Sunday, July 29, 2007

Drummer's Grove - Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Sunday afternoons

Every Sunday afternoon (while the weather is good) more than 50 drummers from varying music backgrounds, countries and generations join together in one continuous jam session under the trees at Drummers Grove in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Regulars jump in with their instruments or tapping feet or dance interpretation and park strollers and people new to the park participate to the extent they feel comfortable whether it be by dancing, sitting around the circle on wooden benches, watching from afar with their baby strollers or filming it all. Lots of women drummers, children, and yummy African and Caribbean food sold nearby.
Photos by Michelle Karshan

Sugar Slaves: 1,108 freed, 14 in jail (Brazil)

Sugar Slaves: 1,108 freed, 14 in jail
Posted on July 24th, 2007 by Saulo Araujo
Grassroots International blog

Much of the sweat that goes into cutting cane for sugar to eat and increasingly as a primary ingredient for ethanol comes from low-wage and slave (bonded) labor. This month, the Brazilian government freed 1,108 sugar cane cutters in the state of Pará in the Amazon region. In the western state of Mato Grosso, 14 farm workers from an ethanol producing plant were incarcerated for protesting the delay in payment of their salaries. The average salary of a sugar cane cutter is less than $ 300.00 per month. See

Illegal Immigrants: Uncle Sam Wants You (In These Times)

In These Times
July 25, 2007
Illegal Immigrants: Uncle Sam Wants You
Latino teenagers, including illegal immigrants are being recruited into the military with false promises.
By Deborah Davis
(From In These Times) Fernando Suarez del Solar Escondido, Calif., stands next to a picture of his son, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus Suarez, during a press conference Aug. 13 2003, in Washington, D.C. Suarezz died March 27, 2003 in Iraq.

In 1996, Jesus Alberto Suarez del Solar was a 13-year-old boy, up from Tijuana on a family shopping trip, when he stopped at a Marine Corps recruiting table at an open-air mall in Chula Vista, Calif.
Jesus had been an easy mark for the recruiter—a boy who fantasized that by joining the powerful, heroic U.S. Marines, he could help his own country fight drug lords. He gave the recruiter his address and phone number in Mexico, and the recruiter called him twice a week for the next two years, until he had talked Jesus into convincing his parents to move to California. Fernando and Rose Suarez sold their home and their laundry business and immigrated with their children to Escondido, where Jesus enrolled at a high school known for academic achievement. But the recruiter wanted him to transfer to a school for problem teenagers, since its requirements for graduation were lower and Jesus would be able to finish sooner. He was 17 and a half when he graduated from that school, still too young to enlist on his own, so his father co-signed the enlistment form, as the military requires for underage recruits. See story at:

You Were There!


199___ photo by Michelle Karshan, taken at Haiti's National Palace, of (left) Kathie Klarreich (Madame Dread) and (right) screenwriter that Jonatham Demme had sent to Haiti to get ideas for writing a screenplay for a movie (sorry, I can't remember her name right now but remember that she was a highly respected screenplay writer).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Emeline Michel to sing in SF Sunday, July 29th

Emeline Michel to play in San Francisco this Sunday at the Stern Grove Festival

Sunday, July 29 at 2:00 p.m.
Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco ADMISSION FREE,

Andy Palacio and the Garifuna Collective bring the Afro-Caribbean soul of Belize to Stern Grove. The all-star, multigenerational lineup of Garifuna musicians captivates audiences with their enchanting rhythms and powerful melodies.

Singing both in French and Haitian Creole, reigning Queen of Haitian song Emeline Michel captivates audiences with her blend of traditional rhythms and inspirational lyrics.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Haiti: Workers Protest Privatisation Layoffs by Jeb Sprague and Wadner Pierre (IPS)

HAITI: Workers Protest Privatisation Layoffs By Jeb Sprague and Wadner Pierre

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jul 24 (IPS) - "Late last month, President René Préval announced that Haiti's public telephone company, Téléco, would be privatised. Meeting recently with the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Senator Jean Hector Anacacis of Preval's Lespwa political party, the president finalised plans to sell off the aging enterprise..." FOR FULL IPS ARTICLE: Photo of Téléco headquarters in Port-au-Prince by Wadner Pierre

