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The Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University is now accepting proposals for the conference “Tropical Exposures: Photography, Film, and Visual Culture in a Caribbean Frame,” which will take place March 10-12, 2016. Proposals are due by September 15, 2015. [Many thanks to Amanda Fleites for bringing this item to our attention.]

Description: Tropical Exposures welcomes proposals for papers that address any facet of Caribbean visual representation in photography, film, art, popular culture, and other media, as well as the interaction of word and image more generally. Scholars are also encouraged to present proposals that consider social and cultural shifts toward the increasing intermediality of representation in the Caribbean frame.

Papers may focus on one terrain, image-maker, or form of media, or employ comparative strategies. Papers may be in English, Spanish, French or Portuguese, though English is preferred. We anticipate creating an edited volume of expanded essays around the notion of Tropical Exposures, co-edited by Ana López and Marilyn Miller. We encourage participants to prepare abstracts and presentations with an eye to inclusion in a print publication. Papers might address some of the following tropics or questions in their myriad Caribbean contexts:

-Conditions of image production in the torrid zones
-Documentary film and the aims of full exposure
-Still life and the notion of static representation
-Visual literacy and lens-based scholarship
-Image and intellectual property
-Snapshots, clips, collages and other image fragments
-Icons of visual culture from Korda’s Che to Cabrera Infante’s Códac
-Ruins as sites of deterioration and inspiration
-Visual representation, race and post-race
-Caribbean images as ephemera
-Realisms, surrealisms, hyperrealisms
-Museums, biennales, and other sites of collective visual consumption
-Code-switching between media
-Virtual and interactive visual systems
-Word and Image studies in and on the Caribbean
-Facades
-Censorship and the Image
-Moving pictures and sentiment
-Patronage, connoisseurship, and institutional support
-Captions
-Image saturation and contamination
-Interiority and exteriority
-Fair use of the Caribbean image
-Tourism and other circuitous systems
-New languages and theories of visual technique and critique

Please send a proposal and 250-word abstract by September 15, 2015 to <ccsi@tulane.edu>, including the abstract as an attachment to the email. Please include the title of your paper, your name (and the names of any co-presenters), institutional affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and email address. We welcome pre-constituted panels. If submitting a panel for consideration, please include a top sheet with panel title, participant names and a brief abstract of the panel topic in addition to the individual paper proposals.

Notification of acceptance to the conference will be made by October 1, 2015.

Please see the Call for Papers page for more information.

For updated information on the conference, location and arrangements, visit the Tropical Exposures page on the Cuban & Caribbean Studies website.

[Photo above: “El Combate” by Ivette Romero.]

Posted by: ivetteromero | June 11, 2015

Children of the Moon: Albino Kuna Indians under Threat

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Reuters’ “The Wider Image” reports that large number of albino Kuna (or Guna) Indians—“the alabaster-skinned people born on this sun-scorched constellation of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama [who] have been venerated as the Children of the Moon or the Grandchildren of the Sun”—are under threat due to the tropical sun, “their mythic, celestial ancestor.”

Experts say there are hundreds of albinos among the 80,000 indigenous Guna, or Kuna, who live in Panama, nearly half on the mainland of the Guna Yala region and three dozen of its 365 palm-speckled islands. There has been no census but Pascale Jeambrun, founder of the local S.O.S Albino organisation, says one in every 150 Guna children born is albino.

At a global level, the rate is believed to be around 1 in 17,000.

In some countries like Tanzania, albinos can be persecuted and killed as a symbol of bad luck, or witchcraft. But the Guna treat their albino children with love and respect.

“As the ancestors say, it’s a blessing,” said Yira Boyd, mother of 6-year-old Guna albino girl Delyane Avila, pictured here drawing in her notebook, who lives on the island of Ailigandi. “If you look after them you can arrive at that special place in the heavens.”

Though not persecuted, Guna albinos face another threat: the tropical sun that can cause them eye problems and skin cancers.

More than half the region’s albinos suffer some form of skin cancer, said Jose Jons, a doctor on the island of Ustupu, compared with an incidence of less than 1 percent in the global population, according to World Health Organisation figures.

