transnationalism  miami 
october 2018 by robertogreco
AIDependence - Trailer on Vimeo
"Major humanitarian crises caused by civil wars or natural disasters such as recently in Haiti mark humans and cause a wave of solidarity. But do our generous donations actually have the desired effect or do they conversely provoke an unhealthy dependence?

In the form of a film documentary choosing the example of Haiti, we will examine the issue of necessity and usefulness of traditional development assistance and offer solutions for improvement. If, thanks to development aid, houses and roads are built – does it actually stimulate the efforts of the locals? Or could it be the opposite?"

[See also:
https://vimeo.com/67296710

"WATCH THE MOVIE NOW ON: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/aidependence

https://facebook.com/Aidependence

No other country in the world has more NGOs per capita than Haiti, yet the country still remains an impoverished and fragile state. Why is foreign aid not being more effective?
Beschreibung

The award-winning photographer Alice Smeets and the Belgian cinematographer Frederic Biegmann have been living on the Caribbean island, where they've not only supported, but also initiated development projects. This allowed them to get a deeper insight into the dynamics of the aid system.

In „AIDependence“, the filmmakers explore why development aid in Haiti is not working in a sustainable way. Smeets and Biegmann interview Haitian as well as international experts, show appalling examples of failed projects and accompany young inhabitants of Haiti's poorest slum, Cité Soleil, who have decided to take their fate into their own hands; they refuse imposed projects, but develop their own ideas to strengthen the community - even if the ideas may seem crazy, like the construction of a small Eiffel Tower right in the middle of Cité Soleil.

"AIDependence" shows clearly: Haiti's devastating earthquake of 2010 is in no way the cause the problem; it has only aggravated the situation. Thus, the documentary raises urgent questions and encourages the audience to form their own opinion.

a NEOPHILEAS-Production"]
charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  poer  governance  government  haiti  aid  humanitarinaid  dependence  control  nonprofit  nonprofits  donations  charity  philanthropy  2012  development 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Edwidge Danticat: Stories of Haiti | TED Talk | TED.com
In the midst of an earlier crisis, Haitian author Edwidge Danticat reminds us of the contributions of Haiti's vibrant culture and people. This reading offers a timely message for today -- as the nation struggles in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.
haiti  edwidgedanticat  towatch  2004 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Forget Coates vs. West — We All Have a Duty to Confront the Full Reach of U.S. Empire
"What are the duties of radicals and progressives inside relatively wealthy countries to the world beyond our national borders?"



" Is it even possible to be a voice for transformational change without a clear position on the brutal wars and occupations waged with U.S. weapons?"



"Our movements simply cannot afford to stick to our various comfort zones or offload internationalism as someone else’s responsibility.

The unending misery in Haiti may be the most vivid illustration of how today’s crises are all interrelated. On the island, serial natural disasters, some linked to climate change, are being layered on top of illegitimate foreign debts and coupled with gross negligence by the international aid industry, as well as acute U.S.-lead efforts to destabilize and under-develop the country. These compounding forces have led tens of thousands of Haitians to migrate to the United States in recent years, where they come face-to-face with Trump’s anti-Black, anti-immigrant agenda. Many are now fleeing to Canada, where hundreds if not thousands could face deportation. We can’t pry these various cross-border crises apart, nor should we.

IN SHORT, THERE is no radicalism — Black or otherwise — that ends at the national boundaries of our countries, especially the wealthiest and most heavily armed nation on earth. From the worldwide reach of the financial sector to the rapidly expanding battlefield of U.S. Special Operations to the fact that carbon pollution respects no borders, the forces we are all up against are global. So, too, are the crises we face, from the rise of white supremacy, ethno-chauvinism, and authoritarian strongmen to the fact that more people are being forced from their homes than at any point since World War II. If our movements are to succeed, we will need both analysis and strategies that reflect these truths about our world.

Some argue for staying in our lane, and undoubtedly there is a place for deep expertise. The political reality, however, is that the U.S. government doesn’t stay in its lane and never has — it spends public dollars using its military and economic might to turn the world into a battlefield, and it does so in the name of all of U.S. citizens.

As a result, our movements simply cannot afford to stick to our various comfort zones or offload internationalism as someone else’s responsibility. To do so would be grossly negligent of our geopolitical power, our own agency, as well as our very real connections to people and places throughout the world. So when we build cross-sector alliances and cross-issue solidarity, those relationships cannot be confined to our own nations or even our own hemisphere — not in a world as interconnected as ours. We have to strive for them to be as global as the forces we are up against.

We know this can seem overwhelming at a time when so many domestic crises are coming to a head and so many of us are being pushed beyond the breaking point. But it is worth remembering that our movement ancestors formed international alliances and placed their struggles within a global narrative not out of a sense of guilt or obligation, but because they understood that it made them stronger and more likely to win at home — and that strength terrified their enemies.

Besides, the benefit of building a broad-based, multiracial social movement — which should surely be the end goal of all serious organizers and radical intellectuals — is that movements can have a division of labor, with different specialists focusing on different areas, united by broad agreement about overall vision and goals. That’s what a real movement looks like.

The good news is that grassroots internationalism has never been easier. From cellphones to social media, we have opportunities to speak with one another across borders that our predecessors couldn’t have dreamed of. Similarly, tools that allow migrant families to stay connected with loved ones in different countries can also become conduits for social movements to hear news that the corporate media ignores. We are able, for instance, to learn about the pro-democracy movements growing in strength across the continent of Africa, as well as efforts to stop extrajudicial killings in countries like Brazil. Many would not have known that Black African migrants are being enslaved in Libya if it had not been for these same tools. And had they not known they wouldn’t have been able to engage in acts of necessary solidarity.

So let’s leave narrow, nostalgic nationalism to Donald Trump and his delusional #MAGA supporters. The forces waging war on bodies and the planet are irreversibly global, and we are vastly stronger when we build global movements capable of confronting them at every turn."
cornelwest  ta-nehisicoates  2017  us  politics  global  international  jelanicobb  barackobama  imperialism  africa  malcolmx  haiti  naomiklein  opaltometi  climatechange  colonialism  immigration  refugees  activism  outrage  crises  donaldtrump  fascism  military  borders  naturaldisasters  isolationism  debt  finance  destabilization 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Vox Borders - YouTube - YouTube
"Reporting from six borders around the world, Emmy-nominated journalist Johnny Harris investigates the human stories behind the lines on a map in a new series for Vox.com

The six-part documentary series airs Tuesdays starting October 17th.

For additional content, travel dispatches, and more visit http://www.vox.com/borders "

[VOX BORDERS S1 • E1
Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WvKeYuwifc

VOX BORDERS S1 • E2
It's time to draw borders on the Arctic Ocean
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx_2SVm9Jgo

VOX BORDERS S1 • E3
Inside North Korea's bubble in Japan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBfyIQbxXPs

VOX BORDERS S1 • E4
How the US outsourced border security to Mexico
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xbt0ACMbiA

VOX BORDERS S1 • E5
Building a border at 4,600 meters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECch2g1_6PQ

VOX BORDERS S1 • E6
Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_Yiu2U2Ts ]
borders  haiti  dominicanrepublic  arctic  arcticocean  japan  northkorea  korea  mexico  us  centralamerica  border  2017  spain  morocco  china  nepal  españa 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Zach Carter on Twitter: "Haiti was one of the richest colonies in the world. In 1789, Haiti produced 75% of the world’s sugar and was the leading producer of cotton."
"Haiti was one of the richest colonies in the world. In 1789, Haiti produced 75% of the world’s sugar and was the leading producer of cotton.

