Aimé Césaire: A Centenary Celebration
At the French Institute,
17 Queensberry Place,
24th June, 2013
Aimé Césaire, the great poet, politician and playwright, was born in Martinique on 26th June, 1913.
He has been hailed as the leading francophone poet of the twentieth century and one of the prophets of negritude – the 1930s black consciousness movement whose steadfast aim was to ‘decolonise the mind’ and reassert pride in the African cultural values of the diaspora.
Césaire, who died in 2008, was an intellectual of great discernment and eloquence; an artist of the avant-garde who championed non-Western cultural forms. His influence upon post-colonial theatre and discourse is abiding.
An international and inter-disciplinary colloquium on Monday 24th June (9.30am-6pm) will honour and explore Aimé Césaire’s life, work and legacy. Selections of his poetry and plays will be recited and performed, both in English and French.
Confirmed speakers include: Professors Richard and Sally Price (College of William and Mary, Virginia), Charles Forsdick (Liverpool), Roger Little (Trinity College, Dublin), Romuald Fonkoua (Sorbonne, Paris)
Registration fee: £20
Space limited. Advance registration required by 17th June.
To register and for further information, please contact the organiser:
Dr Philip Crispin, University of Hull, email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Aimé Césaire: A Centenary Celebration
Our thanks to Peter Jordens for sending this item.
Octavio Borges Pérez of the Agencia Cubana de Noticias (AIN) reports that Ertugrul Onalp, lawyer and professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Ankara, Turkey, is for the first time translating the poetry of José Martí into Turkish for publication in his country.
Onalp, who has a vast number of scholarly publications to his name, including the bilingual Poemas [Poems], told AIN that from a young age he has been interested in human beings such as Martí and Kemal Ataturk – national heroes of Cuba and Turkey respectively – who devote a lifetime to an ideal.
He is teaching Turkish language classes at the University of La Habana for a period of six months as part of an agreement with the University of Ankara. The little free time he has is dedicated to translating the poetry of Marti.
For the full article (in Spanish), go to http://www.ain.cu/2013/mayo/19ya-hispanista_traduce_poesia_marti.htm.
Have you seen this fish? Well, this post does not directly concern the Caribbean, but it is a desperate appeal and there are many Caribbean public and private aquariums that could hold a female Mangarahara–and extinctions are my obsession.
A good sense of humour may not be essential for two male fish at ZSL London Zoo who are searching for romance in a bid to save their species—as Sarah Shaffi reports in this article for London24.com.
The zoo has today launched a worldwide appeal to find a female mate for the last remaining males in the critically endangered Mangarahara cichlid (Ptychochromis Insolitus) fish.
The species is believed to be extinct in the wild, due to the introduction of dams drying up its habitat of the Mangarahara River in Madagascar, and two of the last known individuals – both males – are residing in ZSL London Zoo’s Aquarium.
Brian Zimmerman, curator of the Aquarium at London Zoo, along with colleagues at Zurich Zoo in Switzerland set about trying to find other Mangaraharan cichlids in zoos around the world, but had no luck finding surviving females.
An appeal has been launched today for private aquarium owners, fish collectors, and hobbyists to come forward if they have or know of any females in existence, so that a vital conservation breeding programme can be started for the species.
Launching the appeal, Mr Zimmerman said: “The Mangarahara cichlid is shockingly and devastatingly facing extinction; its wild habitat no longer exists and as far as we can tell, only three males remain of this entire species.
“It might be too late for their wild counterparts, but if we can find a female, it’s not too late for the species. Here at ZSL London Zoo we have two healthy males, as well as the facilities and expertise to make a real difference.
“We are urgently appealing to anyone who owns or knows someone who may own these critically endangered fish, which are silver in colour with an orange-tipped tail, so that we can start a breeding programme here at the Zoo to bring them back from the brink of extinction.”
Anyone with information about the cichlids can email the team at email@example.com.
For the original report go to http://www.london24.com/news/london_zoo_searching_for_female_fish_to_help_save_critically_endangered_species_1_2188277
A storm is brewing in Guyana’s Caribbean Press. It has prompted its director, David Dabydeen, to write an angry letter to the editors of the Stabroek News. Links to the letters to which he is responding can be found below.