As modern medical knowledge about the illness has begun to penetrate the region’s atolls, reported cases of skin cancers have risen, said Rosa Espana, head of dermatology at the National Oncology Institute in Panama City.

She now sees about three Guna albinos a week in her clinic, about three times the number that came three years ago.

Doctors consulted by Reuters said the number of older albinos dying from skin cancer has been rising, but Panama’s health ministry does not keep a tally. [. . .]

For more information and photos, see http://widerimage.reuters.com/story/children-of-the-moon

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Well, the real title of this Daily Mail article is “Topless Grace Jones, 67, covers her age-defying figure in tribal body paint and a corset as she puts on a typically unique performance at Parklife festival,” but I don’t give a “flying fish” about whether she was topless or not. Grace Jones rules, regardless of whether she is 67 and still singing up a storm, whether she shows her painted chest in public, or wears war paint or a gold skull mask! She is simply amazing. Here are excerpts of the article:

She may have reached retirement age, but Grace Jones clearly has no intention of slowing down. The 67-year-old flamboyant singer wowed fans when she performed topless and covered in tribal body paint in front of a crowd of thousands at Parklife on Sunday.  Grace leapt energetically around the stage in a revealing black corset and a show-stopping grass skirt as she performed hits including Slave to the Rhythm and Nightclubbing.

The Jamaican-born star smothered her face, chest, arms and legs in white tribal body paint and capped her unusual look with a bright yellow head-piece. She added to her dramatic look with dark lipstick, bright-red eyeshadow and statement jewellery. Grace made her entrance on the main stage on the second day of the Manchester festival in a chilling gold skull mask which also featured a black feathered head piece.

The Pull Up to the Bumper singer initially covered her age-defying body in a floor-length black coat and stepped out in brown heels. As she belted out her tunes, Grace pushed the extravagant mask up over her forehead and started hula-hooping as a male backing dancers performed acrobatics on a pole. She had several outfit changes and was seen on stage in a brown fringed coat and a bright red snood.

The model and actress unashamedly showed off her muscular figure, which drew praise from concert goers, who took to social media to applaud the star.

One called the star ‘an inspiration’ and others praised her ability to break boundaries by not letting age define her performance. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3114473/Grace-Jones-67-performs-topless-Parklife.html

Sierra-de-Bahoruco

In the Dominican Republic, prominent environmentalist Eleuterio Martínez said Minister of the Environment Bautista Rojas “innocent” or unaware of the reality of the destruction occurring at Sierra de Baoruco National Park as the ecological organization Grupo Jaragua denounced recently. Martínez said that from the plains of Oviedo to the Haitian border, Dominican land barons hire local Dominicans and Haitians to “devastate” the supposedly “protected area.” Dominican Today reports:

[Martinez] said Rojas should visit the areas next to the towns of Aguas Negras, Mencia and Altagracia, “to see the level of devastation occurring at Sierra de Baoruco.”

“Rojas doesn’t understand the reach of the destruction including the fact that there’s a plantation of avocadoes for export,” Martinez said, calling what’s occurring in Sierra de Baoruco and Los Haitises National (northeast) parks a tragedy, which demands action by the Environment Ministry.

The author of several environmental works also challenged Rojas to explain how the new limits expand the surface area of Los Haitises, “when in fact it reduces the land area while increasing the marine border.”

Interviewed on Color Vision Channel 9, Martinez called the extraction of sand and gravel at quarries in the northern mountain range (Septentrional) near Santiago “regretful, because you can see how the bulldozers are perched atop the hills, devastating the surroundings of the peaks” of Diego de Ocampo mountain.

For full article, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2015/6/10/55348/Environmentalist-calls-Environment-chief-innocent

[Photo above from Caribbean Birding Trail blog at http://www.caribbeanbirdingtrail.org/sites/dominican-republic/]

Posted by: ivetteromero | June 10, 2015

Artmattan Films Present Films on the Afro-Cuban Experience

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Artmattan Films underlines that, today, the Cuban population is more than 80% of African descent. Therefore, the Afro-Cubans have been deeply affected by the years of hostility between the two countries and will be in the long run very much favored by the new relations between the US and Cuba. To learn more about the Afro-Cuban experience, they are offering a 2-disc DVD that explores the Afro-Cuban reality and experience: Afro-Cuba, Yesterday and Today. Films includes are La última rumba del Papá Montero [The Last Rumba of Papa Montero] by Octavio Cortázar, and Sara Gómez, an Afro-Cuban Filmmaker by Alessandra Muller.

THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO (Directed by 1992) Set in the 1930s, during one of the most severe dictatorship the country suffered, this is a film that introduces the viewer to the life and death of Papá Montero, a famous rumbero, womanizer and violent man who was hated and loved by many. The film is the portrait of a society that lives in the margins, the music, the dance, the women and the neighborhood all pertain to the lower echelons of the Havana society. The film also explores the connection between the characters in the film and their Orishas (Santeria).

SARA GOMEZ, AN AFRO-CUBAN FILMMAKER (Alessandra Muller, 2005) The film is about a woman who lived a very short and intense life during very important years of the Cuban Revolution. Sara Goméz was the first Afro-Cuban woman filmmaker that dedicated her career to study the Afro-Cuban Experience. The film gives a voice to different members of Sara’s family and friends. We gradually get to see segments of her work, hear descriptions of her personality and, most of all, learn about Cuban society and the Afro-Cuban during the first very intense years of the revolution.  Through the film, we are also exposed to Cuba in the early 2000. So we get to know about the racial and social tensions in contemporary Cuba, thus exploring one of Sara’s most important topics: race relations in Cuba under a new political regime.

For more information, see http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d68a26ccabe85d27fd88d5768&id=a5be220f1b&e=49b3dfed8b and www.AfricanDiasporaDVD.com

Posted by: lisaparavisini | June 10, 2015

Carolyn Cooper: Jamaican Art Disappears In Cuba

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This article by Carolyn Cooper appeared in Jamaica’s Gleaner on May 31st.

Last Sunday, on my way home from Havana, I ran into Ebony Patterson at the airport. She was one of the international artists invited to exhibit in the Havana Biennial. And the only Jamaican! On Saturday afternoon, I had happily wandered around Old Havana with my sister, Donnette, and our friend, Ifeona, trying to find Ebony’s three installations.

We managed to track down one of them. It was a typically complex image, both alarming and strangely beautiful: A mutilated male body lying in a bed of flowers. Dread reality transformed by the artist into a seemingly pretty picture. The body was carefully camouflaged, dressed in flowers that blended with the background.

The underwear was visible, bearing the K-Mart/Sears brand, Joe Boxer.

This is how the brand is described on its website: “Joe Boxer was founded in 1985, with the very simple idea of taking the most basic elements in men’s clothing and remaking it to reflect humour, fashion and popular trends. Because the product is based around the idea of having fun, it gives consumers a chance to identify with, and be a part of the brand.”

Ebony takes all the fun out of Joe Boxer. On the waistband of the underwear, she subversively inserts the word ‘Joeker’ between the repeated brand name. The joke is quite serious. Ebony explained that the work is one of a series focusing on murder, masculinity and consumerism. There are signs of other trendy accessories: fashionable sunglasses and mismatched shoes.

I don’t suppose the owners of the Joe Boxer brand would be too pleased with Ebony’s deadly refashioning of the product line. But they can’t determine exactly how consumers “identify with” their brand. Artistic licence permits Ebony to turn Joe Boxer into a vulnerable male model for so many youth who end up dead, just trying to have some sort of fun.

WHOSE IDEA AND EXPERIENCE?

The theme of this year’s Havana Biennial is ‘Between the Idea and the Experience’. And the curators took the decision to move some of the art out of conventional exhibition spaces into the street. They wanted people to experience art as they were going about their everyday business. Along the busy Malecon, the seawall that protects Havana, installations kept popping up.

Right outside our hotel there was a grouping of beautiful rocking chairs, titled ‘Balance Cubano’. But some of the chairs were joined in such a way that you couldn’t actually sit in them. As the artist, Inti Hernandez, put it in the exhibition guide, “Furniture that could very well comfort a person and interact with the surrounding community becomes a rigid and unpleasant object.”