The island is the source of roughly 1/5 of France’s wealth. France turned Haiti into a slave colony and started massive deforestation.

When the French were driven out in 1804, this was a frightening shock to the world—Haiti became the first free, black, former slave country.

Haiti was immediately punished for this liberation: France imposed an extreme indemnity on Haiti to enter the international economy.

Haiti didn't finish paying until after WWII. The United States imposed yet a harsher sentence—they refused to recognize Haiti until 1862.

Interestingly, 1862 was the same year the US recognized Liberia, and for the same reason: it was the year of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Unsure with what to do with a massive population of freed Black people, the most popular idea was to ship them off to Haiti and Liberia.

That plan was dropped after the South was given authority to institute a system that was, in many ways, worse than slavery: convict leasing.

The first US prison boom resulted from convict leasing, where millions of mostly Black men were arrested & thrown in mines & cotton fields.

In the 1870s, the US took over from France in torturing Haiti. In the late 19th century there were dozens of military interventions.

The worst, led by Woodrow Wilson (Nobel Laureate), was in 1915, when the US military brutally attacked Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

It was bad in DR, but worse in Haiti because they were "n*ggers, not spics." Wilson re-instituted slavery in Haiti & killed ~15,000 people.

The US marines drove out the Haitian parliament at gun-point because they wouldn’t accept the US version of a new Haitian Constitution.

The US Constitution, written by FDR, included provisions for US corporations to buy up Haitian land-"progressive legislation" it was called.

The only way to develop Haiti was to allow US corporations to buy it; since Haitians couldn’t understand, Parliament had to be disbanded.

The Haitan people--"n*ggers speaking French” as William Jennings Bryan referred to them--didn't want the US Constitution.

The marines then *did* hold a referendum: 5% of the population voted, and the US Constitution won 99.99% of the vote.

Most of the population was driven off, and the US left both countries—Haiti/DR—in the hands of brutal militaries, trained by the US marines.

In the 1980s, the atrocities escalated again: the World Bank/USAID were created and determined to make Haiti “the Taiwan of the Caribbean.”

The proposal included policies that were the exact *opposite* of the ones pursued by Taiwan.

Haiti—under threat of force—followed the advice of the World Bank, which was to drive the population from the countryside into the cities.

The World Bank plan required they gut spending on education, social programs, and infrastructure, because economics explains that’s a waste.

There were political developments: an "election" in 1986. Baby Doc, the 2nd of the Duvaliers, was elected after winning 99.98% of the vote.

Ronald Reagan praised “Democratic progress” in Haiti, and subsequently increased aid to the military junta.

Nobody was paying attention, but behind all of the terror and monstrosities, the Haitians were engaging in remarkable grassroots activism.

In 1990, Haitians committed a major crime, which required serious punishment: there was a free election, & the Haitians voted the wrong way.

If you want to know what happens when you vote the wrong way in a free and open election, ask the people in Gaza.

Amazingly, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a populist priest and a strong proponent of liberation theology, won the election with 2/3 of the vote.

The United States immediately shifted all military aid to the business-led opposition to lay the basis for overthrowing the government.

Aristide was quite successful--it looked, for a while, that Haiti might not only become free and democratic, but fall out of US hands.

The military coup took place 7 months after Aristide’s election. In response, the Organization of American States imposed an embargo.

The US technically joined the embargo, but within a few weeks, Bush 41 modified the terms, allowing US corporations to violate the embargo.

Bush (+ Clinton) issued Presidential Directives blocking oil shipments to the military, but both secretly permitted Texaco Oil to send oil.

In 1994, Clinton did send in the marines and allowed Aristide to return, but under very harsh conditions:

Aristide must accept the program of the defeated candidate in the 1990 election--neoliberal policies that destroyed Haitian agriculture.

Well there was another election in 2000, and Aristide won handily. The United States, under George W. Bush, blocked all aid to Haiti.

Haiti had to pay interest on the aid it wasn’t getting.

Meanwhile, the country was being hit by natural disasters, magnified by the destruction of the land and society over the past 200 years.

In 2004, Haiti’s two main torturers (France & the US) invaded, kidnapped Aristide, exiled him to Central Africa & re-imposed the military.

And now we’re reaching the present moment. In January 2010, a major earthquake hit Haiti and killed ~300,000 people.

Aristide submitted a request to France to provide aid to Haiti to help after the indemnity they imposed; they put together a govt committee.

Headed by Régis Debray, a liberal French politician, the committee determined that there was no merit in the request.

After more than 200 years of terror and torture, it is time for the United States and France to pay *substantial* reparations to Haiti."
haiti  history  2017  zachcarter  us  france  slavery  colonialism  imperialism  capitalism  billclinton  woodrowwilsonn  fdr  liberia  dominicanepublic  régisdebray  williamjenningsbryan  worldbank  usaid  foreignpolicy  1990  ronaldreagan  jean-bertrandaristide  grassroots  democracy  dictatorship  reparations  babydoc  1986  1980s 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Ephemeral Urbanism: Cities in Constant Flux - YouTube
urbanism  urban  cities  ephemerality  ephemeral  2016  rahulmehrotra  felipevera  henrynbauer  cristianpinoanguita  religion  celebration  transaction  trade  economics  informal  formal  thailand  indi  us  dominicanrepublic  cochella  burningman  fikaburn  southafrica  naturaldisaters  refugees  climatechange  mozambique  haiti  myanmar  landscape  naturalresources  extraction  mining  chile  indonesia  military  afghanistan  refuge  jordan  tanzania  turkey  greece  macedonia  openness  rigidity  urbandesign  urbanplanning  planning  adhoc  slums  saudiarabia  hajj  perú  iraq  flexibility  unfinished  completeness  sustainability  ecology  mobility 
october 2017 by robertogreco
The Painter of Jalouzi - YouTube
"The film tells the story of one citizen from Jalouzi, one of the largest slums in Haiti, who is determined to bring color to the impoverished area by helping paint the entire town, literally.

Believing that color has the power to transform his community, he’s helping to paint everywhere – on houses, on buses, and the entire hillside. Armed with brushes of bright blues, pastel pinks, and sunshine yellows, he’s helping to mobilize citizens of all ages, determined to turn the grey town into a rainbow full of color to lead the way to a brighter Haiti."
haiti  jalouzi  color  2015  painting  homes 
february 2017 by robertogreco
Haitian Revolution Reading List – Age of Revolutions
"For our fourth list, we asked Marlene Daut and John Garrigus – two experts in the Haitian Revolution – to list the top five books they would suggest to graduate students or colleagues entering the field for the first time. Below you will find their lists, followed by brief descriptions culled from their book jackets. Comment below to make your own suggestions."
haiti  lists  readinlists  history  revolution  historiography  slavery  toussaintl'overture  cuba  saintdominque  2016  marlenedaut  johngarrigus  adaferrer  laurentdubois  carolynfick  favidgeggus  michel-rolphtrouillot  malickghachem 
january 2017 by robertogreco
What's deadly dull and can save the world? (Hint: We can't stand it)
"What do poor people need most? Food? Healthcare? Education? The answer is as surprising as it is simple. And it can be found under fluorescent lights and modular ceilings."



