Sunday, June 14, 2009

Official Website of Sydney Guillaume - Composer | Homepage

Official Website of Sydney Guillaume - Composer Homepage

Choral music in Kreyol! CLICK ON CONCERT WORKS to hear various pieces all sung in Kreyol!
And, if you click on LINKS on his page you can view performances on

From website:
"Sydney takes great pride in his Haitian roots. He hopes that his music will serve as an ambassador for his country and create an awareness of the beautiful culture that exists amidst the economic and political turmoil. Sydney is an active member of the choral community both as a composer and singer. He has been commissioned by renowned choirs such as The University of Miami Frost Chorale, Seraphic Fire, The Young New Yorkers Chorus, The Miami Children's Chorus and Kokopelli Choir. He is in high demand for commissioned works and his music has been performed at ACDA, All-State conventions and abroad. Sydney resides in Los Angeles, California, where he is also pursuing a career in film music."

Homeland Guantanamo

Homeland Guantanamo

The Untold Story of Immigrant Detention in the US. Facts and stats on all aspects of Immigration detention!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Living With Music: Madison Smartt Bell (NYT)

Madison Smartt Bell (Jerome De Perlinghi)

New York Times
January 7, 2009, 7:00 am — Updated: 11:31 am -->

Living With Music: Madison Smartt Bell
By Gregory Cowles
Madison Smartt Bell is the author of numerous books, including a recent biography of Toussaint Louverture.

Rebel Music Old and New
I started listening to most of this music in the early 1990s, as I was finishing the first of what would be three long novels about revolutionary events a long time ago in a small obscure place that few people in the United States had heard of and fewer cared about. What’s different now? At least a few more people are aware that Haiti, and the conditions of living in Haiti, are closer to us here than we used to like to think. …

1) President, Wyclef Jean. One of the few English-language tracks on Wyclef’s astounding “Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101″ — an album I’ve used for a language and cultural primer (exactly as advertised) since it came out in 2004. When I first heard this song I associated it with Haitian elections, and with a comment by a Haitian academic friend of mine who’d been invited to serve in the government and declined, with some regret, but firmly. It’s difficult, he explained to me, to find enough people who are capable and competent, whose probity is beyond question and who don’t object to the strong possibility of assassination. …

2) Revolution, Bob Marley. I first heard this one when “Natty Dread” broke on college campuses in the late 1970s. While writing “All Souls’ Rising,” I wore out the first two Wailers records. Marley’s is more tenacious than most other rebel music because the political message is so deeply rooted in religion — because the singer locates revolution in revelation with the first breath of this song.

10 News photos that took retouching too far

10 News photos that took retouching too farThursday, May 21, 2009
Many news photographs are Photoshopped here and there to increase clarity or to optimize for print or online display. But there have been several instances where retouching has been pushed too far, changing the original intent or accuracy of the photo.

Retouching may seem innocent, but can have a profound effect on the way we remember an event, according to a 2007 study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Revolutionary Haitian priest Gerard Jean-Juste, presente! (BayView)

Jesus-like revolutionary priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste “suffered the little children to come unto him,” tending to their needs, body and soul, and fighting for their future and for justice in Haiti.

May 30, 2009

Revolutionary Haitian priest Gerard Jean-Juste, presente!
by Bill Quigley
BayView National Black Newspaper

Though Haitian priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste died May 27, 2009, at age 62 in Miami from a stroke and breathing problems, he remains present to millions. Justice-loving people worldwide mourn his death and celebrate his life. Pere Jean-Juste worked uncompromisingly for justice for Haitians and the poor, both in Haiti and in the U.S.

Pere Jean-Juste was a Jesus-like revolutionary. In jail and out, he preached liberation of the poor, release of prisoners, human rights for all and a fair distribution of wealth. A big, muscular man with a booming voice and a frequent deep laugh, he wore a brightly colored plastic rosary around his neck and carried another in his pocket. When he was jailed for nearly a year in Haiti by the U.S.-supported coup government which was trying to silence him, Amnesty International called him a Prisoner of Conscience.