I must confess I thought the installation a waste of perfectly functional furniture. But Hernandez, who lives and works between Cuba and the Netherlands, wanted to make an intriguing point about a society in transition: “I dedicate these works to Cuba and its present interesting situation, aware of the many opportunities and yet also faced with challenges.”

One of Ebony’s pieces was installed on the Malecon. On Sunday morning, when she went to photograph it, she was amused to see that it had disappeared. She did admit that when she was installing it she had overheard some entertaining reviews from onlookers. They said the work would make excellent bedspreads and curtains. Not the design; the actual object! They, obviously, didn’t see the dead body. Only the flowers.

The curators’ rather ambitious concept of the biennial seems to be a far cry from the basic needs of ordinary Cubans. There appears to be a big gap between the curators’ ‘idea’ and the people’s ‘experience’. Art taken out of the ‘protected’ space of the gallery and put on the street for mass consumption assumes new functions.

THE ART OF DEAD BODIES

So it looks as if somebody decided that Ebony’s installation, like those rocking chairs, was a waste of useful material and simply repurposed it. And that’s why the installation disappeared. The fate of Ebony’s artwork made me think about the value and cost of art in societies like ours where people are literally dying of hunger. How do we justify the seeming excess that is art? Does public art, for example, make the life of the poor more bearable? Or is it a luxury we simply cannot afford?

In countries with erratic governance structures, ‘disappearance’ is often a destabilising fact of life. Just think of those 43 male students in Mexico who disappeared last September on their way to protest at a conference put on by the wife of the mayor of Iguala. Disappearance is often a code word for murder, plain and simple. The victim is abducted, often tortured, then killed and the body disposed of so there is no evidence.

The disappearance of art is clearly not comparable. Quite the contrary! Unlike so many human beings, the disappeared object is certainly not violated. It is preserved because it is highly valued. So somebody, somewhere in Havana, is enjoying Ebony’s public installation in private. Perhaps, it hasn’t been turned into home furnishings. It may have been captured by a collector who knows that it’s really ‘art’, meant for a wall.

I suppose we won’t ever know the fate of Ebony’s installation. We can only be philosophical about its disappearance. Ebony’s startling artwork about dead bodies ends up like a corpse in an unmarked grave. That’s the terrifying appeal of Jamaican culture.

– Carolyn Cooper is a teacher of English language and literature. Visit her bilingual blog at http://carolynjoycooper.wordpress.com.

For the original report go to http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20150531/jamaican-art-disappears-cuba

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Author and Macalester College professor Marlon James is in cahoots with television behemoth HBO. Or at least they’re working on turning James’s third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, into one of their next projects, Tatiana Craine reports for City Pages.

See also: Marlon James Talks About Trying to Break into Prince’s House on Late Night with Seth Meyers

This year’s Best Local Author winner will be working on an adaptation of A Brief History with screenwriter and producer Eric Roth. Roth is most known for his work on the Academy Award-winning screenplay for Forrest Gump, along with Ali,The Insider, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (He’s also an executive producer on Netflix’s insanely popularHouse of Cards.) According to the Star Tribune, James will be doing his own adaptation of the work with guidance from Roth.

A Brief History was released in fall 2014 to international acclaim, and it felt like only a matter of time before a studio noticed how well James’s written work would play out visually. But with dozens of characters in the sprawling 700-page book, the best way for this novel to be translated to the screen might actually be through having James do it himself. We’re looking forward to seeing where this partnership winds up.

For the original report go to http://news.citypages.com/arts/marlon-jamess-a-brief-history-of-seven-killings-in-development-at-hbo-6583938

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This article by Kathleen Burge appeared in The Boston Globe.

As a young child, Danielle Legros Georges learned that life could stop in one place, and begin again thousands of miles away. She was born in Haiti but her family left for Zaire, political exiles from their homeland. They moved again, to Boston, when she was 6, joining some of the city’s early Haitian immigrants in Mattapan.

“I was constantly trying to make sense of things,” she said.