Monday, July 23, 2007

Democracy Now! Interview of Randall Robinson on his new book An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President

From Democracy Now! Monday, July 23, 2007: Randall Robinson on "An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President"

TransAfrica Founder Randall Robinson chronicles the 2004 U.S.-backed coup that ousted Haiti's democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Robinson challenges the Bush administration's claim that the Aristides voluntarily left Haiti and recalls his trip to the Central African Republic to bring the Aristides back to the Caribbean. He also reveals new details on the U.S.-backed coup militants armed and trained in neighboring Dominican Republic, including the accused drug smuggler Guy Philippe. As the Aristides remain in exile, Randall Robinson joins us in the Firehouse studio for the hour to talk about the coup, the history of Haiti and the state of affairs there since the 2004 coup.

Read, hear or see entire interview at :

4th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention

Photo by Evens Sanon (Copyright) Girl in Haiti participants in HIV/AIDS awareness activities

4th IAS Conference On HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention

July 22-25, 2007

For daily webcasts, guide to coverage, meeting highlights,

daily HIV/AIDS Reports, daily e-mail updates

go to

Sunday, July 22, 2007

An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President by Randall Robinson

ORDER HERE FROM AMAZON: An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President by Randall Robinson (2007)

An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President by Randall Robinson, 288 pages, Basic Civitas, 2007 From the book jacket: "In An Unbroken Agony, bestselling author and social justice advocate Randall Robinson explores the heroic and tragic history of Haiti. He traces the history of a people forced across the Atlantic in chains; recounting their spectacularly successful slave revolt against France and the two hundred years of reprisals that would follow. The fate of Aristide's presidency is tied to this people's century-long quest for self-determination and his removal from power exposes the apartheid-like forces that frustrate these aspirations even today."


Photo by Michelle Karshan

Irish guy celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the rooftop restaurant club Guess Who in Petionville, Haiti. Who is this guy and what year was this? I think he was working for an Irish NGO at the time... I left early but it was really getting crowded by time I left.

While living in Haiti I would go to the florist every St. Patrick's Day and get a green ribbon to wear in honor of the day. Being part Irish I always thought it important for my children to at least see me celebrating the holiday even if it only meant wearing a green ribbon or hanging out at a restaurant with other folks celebrating the day. In honor of the day, I used to buy bags of candy and cookies and set up a table outside the door to my office in the National Palace for my co-workers to enjoy.

EVERY Sunday I will try to post another photo from Haiti from the mid-90s to 2004

Marie Micheline, A life in Haiti by Edwidge Danticat, The New Yorker

Photo Courtesy of Edwidge Danticat for The New Yorker

The New Yorker, Personal History, Marie Micheline, A life in Haiti by Edwidge Danticat, June 11, 2007

"Marie Micheline went to live with my uncle Joseph and aunt Denise for the same reason that my brother and I did: our parents had disappeared. They had not abandoned us. Nor had they been imprisoned or killed by the henchmen of the dictatorship that had come to power in Haiti in 1957, when Marie Micheline was five years old and my parents had not yet met. They had simply, as my uncle explained first to her and then to us, gone elsewhere..."

Full story at

Robert Birnbaum v. Edwidge Danticut interview in The Morning News

Edwidge Danticat photo by Robert Birnbaum for The Morning News

Robert Birnbaum interviews Edwidge Danticat, The Morning News

"...I think Haiti is a place that suffers so much from neglect that people only want to hear about it when it’s at its extreme. And that’s what they end up knowing about it. There is a frustration too, that at moments when there’s not a coup, when there are not people in the streets, that the country disappears from people’s consciousness...."

