Books on the Caribbean
Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New
York: The Viking Press, 1967.
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
Caribbean Doscourse (2004)
/ Barbara Harlow.
Resistance Literature (1987)
Josaphat B. Kubayanda.
The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime
Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.
Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry
David P. Geggus, ed.
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.
University of South Carolina Press, 2001.
Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a
Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization
* * *
Book by John Maxwell
How to Make Our Own News: A Primer for Environmentalist and Journalists
* * * * *
"We Ugly! But We Here!"
By John Maxwell
ugly, but we’re here!" It’s the Haitian
equivalent of “You-ah go tired fi see mi face”
In Haitian Creole It
is “No lèd, Men Nou La!”
The Haitian people are
the facts on the ground, and whoever pretends to be ruling Haiti
has to deal with 8 million of them.
It does not really
matter that Mr Patterson has assured the Americans that
President Aristide will not use Jamaica as a launching pad to
overthrow the so-called government of Haiti; or that Mr Aristide
promises that he will not interfere in the politics of
It does not
matter because President Aristide is the politics of
Haiti – until the Haitian people decide otherwise. No one
else has that competence.
The so-called new Prime
Minister of Haiti is one M. la Tortue, who has a lot
of chat for someone without a mandate from anyone except the US
Ambassador and his bosses. He is, he says, going to unite Haiti,
so he has begun by boldly leaving out of his
‘government’ any representative of the people of Haiti. I
give him three weeks.
My attitude to the
farce now being played out in Haiti has drawn fire from a fellow
columnist in this newspaper, who has described my columns as
It would be easier to
treat Lloyd Smith seriously if he could get even a few facts
right, but when he says that it was Mr Loren Lawrence who was
declared persona non grata by the Jamaican government, he is ten
years and four or five Ambassadors out of joint. He forgets that
Mr Lawrence was thought by many to be Mr Seaga’s manager. It
was Vincent de Roulet who was asked to leave.
“No lèd, Men Nou
La! or as Michael Manley said one day in 1975, “We are not for
I am personally tired
of being lectured on democracy by the representatives of a
government whose citizens gained universal adult
suffrage twenty years after we did. It seems that I am not
alone. The most recent Pew international poll suggests that the
rest of the world does not endorse the Bush administration’s
I have nothing to
apologise for when the world should know that the United States
and France bear the major responsibility for the predicaments in
which Haiti now finds itself. It is a savage irony, that two of
the three nations founded at the end of the eighteenth century
on the ideals of the Brotherhood of Man should continue to
hypocritically dismiss the third on no other visible basis but
that Haiti is black.
Racism is Racism is
Racism. To describe Haiti as a ‘failed state”, to say that
Aristide misgoverned his country, to allege that the
mulatto elite in Haiti are capable of operating a democracy are
sick jokes. The mulatto elite and the military have been the
junior partners in the franchised predation of Haiti for
most of its history.
Aristide was not
perfect. Nobody ever claimed that he was. But is George W. Bush
perfect? or Jacques Chirac? The money misappropriated
when Chirac was Mayor of Paris could feed a great many Haitians.
Does that make Chirac unfit?
Does the fact that Ken
Lay of Enron was the largest contributor to President George
Bush or the fact that Vice President Cheney’s company is
accused of overcharging the US army for food make either Mr Bush
or Cheney unfit to govern the United States and the world??
"His failure to
adhere to democratic principles has contributed to the deep
polarization and violent unrest that we are witnessing in Haiti
today... His own actions have called into question his fitness
to continue to govern Haiti. We urge him to examine his position
carefully, to accept responsibility, and to act in the best
interests of the people of Haiti" – Colin
Powell, Secretary of State, USA.”
"I am the
chief,the military chief.…The country is in my hands,"
Guy Philippe, ‘rebel leader’ convicted coup plotter,
reputed cocaine baron.
“Haiti is the
poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest
countries in the developing world. Its per capita income-- $ 250
-- is considerably less than one-tenth the Latin American
average. About 80 percent of the rural Haitian population live
in poverty. Moreover, far from improving, the poverty situation
in Haiti has been deteriorating over the past decade,
concomitant with a rate of decline in per capita GNP of 5.2
percent a year over the 1985-95 period.
level of poverty in Haiti is associated with a profile of social
indicators that is also shocking. Life expectancy is only 57
years compared to the Latin American average of 69. Less than
half of the population is literate. Only about one child in five
of secondary-school age actually attends secondary school.
Health conditions are similarly poor; vaccination coverage for
children, for example, is only about 25 percent. Only about
one-fourth of the population has access to safe water. In short,
the overwhelming majority of the Haitian population are living
in deplorable conditions of extreme poverty..” The World
Bank –Challenges of Poverty Reduction
“The Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations announced that
the poorest nation in Latin America was undergoing a 'silent'
food crisis. The organization implies that the crisis is
'silent' because the people somehow survive despite the dire
food situation.” –Foreign Aid Watch
facing this nation of 8 million people is enormous.