The small community of Haitians in Boston exposed their children to the arts — theatre and dance and painting — of their home country. Somewhere Legros Georges fell in love with poetry and she published her first creative piece in the Emerson College literary journal. Many of her poems describe her native country, which she visits regularly.

This fall, Legros Georges was chosen as Boston’s second poet laureate, following Sam Cornish, who won the position in 2008. She plans to use it to bring poetry to diverse groups in the city, capitalizing on the talent she learned young: traveling between different communities.

“She’s able to move in many worlds and very successfully,” said Priscilla Sanville, who teaches with Legros Georges in the creative arts department at Lesley University. “She can go into a Haitian community and speak Creole or speak French. But I think it’s a deeper connection as a black woman in US society and as a scholar. She can relate to whomever she’s with.”

Legros Georges doesn’t want to seem too proper or unapproachable in her new job as poet laureate. She calls herself “the P.L.’’

“It’s slightly humorous,” she says, smiling. “It sounds less formal.”

She applied for the position, which pays $2,000 a year, with a proposal to take poetry to the city’s oldest and youngest residents: adults in nursing homes and children.

She has experience with both. Legros Georges’s mother, who died last year, had lived in a nursing home, and Legros Georges appreciated the arts programming in her mother’s last years. She has worked with children through Troubadour, the program that brings arts to schoolchildren, and is continuing to work with the group as poet laureate.

“It’s who she is and how she wants to share the art form,” Sanville said. “She has grown up in Boston and is part of the city. This is her city.”

She has asked threeLesley colleagues — MaryAnn Cappiello, Erika Thulin Dawes, and Grace Enriquez — to recommend poetry books for children and young adults. The list will appear in some branches of the Boston Public Library this summer. She plans to hold office hours in some branches, where anyone can bring in their own poetry for her to read and discuss.

But mostly, she wants people to recognize that poetry isn’t frightening.

“Some people love poetry and use poetry and are comfortable with poetry,” Legros Georges said. “But there are those for whom poetry may be a giant living in the hills. It’s out there. Maybe they have been figuratively whipped by a pedantic, Alexandrian-sonnet-loving English instructor.”

One way to draw in the poetry-averse, she said, is to remind them that they already know poetry. Most of us first hear poems in nursery rhymes when we are children. She quotes from memory the beginning of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem “Jabberwocky:”

“  ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe. . . ”

“I think that my role as poet laureate is to demystify poetry for people who may not know quite what to think about it,” she said.

For her, poems do not exist only on paper: They are meant to be spoken as poems originally were. She doesn’t belong to the low-intonation school of reading, where poets utter their lines as if they were reciting the ingredients in a Twinkie.

Legros Georges delivers her poems as if each one were a drama, unfolding line by line. At Lesley recently she read her 135-word poem, “Intersection.” The poem uses three lines, changing only slightly, to describe the deadly 2010 Haiti earthquake. Legros Georges read: “The earth shook. A portal opened. / I walked through it” — in rhythm.

Her early life in Boston felt temporary, poised to change. “We were considered in exile,” she said. “My family moved here as a result of politics in Haiti. There was the expectation that we would somehow return.”

”Some people love poetry and use poetry and are comfortable with poetry. But there are those for whom poetry may be a giant living in the hills. It’s out there,” said Danielle Legros Georges.

”Some people love poetry and use poetry and are comfortable with poetry. But there are those for whom poetry may be a giant living in the hills. It’s out there,” said Danielle Legros Georges.

Her family was filled with artists. Her father was an architect and engineer who taught his children to draw and experiment. Her mother worked at the Federal Reserve Bank and made elaborate cakes at home. Her grandmother created one of Legros Georges’s favorite artworks: a white gabardine skirt with a crescent-shaped pocket, covered with navy, star-shaped buttons.

All three of Legros Georges’s brothers ended up in creative fields: one is a musician, one a clothing designer for extreme sports, the third, an architect and photographer.

She graduated from Emerson, where she studied communications, and got master’s degree in English and creative writing from New York University. In between, she was part of the Dark Room Collective, a community of black writers. The group was founded in 1988 by poets Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange, who hosted a salon at their Cambridge house.

