Stories from Quick Reads and Haiti
No Caribbean nation is represented at the World Cup this year, but Repeating Islands takes note of quite a few players with regional roots.
Machetes are ubiquitous and versatile…in the case of Haiti, machetes were common weapons in the struggle for independence.
Haiti Innovation blogs about a short film profiling a Haitian machete-fighting instructor.
jmc strategies blogs about the issue of Haitian statelessness in the Dominican Republic, specifically addressing anti-Haitian sentiment, questionable labour and living conditions, and forced repatriations, while offering solutions to the impasse.
Four years after this tragedy, what have we done to change the living conditions of the people who are still living under makeshifts tents? What we have done to effectively rebuild a better country?
Wadner Pierre reflects on the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and considers the best way forward.
The discussion of sex is a taboo in Haitian society. But the discussion of abortion is even more so. Haitian law outlaws the practice in all its forms.
Haiti Grassroots Watch explains.
Valéry Moise, a Haitian physician and activist, reflects upon the dire situation of street children [fr] in Port-au-Prince :
Moi, quand je regarde un enfant des rues briser une vitre, je vois une promesse électorale non tenue, quand je regarde un enfant sans idéal, je vois un gouvernement sans vision, quand je regarde un enfant manquer de respect à une loi établie, je vois de policiers et officiels circuler en sens inverse, quand je regarde un enfant essuyer une voiture aux heures de classe, je vois une société touchant le fond de l’abîme. Rendez-moi fou ou sage, je verrai toujours à travers les enfants l’image des adultes.
When I witness a child breaking a window, what it tells me is that another promise by a politician went unfulfilled. When I see a child without a dream, it tells me that the government is lacking a vision for the country. When a child does not respect the law, what I see are police forces going the other way. When I see a child cleaning cars when he should be at school, I see a society that has reached the bottom of the ocean. Color me crazy or wise, but I will always see the characters of the adults through the behavior of their children.
The blog Repeating Islands republished two letters to the editor of the New York Times that paint two very different pictures on the situation regarding the recent decision of the Constitutional Tribunal of the Dominican Republic to strip citizenship from all descendants of immigrants who entered the country extralegally, retroactive to 1929. The first letter is from Aníbal de Castro, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Washington, who considers the Dominican Republic unduly pressured by the international community:
The Dominican Republic has a legitimate interest in regulating immigration and having clear rules for acquisition of citizenship. It should not be pressured by outside actors and other countries to implement measures contrary to its own Constitution and that would be unacceptable to most other nations facing similar immigration pressures.
The second letter is signed jointly by authors Mark Kurlansky, Junot Díaz, Edwidge Danticat, and Julia Álvarez, who dispel the assurances of the ambassador that no one will be negatively affected by the Constitutional Tribunal's ruling:
The ruling will make it challenging for them to study; to work in the formal sector of the economy; to get insurance; to pay into their pension fund; to get married legally; to open bank accounts; and even to leave the country that now rejects them if they cannot obtain or renew their passport. It is an instantly created underclass set up for abuse.
In Latin America, street art is of major cultural relevance. The region’s traditions of social movements and revolution have allowed the form to give voice to otherwise unheard sectors of the population. Of course, not all street art is politically or socially-oriented in content, but it does often provide insight into specific objectives and ideals.
Nick MacWilliam from Sounds and Colours browsed the online store Amazon “to see what’s readily available for those who are interested in the subject of street art in Latin America.” He recommends 16 books on the subject, covering Haiti, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and more.
Three years after its star-studded launch, the model camp for Haiti’s 2010 earthquake victims has helped give birth to what might become the country’s most expansive – and most expensive – slum.
Haiti Grassroots Watch explains.
There's an exciting new free-access website on Haiti, which pairs rare books, manuscripts, newspapers and archival photos with intelligent commentary.
Both Venezuela and Haiti have been facing anti-government protests. However, the international media’s escalation of the Venezuelan crisis and their complete silence when it comes to Haiti, raises some important questions about the United States’ inconsistency in upholding the values of human rights and democracy.
Kevin Edmonds calls out the mainstream media.
Between late November and December 25, a unique tradition is taking place every year in the Francophone Caribbean islands, especially in Martinique and Guadeloupe. “Chanté Nwel” [fr] is a time when people come together to not only sing traditional Christmas songs but also share a meal as a community. Although the tradition of singing Christmas carols has slowed down in France, it has grown stronger than ever in the french west indies [fr]. Hélène Clément explains the sad origin of the tradition that has been turned into a festive celebration [fr] :
L’article 2 du Code noir promulgué par Louis XIV en 1685 prévoyait « l’instruction religieuse des esclaves ». Les jésuites, chargés de poursuivre cette instruction religieuse, enseigneront aux esclaves à jouer de certains instruments dans le but de former des choristes pour les offices religieux [..] Le « chanté Nwèl » dans les Antilles françaises reste un moment de partage et de solidarité.
The article 2 of the Code Noir [Black Code] promulgated by Louis XIV in 1685 stipulated that “religious instruction be provided to slaves.” The Jesuits taught slaves through the religious instruction to play some instruments in order to assemble a choir for religious services [..] The “Chanté Nwèl” in the French West Indies is first and foremost a time of sharing and solidarity
Here is a video of one of the most known carol :Joseph mon cher fidèle (Joseph, my dear faithful) [fr]:
Daniel, from Martinique, explains the drinking tradition during “Chanté Nwèl” [fr]:
Autrefois, lors des ces « chanté Nwel», on servait en dehors du traditionnel punch, du sirop d’orgeat aux dames, ainsi que du chocolat à l’eau épaissi au toloman pour se réchauffer du « froid piquant » des nuits de décembre… dès la fin du mois de novembre, on prépare le schrubb avec des écorces d’oranges que l’on fait macérer dans du rhum au soleil.
Back in the days during “Chanté Nwèl”, the traditional cocktail punch and chocolate water thickened with toloman were served to warm the “sneaky cold” December nights; orgeat syrup were reserved for the ladies … at the end of November, the schrubb is prepared with orange peels that has been soaked in rum and exposed to the sun.
The following video shows how residents of Gros-Morne, Martinique are celebrating the tradition today [fr]:
Haiti Chery reports that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ (IACHR) preliminary findings basically state that the “Dominican Constitutional Court Ruling TC168.13 is discriminatory and violates the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent.”
Haiti Grassroots Watch blogs about some of the challenges of reforestation on the island.
This is an island. No way out. So these two nations, who have been doing a live rendition of a Russian novel for 500 years, are going to have to work it out.
Contrary to many of the opinions expressed in this post, Changing Perspectives weighs in on the decision by the Dominican Republic to deny citizenship to subsequent generations of illegal immigrants, most of whom are Haitian.
Why – when the country has received at least one billion U.S. dollars worth of food aid between 1995 and the 2010 earthquake – is hunger on the rise?
Haiti Grassroots Watch examines “complaints and rumors about the misuse, abuse, or negative effects of food aid.”
kiskeácity links to a letter which “echoes many of the issues Haitians face with the White Savior Industrial Complex…and its army of 3,000 NGOs, 12,000 UN troops, innumerable speakers for Haiti, appropriators of Haiti's ancestral religion, culture and music and other so-called ‘allies’ who silence Haitians for a profit while assuming their voice.”