Father Gerard Jean-Juste's newsletter Konpatriyot, July 15, 2007

Photo by Evens Sanon (copyright)

Konpatriyòt #27 15 jiyè 2007 Konpatriyòt #27

"Konpatriyòt, ARISTIDE MUST COME BACK! TITID DWE TOUNEN! Li fè 2 zè 15 minit e 15 segond dimaten lè mkòmanse ekri bilten sa a soti samdi swa rive dimanchmaten 15 jiyè 2007. Mwen an reta nèt. Aprè plizyèaktivite òganize pou jistis alega ansyen PrezidanJean-Bertrand Aristide, mwen esoufle, bouke menm. Kòm nou te anonse pwogram yo nan Konpatriyòt #26,bò pa nou nan Ti Ayiti Miami, pwogram lan respekte.Konferans pou laprès te reyalize. Sou panèl la (tabkonferans lan) te gen Atis Farah Juste, reprezantanFanmiy Lavalas; Jack Lieberman (li bè mann),reprezantan Haiti Solidarity; Lavarice Gaudin,Pòtpawòl Veye-Yo; E mwenmenm sèvitè nou, NJera NJeriJan-Jis, Kire Sent Klè an konje maladi. Chak panelissa yo te devlope yon pwen patikilye konsènan retouPrezidan Titid. Farah esplike divès fason Branch Fanmi Lavalas nanMiami ap pote kole. Jack adrese sipò gwoup pwogresismeriken ka bay. Lavarice pale kijan Veye-Yo antannmennen demach pou arive a Retou Titid nan tan kanpayelektoral sa a Ozetazini. Mwen adrese kote solidariteak Pèp demokrat Sidafriken yo..."
TO RECEIVE THIS BULLETIN, contact Father Gérard Jean-Juste at

Several popular organizations warn that Preval/Alexis government going forward too aggressively towards privatization of public enterprises

AlterPresse publishes letter by numerous popular organizations in Haiti dated July 13, 2007 protesting speed of Preval/Alexis government in their effort to privatize state-owned companies. The letter raises questions and makes recommendations to Haitian government.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

An Unbroken Agony: Haiti From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President by Randall Robinson

President Aristide presenting a copy of Haiti's Constitution to Haitian police in honor of Haiti's Constitution Day (photo by Michelle Karshan included in Randall Robinson's new book, An Unbroken Agony).

  • HIP - Flashpoints/KPFA on the Pacifica radio network, will devote most of its program on Monday, July 16 at 5 PM PDT, to Haiti. Host Dennis Bernstein and filmmaker and journaliist Kevin Pina, will interview former civil rights activist and founder of TransAfrica Forum, Randall Robinson from his home in St. Kitts in the Caribbean. Robinson has released a new book entitled "An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President. "

Down in the Subway by Melanie Hope Greenberg

Children's Book Illustrator, Melanie Hope Greenberg:
"When I was young my world vision was shaped in part by looking at picture books, either at home or in school. They aided my reading skills by visually identifying objects first before I knew how to read their names. With that memory in mind, my approach to illustrating children’s picture books is that the art must convey an author’s story in a clear way, filled with details. As much as children are literal thinkers, I hope to never speak down to them. I respect their inate intuitveness and curiosity. My goal is to broaden their visions and help them to learn to read between the lines.

"My challenge as the illustrator is to dig deep into the author’s story for it’s message or glue that drives a book on for 32 pages. Even mundane manuscripts reveal layers of wisdom. Breaking a manuscript down through the process of thumbnails, storyboards, and dummies becomes alchemical. Treasured findings, golden philosophies are the underlying layers translated into a tapestry of bright lollipop colors and cinematic inspired compositions. Through the process, secondary stories counterpoint the main theme which can be told silently, adding flavor to the mix.

"In “Down in the Subway” I discovered the Island Lady to be Mother Nature. She offers the hot riders a few examples of her never-ending powers of transformation. Her bag posesses the four elements. Air,Water, Earth and Fire: the breeze, the sea, the food, the creative musicians."
ORDER HERE FROM AMAZON: Down in the Subway

Danny Glover and his upcoming film on Haiti's Revolution

Photo from Haiti's National Palace Website 2003

Danny Glover talks about his upcoming film on Haiti's Revolution during a 2003 press conference with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide at Haiti's National Palace:

"I've talked about working on a film on the Haitian revolution for the last 20 years. That is a project which has taken many roads. It has been a very arduous journey. The story is, as the esteemed scholars would say, so large that it's almost unimaginable. We've all learned about the American Revolution, we all learned about the French Revolution, but so few people know of, or are aware of, the Haitian Revolution. So the attempt to use a film as the medium of education must have an enormous support system to reeducate people who've been miseducated. So a film is only a very small part of the process. The work that we have to do before, beyond the film and after the film. The work we have to do in creating the kind of teacher, the educational materials, is daunting. We have to break through this wall, this veil, this presumptuous attitude that people have about people of color, and specifically of people of Haitian descent.