The group formed an important part of her education. Poet and playwright Derek Walcott, novelist Terry McMillan, and poet Yusef Komunyakaa were invited guests. “It was a great sort of scene,” she said.

Legros Georges is private about her own life. She rarely writes about herself, and in her new role, she doesn’t plan to focus on herself.

“This is not a confessional poet,” said Aafa Michael Weaver , a poet and Simmons College professor. “She doesn’t like that. She likes to look outside herself at the larger world.”

Weaver has known Legros Georges since 1999, when he come to Boston from Rutgers in New Jersey. Since Boston’s black community has become increasingly international, he said, Legros Georges’s background, including recent trips to Africa, will benefit everyone.

After the earthquake Legros Georges went there to visit family, and contributed writing to support relief efforts. “She knows the intricacies and complexities of Haitian culture and politics as well,” Weaver said. “She knows where to go, who to talk to.”

During media coverage of the disaster, Legros Georges grew weary of hearing Haiti described as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. She wrote a poem that Bill Moyers included on his PBS show, “Bill Moyers Journal.” The poem began: You should be called beacon, and flame, / almond and bougainvillea, garden / and green mountain, villa and hut, / little girl with red ribbons in her hair, / books-under-arm, charmed by the light / of morning.”

For the original report go to https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2015/06/08/from-haiti-boston-danielle-legros-georges-boston-new-poet-laureate-wants-make-poetry-comfortable-for-everyone/tSlbfvdUWVwQ0NDV8mQO7K/story.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | June 10, 2015

Anti-Haitianismo: A Threat To Peace In the Caribbean

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This article by Max A. Joseph Jr. appeared in The Haitian Times. Follow the link below for the original report.

It is a known fact that anti-Haitianismo, whose main purpose is the obliteration of Haitian influence in the Dominican Republic, has been the official policy of that country since its inception on February 27,1844. This absurd philosophy stems from the notion that the DR’s  “European heritage” must be protected by any means from the horde of dark-skinned Africans (read Haitians) living on the western side of the island of Hispaniola, which both nations share, albeit unequally as a result of colonialism and present-day neo-colonialism. So pervasive is the philosophy that none other than the Roman Catholic Cardinal Nicolá de Jesús López Rodriguez, who currently holds the title of “Primate of the Americas,” is a fanatical believer. His public declarations on the issue usually leave many Catholics befuddled. Out of this bizarre situation, recurring tragedies, as you might expect, have become a mainstay in the relations between the two countries.

The 1937 massacre of approximately 30,000 Haitians, who found themselves on the wrong side of the border following the 1929 Borno-Velasquez pact, notwithstanding, systemic violence against Haitians in the DR have continued unabated and taken a new sense of urgency for the Dominicans. The deafening silence of the United Nations in the face of these ongoing atrocities committed against a member of its community of nations is certainly a primary factor in the arrogance of the Dominicans. Interestingly enough, the perpetrators are playing victims and persisting in believing that a global conspiracy to unite the island under Haitian domination exists and must be fought without ambiguity. This neoDuartiano-induced paranoia is promoting hatred and threatening the stability of the whole Caribbean region, while no one seems to care.

As a columnist and concerned Haitian, I have over the years written a few articles on the state of the thorny relationship existing between Haiti and the DR, and have tried to be as objective as my knowledge of the subject allows. I know that any of my arguments would not be valid without the counterarguments of the other side. The anticipated counterarguments from the other side however have not only overlooked the relevant subject-matter but came in the form of demonizing or lecturing Haitians on their presumed failings that the international community has been propagating as the “factual” reasons behind Haiti’s torments.

In fairness, the comments that I received from many Dominican readers, some of them preposterous and vitriolic, never rose to the level of counterarguments. They were emotional reactions of seemingly misguided Dominican patriots that refuse to accept the notion that the future of both nations is forever intertwined by fate and geography, not by a desire of some Haitians to become Dominicans, as one commentator boldly asserted. “You killed off your colonizers we partnered with ours. No country in the western hemisphere has practiced more racial killings and executions than Haiti. Have you read your history” argued another commentator.