Jean-Juste was a scourge to the unelected coup governments of Haiti, who served at the pleasure - and usually the direction - of the U.S. government. He constantly challenged both the powers of Haiti and the U.S. to stop killing and starving and imprisoning the poor. In the U.S., he fought against government actions which deported Black Haitians while welcoming Cubans and Nicaraguans and others. In Haiti, he called for democracy and respect and human rights for the poor.

Pere Jean-Juste was sometimes called the most dangerous man in Haiti. That was because he was not afraid to die. His computer screen saver was a big blue picture of Mary, the mother of Jesus. “Every day I am ready to meet her,” he once told me, when death threats came again. “I will not stop working for justice because of their threats. I am looking forward to heaven.”

For rest of article:

Trance, Sodo Waterfall, Haiti by Christian Cravo (Verve Photo)

Trance, Sodo Waterfall, Haiti by Christian Cravo

FROM VERVE PHOTO WEBSITE: for bio of photographer and description of photo.

Activists Seek TPS for Haiti

Narrated slideshow of demo in front of White House

Shell settles Nigeria killings (Al Jazeera English)

News Americas

Shell settles Nigeria killings suit

Shell was accused of colluding with Nigeria's government to silence rights activists [GALLO/GETTY]

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing the firm of complicity in the executions of human rights activists in Nigeria for $15.5m, the families of those killed have said.

The settlement agreement came on Monday as the more than decade-long dispute was due to go to trial in a district court in New York.

The lawsuit accused Shell of human rights abuses, including violations in relation to the hangings in 1995 of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a well-known rights activist, and eight other protesters by Nigeria's then-military government.

Shell, which still operates in Nigeria, said it had agreed to settle the lawsuit in the hope of aiding the "process of reconciliation", but acknowledged no wrongdoing in the case.

"This gesture also acknowledges that, even though Shell had no part in the violence that took place, the plaintiffs and others have suffered,'' Malcolm Brinded, Shell's executive director for exploration and production, said in a statement on Monday.

See rest of story

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama Flinches on Immigration

March 24, 2009

Obama Flinches on Immigration

In a little-noticed act of political faintheartedness, the Obama administration has pulled back from nominating Thomas Saenz, a highly regarded civil-rights lawyer and counsel to the mayor of Los Angeles, to run the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Mr. Saenz, the former top litigator in Los Angeles for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or Maldef, was privately offered the job in January. The floating of his name led to fierce outbursts from anti-immigrant groups and blogs, which detest him for being so good at what he does.

He was a leader of the successful fight to block California’s Proposition 187, an unconstitutional effort to deny social services and schooling to illegal immigrants. He has defended Latino day laborers who were targets of misguided local crackdowns, from illegal police stings to unconstitutional anti-solicitation ordinances. An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily slimed Mr. Saenz by calling him “an open-borders extremist” and said Maldef wanted to give California back to Mexico.

None of it was true, but it was apparently too much for the White House. Mr. Saenz was ditched in favor of Maryland’s labor secretary, Thomas Perez, who has a solid record but is not as closely tied to immigrant rights.

Immigrant advocates are stuck with the sinking feeling that Mr. Obama’s supposed enthusiasm for immigration reform will wilt under pressure and heat. Representative Luis GutiĆ©rrez of Illinois, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, found it sadly unsurprising that a lawyer could be rejected for the nation’s top civil-rights job because he had stood up for civil rights. “In what other position do you find that your life experience, your educational knowledge and commitment to an issue actually hurts you?” he asked.

Mr. Obama may have avoided a nasty fight this time. But if he is ever going to win the battle to put 12 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, he will to have to confront and dismantle the core restrictionist argument: that being an illegal immigrant is an unpardonable crime, one that strips away fundamental protections and forgives all manner of indecent treatment.

