ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
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The world is remembering Auschwitz and the Holocaust. It is not paying any notice to
the 200 year Holocaust still underway in Haiti. There too, the people in hazard must
feel tortured and murdered by the indifference of a world conned
Book by John Maxwell
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Genocide a la bonne femme
By John Maxwell
We have some great news for dieters this week!
The Haitians, with a little help from the Americans, the French and the Canadians, have produced a solution to the obesity crisis that now threatens western civilisation. Haitis great and good friends in Washington, Paris and Ottawa have, at last, after several years of hard, grinding effort, managed to create the condition known as critical mess [sic] allowing the Haitians to produce a diet which unlike any other slimming solution is absolutely guaranteed to work. Other slimming solutions have always had one weak spot: no matter how low-calorie the diet is, dieters can always defeat the purpose by overeating.
The new Haitian diet makes that impossible! No matter how much you eat you will not get fat!! This is sensational news!!! Here for the information of our avid readers is the recipe, direct from the street vendors of Port au Prince. One caveat: the special ingredient may have to be imported from Haiti. We havent yet found a gourmet specialty shop in North America which stocks the main ingredient Glaise de Plateau Centrala special kind of clay from the Central Plateau of Haiti. This clay is yellowish in colour and the best grades contain lots of healthy calcium, guaranteed to make your bones stronger even as your too, too solid flesh melts away.
Take enough Glaise de Plateau Central and dry it in the sun.
Pound (in a mortar) and sieve the dried glaise, to remove any small stones, twigs, insect parts, bird droppings or other visible impurities.
Add a little water, enough to make a soft dough
Add a little fat and a soupçon of salt (gros sel, pounded fine)
Mix all together forming smallsay 2 inchcookies.
Expose to the sun on a zinc sheet (beaten as flat as possible)
When dry your mud pies are ready to eat.
Bon appetit!!! It may sound better in French but it is genocide in any language. And so say all of us! The Haitians are giving new meaning to the phrase dirt poor. Four years after the Americans, Canadians and French beheaded democracy in Haiti it is now clear that a Final Solution is in sight for the 200 year old Haitian problem. Almost exactly three years ago, on January 30, 2005, I wrote in this column in this paper about the worlds commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz murder factory sixty year before Elie Weisel, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews, said eloquently:
In those times those who were in the death camps felt not only tortured and murdered by the enemy, but also tortured and murdered by what they considered to be the worlds silence and indifference
Those who committed the crimes were not vulgar, underworld thugs, but men with high positions in government, academia, industry and medicine. Weisel said.
I wrote then:
The world is remembering Auschwitz and the Holocaust. It is not paying any notice to the 200 year Holocaust still underway in Haiti. There too, the people in hazard must feel tortured and murdered by the indifference of a world conned into believing that the high-minded leaders of the United States, France, Canada and Brazil have the interest of the Haitian people at heart when their agents torture, murder, maim and rape Haitians for no better reason than that they support their democratically elected and unconstitutionally removed President, Jean Bertrand Aristide.
That was in 2005.
Since then the Haitians have continued to languish in suffering. They have had their leaders kidnapped, tortured and murdered, innocent women and children have been killed by the UN occupation forces working to eliminate the enemies of the Haitian ruling elite, the destruction of Haitian democratic organisation meant the death of thousands from hurricane, floods and other natural disasters, and they have waited for hours in the heat of the sun to cast their votes hoping that those votes would have meant a better life for them, or at least a chance for a better life.
That hasnt happened. Haiti is still paying for the foreign aid gormandised by the Duvaliers and their allies and they still have no roads, no hospitals, and their medical school started by Aristide with the aid of the Cubans is now the site of the barracks of the occupying forces. These Haitians are the people who helped the Americans win their independence, destroyed the Americans ambitions of Napoleon, destroyed slavery and accelerated the abolition of the slave trade. They are guilty on all counts and obviously deserve to be punished. They inhabit one of those places Mr Bush called the dark corners of the world.
