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Archive for January, 2010

Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod,
Fri, January 15, 2010
 

Fascinating to listen to other perspectives on a subject.

In this case, community readio – KPFK Radio -on ‘what’s really going’ on in Haiti.

Of course it’s not what ‘really’ going on any more then any other media(ted) framing of experience. However in the Ocean of the other stuff, these perspectives give some insightful counter views.

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Haiti map

Haiti in the World

It is a profoundly painful experience to see Haiti suffer so in the wake of this huge earthquake.  With staggering figures in the British press of 100,000 and predictions up to 500,000 dead, it is one time we hope that this is another exaggerated media story. However the actual quake and its deathly rubble is one thing, but the shortage of clean water and absense of adequate medical supplies in the country will certainly take its toll on the poverty bound nation in the wake of the shaking ground.     

The international relief effort is underway and we hope that their efforts are firmly, truly and effectively directed toward the people of Haiti.  It was really weird to see all the European charity workers on TV leaving on the planes, just when you would have thought their help was really needed. Though it was good to hear that skilled and experienced relief workers from the UK, Europe and around the world were on their way also.  And it’s especially good to hear that American forces are being directed towards this cause instead of just protecting oil pipelines and poppy fields in the Middle East.  Though of course, in addition to the humanitarian concern, the US also has the political pressure to stem any flow of refugees from the island toward its nearby borders.      

If a donation is something you can offer then choose a route to get your funds to the Haitians.  Two such routes are ……      

http://www.dec.org.uk/ – Disasters Emergency Committee – Officially coordinating the British efforts across lots of international charities.      

http://www.yele.org/  – WYCLEF JEAN’s (Haitian born) fundraising outfit which has to date raised almost half a million dollars.      

It is understandable that people may have donation fatigue and cynicism towards such appeals but we hope you still do what suits you and your conscience. Even if that’s a heartfelt prayer.      

Haiti - as tourist destination

One reason that Haiti is so important to Bristol 2007 is that it was the first post-colonial state outside of Africa to become independent and led by African people.  The revolution in St Domingue which ran from 1791 to its independence in 1804 was a prime example of  ‘Slaves Who Abolished Slavery’ , to quote the title of one of  Richard Hart’s books.  As a French colony, and a very profitable one for France,  the call for ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ that accompanied the French Revolution in 1789 had a huge impact on the enslaved, the ‘free blacks’ and the ‘gens de coleur’ (people of colour, like Coloureds in South Africa – basically mixed race people) on the island.  The French Revolution basically led to the rise in revolutionary sentiment on that island , and other French colonies, who wanted a piece of those enlightened ideals.      

First the ‘Coloureds’ went to France to seek equal rights themselves. This they got reluctantly and partially, though not for long.  They even got seats in the French parliament.  There was much division on the island between coloureds, blacks, whites and all such divisions meant that it took a while to realise the French ruling classes were not really ready to give up slavery or their profitable colony.   In 1791, a revolution on the island kicked off   – key players were Toussaint L’Overture, Dessalines and Voodoo priest Boukman.  All were assassinated, tricked or captured at some point though not before ultimately succeeding in their creation of a state. It took a while. After trickery and deception from the French;  bolstering by military collusion with the British in the Caribbean – even though they were generally at war with other during these  times –  and years of bloody conflict before St Domingue became Haiti in 1804.   In 1794 France’s new idealist republican government even abolished slavery altogether before Napoleon seized power and restored slavery in French colonies between 1796 and 1804.     

  • FROM THE RICHEST PRODUCER OF ALL EUROPEAN COLONIAL  SLAVE-PRODUCED WEALTH, HAITI IS NOW DESCRIBED AS THE POOREST COUNTRY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE!
    (see The Truth About Haiti’s Suffering )
  •  

    Danny Glover is due to shoot a film about Toussaint in 2010.      

    Toussaint pic

    Toussaint

    We are very keen to see this story out there because it’s an important and iconic story.  There’s  hearsay, rumour and this-and-that being said about the film’s provenance, script, sources of funding and the like, but it also just needs to get out there. Whoever the cast, whatever the outcome, it would be good if it just comes out.   If you don’t like Glover’s film, make another one.  Maybe about Dessalines or the Priest Boukman.   However, for now, Glover must have the connections and impact to make sure that a film happens at a level of profile and production values that positions this story as an important piece of world history.  And one that shows us why this island is a place of vital significance to the ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ ideals.  So with that in mind, we should support Glover and his endeavour to do so.     

    Of course the Abolition story in Britain does not go into this rebellion stuff much. The British establishment chooses instead to paint hagiographic portraits of William Wilberforce freeing the poor slaves.  Though in truth it was revolutionary actions like the Haitian Revolution and the Sam Sharpe rebellion in Jamaica, Bussa in Barbados, the French Revolution itself and so forth that brought an end to that period of slavery.       

    Yes –  we know that slavery is not really over but transformed into worship of the dollar bill, the pounds, the pence and the yen, debt bondage and other forms of forced labour.  But with that in mind, Bristol2007 hopes you can see why Haiti represents a powerful place to direct some of ours bankers’ bills right now.      

    And after the Relief effort, it would be good to keep an eye on that island to see how else they cope ;  how else we can help;  or how we might be inspired by them.  Not only in the aftermath of natural disaster but also in the light of the ongoing political and economic turmoil that Haiti has experienced in recent times, under poor leadership in a hostile world.      

    As you might see from the picture below. This is Haiti normally, BEFORE the Earthquake. That image might give you an idea of it’s economic place in that world.  

    Everyday Haiti-before any earthquake-a place for ‘cast-off’ clothes from the US. (- click to go to tomorrowmuseum.com)

          

    Background information:

    ABOUT HAITI ? – – – – >

    CLICK HERE TO SEE ‘ THE TRUTH ABOUT HAITI’s SUFFERING      

    Haiti’s poverty – as for other poor countries hit by natural disasters – leaves its people wide open to the kind of devastation that has befallen them. And make no mistake, Haiti’s poverty is not just bad luck or something inherently faulty about its natural resources and people. The country has been kept underdeveloped by decades of political and economic interference from Washington to ensure that this former slave colony continues to serve as a cheap source of agricultural exports to the US and as a labour sweatshop for American corporations making textiles and other consumer goods.

    should “former slave colony” really read- 
    ” REBELLIOUS former slave colony”

     

      CLICK HERE TO SEE A BBC COUNTRY PROFILE

     

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