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And nobody panicked them more than a thin, softly-spoken, intellectual slum-priest named Aristide who found himself

at the crest of this wave. He was born into a bitingly poor family and became a brilliant student. As a priest he soon

became one of the leading exponents of Liberation Theology, the left-wing Catholicism that says people

shouldn't wait passively for justice in the Kingdom of Heaven . . .

 

 

Books on the Caribbean

Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.

C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938)

Edourad Gissant. Caribbean Doscourse (2004)  /  Barbara Harlow. Resistance Literature (1987)

Josaphat B. Kubayanda. The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire (1990)

 

Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.  Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001)

David P. Geggus, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.  University of South Carolina Press, 2001.

Jean-Bertand Aristide. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization

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Suffocating the poor: a modern parable

By Johann Hari

 

They democratically elected a president to stand up to the rich and multinational corporations—so our governments have him kidnapped.
 
Today, I want to tell you the story of how our governments have been torturing and tormenting an island in the Caribbean—but it is a much bigger story than that. It's a parable explaining one of the main reasons how and why, across the world, the poor are kept poor, so the rich can be kept rich. If you grasp this situation, you will see some of the ugliest forces in the world laid out before you—so we can figure out how to stop them.
 
The rubble-strewn island of Haiti is now in the middle of an election campaign that will climax this November. So far, the world has noticed it solely because the Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean wanted to run for President, only to be blocked because he hasn't lived in the country since he was a kid. But there is a much bigger hole in the election: the most popular politician in Haiti by far, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He's not there because, after winning a landslide election, he followed the will of the Haitian people who demanded he take on the multinational corporations and redistribute enough money that their children wouldn't starve—so our governments had him kidnapped him at gunpoint and refuse to let him back.
 
But we have to start a little earlier if this is going to make sense. For over two centuries, Haiti has been effectively controlled from outside. The French enslaved the entire island in the eighteenth century and worked much of the population to death, turning it into the sugar and coffee plantation for the world. By this century, Western governments were arming, funding and fuelling the psychopathic dictatorship of the Duvalier family—who slaughtered 50,000 people—supposedly because they were "our friends" in the fight against communism.
 
All this left Haiti the most unequal country in the world. A tiny elite lives in vast villas in the hills, while below and all around them, the overwhelming majority of the population live in tiny tin shacks with no water or electricity, crammed six-to-a-room. Just 1 per cent own 50 per cent of the wealth and 75 per cent of the arable land. Once the Haitian people were finally able to rise up in 1986 to demand democracy, they obviously wanted the
country's wealth to be shared more fairly. They began to organize into a political movement called Lavalas—the flood—to demand higher wages and higher taxes on the rich to build schools and hospitals and subsidies for the half-starved poor. This panicked the elite.
 
And nobody panicked them more than a thin, softly-spoken, intellectual slum-priest named Aristide who found himself at the crest of this wave. He was born into a bitingly poor family and became a brilliant student. As a priest he soon became one of the leading exponents of Liberation Theology, the left-wing Catholicism that says people shouldn't wait passively for justice in the Kingdom of Heaven, but must demand it here and now. (The current Pope tried desperately to stamp out this "heresy".) Aristide explained: "The rich of my country, a tiny percentage, sit at a vast table overflowing with good food, while the rest of my countrymen are crowded under that table, hunched in the dirt and starving. One day the people under the table will rise up in righteousness."
 
On this platform, he was elected in 1990 in a landslide in the country's first free and fair election, taking 64 per cent of the vote. He kept his promise to the Haitian people: he increased the minimum wage from 38 cents a day to $1, demanding the multinational corporations pay a less insulting wage. He trebled the number of free secondary schools. He disbanded the murderous national army that had terrorized the population. Even the International Monetary Fund had to admit that over the Aristide period and just after, Haiti's Human Poverty Indicator—a measure of how likely your kids are to die, starve or go uneducated—dropped dramatically from 46.2 per cent to 31.8 per cent.
 
But why would foreign governments care about a small country, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, with only ten million inhabitants? Ira Kurzban, an American lawyer based in Haiti, explains: "Aristide represented a threat to [foreign powers] because he spoke for the 85 per cent of his population who had never been heard. If that can happen in Haiti, it can happen anywhere, including in countries where the [US and Europe] have huge economic interests and extract natural resources. They don't want real popular democracies to spread because they know it will confront US economic interests." Oxfam called this phenomenon "the threat of a good example."
 