"“Do you live here?” I say.

“Yes, over there.” He points his spoon at a shack with a corrugated roof, walls made from advertising signs, and – unusual for this neighborhood – a window, salvaged from a bus, frame and all.

“Have you been here long?”

“Since the earthquake.”

That was five years ago. In the meantime, billions of euros in aid money have been pumped into Haiti, including millions from the Netherlands. Yet Lebrun – along with more than half the country’s population – still lives below the poverty line.

“If you could name one thing that would really change your life, what would it be?” I say. I'm expecting him to say a better house, or more food, or a doctor, or education for his kids. I'm expecting him to mention one of the things relief money often provides.

But Sony Lebrun grins broadly at me, revealing a missing tooth, and says, “What would help me most? A land registry.”

I assume I’ve misheard.

“A land registry,” he repeats, smiling.

A land registry. An agency where you can officially affirm that the land you’re building your house or planting your food on is your own. Lebrun would love to build a brick house, he says. He wants to save up for the materials. But what if someone shows up at his door one day claiming to own the land? His savings would be gone in a heartbeat.

What Lebrun needs is security – security he can build a future on. And he needs agencies to safeguard that security. What Lebrun needs is bureaucracy."



"Development organizations are starting to take notice. Along with food, schoolbooks and mosquito nets, one agency after the other has started donating paperwork, Excel sheets and bookkeeping courses. They call it “capacity building.”

For instance, the OECD sends idealistic experts from the group Tax Inspectors Without Borders to help developing countries. Because poorer nations don’t just suffer from a shortage of tax inspectors: they also often lack the knowledge needed to bring crafty multinationals to book.

British tax veteran Lee Corrick went to Kenya in 2011 to train local inspectors. For years, the Kenyan tax office had had problems with a big multinational company – something to do with tea auction license rights and letters of credit. It sounds overly complicated, and the Kenyans thought so too. But after two workshops with Corrick and a stern talk with the multinational, the Kenyan tax office managed to collect $23 million. In fact, revenues from Kenyan tax inspections doubled after Corrick came to town. And in Colombia, the take increased tenfold after training.

And the effects of Lebrun’s longed-for land registry are being studied in a growing number of developing countries. A few months ago, World Bank researchers published a paper on land registration in Benin. containing the first results of an experiment in Benin. In one area, farmers’ land was officially added to a land registry; in another, it wasn't. The researchers then looked at how the farmers used their land.

Here’s what they found: farmers who owned their land on paper invested more. For example, they more often planted trees, such as oil palms, that would continue to provide income all their lives. And since they no longer feared their land would be snatched out from under them, they spent less time guarding it. That left them more time to do other things – like earn money. Similar results have been seen in Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Why doesn’t Haiti have a land registry?

The big question, then, is: why, in spite of all the aid money and relief organizations, does Haiti still not have a land registry? If development economists and slum dwellers like Sony Lebrun are calling for bureaucracy outright, why don’t we all – aid organizations, governments, companies – get behind it 100%?

The answer is simple. Bureaucracy is boring.

To convince people to donate money and persuade taxpayers their money is being well spent, you need pretty pictures. A TV ad showing a sweetly smiling Haitian girl who’s just gotten her first school uniform works better than one with a blah bureaucrat in a fluorescent-lit office drawing lines on paper with a ruler. Pictures of starving children with distended bellies still bring in the most money, research shows. And so all too often, capacity building remains the neglected stepchild.

But the truth is, real progress is a gradual, thoroughly bureaucratic, deadly dull process. Saving the world isn’t sexy.

We need to update our image of what it looks like to change the world. The superheroes aren’t the people handing out well-intentioned teddy bears to smiling toddlers; they’re the nondescript worker bees printing out forms in gray offices.

Yes, it’s invisible work. Yes, it’s boring. But the people who will genuinely save the world won’t have throngs of kids hanging onto their superhero capes. The people who will save the world will sit hunched over heaps of files, stamping one certificate after another, sporting an office pallor. The people who will save the world will give Sony Lebrun what he wants: the bureaucratic security he needs to build a future."
bureaucracy  landregistries  law  legal  haiti  ownership  security  2016  maitevermeulen  governance  rwanda  ethiopia  land  landregistration  kenya 
july 2016 by robertogreco
BOMB Magazine — Edwidge Danticat by Garnette Cadogan
"Despite her accomplishments, it is clear from talking to her and reading her books that her ambition is to be nothing less than an attentive observer—her works display exemplary watchfulness and empathy. Over the course of a weeks-long correspondence about her writing, she kept gently nudging me to listen more closely, to be the kind of reader on whom nothing is lost, a reader who recognizes people as irreducibly various and complex. And she made it seem so simple. Except it’s not. (Relatedly, her prose’s deceptive simplicity is part of its appeal.) She has been described as “the bard of the Haitian diaspora,” but, really, her terrain is whatever world her fertile imagination takes her to. Her latest stop is the fictional town of Ville Rose, in which Claire of the Sea Light is set—a heartbreaking-yet-wondrous world."



"GC Claire, this “luminous child,” comes to us in a fable-like series of interrelated stories. Why that structure? Was there something about the themes you wanted to tackle, or about the way you wanted to delineate linked lives in Haiti, that made you choose this form?

ED Initially I wanted to write a book that was like a transcript of a popular radio show in Haiti, featuring news, gossip, interviews, and testimonials. I was not going to use the transcript format, but each chapter was going to be a story that was an episode of the show. The book is as much about Claire and her father as it is about the other residents of Ville Rose. We meet many different characters and get into each of their houses and heads. There is a schoolmaster and his wayward son. There is an undertaker, as well as Louise George, the radio hostess, and others. I imagine the reader as a visitor to Ville Rose on the one night that the book takes place. You arrive on the beach and you start meeting people and you try to piece all the pieces together. I like books, like mysteries, that leave something for the reader to do, a puzzle to solve. I hope this book does that.

GC Were you worried that the fantastical elements of your story might be taken as allegorical and therefore lessen the blow of the horrors you describe?

ED There are not that many fantastical elements in this book. Everything that is mentioned can and actually has happened in different parts of the world. Rogue waves happen. Supernovas happen. Frogs die en masse in many places. Also, even when fantastical elements appear in stories, in my experience, they often highlight rather than reduce horrors.

GC The tiny seaside town of Ville Rose is painted with magical strokes that point to a life beyond the one we can see. They reveal the townspeople’s connection with each other and also their connection to the world beyond. How do you perceive the world that we can’t see shaping the one we do see?

ED I am certainly of the belief that there is more to us than what we see. This is why I would resist the notion of death as ultimate exile. I believe that we remain connected to our ancestors long after they’re gone. It is a deep spiritual connection that is hard to explain. I sometimes think, for example, that I see traces of my grandmother in my daughter’s expressions. This is both genetic and magical at the same time. We are all part of a cycle of life, shaped by all that has come before. Some call it evolution. Some call it God, by whatever name they call God. In Haiti you might say Gran Mèt la, the Grand Master or Creator, which would be part of most religions, even ones where people have trouble agreeing what God should be or look or sound like.

