25 January 2010
PS. i obviously have some problems with the female portrayal in this.
19 January 2010
The White Curse [Haiti]
by Eduardo Galeano
The Progressive magazine, June 2004
On the first day of his year, freedom in this world turned 200. But no one noticed, or almost no one. A few days later, the country where this birth occurred, Haiti, found itself in the media spotlight, not for the anniversary of universal freedom but for the ouster of President Aristide.
Haiti was the first country to abolish slavery. However, the most widely read encyclopedias and almost all educational textbooks attribute this honorable deed to England. It is true that one fine day the empire that had been the champion in the slave trade changed its mind about it. But abolition in Britain took place in 1807, three years after the Haitian revolution, and it was so unconvincing that in 1832 Britain had to ban slavery again.
There is nothing new about this slight of Haiti. For two centuries it has suffered scorn and punishment. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner and champion of liberty at the same time, warned that Haiti had created a bad example and argued it was necessary to "confine the plague to the island." His country heeded him. It was sixty years before the U.S. granted diplomatic recognition to this freest of nations. Meanwhile in Brazil disorder and violence came to be called "Haitianism." Slave owners there were saved from this fury until 1888 when Brazil abolished slavery-the last country in the world to do so.
And Haiti went back to being an invisible nation-until the next bloodbath. During its brief sojourn on TV screens and front pages earlier this year, the media showed confusion and violence and confirmed that Haitians were born to do evil well and do good badly. Since its revolution, Haiti has been capable only of mounting tragedies. Once a happy and prosperous colony, it is now the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Revolutions, certain specialists have concluded, lead straight to the abyss; others have suggested, if not stated outright, that the Haitian tendency to fratricide derives from its savage African heredity. The rule of the ancestors. The black curse that engenders crime and chaos.
Of the white curse, nothing was said.
The French revolution had abolished slavery, but Napoleon revived it.
"Which regime was most prosperous for the colonies?"
"The previous one."
"Then reinstate it."
To reinstate slavery in Haiti, France sent more than fifty shiploads of soldiers. The country's blacks rose up and defeated France and won national independence and freedom for the slaves. In 1804, they inherited a land that had been razed to grow sugarcane and a land consumed by the conflagrations of a fierce civil war. And they inherited "the French debt." France made Haiti pay dearly for the humiliation it inflicted on Napoleon Bonaparte. The newly born nation had to commit to pay a gigantic indemnification for the damage it had caused in winning its freedom. This expiation of the sin of freedom would cost Haiti 150 million gold francs.
The new country was born with a rope wrapped tightly around its neck: the equivalent of $21.7 billion in today's dollars, or forty-four times Haiti's current yearly budget.
In exchange for this fortune, France officially recognized the new nation. No other countries did so. Haiti was born condemned to solitude.
Not even Simon Bolivar recognized Haiti, though he owed it everything. In 1816, it was Haiti that furnished Bolivar with boats, arms, and soldiers when he showed up on the island defeated and asking for shelter and help.
Haiti gave him everything with only one condition: that he free the slaves-an idea that had not occurred to him until then. The great man triumphed in his war of independence and showed his gratitude by sending a sword as a gift to Port-au-Prince. Of recognition he made no mention.
In 1915, the Marines landed in Haiti. They stayed nineteen years. The first thing they did was occupy the customs house and . duty collection facilities. The occupying army suspended the salary of the Haitian president until he agreed to sign off on the liquidation of the Bank of the Nation, which became a branch of City Bank of New York. The president and other blacks were barred entry into the private hotels, restaurants, and clubs of the foreign occupying power. The occupiers didn't dare reestablish slavery, but they did impose forced labor for the building of public works. And they killed a lot of people. It wasn't easy to quell the fires of resistance.
The guerrilla chief, Charlemagne Peralte, was exhibited in the public square, crucified on a door to teach the people a lesson.
This civilizing mission ended in 1934. The occupiers withdrew, leaving a National Guard, which they had created, in their place to exterminate any possible trace of democracy. They did the same in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. A short time afterwards, Duvalier became the Haitian equivalent of Trujillo and Somoza.