The Constitution’s bedrock protections do not apply to just the native-born. The suffering that illegal immigrants endure — from raids to workplace exploitation to mistreatment in detention — is a civil-rights crisis. It cannot be left to fester while we wait for the big immigration bill that may or may not arrive under this president.

Mr. Saenz would have been an ideal candidate to reaffirm values that have been lost in the poisoned immigration debate, had Mr. Obama dared to nominate him.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Diverse organizations demonstrate for TPS for Haiti on March 20, 2009 outside Federal Plaza, New York

Photos by Michelle Karshan

Demo for TPS March 20, 2009, Federal Plaza, NY

Demonstration for TPS in front of Federal Plaza, New York, March 20, 2009

NAACP Action Alert Kit for TPS for Haiti

NAACP Action Alert Kit for TPS for Haiti

(includes summary of issue, list of suggested actions to take. summary of the message to get across, and a sample letter to President Obama)

Friday, March 20, 2009

President of US Conference of Catholic Bishops for TPS for Haitians

Office of the President
3211 Fourth Street NE
Washington DC 20017-1194

Cardinal Francis George, OMI
Archibishop of Chicago

May 19, 2009

Honorable Barack Obama

United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, I write to ask you to designate the country of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of eighteen months. The United States Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB) has a long history of serving the Haitian community, both in the United States and in Haiti, and has first-hand knowledge of the great humanitarian challenges facing the Haitian people.

As you know, a designation of TPS permits nationals of a designated nation living in the United States to reside here legally and qualify for work authorization. A designation of TPS is based upon a determination that armed conflict, political unrest, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions exist in a nation and that the return of that country’s nationals would further destabilize the nation and potentially bring harm to those returned.

Haiti meets the standard for TPS because it has experienced political tumult, four natural disasters, and severe food shortages in the last year, not to mention the devastation of Hurricane Jeanne in 2004. In April 2008, starving citizens took to the streets to protest rising food prices, causing political instability.

In August and September 2008, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and Tropical Storms Fay and Hanna passed through Haiti, causing severe damage and the death of close to 700 persons. Massive flooding from the storms has destroyed homes, crops, roads, and bridges, and largely rendered areas like Gonaives inaccessible to relief workers. Over 90 percent of Haiti has been impacted. Tens of thousands have been displaced, and the fate of thousands more is unknown. More than 300,000 children have been affected.

In addition, the conditions in Haiti are at least as bad, if not worse, than those in nations which recently received an extension of TPS. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced late last year that it was extending TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras because of “lingering effects” from the earthquakes in 2001 and from Hurricane Mitch in 2004. These effects included destroyed roads and bridges, high unemployment, and incomplete international development efforts.

We agree wholeheartedly with DHS’ decision to extend TPS to these countries. However, if “lingering effects” in these countries merit a grant of TPS, then so do the conditions in Haiti, where multiple disasters this year have left immediate and devastating effects.

Some observers argue that granting TPS to Haiti would cause a massive “boatlift” that would bring thousands of Haitians to the United States. In our view, this argument holds little merit, since TPS is only available to Haitian nationals already in the United States at the time of the designation. No such boatlift occurred in 1997, when President Clinton granted Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to Haiti, or in subsequent years when Haiti experienced increased political violence and civil unrest. Additionally, few Haitian water craft currently exist, having been destroyed by the recent storms.

Another consideration is that designating TPS to Haiti would allow Haitian nationals already in the United States to work and send much-needed remittances back to their poverty-stricken homeland. The Inter-American Development Bank reports that Haitians abroad sent close to $1.83 billion home in 2007, which equals about 35% of the country’s gross domestic product. It is critical that this life-blood of the fragile Haitian economy be sustained.

Mr. President, by any measure, the conditions in Haiti meet the statutory requirements for TPS. There has been “substantial disruption” in living conditions and Haiti is “unable to handle adequately” the return of its citizens abroad. Extending this mantle of protection to struggling Haiti is a just, compassionate, and concrete step the United States can take toward alleviating the human suffering of the Haitian people.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NAACP Urges TPS for Haitian Refugees

NAACP Urges President Obama to Grant Temporary Safe Haven to Haitian Refugees Already In The U.S.