GC In an essay published on the year since the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, you quoted a saying of your grandmother’s: “In Haiti, people never really die.” The dead are still among us, you pointed out. How does your awareness of your ancestors and your intimate connection to the dead influence your writing?

ED Again, not to sound too mysterious, but there is so much happening when I am writing that I don’t quite understand. In many ways this is linked to the fact that your subconscious is doing most of the work when you’re in the middle of any creative act. Yet sometimes, on good days when the writing is going well, you feel like there is someone on your shoulder whispering things in your ear that you are just transcribing. You’re a vessel. You don’t even notice time going by. The words just flow. On those days, some people say that the muse has been by. I like to say that my ancestors have been by, sharing with me some of what they have learned over several lifetimes, because there is no way I can individually know what everyone in my bloodline has known together, collectively."



"GC You seem to carry the burden—and liberation—of being from multiple worlds, Haiti and the United States, and speaking to and on behalf of both. Do you see yourself speaking from one world to another, or speaking to both worlds simultaneously? Or speaking to both worlds and the diaspora, that homeland caught between the two?

ED I carry no such burden, frankly. If you give yourself that burden, that is your burden. If I thought of myself as this person “being from multiple worlds,” then I would probably just shut down and do something else with my life. No one elected me to speak on their behalf either in Haiti or the United States. I’m certainly not going to assign myself that role because it would be presumptuous and arrogant and just plain too much. To express an opinion, I would have to take a survey first. I can add my voice to someone else’s. I can help raise other voices. But I can’t take on this massive undertaking that you’re suggesting. I would fail miserably. I don’t have the personality for it or the stamina. Also, the idea of this great anguish of living between two worlds has diminished somewhat for many immigrant people, artists and non-artists alike. Not that there is not some uneasiness, but it is no longer the single most urgent anxiety of every immigrant’s life. And honestly, maybe it never was—except, perhaps, in literature.

Recently I read Patricia Engel’s It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, in which a father wants to convince his daughter to join the family business, but she wants to be an artist. He says to her that all immigrants are artists, that the overall action of recreating your life in another country is a work of art. That was a wonderful intergenerational moment about the pressures of immigration—something I personally needed to hear, something that moves the conversation beyond culture clash and “I am neither here nor there,” to a more nuanced situation where people are talking intimately about immigration and not screaming, “I don’t know where I belong!” I would like us to move beyond these tropes of speaking to or for, and of being only between two worlds. We are at the same time speaking to no one and everyone."



"GC One truth that stands high in your work is that love is a potent combatant to loss. Elaborate on the hopefulness that runs through your recent novel and your work in general.

ED I don’t know how to do this without singing a corny love song, but if you have ever suffered a loss, or have been deprived of a love, or have watched someone’s life slip away—of course all positive emotions can offer some kind of comfort. Love is certainly one of the best for that. When things are difficult, the love a parent has for a child, romantic love, or the love a neighbor has for a stranger or a friend, can sustain a person in ways that even the person being sustained might not fully understand at the moment. The year my father and uncle both died, I can’t imagine how I would have survived if not for the love of my friends and family who got me through a pregnancy, a birth, and all the craziness—mostly with words. Words of comfort in cards, texts, and emails, when I could not even pick up the phone. Not to sound too corny, but sometimes love can also be the difference between life and death. Countless poems, novels, essays, and films vouch for this."
edwidgedanticat  garnettecadogan  writing  literature  haiti  2014  interviews  immigration  migration  howwewrite  whywwewrite  exile  motherhood  subconscious  identity  patriciaengle  nikkigiovanni  love  childhood  fiction  alienation  history  ancestry  noticing  observing  listening 
july 2016 by robertogreco
BOMB Magazine — Ned Sublette by Garnette Cadogan
"Musician turned musicologist Ned Sublette unravels the histories and sounds that shaped New Orleans, our most “American” city."



"GC You end the book with the Mardi Gras Indians. They’re not merely your coda—they’re an index. They embody New Orleans’s uniqueness, and stand as a powerful and poignant metaphor of persistence—in the face of constant battering and challenges from without and frustrations from within.

NS They embody black New Orleans’s insistence on connecting with its past—in a society that did everything possible to erase the people and their history. To the extent of giving them one-way tickets out of town to forty-some different states in 2005.

GC And they [the Mardi Gras Indians] make this connection largely through their music, which has long functioned as a shield against erasure.

NS Music in New Orleans is a way of resisting one’s own erasure. Mardi Gras Indians were out there in their suits representing in 2006, at the first Mardi Gras after the flood, representing not only for their own neighborhood, but for the entire city.

GC In the book that you’re working on now, The Year Before The Flood — which, by the way, is not about the flood but about the rich cultural traditions of modern New Orleans — you make a similar claim about the city’s hip hop artists.

NS There are remarkable correspondences. There’s a number by the Hot Boys, from their album Guerrilla Warfare, with B.G. chanting: “Dem boys at war / I said dem boys at war / I said dem niggaz from Uptown / dem boyz at war.” The Mardi Gras Indians don’t use the N-word, but apart from that, it could practically be an Indian song. Black art is constantly transforming, but the continuity is there. The Mardi Gras Indians—like the Abakuá of Cuba, like hip hop—are very much a manhood cult. Expensive new suits, beefing over territory—although what the Mardi Gras Indians do is a highly ritualized theater of beefing that emphasizes diplomacy. When you go see a Mardi Gras Indian practice, and they practice challenging and battling, despite the theatrical aspect, they get so into it that you might wonder if they’re gonna take it outside and settle it. There’s the cultivation of a violent aura to chase away those who might otherwise try to take it over. Despite the occasional white megastar, hip hop in the main has remained pretty much impervious to takeover by white artists. It has many layers of encryption and elaborate security systems that make it hard to copy.

GC It’s also interesting to note the commonalities between New Orleans hip hop musicians and those within the city’s venerable brass band jazz tradition, not to mention the Mardi Gras Indians—these are all intensely local musical traditions.

NS It’s intensely local, and it’s the same community. Soulja Slim’s mom was in the Lady Buck Jumpers, and his stepfather was leader of Rebirth. Everybody’s got a relative who’s in a Social Aid and Pleasure Club, or is a Mardi Gras Indian or something. Until they boarded up the projects and tore them down this year, they were all living in the same projects. I went on the Revolution Social Aid and Pleasure Club second line this spring, one of the best second lines I’ve ever been on. How’s this for a recapitulation of New Orleans history? It began in front of Congo Square and ended at the rubble of the newly demolished Magnolia Projects.

GC Geographically connecting the reputed fountainhead of jazz with…

NS The fountainhead of R&B! Because right by the Magnolia Projects was the Dew Drop Inn, the great black showplace of New Orleans in the ‘40s and ‘50s, crucial to the formation of rhythm and blues."
2008  neworleans  music  history  nedsublette  garnettecadogan  havana  us  reggae  cuba  funk  slavery  south  race  religion  haiti  nola 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Photos: Migrants From Around the World Come to Tijuana — to Wait - Voice of San Diego
"Rabiu Musah spent a long time getting to Tijuana.