And so, from dictator to dictator, from promise to betrayal, one misfortune followed another.
Aristide, the rebel priest, became president in 1991. He lasted a few months before the U.S. government helped to oust him, brought him to the United States, subjected him to Washington's treatment, and then sent him back a few years later, in the arms of Marines, to resume his post. Then once again, in 2004, the U.S. helped to remove him from power, and yet again there was killing. And yet again the Marines came back, as they always seem to, like the flu.
But the international experts are far more destructive than invading troops. Placed under strict orders from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Haiti obeyed every instruction, without cheating. The government paid what it was told to even if it meant there would be neither bread nor salt. Its credit was frozen despite the fact that the state had been dismantled and the subsidies and tariffs that had protected national production had been eliminated. Rice farmers, once the majority, soon became beggars or boat people. Many have ended in the depths of the Caribbean, and more are following them to the bottom, only these shipwreck victims aren't Cuban so their plight never makes the papers.
Today Haiti imports its rice from the United States, where international experts, who are rather distracted people, forgot to prohibit tariffs and subsidies to protect national production.
On the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, there is a large sign that reads: Road to Ruin.
Down that road, everyone is a sculptor. Haitians have the habit of collecting tin cans and scrap metal that they cut and shape and hammer with old-world mastery, creating marvels that are sold in the street markets.
Haiti is a country that has been thrown away, as an eternal punishment of its dignity. There it lies, like scrap metal. It awaits the hands of its people.
206 Zulu - Universal Zulu Nation Seattle
go hed Sol.
By Kristen Steenbeeke
January 19, 2010
Junior Sol Moravia-Rosenberg was sitting in class when he got a text message about the earthquake in Haiti. He had no idea how big it was, but what he did know was that his family was there — most in the heart of Port au Prince, Haiti, where the quake struck the hardest.
At first, he didn’t know much. All communication was down in Haiti, and it was difficult to get information. However, soon after he received the text, his brother — who is a member of a close-knit Haitian-American community — called him from New York to explain the dire circumstances of the situation.
“I was really worried about family,” Moravia-Rosenberg said. “I didn’t even want to turn on the news. I didn’t read anything. I didn’t even want to watch CNN. And the next day, in the morning, all the media and news reporters were finally there, and there were all these really graphic images. Some of the statistics started to come in; I was overwhelmed, and at that point, it hit me, and I was really emotional.”
This intense personal response to the situation stirred something in him, and after a conversation with his mother, he decided to plan a benefit show to support the victims in Haiti.
And, though he soon found out that, despite several collapsed houses, all his close family members survived the quake, this comfort didn’t stop his concern.
“At that point, it’s really just worrying about my countrymen and about the people and the future of the country, ” Moravia-Rosenberg said. “It’s a whole generation and a whole history that was really rocked in a matter of minutes.”
After the initial shock of the quake wore off, he had a meeting with several friends to plan the logistics. They booked Neumos for Feb. 4; the show will include many well-known local artists, such as SOL himself (Moravia-Rosenberg’s stage name), Dyno Jamz, The Physics, DJ Pryme, Common Market, and a break crew called Flying Sneakers. Khingz, another local artist and Haitian-American, will host the event.
In order to get the show going, Moravia-Rosenberg collaborated with Jaleesa Trapp, president of R.E.T.R.O.(an open-mic show run at the Ethnic Cultural Center), and Kayla Huddleston, director of the Black Student Commission. Though they don’t have personal connections to those in Haiti, the spirit of service and empathy is more present than ever.
“It’s different for me because, being African-American, I don’t know where my family is from,” Trapp said. “I feel for all people, no matter where they’re from. People in Haiti — they look like they could be my cousins.”
Along with the benefit concert, those at R.E.T.R.O. are helping to staff the Red Cross booth, which is run by the American Red Cross Club at the UW and set to collect donations from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm., today through Friday, in Red Square and on the HUB lawn. As of last Friday’s count, $472.13 has been raised from donations.
“All of us feel really drawn to it,” said Red Cross Club President Jane Lee. “I think a lot of people have just been really touched by what’s happening and really horrified at the devastation.”