Three years ago, at the Holocaust commemoration the US vice president Mr Cheney delivered himself of these words:
these great evils of history were perpetuated not in some remote, uncivilised part of the world, but in the very heart of the civilised world. Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine. Therefore we must teach every generation the values of tolerance and decency and moral courage. And in every generation, free nations must maintain the will, the foresight and the strength to fight tyranny and spread the freedom that leads to peace.
And so say all of us! And so say all of us!! And so say all of us!!! Meanwhile, the Haitians eat dirt.
Caribbean culturethe product of a tiny proportion of the worlds peopleis awesome. We have produced Jean Jacques Dessalines, Marcus Garvey, Fidel Castro and Norman Manley, Capablanca and George Headley, Alexandre Dumas, Arthur Lewis and Derek Walcott, Ernesto Lecuona, Bob Marley and the Mighty Sparrow, Karl Parboosingh and Cecil Baugh, Colin Powell and Malcolm X to name only a few who have changed the world. Visitors to the region, especially to Jamaica, are unlikely to discover any of this.
Caribbean culture is the magnet that draws foreign visitors to these countries but once they get here, they could be anywhere. They dont eat Caribbean food or meet Caribbean people or hear any but the most formulaic, tired Caribbean music. There are exceptions of course. But Caribbean tourism is largely not a Caribbean product. The people who are the stewards of the flame that draws the visitors have very little part in the industry. In Jamaica the people are losing their beaches and even their landscapes to so called developments which accord no respect nor pay attention to their Jamaican context.
The Jamaica of song and story is replaced by petting zoos featuring captive camels parakeets and dolphins and other exotica imported from other places. Development in Jamaica follows the maxim quoted in the 1954 World Bank Report on Jamaica:
In Jamaica, the absolute ownership of land means in practice the absolute right of the owner to ruin the land in his own way.
These days one does not even have to be the absolute owner. If, like Robert Cartade, one can persuade the right people one can get permission to destroy Hope Gardens and if the proles protest too much, Long Mountain instead. If you are the government you can pour concrete and sterilise an area half the size of Hanover to build a Doomsday Highway that, as I predicted, will be impossible to pay for. We can try to rescue disastrous developments like the Port Antonio Marina by making an even bigger bet on a new airport. (for flying yachts?) We can destroy Falmouth so that financiers can make millions from cruise ships before they are sunk by the price of petroleum in five or ten years.
We can destroy Kingston Harbour by pollution or by dredging and we are now told that the parish of Portland is so beautiful and so attractive that it must be saved for foreigners and covered with villas and other attractions which will change it into Las Vegas by the sea.
The latest development proposals for St Thomas mean that the people will give up some of the most valuable farmland in Jamaica for our fourth fourth! international airport. Jamaica already has one mile of roadway for every square mile of land. We will now have one international airport for every thousand square miles of land or one international airport for every 200 square miles of reasonably level land.
And all this is to be done without consultation with the Jamaican people whose sacrifice is essential for these developments. Although we are bound by the Treaty of Rio, by the Cartagena Convention and other national and international laws, the people of Jamaica will be asked to yield their treasure as the Arawaks/Tainos were asked to yield theirs. I claim this land in the name of Development! So There! Give us a break.
Endnote: Is it just me? Or is anyone else disturbed by the heavy promotion of the film Vantage Point on CNN in concert with news reports and programmes about the US party presidential primaries. Vantage Point is about the assassination of an American President, and the promos, especially when they follow Barack Obama political advertisements, give me the creeps.
Copyright©John Maxwell / firstname.lastname@example.org
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Disregard for HaitiAccording to the Associated Press, 80 percent of Haitians live off of two dollars a day, making it one of the most impoverished in the world. If you say, Mr. President, that “America is leading the fight against global poverty,” why is it that such a tiny island-nation like Haiti is in so much pain and disarray? Do not lie or mislead if you cannot acknowledge a problem so close to the United States. The situation Haiti is facing is beyond appalling. It is inexcusable on the part of this administration and the president, who boasted that the United States is the source of more that half of the world’s food aid. It is clear that this aid, which very well may (accurately) be as vast as he states, is not getting to the Haitian people, who must stretch out, at most, those two dollars over the course of the day. . . . Action is needed in Haiti and it must be taken now.Dan Keenan
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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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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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 2 February 2008