“I took a flight from Ghana to Brazil. From Brazil I took a bus to Peru, then Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, then Mexico,” said the 23-year-old Ghanaian native. “So I passed through 10 countries to make it up here.” He traveled by bus and on foot for more than two months.

Musah wanted to apply for refugee status in the United States, fleeing an increasingly unstable situation in his home country. Like thousands of others, he didn’t know of a better way to do it than to make his way to the U.S.-Mexico border and ask for help.

“I had some problems with my colleagues, when they tried an assault on me,” said Musah, who worked as a graphic designer in his home country. “So staying there might be a problem for me, so with the little money I had, I decided to leave.” He decided to try to get to New York, where some of his family lives.

Musah didn’t have anywhere to go while his application was processed by overwhelmed and backlogged United States border authorities.

“I slept at the park for five days,” he said, resting while he waited in line. Residents of Tijuana give him and hundreds of others waiting for a decision food and water. Now, he’s staying at the Desayunador Salesiano Padre Chava facility, one of the many migrant shelters in and around Tijuana that generally caters to deported people and those waiting to find out whether they can cross into the United States. The shelters are seeing an unprecedented surge in people stranded from all over the world as they await an answer from the U.S.

In these shelters, which are supported by donations and help from the Mexican government, refugees and migrants from Ghana are sharing tables with Haitians, Hondurans and others. Many of the migrants are Mexicans themselves – a large number of people from the violence-plagued states of Guerrero and Michoacan are among those trying to get to the U.S.

The story of Ghana’s diaspora is very much like the story others asking for humanitarian relief from other countries tell. Ghana has experienced political, economic and social instability for decades, resulting in widespread violence and lack of opportunity, particularly for trained professionals. Traditionally, Ghanaian refugees have tried to travel to North Africa or Europe, but as the refugee crises in both regions have worsened, more are traveling longer distances out of desperation and necessity.

The United Kingdom’s surprise decision last week to leave the European Union could mean even more people fleeing violence in their home countries choose to seek shelter in North America. Already there are people from eastern Europe showing up alongside those from Haiti, Mexico’s interior, Central America and across the African continent — refugees and migrants who might otherwise travel to Europe, but are either denied or choose instead come to the U.S.-Mexico border, where they can take their chances on the immigration systems in the U.S. but fall back on staying in Mexico.

More than a thousand migrants have arrived at the San Ysidro crossing in the past few weeks. Most of the people coming to cross from outside Mexico appear to be from Haiti. Some people here want to get to their families in the United States, said Father Jesús Árambarri, director of Desayunador Salesiano. Others are just in Tijuana because it was easier to get here rather than one of the other ports of entry. He said his facility, like other shelters in the region, is overwhelmed and in need of donations.

“Men’s clothes, men’s shoes, razors, other toiletries, there are hundreds of people coming through here every day, every day who could use those things,” Árambarri said. “Thanks to God, we’re getting through this difficulty.”

People staying in Tijuana say they’re not opposed to asking for humanitarian visas from Mexico’s government, should they be denied the opportunity to travel to the United States; people from Ghana say they are not certain whether they will be able to learn Spanish sufficiently to get a job. It is a concern not shared by Rabiu Musah, who said he has already picked some up.

“If I’m denied, maybe I will choose living here,” said Musah. “If I go back, it could be something like … it might end up with my life in danger. So going back to my country — maybe in a future time, but for now, no.”"
tijuana  border  asylum  migration  borders  refugees  2016  ghana  haiti  mexico  us  honduras 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Tijuana Shelters Help With US Immigration Backlog Of Haitians | KPBS
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that the agency will process these migrants on a “case by case” basis. While migrants await their turn, Tijuana's shelters offer food and a place to sleep. At Madre Asunta, the Haitian women made friends with women from Central America and southern Mexico, who were also staying at the shelter. Their children played together as they communicated in a mix of gestures, smiles, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

“We’re a family,” Mevil said.

She told a Mexican woman about her difficult journey through Latin America, concluding, “I have more lives than a cat.”

The Mexican woman responded, “That means you have six more,” and they giggled together.

Footsteps away from Madre Asunta, a men’s migrant shelter called Casa del Migrante is accepting Haitian men as well as some women and children, because there aren’t enough beds at the women’s shelter.

Director Pat Murphy called the influx of migrants a “crisis” and “an emergency.”

“People here have told us, ‘there are thousands of people coming behind us,’” Murphy said.

During an especially busy day last week, Casa del Migrante slept 56 Haitians in addition to about 150 migrants from southern Mexico and Central America.

In less than two weeks, Murphy said his shelter received migrants from 11 different countries, mostly from Haiti. Murphy said he considers them refugees.

Although these migrants seek to enter the U.S., Tijuana must address the surge during the immigration backlog.

Casa del Migrante and three other Tijuana shelters are offering the migrants food and beds. Mexican immigration officials let the shelters know when U.S. Customs and Border Protection is ready to process a few more people.

“When their place in the line is ready, they call us, and we transport them right to the front door of immigration,” Murphy explained.

But he said Tijuana officials are relying too heavily on the shelters, which depend on donations.

Haitian migrants came just as the shelter was seeing a spike in Central Americans and southern Mexicans fleeing violence, Murphy said. Some had to sleep on the floor.

He said he thinks Tijuana should open a shelter of its own, like those opened during heavy rains tied to El Niño.

“They have to just admit that this isn’t a temporary problem, that this is going to continue for a while,” he said.

In the meantime, Tijuana residents are bringing food, clothes and other donations for the Haitians, Africans and other migrants.

“The best news of all this was the generosity of the people, just showing up at the door, saying, ‘here’s food for 50 people,’” Murphy said. “Even though they’re not rich themselves, they realize, ‘I may have a little bit more to share.’”

Twenty-five-year-old Haitian Jeff Son Pascal arrived at Casa del Migrante in early June, also by way of a two-month journey departing from Brazil.

Like hundreds of other migrants, he slept on the sidewalk just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry for the first few days. Then he was redirected to the shelter while awaiting his turn to see a U.S. immigration official.

He said he is grateful for Casa del Migrante, where he and other Haitians take turns helping with domestic duties, such as washing clothes and serving food.

“The Casa is very good, very good,” he said in broken Spanish.

Son Pascal embarked on his journey alone, without friends or family, but he said he has made many friends in Tijuana, both Haitian and Mexican.

He said he dreams of a better life in the U.S.