While the majority of these people don’t have close ties to Haiti, several have expressed an intimate connection to the situation.
“Some people have been just emptying out their wallets,” Lee said. “We’ve also had people come up to the donation booth saying, ‘I’m from Haiti, and this issue means a lot to me,’ so they’ve been wanting to help out at the booth.”
Moravia-Rosenberg says it’s Haitian pride that keeps him going.
“Being Haitian is something I’ve taken with me every day of my life,” he said. “It’s something I’m very proud of … If anyone can survive something like this, it’s Haitians. The Haitian revolution was inspiring to people all over the world — from Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King. It’s super important that it comes full circle, and hopefully Haiti can inspire us to reach out when it really hasn’t gotten very much love since the Haitian independence.”
Reach reporter Kristen Steenbeeke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
16 January 2010
It was touch and go for a minute. No lie... I wanna apologize to my brotha for stressin him out so deeply ( my bad gabe), but the emails were appreciated. To recap for those not knowin' i got some tremendously bad news related to the recent tectonic activity in Haiti. And quite honestly i lost my mind. I suffered a mild quite and rather intimate nervous break down while trying to separate myself from the feelings I was being drowned in. It felt like being in a sense deprivation chamber that was built around a 13 century racc. Like being stretched to far in the dark. Yea like i said i lost it. and I'm a lil ashamed of it. I became altogether useless for people in greater and more dire situations than myself. I promise i do not react that way in a gunfight. But it's ok cuz i'm bacc. I'm me (just not as much of me as there was before) and I'm ready to work. I will be returning to Seattle for many reasons not the least of which is a benefit show organized by Sol for our cousins bacc home. It will be Feb 4th @ Nuemos, and I urge everyone that can to come out and show your support not for us but for a nation who has been continually punished for the audacity to fight for freedom. Much love thanx for reading hope to see you soon.
13 January 2010
For a number of reasons i can't even make clear on this blog this recent earthquake in Haiti has broken my heart. I have been sitting around for the last 24 hours or so thinking obsessing over what to do, how to proceed ., what to fel. I got nothing I spent all last night in the shower begging for numbness. just standing there hoping the cold water would freeze me or disconnect my nervous system or something. I just honestly don't want to feel any of this anymore. My once vaunted skills at logical reasoning that pull me and many others outta near madness inducing situations like this are a failure. I got nothing in me but this crushing super gravity. This weight that gets heavyier while i wait for news, and then finnaly over comes what ever i had the strength to handle when the news finnaly comes. They're gone. All of them. Thats it. You officialy have no where else to belong to. Happy new year
01 January 2010
20X is here and I'm excited. 2009 was very trying for many people and while there where lil disappointments i look bacc on that year as a full fledged victory and am anxious to continue that trend so I'm posting my new years resolutions right here for the universe to bear witness.
first to release lots of free music.
I gotta bunch of EP and mxtape ideas that i wanna bring to fruition this year. i doubt I'll drop a full length solo record this year but i will make my presence known thru consistent quality releases for FREE! Plus we will be droppin the Hi-Life album and I'ma get my guy Nam bacc out there.
Let Go and Let Love. this mantra is what made 2009 so fulfilling for me and I'ma rocc with this some more. I came up with this after a ruff break up where i really took to heart the statement that G-D is love and that you should let go and let G-D.
TOUR- BOOM that's the big one. If you aint gettin on the road then this isn't your job its your side hustle. Plus i fiend for new experience. I'm at least hittin this whole country but japan is always on the table it's time for me to materialize these blessings that been waitin on me.
Inspire. I really wanna inspire my homies to go for theirs super hard this year. One of the reasons I haven't wanted to live in the city is because i get surrounded by dope artist that arn't pushing them selves to reach they're full potential. Look I love Geo an Sabz but I'm tired of folk thinking that they ARE town music. It's not their fault tho' it's ours for not trying harder to reach beyond the city limits when expanding our music audience. So part of this year I'm pushin everyone to get the fucc outta here and put in work!
That's me this year if you wanna roll like that lets roll together if you can't just don't lay in the road.