So after Haiti had experienced seven months of democracy, the US toppled Aristide. Ordinary Haitians surrounded his home, calling for his return—and they were fired on so indiscriminately that more ammo had to be sent from Guantanamo Bay on Cuba. Their bodies were left in the streets to be eaten by dogs as the advances were repealed one by one.
 
In 1994, the Clinton administration agreed to return Aristide to power—provided he  castrate his own political program and ignore the demands of his people. They made him agree to privatize almost everything, freeze wages, and sack half the civil service. Through gritted teeth, he agreed, and for the remainder of his time in office tried to smuggle through what little progress he could. He was re-elected in an even bigger landslide in 2000—but even his tiny shuffles towards redistribution were too much. The US and French governments had Aristide kidnapped at gunpoint and dumped him in the Central African Republic. They said he was a "dictator", even though the last Gallup
poll in a free Haiti found 60 per cent supported him, compared to just 3 per cent backing the alternative imposed on the country by the US.
 
The human rights situation in Haiti then dramatically deteriorated, with a massive campaign of terror and repression. The Lavalas Party was banned from running again, with most of the country's democracy activists jailed. There were huge military assaults on the slums which demanded Aristide's return. A US Army Psychological Operations official explained the mission was to ensure Haitians "don't get the idea they can do whatever they want."
 
The next President, Rene Preval, learned his lesson: he has done everything he was told to by corporations and governments, privatizing the last remaining scraps owned by the state, and using tear gas to break up strikes for higher wages. The Haitian people rejected the whole rigged electoral process, with turn-out falling to just 11 per cent. Today, Aristide is a broken man, living in exile in South Africa, studying for a PhD in linguistics, banned from going home.
 
This is part of a plain pattern. When poor countries get uppity and tried to ask for basic justice, our governments have toppled them, from Iran wanting to control its own oil in 1953 to Honduras wanting its workers to be treated decently in 2009. You don't have to overthrow many to terrify the rest.
 
It doesn't have to be this way. This is not the will of the people, in the US or Europe: on the contrary, ordinary citizens are horrified when the propaganda is stripped away and they see the truth. It only happens because a tiny wealthy elite dominates our foreign policy, and uses it to serve their purposes—low wages and control of other people's economies and resources. The people of Haiti, who have nothing, were bold and brave enough to campaign and organize to take power back from their undemocratic elites. Are we?
 
Source: Independent 

posted 23 October 2010
 
Johann Hari (born 21 January 1979) is a British journalist and writer. He is a columnist for The Independent and the Huffington Post, and has won awards for his war reporting. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, Le Monde, El Pais, the Sydney Morning Herald and Ha'aretz. Hari describes himself as a "European social democrat", who believes that markets are "an essential tool to generate wealth" but must be matched by strong democratic governments and strong trade unions or they become "disastrous." He appears regularly as an arts critic on the BBC Two programme Newsnight Review, and he is a book critic for Slate. He has been named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the most influential people on the left in Britain, and by the Dutch magazine Winq as one of the twenty most influential gay people in the world.Wikipedia

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Haitian Refugee Camps Model Future Society

 We’ve used what resources we have. We don’t wait for millions to arrive, we just create. There’s lots of creativity. We’ve done extraordinary things with the means we have at hand. That’s how we established a children’s space, for example. There are Canadian military who were building an orphanage behind us, and another woman and I went and asked them for materials for the children. They gave materials, some tools, and a case of blue plastic tarps. CARE gave us tarps to create a children’s space, too, and a podium. We used cement blocks from the collapsed houses to build that space. We use that space for dancing and theater, too.

We borrowed a drum from a vodou priest. We had people dancing with the drum, like an old lady who lost her son.

You know in Haiti, folklore is a big deal. The drum is the sign of music and the sign of happiness; it allows people to recreate. The drum makes everybody dance; even if you have problems, you dance.  We started the folkloric group dancing like this in the ancient way, everybody dancing and singing like crazy with no control. We had kids who went down to dance for May Day by the sea; we even signed a contract with a team from Canada for one of the little girls to go to participate in a cultural event in Canada in August.We had people living in misery under little sheets. You know the world was seeing Haiti’s image through little sheets. And it kept raining. People from elsewhere asked me, “Elizabeth, how can they survive like this?” I said, “It’s all because of the drum.”—OtherWorldsArePossible

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Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment

By Peter Hallward

A riveting exposé of the US-led destruction of democratic government in Haiti. Once the most lucrative European colony in the Caribbean, Haiti has long been one of the most divided and impoverished countries in the world. In the late 1980s a remarkable popular mobilization known as Lavalas, or “the flood,” sought to liberate the island from decades of US-backed dictatorial rule. After winning a landslide election victory, in 1991 the Lavalas government led by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown by a bloody military coup. Damming the Flood analyzes how and why Aristide’s enemies in Haiti, the US and France made sure that his second government, elected with another verwhelming majority in 2000, was toppled by a further coup in 2004. The elaborate international campaign to contain, discredit and then overthrow Lavalas at the start of the twenty-first century was perhaps the most successful act of imperial sabotage since the end of the Cold War. Its execution and its impact have much to teach anyone interested in the development of today's political struggles in Latin America and the rest of the post-colonial world.—Verso, 2007

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Not just "gang leaders" in Haiti fought for Aristide to finish his five-year term. The demonstrators are lifting up their hands to indicate, five years, five years, five years—senk an, senk an, senk an. No Bush regime change in Haiti! Most of the Haitian mothers you see in this video, who were lucky enough to have survived the 2004-2006 Lavalas witch-hunt and US/UN guns from the 2004 Bush regime change in Haiti, are suffering unbearable, some from grief, humiliation, Clorox hunger, or worst, some on top of all this, from traumatic rape and sexual abuse by the "peacekeepers," US/NGO/IFI "saviors," and their Haitian mercenary arms, or as a direct result of the opportunistic anarchy that landed in Haiti after this video was taken.

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Literature & the Arts

 

     Edwidge Danticat (interview with novelist on Haiti) The Dew Breaker  Out of the Shadows

     Experiment in Haiti  (Art)

     Fourth World Art

     French West Indian Writer (bio-sketches by Mercer Cook)

Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry edited by Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman

Wordsworth's Toussaint  (poem)

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power

By Zbigniew Brzezinski

By 1991, following the disintegration first of the Soviet bloc and then of the Soviet Union itself, the United States was left standing tall as the only global super-power. Not only the 20th but even the 21st century seemed destined to be the American centuries. But that super-optimism did not last long. During the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, the stock market bubble and the costly foreign unilateralism of the younger Bush presidency, as well as the financial catastrophe of 2008 jolted America—and much of the West—into a sudden recognition of its systemic vulnerability to unregulated greed. Moreover, the East was demonstrating a surprising capacity for economic growth and technological innovation. That prompted new anxiety about the future, including even about America’s status as the leading world power. This book is a response to a challenge. It argues that without an America that is economically vital, socially appealing, responsibly powerful, and capable of sustaining an intelligent foreign engagement, the geopolitical prospects for the West could become increasingly grave. The ongoing changes in the distribution of global power and mounting global strife make it all the more essential that America does not retreat into an ignorant garrison-state mentality or wallow in cultural hedonism but rather becomes more strategically deliberate and historically enlightened in its global engagement with the new East.

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Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam

By Fred A. Wilcox  and  Introduction by Noam Chomsky

Scorched Earth is the first book to chronicle the effects of chemical warfare on the Vietnamese people and their environment, where, even today, more than 3 million people—including 500,000 children—are sick and dying from birth defects, cancer, and other illnesses that can be directly traced to Agent Orange/dioxin exposure. Weaving first-person accounts with original research, Vietnam War scholar Fred A. Wilcox examines long-term consequences for future generations, laying bare the ongoing monumental tragedy in Vietnam, and calls for the United States government to finally admit its role in chemical warfare in Vietnam. Wilcox also warns readers that unless we stop poisoning our air, food, and water supplies, the cancer epidemic in the United States and other countries will only worsen, and he urgently demands the chemical manufacturers of Agent Orange to compensate the victims of their greed and to stop using the Earth’s rivers, lakes, and oceans as toxic waste dumps. Vietnam has chosen August 10—the day that the US began spraying Agent Orange on Vietnam—as Agent Orange Day, to commemorate all its citizens who were affected by the deadly chemical. Scorched Earth will be released upon the third anniversary of this day, in honor of all those whose families have suffered, and continue to suffer, from this tragedy. Noam Chomsky & Fred Wilcox Book-TV

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 24 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: The Immigrant Artist at Work   Education and the Cataclysm in Haiti  Suffocating the poor: a modern parable   The Non-Sovereign State of Haiti