When asked how many people are coming behind him, Son Pascal sighed and said: “Many, many, many, many, many.”"
sandiego  haiti  immigration  border  borders  mexico  brasil  brazil  tijuana  refugees  casadelmigrante  2016  migration  sanysidro  us 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Haiti
"Four years after the earthquake, how is Haiti rebuilding itself? If you were part of the process, would you be able to make the right choices? Find out with this multimedia interactive story."
via:senongo  cyoa  haiti  interactive  history  if  interactivefiction 
september 2015 by robertogreco
[Letter from The Dominican Republic] | Displaced in the D.R., by Rachel Nolan | Harper's Magazine
"“I’m a nobody in my own country,” Deguis said at the time. When I met her in Santo Domingo, last summer, she shook my hand with a feathery touch and spoke so softly that I had to lean in to hear. She told me that the Sentence had paralyzed her life, and the lives of the other denationalized people, who became known as los afectados. They could not legally work, marry, open a bank account, get a driver’s license, vote, or register for high school or university. “If you don’t have a document, an I.D. card, you can’t work anywhere,” Deguis said. Nor could she travel: in March 2014, the United States issued Deguis a special visa to visit Washington, D.C., to testify before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Deguis showed me a photocopy of her visa, stamped by the Department of State. “My luggage was packed,” she said. She was stopped at the airport by Dominican authorities who claimed that she did not have the paperwork to legally depart the D.R. There was no guarantee, they said, that she would be allowed back into the country. Deguis returned home.

As a result of her case — and the Sentence — Deguis is now notorious on the island. Dominican television covered her trip to the airport as breaking news. People stop her on the street to greet her and express support, or to tell her to “go back to your country” — by which they mean Haiti. Deguis’s parents worry that nationalists will try to harm her, and friends warn her to be careful, saying, “Everywhere you go, people are looking at you, on all of the channels they are talking about you.” United Nations officials call her the “rock star of statelessness.”"



"Haiti is the world’s only nation formed by a successful slave rebellion. It was the second republic in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States. In 1825, two decades after Haiti triumphed over France, its former colonizer surrounded the island with gunboats and extorted compensation from the new republic for the “property” lost in the revolution: slaves. France demanded 150 million gold francs, later reduced to 90 million. Haiti was forced to borrow from French banks to meet its payment deadlines, and it was 122 years before it was able to pay off both the ransom and loan interest. This is one reason why mention of Haiti now is so often followed by the phrase “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.” In 2003, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government asked France to return the money, which he claimed amounted to $21.7 billion. France refused.

The young republic of Haiti ruled the Dominican Republic, then called Santo Domingo, from 1822 until the two sides separated in 1844. These dates have been seared into Dominican consciousness as an occupation, the most humiliating episode of their history. Dominican Independence Day is celebrated not on the day the country gained freedom from Spain but on the date of independence from Haiti. Spain even briefly recolonized the D.R. in 1861, at the invitation of a Dominican leader looking to salvage the economy and his own authority, who used threats from Haiti as a pretext for the action, according to historian Anne Eller. Still, into the early twentieth century, the line between Haiti and the Dominican Republic remained porous, and along the border people from both countries farmed side by side and intermarried.

This peaceful coexistence was shattered in 1937, when Rafael Trujillo, as part of his project of whitening the Dominican population, ordered the murder of between 7,000 and 15,000 Haitians who were living on the Dominican side of the border. Trujillo himself had a Haitian grandmother, and wore pancake makeup in the Caribbean heat to lighten his complexion. He was famous for never sweating. An artist I met in Santo Domingo told me that the dictator “looked out the window” and realized that if he didn’t want his country to be considered black, he would have to invent a new racial category. Dominicans were henceforth to be indios, a categorization that appeared on government-issued I.D. cards until 2011.

The 1937 massacre is known in the D.R. simply as el corte, “the cutting.” To differentiate Haitians and Dominicans, Trujillo’s men forced residents with dark skin to pronounce the word for parsley, perejil. If they could not roll the r like a Spanish speaker, they were executed. The army used machetes to make it look as though nationalist farmers had turned on their neighbors spontaneously, without government orders or assistance. The border city of Dajabón saw so many killings that it was said the nearby Río Masacre — which divides the two countries and was named for a colonial skirmish — ran red.

The United States, which had recently withdrawn from a military occupation of the D.R. that lasted from 1916 to 1924, expressed only mild dismay. Trujillo was trained on a base by U.S. Marines and rose to power through the ranks of the Dominican National Guard. According to historian Eric Roorda, a Dominican emissary to the United States explained the 1937 massacre as something necessary to “preserve our racial superiority.”

A year later, in an effort to improve his international image, Trujillo announced a plan to accept hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe, and he built the Sosua Jewish Refugee Settlement on the northern coast of the island. A promotional video showed pale immigrants sunning themselves on the tropical beach.

In accordance with his Good Neighbor policy, Franklin D. Roosevelt presided over negotiations between Haiti and the D.R., after which Trujillo promised a $750,000 indemnity to Haiti but sidestepped responsibility for the killings on the border. In the end, Trujillo paid only $250,000, plus several bribes to Haitian officials, and only a few hundred Jews were ever settled in the Dominican Republic. After the issue was resolved to his satisfaction, Trujillo nominated Roosevelt for the Nobel Peace Prize."



"It can be a shock for Dominicans to move to the United States and find themselves on the other side of the color line. “Until I came to New York, I didn’t know I was black,” wrote the Dominican poet Chiqui Vicioso. Some of the sharpest criticism of the Sentence, and of Dominican treatment of Haitians more generally, has come from the 850,000 or so Dominicans living in the United States. Many see their situation in an often hostile and racist country as parallel to that of Haitians in the D.R. It is fitting, then, that the Haiti–D.R. border looks like a small-scale version of the U.S. border with Mexico. Indeed, the D.R. is the United States’ pupil in immigration policy. With U.S. financial assistance and training, the D.R. created a border-control guard, CESFRONT, for the first time in 2006. A 2008 U.S. Embassy cable released by Wikileaks describes CESFRONT’s “regular round-ups of suspected Haitians” in border areas, “based on ‘profiles’ usually nabbing darker-skinned individuals or persons who ‘looked’ Haitian e.g. an elderly woman carrying fruit basket on head.” Last year, CESFRONT inaugurated a new shooting range, donated by the U.S. Embassy; more than one Dominican pointed out to me that it was rich for a girl from the United States to start sniffing around the D.R. for problems with racism and immigration. (Other Caribbean countries, like the Bahamas, have also started to crack down on Haitian immigrants. The New York Times reported that in 2013, one official in Turks and Caicos vowed to “hunt down and capture Haitians illegally in the country, promising to make their lives ‘unbearable.’ ”)"



"An optimist might hope that what began as a Dominican court’s massive experiment in denationalization might end in the Dominican government’s massive experiment in naturalization. But difficulties immediately became clear. Even the lucky group of 24,000 afectados with birth certificates had to obtain their I.D. cards from the Junta Central Electoral, the same body that had been denying such papers for years. The protest group reconoci.do has documented at least 150 instances in which afectados in this group were illegally denied papers. The day that I met Deguis, she had been turned down and told she needed to apply at a different office. Deguis finally got her I.D. card on August 1 of last year. For the first time in six years, she could work legally. She received a passport a few weeks later, but it is still not clear whether she will be able to register her four children as citizens.

Obstacles for the nearly 186,000 afectados without birth certificates are even more formidable. Any applicant for naturalization, whether afectado or Haitian, must present documents proving their length of stay in the D.R. and “ties” to Dominican society. Among the possibilities are a deed to a house, a letter from a schoolteacher, a note from a boss, or a notarized memo of good conduct from seven Dominican neighbors. Unaccompanied minors also need death certificates for their parents. Every Haitian document requires a notarized translation into Spanish. All of the correct papers must be presented at one of thirty-one designated offices, none of which are in bateyes, the isolated company towns in which many Haitians live. No funds are provided to transport applicants. Most of the applicants are poor, and many are illiterate. The plan, one NGO director wrote me, was a “Kafka–Orwellian jamboree.”"

