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robertogreco : nationality   6

[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
Homo Sacer | booktwo.org
"The paradox of that invisibility, which I have been exploring for some time, is that while the digital defaults to illegibilty, it also renders that operation more legible to those who can read it, who do have access, because its logical nature, the nature of its operation, means it must be written down. Unlike previous forms of power, intention must be explicitly encoded into the machine. This intention can be hidden, but it’s always present. Neither good nor bad, nor neutral; invisible, but never wholly illegible."



"I was recently commissioned to produce a work for FACT in Liverpool, for an exhibition entitled “Science Fiction: New Death“, and for it I produced a hologram of my own. Entitled Homo Sacer, the hologram intones lines from various international agreements, treaties, national laws and public government statements. Beginning with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ 1948 directive “Everyone has the right to a nationality”, the monologue steps through the various laws which repeal this right, culminating in the text of the letter which stripped Mohamed Sakr – later killed by a drone strike – of his British citizenship, and the Home Office’s oft-repeated mantra “Citizenship is a privilege not a right”."



"If we’re to understand the complex role which technology plays in shaping the world around us, we need a better understanding of complex systems in general, of other kinds of invisible but occasionally legible frameworks, like the law. And in turn, we can take what we have learned in the study of computation and networks and turn that augmented understanding back on the world around us, as a mode of analysis, and perhaps as a lever with which to shift it."
visibility  invisibility  legibility  illegibility  homesacer  2014  jamesbridle  holograms  surveillance  systems  systemsthinking  technology  law  nationality  citizenship 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Twitter, NPR’s Morning Edition, and Dreams of Flatland | metaLAB (at) Harvard
"“Wellman is finding that Twitter isn’t flat,” Vidantam says—as if Tom Friedman’s chimerical “flatness” (the analytic value of which has proven to be nil) is the only possible quality of transformative political agency.

In last year’s revolutions, it wasn’t flatness that gave social media its power. It was its hyperlocality, its novel blending of intimate communities and witness at a distance.

Other work in which Wellman is involved argues for the richness of real-world community life that gets instantiated in Twitter. In a paper called “Imagining Twitter as an Imagined Community,” Wellman & his coauthors find that Twitter networks are “the basis for a real community, even though Twitter was not designed to support the development of online communities. There they conclude that “studying Twitter is useful for understanding how people use new communication technologies to form new social connections and maintain existing ones.”

Here’s the thing: Twitter is part of the “real world.”"
networks  hyperlocal  flatness  connections  place  language  nationality  borders  barrywellman  shankarvidantam  andycarvin  tejucole  communitites  thomasfriedman  worldisflat  2012  matthewbattles  community  twitter  sociology  socialmedia  geography  horizontality  horizontalidad 
february 2012 by robertogreco
dConstruct2011 videos: The Transformers, Kars Alfrink
"In this talk, Kars Alfrink – founder and principal designer at applied pervasive games studio Hubbub – explores ways we might use games to alleviate some of the problems wilful social self-seperation can lead to. Kars looks at how people sometimes deliberately choose to live apart, even though they share the same living spaces. He discusses the ways new digital tools and the overlapping media landscape have made society more volatile. But rather than to call for a decrease in their use, Kars argues we need more, but different uses of these new tools. More playful uses."

[See also: http://2011.dconstruct.org/conference/kars-alfrink AND http://speakerdeck.com/u/dconstruct/p/the-transformers-by-kars-alfrink ]

"Kars looks at how game culture and play shape the urban fabric, how we might design systems that improve people’s capacity to do so, and how you yourself, through play, can transform the city you call home."
monocultures  rulespace  self-governance  gamification  filterbubble  scale  tinkering  urbanism  urban  simulationfever  animalcrossing  simulation  ludology  proceduralrhetoric  ianbogost  resilience  societalresilience  division  belonging  rioting  looting  socialconventions  situationist  playfulness  rules  civildisobedience  separation  socialseparation  nationality  fiction  dconstruct2011  dconstruct  identity  cities  chinamieville  design  space  place  play  gaming  games  volatility  hubbub  howbuildingslearn  adaptability  adaptivereuse  architecture  transformation  gentrification  society  2011  riots  janejacobs  karsalfrink  simulations 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Exotic Enemies Remain Married | Beyond the Beyond from Wired.com
"We're a global couple in a world of nations, so we don't expect that our private situation will ever be permanently resolved. It is our duty to bear the consequences of being who we are, and to offer solidarity to those who share our mode of being in the world.
brucesterling  borders  nationality  globalcitizens  global  world  internations  life  cv  glvo  politics  bureaucracy  immigration  migration  identity 
april 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Baarle-Hertog
"Baarle-Hertog borders the Netherlands – but, because of its unique history of political division, the town is sort of marbled with competing national loyalties. In other words, pockets of the town are Dutch; most of the town is Belgian"
identity  maps  mapping  nationality  belgium  netherlands  place  micronations  geography  borders 
july 2008 by robertogreco

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