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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.

 

 

 

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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Book by John Maxwell

How to Make Our Own News: A Primer for Environmentalist and Journalists

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"We Ugly! But We Here!"

By John Maxwell

 

"We 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 Haiti.

 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 “Anti-American dissertations.”

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 sale”.

Lectured on Democracy

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 policies.

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??

Whose Failure?

"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.

“The staggering 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

 “The task 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 sponsors

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 years.

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!

 But, according to the US, it is Aristide that is the problem.

The democratic 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 chambers.

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.

Patterson & Powell

Under various 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 Aristide.

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 maxinf@cwjamaica.com

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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. Garrigus

 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

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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

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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” . . .

The 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.

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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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Negro Digest / Black World

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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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Related files: Sold Down the River    Freed rights abusers back in the streets