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Response to this BBC article: (31.7.12)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19434147
Proof, if needed, that this government don’t care about Africa or the effects of empire, or any regard for the history of the nation they have inherited and the effects on the present for millions in the former colonies.  It’s not about guilt – that’s a red herring.  I have no interest in British people today feeling guilty for the past.  It’s about government responsibility to put things right.  It’s much deeper than giving aid and charity, which looks good at the time.  It’s about stopping the underdevelopment of Africa through the crippling agreements set by the IMF and the World Bank, and the ridiculous situation of African countries paying OUT more in loan payback than it was receiving, and many other ways the continent has been held back by the West. The legacy of Empire is plain to see worldwide.  African leaders of course also have to step up to their responsibilities and stop corruption and making themselves richer and their people poorer. The effects of colonialism is so deep and ingrained it continues to underdevelop without anyone having to pull any strings, such as the carving up of Africa across kinship lines that caused division between nation states and ‘tribes’, that is still the cause for many of the wars today.  For Hague to say we should “just relax” and “it’s a long time ago……”!!! Hague needs to go back to school.

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Quotes from article:

While “a small minority” of people in Africa may still view Britain in “colonial terms”, the UK’s relationship with the continent was fundamentally different now. “This is a new and equal partnership,”

The UK, he suggested, should “just relax” about its role as an imperial power and the legacy of that period in its history, adding that “it is a long time ago, the retreat from empire”.”

 

 

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http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Haiti

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Soon to launch after months of toil is:

Book Cover - Design by Derek Edwards/Patwa

Book Cover - Design by Derek Edwards/Patwa

Myths, Facts & Feelings – Bristol and transatlantic slavery.

In an effort to respond to views in the communities across Bristol on the subject of transatlantic slavery, this 40 page booklet represents a cathartic journey. Through community research, consultation and commissioning; with academic guidance and creative application, this project has materialised as this small publication.

Myths, Facts and Feelings offers knowledge, ideas and questions toward a more mature understanding of the undervalued history and legacy of transatlantic slavery.  From the viewpoint of one city in the West of England, we see how a past reflects on our present and how it can be harnessed to determine our future – in Bristol and around the world.

The launch takes place on 29th November 2010 in Bristol.

Produced by Firstborn Studios

Design by Patwa

Published by Bristol Race Forum / Community Media SW

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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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    I was lucky enough to attend the slavery trail in Bristol, with only a small group we embarked on this journey where we would learn about slavery and its past. The four of us walked through Queen Square and heard all about the things that had taken place there and the people who were involved. There was so much information to recieve but none of it stuck in my mind, there was nothing within the trail or that was heard that made me feel the need to challenge what I had heard or make me listen more attentively to what was being said.

    We learned who the statue was situated in the middle of Queen Square, walked across Pero’s bridge, looked at the plaque situated on the front of the Shakespere public house, stood outside  Merchants House, saw a few other places and ended at the Redcliffe caves. The Redcliffe caves were said to have stored slaves over night when they came off of the slave ships, it was at this point that I felt something,  like I was actually at a place were black people were kept captive, locked up unable to walk freely as I am today. Then to hear that black slaves were never kept in Bristol is a total contradiction to what stories I have been told in my lifetime. I mean no black slaves what do you mean? after speaking with my mum she informed me that slaves were sold on corn street and i know that i’ve been told that before, so now how am I  supposed to feel. Why is the truth being hidden,  I mean its already happened but why try to deny it.

    My feeling towards the myth that black people were not kept captive is anger and annoyance why is there a trail about slavery in Bristol then. Going on the walk did’nt help me at all, I dont feel that I got anything from it and would not go again, for me this chapter is done its about time we made a new trail which shows the rise of black people , where it all started, who was the first black person to fight for their rights, what did they achieve and continue from there.

     I am not a slave I am free but my mind is not free from thinking like a slave . When will I decide to take responsibility for my own history? Embracing my african carribbean ancestry and making it a positive aspect of my life?  I believe that only then will I be able to share my awareness with my siblings, nieces and newphews, family and friends.

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    The Culture Clash franchise rolls on.  Jamaicans in Bristol in the latest in the line of films that begin circa 2005. The first film was commissioned to look at conflicts between Somali and Caribbean heritage young men in the area. (An issue that has had history though does not prove to be a endemic problem. )

    The first film (itself in 3 parts on youtube – this links to part one of that only)  produced back in 2006, worked with local young music talent to make an extended music video. Though there was always more wanted from a cinematic outlet. The people taking part were hungy to say more, to express their ideas, dreams and frustrations in music, drama and more filmmaking opportunities.

    Culture Clash II – On the front line is more about Jamaican’s in Bristol The mantle was taken up by another St Pauls’ based company who have now built on ther story. Culture Clash II – On the front line now as a first part/trailer  published on myspace. This looks like intersting study and film, featuring some people who go back a long way into life in Bristol for African-Caribbeans.

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