[too much to quote]
dominicanrepublic  haiti  nationality  citizenship  2015  rachelnolan  statelessness  race  racism  history 
june 2015 by robertogreco
How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes - ProPublica
"Even as the group has publicly celebrated its work, insider accounts detail a string of failures"



"It has declined repeated requests to disclose the specific projects, to explain how much money went to each or to say what the results of each project were.

There is reason to doubt the Red Cross’ claims that it helped 4.5 million Haitians. An internal evaluation found that in some areas, the Red Cross reported helping more people than even lived in the communities. In other cases, the figures were low, and in others double-counting went uncorrected.

In describing its work, the Red Cross also conflates different types of aid, making it more difficult to assess the charity’s efforts in Haiti."



"“It’s a cycle of overhead,” said Jonathan Katz, the Associated Press reporter in Haiti at the time of the earthquake who tracked post-disaster spending for his book, The Big Truck That Went By. “It was always going to be the American Red Cross taking a 9 percent cut, re-granting to another group, which would take out their cut.”

Given the results produced by the Red Cross’ projects in Haiti, Bellerive, the former prime minister, said he has a hard time fathoming what’s happened to donors’ money.

“Five hundred million dollars in Haiti is a lot of money,” he said. “I’m not a big mathematician, but I can make some additions. I know more or less the cost of things. Unless you don’t pay for the gasoline the same price I was paying, unless you pay people 20 times what I was paying them, unless the cost of the house you built was five times the cost I was paying, it doesn’t add up for me.”"
redcross  charitableindustrialcomplex  capitalism  2015  haiti  justinelliot  laurasullivan  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  power  control 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The Reparations of History - Politics - Utne Reader
"Haitian slaves began to throw off the “heel of the French” in 1791, when they rose up and, after bitter years of fighting, eventually declared themselves free. Their French masters, however, refused to accept Haitian independence. The island, after all, had been an extremely profitable sugar producer, and so Paris offered Haiti a choice: compensate slave owners for lost property—their slaves (that is, themselves)—or face its imperial wrath. The fledgling nation was forced to finance this payout with usurious loans from French banks. As late as 1940, 80% of the government budget was still going to service this debt.

In the on-again, off-again debate that has taken place in the United States over the years about paying reparations for slavery, opponents of the idea insist that there is no precedent for such a proposal. But there is. It’s just that what was being paid was reparations-in-reverse, which has a venerable pedigree. After the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the U.S., London reimbursed southern planters more than a million dollars for having encouraged their slaves to run away in wartime. Within the United Kingdom, the British government also paid a small fortune to British slave owners, including the ancestors of Britain’s current Prime Minister, David Cameron, to compensate for abolition (which Adam Hochschild calculated in his 2005 book Bury the Chains to be “an amount equal to roughly 40% of the national budget then, and to about $2.2 billion today”)."



"The idea that slavery made the modern world is not new, though it seems that every generation has to rediscover that truth anew. Almost a century ago, in 1915, W.E.B Du Bois wrote, “Raphael painted, Luther preached, Corneille wrote, and Milton sung; and through it all, for four hundred years, the dark captives wound to the sea amid the bleaching bones of the dead; for four hundred years the sharks followed the scurrying ships; for four hundred years America was strewn with the living and dying millions of a transplanted race; for four hundred years Ethiopia stretched forth her hands unto God.”

How would we calculate the value of what we today would call the intellectual property—in medicine and other fields—generated by slavery’s suffering? I’m not sure. But a revival of efforts to do so would be a step toward reckoning with slavery’s true legacy: our modern world."
reparations  slavery  haiti  us  2014  via:javierarbona  slavetrade  imperialism  capitalism  humanrights  medicalexperimentation  history 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Memory in Latin America
"...the news headlines include a number of stories that reflect the persistence of a past that is everlasting and does not wish to pass... (Jelin, State Repression and the Struggles for Memory, 2003)"
chile  colombia  argentina  perú  brasil  brazil  guatemala  haiti  bolivia  paraguay  uruguay  venezuela  suriname  nicaragua  mexico  latinamerica  elsalvador  domincanrepublic  history  place  memory  blogs 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Beyond Good Intentions – The Movie (now renamed AIDependence]
"Humanitarian crises caused by civil wars or natural disasters, such as in Haiti, often trigger a wave of support from us, the public. But our support raises two difficult questions: first, do our generous donations actually have the desired effect – or any positive effect? and second, what kind of evidence is available to ensure that any debate about aid is well-informed, and that the people most affected are given a prominent voice?

The politics of aid were brought back into sharp focus with the recent publication in The Atlantic of The White Savior Industrial Complex by Teju Cole . In a trenchant piece, Cole wrote: “If we are going to interfere in the lives of others, a little due diligence is a minimum requirement.”

But how?

To answer that question, the film maker Alice Smeets has pitched the idea of a documentary called Beyond Good Intentions…"

[See also: http://www.emphas.is/web/guest/discoverprojects?projectID=600

http://www.alicesmeets.com/film-aidependence/
https://vimeo.com/67296710
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/aidependence

"No other country in the world has more NGOs per capita than Haiti, yet the country still remains an impoverished and fragile state. Why is foreign aid not being more effective?

Beschreibung
The award-winning photographer Alice Smeets and the Belgian cinematographer Frederic Biegmann have been living on the Caribbean island, where they've not only supported, but also initiated development projects. This allowed them to get a deeper insight into the dynamics of the aid system.

In „AIDependence“, the filmmakers explore why development aid in Haiti is not working in a sustainable way. Smeets and Biegmann interview Haitian as well as international experts, show appalling examples of failed projects and accompany young inhabitants of Haiti's poorest slum, Cité Soleil, who have decided to take their fate into their own hands; they refuse imposed projects, but develop their own ideas to strengthen the community - even if the ideas may seem crazy, like the construction of a small Eiffel Tower right in the middle of Cité Soleil.

"AIDependence" shows clearly: Haiti's devastating earthquake of 2010 is in no way the cause the problem; it has only aggravated the situation. Thus, the documentary raises urgent questions and encourages the audience to form their own opinion.

a NEOPHILEAS-Production"]
development  haiti  beyondgoodintentions  journalism  film  documentaries  emphas.is  alicesmeets  ngo  humanitarianism  humanitariandesign  humanitarian  whitesaviorindustrialcomplex  tejucole  2012  johnthackara  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  whitesaviors  capitalism  power  control 
april 2012 by robertogreco
One billion slum dwellers - The Big Picture - Boston.com
"One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings can be simple shacks or permanent and well-maintained structures but lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. In this post, I've included images from several slums including Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the second largest slum in Africa (and the third largest in the world); New Building slum in central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Pinheirinho slum - where residents recently resisted police efforts to forcibly evict them; and slum dwellers from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, India. India has about 93 million slum dwellers and as much as 50% of New Delhi's population is thought to live in slums, 60% of Mumbai."
dharavi  pakistan  islamabad  haiti  port-au-prince  phnompenh  cambodia  informalcity  urbanism  urban  urbanization  cities  bigpicture  photography  newdelhi  pinheirinho  africa  malabo  equatorialguinea  brasil  sãopaulo  nairobi  kibera  mumbai  kolkata  via:lukeneff  kenya  india  slums  brazil 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Groupshot
"Informality is the condition of an unplanned system and arises spontaneously. While informal systems can be inefficient, they also provide a range of emergent and positive services.