Mr Ruel Johnson can bark and snarl as much as he likes, but doggerel, much less ‘puppyrel,’ will not be published by the Caribbean Press. And, sorry to say, most of the poetry sent to me by resident Guyanese writers is doggerel or puppyrel. The Press can set up all the committees it likes and issue grand policy statements, but dross is dross is unpublishable dross. Mr Johnson talks his usual silliness about the Press’ closeness to Freedom House but the Press will be publishing the parliamentary speeches of all of Guyana’s presidents. He states that the Press has not published Martin Carter. It has. Another of Mr Johnson’s misrepresentations.
And why has Mr Johnson not submitted anything to the Press for consideration, though I have asked him many times? Is it because, deep down, he knows he has not written anything of quality for many years? Has any other Caribbean or Guyanese Press published his work? Although I found his dismissal of Wilson Harris to be arrogant and silly, I bought Ruel Johnson a laptop out of my own pocket, and sat with him for a couple of hours offering him detailed editorial advice on how to improve his writing. He has not produced anything of merit, out of laziness. I helped obtain a modest sum from Unesco to employ him as a workshop leader; he turned up late for his workshop and still has not written up the required report. Incompetence plus laziness. Nothing particular to Mr Johnson, since I can say the same for myself on a few occasions, except he has these traits in excess.
The Press will not publish lazy and incompetent work. Unfortunately Guyana at present only has a small handful of consistent writers of quality (I am thinking of creative writers like Rupert Roopnaraine and Paloma Mohammed). Hence in the 25 years of the Guyana Prize, only one resident Guyanese has ever won the Fiction Prize, and only two the First Book of Fiction. One resident Guyanese won the First Book of Poetry prize. Mr Johnson can bark and snarl at the judges (all distinguished writers /scholars from Guyana, the Caribbean, North America, Britain) but the fact remains that the writing coming out of Guyana, with notable exceptions, is poig-nantly poor. Of course the government will be barked and snarled at, but incompetence and laziness on the part of those who want to be published must be acknowledged, for the sake of honesty. Most of the submissions that come my way are not writing, but typing. It was a real struggle getting sufficient poetry for the forthcoming Anthology of Contemporary Guyanese Poetry (resident Guyanese), and in the end the Press had to go on the basis of promise rather than achievement. Fortunately, two, perhaps three, of the poets were good, so their work will carry the Anthology. Instead of making an effort to learn how to write (for example, by reading, re- reading and re-reading distinguished writers like Mittelholzer, Martin Carter, Sir Wilson Harris, and so many others), most of the Guyanese would-be or self-styled writers I encounter have read little. This includes Mr Barrington Braithwaite, whose only distinction is that he nearly shares a surname with one of the Caribbean’s best poets, the legendary Kamau Brathwaite. I would advise Mr Braithwaite to start reading Kamau’s Arrivants to see how it’s done.
To make books available free of cost to the people of Guyana, especially the young, the Press has reprinted the work of Mittelholzer, Wilson Harris, Denis Williams, Jan Carew and others. Of the 60 titles published or about to be published so far, an increasing amount is by winners of the Guyana Prize (Elly Niland, Maggie Harris, Mark McWatt, Ian McDonald, Cyril Dabydeen, David Dabydeen, Fred D’Aguiar) or by writers like Sasenaraine Persaud who has been shortlisted on every occasion for the Guyana Prize. They are in the ‘Classics’ series because they are modern Classics (eg, Penguin and other presses have modern Classics). The quality of the Caribbean Press speaks for itself: dozens of international scholars published, and some of the best creative writers produced by Guyana. That I have longstanding friendships with almost all the living writers (two of whom, happily, are family and Guyana prizewinners) has helped to get their permission to re-publish their works. Almost all the writers waive royalties and agree for 400 copies of their books to be given freely to Guyana’s libraries; an act of charity and a concern for the young readers in Guyana. Some have even put their work on the Press’s website for free downloading: http://www.caribbeanpress.org. So, again, Ruel Johnson is being devious in accusations of bias.