March 19, 2009 (from NAACP website)
The Issue:

Temporary protected status (TPS) grants temporary protection from deportation to nationals of a country in which environmental or political events have occurred which make it temporarily unsafe to deport them or when armed conflict poses a serious threat to public safety. TPS has been granted to nationals of many countries including those of Nicaragua and Honduras in 1999 following Hurricane Mitch, and of El Salvador in 2001 following severe earthquakes.

Recent devastating environmental disasters from which Haiti has not recovered, continuing violence, and unstable political conditions pose a serious threat at this time to the personal safety of anyone forcibly repatriated to Haiti. Last year's storms and hurricanes killed hundreds and rendered hundreds of thousands homeless. Fifteen percent of Haiti's already fragile economy was destroyed, the equivalent of eight to ten Hurricane Katrinas hitting the United States in the same month. Haitian deportees face hunger, homelessness, and grave threats to their security. The Haitian government's ability to provide basic governmental services--clean water, education, passable road and basic healthcare--has been severely compromised by the natural disasters and food crisis in 2008. Repatriating Haitians exposes them to these dangerous conditions, while imposing an additional burden on government resources that are already stretched too thin.

Furthermore, granting TPS to Haitian refugees would help Haiti recover, as Haitians in the United States could obtain work permits and would increase the already significant flow of remittances to their family and friends back home. Haitians who receive that aid are more likely to stay and rebuild Haiti. Many depend on those remittances for their very survival. That flow of dollars is among the best foreign aid that the United States can provide, and it costs taxpayers nothing. Strengthening Haiti’s economy will be the only sure way to ensure that more Haitians will not risk their lives on a perilous oversea journey to the United States. Granting Haitians TPS would also directly assist Haiti's nascent democracy in its efforts to recover from these conditions, stabilize the country's economy, rebuild its political and economic institutions, and provide a future of hope for Haiti's people. TPS would be extended only to those Haitians currently residing in the United States, so any concerns about a mass exodus to the US are unfounded.

Haiti is the hemispheres oldest democracy, and has always had a special relationship to the United States. Haitian immigrants have long contributed to America’s diverse and vibrant culture. The current plight of Haitians in their homeland clearly qualifies them for TPS here in the United States, and thus the NAACP strongly urges President Obama to grant TPS to Haitian refugees. Furthermore, the NAACP strongly supports legislation introduced by Congressman Alcee Hastings (FL) to grant TPS to Haitians (H.R. 144).

Cynthia McKinney on Obama boycott of Durban conference

San Francisco Bayview

Despite Obama boycott, Black Caucus should attend Durban racism conference

March 17, 2009 In Africa and the World |

And now that I am as completely in the middle of the marsh as I was as completely in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea when my boat was rammed by the Israelis, let me make an observation about one aspect of marshes. I have witnessed the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the Savannah, Georgia, marshland. And the most beautiful rainbows. Being away from the glass and concrete can give one a better perspective.

by Cynthia McKinney

...This morning, I sent the following message to the White House:

“Mr. President, it was with great disappointment that I read of your decision to pull out of Durban II. Even the Bush administration, under pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus, provided some funding for the United Nations effort and sent staff to support the Congressional delegation that attended the conference. I was there. I was head of the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force that negotiated Congressional and administration engagement on this issue. There is still time for the U.S. to participate. Your decision is not irrevocable. I would encourage you to please reconsider this decision and not only attend the conference, but also provide funding to ensure its success.”

Dignity will not come without first an acknowledgment of the truth: With truth we can have justice; and with justice we can have peace; and it is only with peace that we can truly have dignity.

I implore the members of the Congressional Black Caucus to spearhead the participation of the United States in the United Nation’s World Conference Against Racism: to boldly go where we have gone before. Dr. King reminded us that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” On this issue, President Obama has shown us his measure. I hope that the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus and the Democratic Caucus can show us, oh, so much more.