Groupshot designs new processes and tools that engage the positive qualities of informality. The result is an enhancement of the capabilities of informal systems, and the optimal connection between the best of the informal and the benefits of the formal."
design  informality  informalsystems  nuvustudio  ibo  frontlinessms  instituteforgloballeadership  lcproject  glvo  india  informal  afghanistan  southafrica  capetown  groupshot  scalability  developingworld  nairobi  kenya  haiti  port-au-prince  technology  projectideas  classideas  humanitariandesign  nuvu  scale 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Caterina.net» The Truth About Zombies
"After watching The Truth about Zombies, I learned things about zombies I didn’t know. People in Haiti, where Voudoun is practiced, fear zombification more than they fear zombies. Zombies are fairly harmless, since they are ppl who have been poisoned so that they suffer paralysis, but with total consciousness and awareness. But what was most interesting to me was that zombification is a form of capital punishment visited upon ppl who have done some harm to people in the community, but who have not been served by the justice system. So it is a punishment meted out by an extra-legal Voudoun justice system. The adjudicator, in addition to zombifying the perp, takes their will, their “petit bon ange”, and keeps it in a bottle."
zombies  edg  srg  caterinafake  religion  belief  voodoo  haiti  voudoun  vodou 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Un Techo para mi País
"MISIÓN: Mejorar la calidad de vida de las familias que viven en situación de pobreza a través de la construcción de viviendas de emergencia y la ejecución de planes de habilitación social, en un trabajo conjunto entre jóvenes voluntarios universitarios y estas comunidades. Queremos denunciar la realidad de los asentamientos precarios en que viven millones de personas en Latinoamérica e involucrar a la sociedad en su conjunto, logrando que se comprometa con la tarea de construir un continente más solidario, justo y sin exclusión."
activism  architecture  argentina  chile  haiti  perú  bolivia  brasil  latinamerica  colombia  costarica  ecuador  elsalvador  guatemala  honduras  mexico  nicaragua  panamá  paraguay  dominicanrepublic  uruguay  social  housing  volunteerism  glvo  yearoff  charity  community  untechoparamipaís  brazil 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Ciné Institute NEWS
"Ciné Institute provides Haitian youth with film education and edutainment, technical training, and media related micro enterprise opportunities. We integrate educational film screenings into classrooms of public schools, train aspiring filmmakers in all aspects of production, and develop and produce films of all kinds in partnership with our students and graduates. The Institute also promotes excellence in Haitian cinema domestically and abroad and holds weekly entertainment screenings of films from around the world at its theater. Based in Jacmel, on Haiti's southern coast, Ciné Institute began as a film festival. Held for three years, Festival Film Jakmèl showed hundreds of international films free of charge to tens of thousands of Haitians."

[See also: haitirewired.wired.com/profile/CineInstitute AND haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/on-the-ground-at-the-cine ]
education  media  film  youth  movies  filmmaking  journalism  haiti  schools 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Haiti Rewired
"Will foreign aid to Haiti fail this time? Or will the tragedy bring with it a chance to reboot one of the world's poorest countries -- & rethink the the traditional ways of delivering aid & development?...the disaster may prove to be a unique chance for an architectural & communications reboot of an entire country. That's why we've created this community, Haiti Rewired. We believe that better answers to the difficult questions could be created through the collaboration of technologists, researchers, geographers, infrastructure specialists, aid groups & others. Our writers & editors can aggregate information, report new stories & add to the discussion, but the focus of this effort is squarely on the thoughts, plans & actions of our contributors...we want to test (5) simple principles that could transform not only Haiti, but the world's response to crisis: Collaboration, Transparency, Innovation, Design, & DIY."

[text from: http://haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/haiti-rewireds-mission ]

[via: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5054 ]
technology  community  collaborative  creativecommons  development  haiti  philanthropy  transparency  innovation  design  glvo  collaboration  diy  disasters  disaster  rebooting  infrastructure  geography  aid  gamechanging 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributors - Eight Ways to Rebuild Haiti - NYTimes.com
"When the immediate crisis passes, how can we ensure that Haiti becomes a functioning nation? Eight experts give their prescriptions." Concrete Solutions By JOHN McASLAN; Squatters’ Rights By ROBERT NEUWIRTH; Skip the Graft By JAMES DOBBINS; Learn From Postwar Tokyo By MATIAS ECHANOVE and RAHUL SRIVASTAVA; A Recovery Built on Water By STEVEN SOLOMON; Easy Money By DAN SENOR; Guantánamo to the Rescue By JONATHAN M. HANSEN; Keep the Economy Underground By SUDHIR VENKATESH
haiti  recovery  2010  rebuilding  development  policy  economics  construction  land  water  money  resources  health 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Boston Review — Sidney Mintz: Article Title
"The New World’s second republic has indeed known political strife, bad leadership, and poverty. But to judge Haiti fairly, it is essential to remember that the country won its independence under the worst imaginable circumstances. The Haitians declared their freedom in 1804, when the New World was mostly made up of European colonies (and the United States) all busily extracting wealth from the labor of millions of slaves. This included Haiti’s neighbors, the island colonies of France, Great Britain, Denmark, and The Netherlands, among others. From the United States to Brazil, the reality of Haitian liberation shook the empire of the whip to the core. Needless to say, no liberal-minded aristocrats or other Europeans joined the rebel side in the Haitian Revolution, as some had in the American Revolution."
haiti  history 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Unluckiest Country | Foreign Policy
"The second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere has been wracked by coups, dictators, and foreign interventions throughout nearly its entire history. But you don't have to agree with Pat Robertson to agree that even by Haitian standards, the last few decades have been particularly tragic."
haiti  history  disaster  caribbean 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Emily’s Playground » G1G2 - Get One Give Two XO OLPCs [on donating the G1G1 laptop to a program in Haiti and...]
"really love powerful MacBook Air with XO’s ruggedness, openness and flexibility...elegant, sophisticated, slim, lightweight Fisher Price My First Mac case with Pro brains...easily replacable, recyclable components to cut down on the massive amounts of
olpc  donations  laptops  design  comments  haiti  apple  macbookair  mac 
february 2008 by robertogreco
OLPC, IDB to launch pilot project in Haiti | InfoWorld | News | 2008-02-15 | By Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service
"OLPC project aims to determine how the XO laptops can be used to help solve problems such as a shortage of qualified teachers"
olpc  haiti 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Vodou Brooklyn on Vimeo
"Stephanie Keith met a Vodou priest at a Buddhist interfaith event in New York. He invited her to photograph and experience the religious world of his Haitian culture. Ten ceremonies later, she offers her images and reflections on these late-night rituals
vodou  religion  photography  nyc  documentary  haiti  voodoo  voudoun 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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