“About 30,000 new
cases of AIDS were diagnosed in Haiti last year. And though the
spread of the disease has stabilized somewhat in recent years,
about 4.5 percent of the population -- some 360,000 people -- is
infected, the highest rate in the region, according to the
Ministry of Health.
"We have a
detailed plan for fighting AIDS from 2002 through 2006,"
said Public Health Minister Henri Claude Voltaire. "It's a
plan that was created by experts, not government ministers,
although they are certainly involved."
But the plan is being
stymied by a political quagmire stemming from disputed
parliamentary elections in May 2000 that led to the suspension
of some $500 million in foreign aid. –Michael
Deibert Associated Press
A quagmire and its
People are starving to
death in Haiti, thousands are dying of AIDS. Thousands of
children and adults are dead, dying or unable to function in any
adequate sense because of polluted drinking water, lack of food
and AIDS. The situation is dire, and it has been for years
– long before Aristide. The High Panjandrums of the USA,
France, Canada and the UN know all that and have known it for
Yet, the plans were
“being stymied by a political quagmire.” The political
quagmire according to the US and its clients, is entirely due to
Aristide, except that the disputed senatorial seats were vacated
three years ago and offers made for a new election. The
Opposition refused. They refused as they have refused every
single attempt by President Aristide to make peace and
develop Haiti. One fundamental demand of the ‘democratic
opposition’ was non-negotiable. There would be no democratic
dialogue with Aristide!
to the US, it is Aristide that is the problem.
opposition is almost entirely financed by USAID and by a
far-right US government outfit called the National Endowment for
Democracy, which some describe as the human face of the CIA.
So while Mr Powell was
urging Mr Aristide to make concessions, Dr Condoleezza Rice’s
people were presumably telling their clients not to speak
to him. I am not sure what the Americans mean by “a zero sum
game” but this sure sounds like one. The US government was
telling Aristide to play Russian roulette, with bullets in all
Former US Congressman
Ron Dellums has been working on behalf of President
Aristide. According to him, a day or two before the
President’s departure from Haiti, Colin Powell told him (Dellums)
to give Aristide a message. It was that Guy Philippe was coming
to his palace to kill him and that the United States would do
nothing to prevent it.
international laws and conventions people like Aristide and his
family are specially protected persons. Officials of foreign
governments such as Powell and Patterson are obliged to
accord them a special duty of care. Additionally, according
to custom, tradition and law, Patterson is obliged to
offer as much aid, comfort and assistance to President Aristide
as possible, since he is the democratically head of a
friendly state – removed by unconstitutional means, whether by
threats, menaces or any other illegal procedure is immaterial.
The behaviour of
Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council was barbaric. They
refused to help a UN member in good standing when his
country was threatened by the most disreputable, bloodthirsty
assassins, yet, two days later, when Aristide had been
overthrown, kidnapped or whatever, the same group felt impelled
to send a ‘peacekeeping’ force to Haiti. And a few
days ago, the World Bank held a donors meeting to consider aid
for Haiti. The hypocrisy runs like blood in an abattoir.
The problem for
Aristide’s enemies was that neither Plan A nor Plan B worked.
Plan A was to starve the Haitians into submission. Despite
starvation they stood firm. Plan B was to intimidate and overawe
the president and his people by capturing some soft targets,
police stations in rural areas with populations starving and
unable to protect themselves. The people did not flinch, nor did
Plan C then came into
play, a last desperate option. It seemed to work, and since the
world press was prepared by hogsheads of propaganda about
Aristide’s wickedness, there would be no trouble, no backlash.
As the Haitian slaves
said 200 years ago: “No lèd, Men Nou La! They’re still
there. No longer slaves. And they are not for sale.
Copyright ©2004 John Maxwell
* * * *
The Impact of the
Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World
Reviewed by Mimi Sheller
Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804
A Brief History with Documents
By Laurent Dubois and John D.
* * *
* * *
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
* * *
The Persistence of the Color Line
Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency
By Randall Kennedy
Among the best things about
The Persistence of the Color Line
is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the
positions about Mr. Obama staked out by
black commentators on the left and
right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel
West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley.
He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr.
Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism
regarding whether blacks should back
Obama” . . .
finest chapter in
The Persistence of the Color Line
is so resonant, and so personal, it
could nearly be the basis for a book of
its own. That chapter is titled
“Reverend Wright and My Father:
Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”
Recalling some of the criticisms of
America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s
former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with
feeling about his own father, who put
each of his three of his children
through Princeton but who “never forgave
American society for its racist
mistreatment of him and those whom he
most loved.” His father distrusted
the police, who had frequently called
him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr.
Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad
Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never
called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places
his father, and Mr. Wright, in
sympathetic historical light.
* * *
(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
update 6 May 2010