...I'm sure that people are ready to see such a film. It often takes something, as I said earlier, whether we want to call it destiny, this moment, whether we want to say a moment in a 100 years overdue, however we want to frame this, the fact that we have the responsibility and the opportunity to demand something more. Something more in terms of what we see in films, something more in terms of what could bring some abiding sense of identity, something that's going to happen in this process. We cannot continue as we continue to go on. We have to begin to look at who we are to understand who we are in relationship to our past and to celebrate our past as a way, as a gateway, to our future. I think the story of the Haitian Revolution, and I'll say this many, many times, and hopefully I'll be able to say that we've accomplished that when we make this film, that it's the story of the Haitian Revolution that is the very vehicle that could possibly unlock something about filmmaking, that not only entertains us, but fuels us in such a way that we're capable of using that information to act, for action, for the purpose of actions." Read entire statement at

Read Me a Story: Children's Book Illustration

Read Me a Story, exhibition of extraordinary works by Brooklyn based-children's book illustrators at the Danny Simmons' Corridor Gallery, a project of Russell Simmons' Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with opportunties in the arts, as well as providing opportunities to underrepresented artists and artists of color.
Danny Simmons' Corridor Gallery, 334 Grand Avenue, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 718-230-5002
For more on the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation:

"Art saves lives, it is that simple. Rush Philanthropic believes that if you give young people the opportunity to practice and appreciate art -- whether poetry, music, dance, or the visual arts -- then you will see lives transformed as young people learn to value their own unique voices and visions."

| Arts In Criminal Justice

Arts In Criminal Justice

How to Destroy an African American City in Thirty-Three Steps - Lessons from Katrina by Bill Quigley

(Note from Michelle Karshan: This article reminds me a whole lot of the low-intensity conflict that Haiti endured/endures!)

from The Black Commentator:

"Step One. Delay. If there is one word that sums up the way to destroy an African-American city after a disaster, that word is DELAY. If you are in doubt about any of the following steps – just remember to delay and you will probably be doing the right thing.Step Two. When a disaster is coming, do not arrange a public evacuation. Rely only on individual resources. People with cars and money for hotels will leave. The elderly, the disabled and the poor will not be able to leave. Most of those without cars – 25% of households of New Orleans, overwhelmingly African-Americans – will not be able to leave. Most of the working poor, overwhelmingly African-American, will not be able to leave. Many will then permanently accuse the victims who were left behind of creating their own human disaster because of their own poor planning. It is critical to start by having people blame the victims for their own problems."

For full story:

The Black Commentator - June 28, 2007 - Issue 235

Bill Quigley is a law professor and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans.

Haiti Justice Blog: Half Hour For Haiti: Celebrate Freedom Thoughtfully

Article includes Frederick Douglass' 1893 Lecture on Haiti delivered at the World's Fair in Chicago. Frederic Douglas served as the first U.S. diplomat to Haiti after the U.S. lifted its embargo against Haiti. The U.S. had halted all relations with Haiti after Haiti's independence in 1804 won by a 12-year war waged by Haiti's slaves against France. As a result, Haiti abolished slavery decades before the U.S. abolished slavery. Hon. Frederick Douglass, Ex-Minister to Haiti:

"My subject is Haiti, the Black Republic; the only self-made Black Republic in the world. I am to speak to you of her character, her history, her importance and her struggle from slavery to freedom and to statehood. I am to speak to you of her progress in the line of civilization; of her relation with the United States; of her past and present; of her probable destiny; and of the bearing of her example as a free and independent Republic, upon what may be the destiny of the African race in our own country and elsewhere..." read the full speech at

The New York Times | Justice Denied

The New York Times Justice Denied