Well, these comments only validate my argument that anti-Haitianismo is indeed the raison d’être of the Dominicans. This vicious philosophy undoubtedly represents a clear and actual danger to our existence as a nation. It is a threat that we simply cannot afford to ignore. The last time a nation (Germany) became so obsessed with a particular ethnic group (the Jews) it ultimately committed an atrocity (the Holocaust) of biblical proportion. As was the case with the Jews in the mid-20th century Europe, no one would come to our rescue until the stated objective of the neo-Duartianos is almost completed.

Like any other nation on earth, the DR has the right to protect its cultural identity and decide who is actually a Dominican. However the hundreds of thousands of stateless descendants of the unfortunate Haitians who were victimized by an arbitrary act of neo-colonialism in 1929 must be allowed to claim citizenship in the DR, if they so choose. Their ethnicity may be Haitian but they are not Haitian citizens, as the neo-Duartianos maintain, because they share little in common with their ethnic kinfolk on the western side of the border, besides the color of their skin. From a legal viewpoint, they can claim Haitian nationality but should not be forced to relinquish a birthright that the Dominicans are now claiming never existed in the first place, which is inconsistent with the historical facts.

Are the Dominicans trying to establish their credential as a rightful member of the Caucasian-dominated international elite or engaging in retributive justice on behalf of the colonizers that we (Haitians) supposedly killed off? We all know that the ethnic makeup of the DR (85 percent of Dominicans are of African ancestry) disqualifies it from being a member of the ruling international elite. However, its embrace of neo-colonialism and retributive justice against Haitians would certainly earn it some kudos among the group.

The keepers of peace and security in this world should know the institutionalized anti-Haitianismo which has become embedded in the Dominican psyche will inevitably produce an outcome that benefits no one. In this interdependent world, racial and cultural homogeneity is a thing of the past that has been steadily replaced by ethnic and racial diversity which, in itself, negates the validity of the neo-Duartiano philosophy. The Haitian protectorate over the DR (1822-44), which forms the basis of the neo-Duartianos’ irrational philosophy, was a justifiable reaction to colonialism not a desire to subjugate our neighbor. Apparently, it created a misunderstanding that subsists to this day.

For the original report go to http://haitiantimes.com/anti-haitianismo-a-threat-to-peace-in-the-caribbean-11598/

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Cuban-Spanish novelist Leonardo Padura was awarded on Wednesday with the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for literature, The Latin American Herald Tribune reports.

Padura gained international recognition for his series of detective novels featuring the protagonist gumshoe Mario Conde.

A total of 27 figures from 18 countries were nominated for this year’s award in the literary category, but the jury gave Padura the final vote against prominent Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber, known by his pen name Adonis, and bestselling Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.

Padura is the second Cuban ever to win the Princess of Asturias Award as an individual in any category since its inception 36 years ago, as Cuban athlete Javier Sotomayor won the 1993 prize for sports, while in 2000 the Cuban Language Academy won the award for concord.

Padura, born in Havana in 1955 and one of Cuba’s most internationally renowned novelists, has also worked as a critic, journalist and scenarist, while he obtained Spanish citizenship in 2011.

The author has achieved great success through his series about detective Conde, including “Adios Hemingway” (Goodbye Hemingway), “La Neblina del Ayer” (Havana Fever), and “La Cola de la Serpiente” (The Snake’s Tail).

The series was translated into several languages and won many awards, while Padura’s last work was published in 2013, “Herejes” (Heretics).

This year marks the first time the prize, which bears the name of the heir to the throne, has been called the “Princess” of Asturias Award, as it was changed from “Prince” when Princess Leonor’s father, King Felipe VI, ascended the throne last year.

The Princess of Asturias Awards are a series of annual prizes awarded in Spain by the Princess of Asturias Foundation in eight categories: arts, communication and humanities, international cooperation, literature, social sciences, sports, technical and scientific research, and concord.

Each winner receives a prize of 50,000 euros (roughly $56,000) and a replica statuette designed by the late Spanish sculptor Joan Miró.

For the original report go to http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2390075&CategoryId=13003

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