Finally, let me repeat my happiness in the historic publication of the first book by a Guyanese child, Ashley Anthony.
It showed such promise as well as true quality, and I hope other children, reading it, will be inspired to write. Ruel Johnson is consistently lacking in magnanimity in his criticisms of this young girl. What does it matter who her parents are? It is the quality of her writing that matters. It would be a crime to stifle young talent.
Once more, let me invite submissions as well as offers to help the Press in whatever capacity to d.dabydeen@ yahoo.com And please, someone, offer to replace me as soon as possible, so I can do my own writing (and please remember, if I can quote from Slave Song, that the wuk na get pay, is for a-we country). And, please, I hope Mr Johnson will reply to this letter since I enjoy jousting with him in print as much as I have enjoyed liming with him in disreputable bars whenever I am in Guyana.
Yours faithfully, David Dabydeen
You can see the letters hat occasioned the outburst here:
The real issue is how the Caribbean Press functions (May 20, 2013)
Bernard Richards was an accomplished Toronto painter who worked full-time at his art. But in 2002, at the age of 55, something happened that could have ended his career. The native of Dominica (a small Caribbean island) had a stroke, one that left his right side paralyzed and silenced his voice. The stroke was a shock. Bernard’s wife, Andrea, came home from work one evening to find Bernard lying motionless on their bed. “He couldn’t move or say anything,” says Andrea. It never crossed my mind that he had had a stroke. But then I realized something was very wrong and I called 9-1-1.
In the hospital, doctors told Andrea that Bernard would never recover. Because of the paralysis, he couldn’t walk, he had lost the use of his right hand his painting hand and he was also unable to use and understand language. But Andrea persisted, feeling encouraged after reading brochures from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. She enrolled Bernard in a stroke rehabilitation program at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, with the hope that he would be able to relearn some of the skills he had lost. Andrea’s hope and determination paid off.
Today, Bernard has regained many life skills, including the ability to walk. And although his speech has been permanently affected, one thing hasn’t changed: he can still paint. When his friends gave him an easel and painting supplies for his birthday a few years ago, he cried and then taught himself how to paint with his left hand. Six months after Bernard started painting in earnest, he held his first show, which was a great success with more than 20 paintings sold. His style of painting has changed; now it is softer, more classical and less angry.
These days, he creates beautiful tropical scenery, using oils and watercolours. He was always very talkative, Andrea points out. He loved to debate and was well read. Now, he communicates through his colourful paintings of his homeland. “He is very independent,” she adds, explaining that after his stroke, his need to be alive was very strong. He has a great joie de vivre. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have recovered from the stroke.
Bernard and Andrea have had to make radical changes to their lifestyle. Before his stroke, the couple traveled a lot, but they haven’t made any trips in six years. However, they are hoping to visit Bernard’s daughter and two grandchildren in France this year.
February was Heart Month. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. Every 10 minutes in Canada, someone has a stroke; more than 50,000 strokes occur every year. Continual research is needed to help protect the lives of Canadians. Volunteers in Ontario raised more than $4 million through door-to-door canvassing during this past Heart Month. The work of the Heart and Stroke Foundation has paid off for Bernard. He’s a miracle, says Andrea.
For the original report go to http://www.blogto.com/events/76239
Fuller, also a keen cricketer who played at domestic level for 20 years, says he wrote Caribbean lives-Brian Lara during the six years he lived in Lara’s homeland of Trinidad and Tobago.
Lara, who retired in 2008, holds the world record scores in Test cricket (400 not out), first-class cricket (501 not out) and the most runs in a test match over (28).
“I wanted to write about Lara’s career from the Caribbean perspective, as that had never been done before,” said Fuller.
“Living in the Caribbean gave me the time and opportunity to access people who were close to him at every stage of his life and career: coaches, teachers”.
Fuller has been a journalist for 13 years and was named the Newspaper Society’s UK Young Journalist of The Year in 2002.
He now lives in Tauranga, New Zealand, where he is a senior writer at the Bay of Plenty Times.
“I also wanted to transmit that sense of vibrancy and fun which is so much a part of the Trinidadian culture; a culture which helped shape one of the greatest batsmen the world has ever seen,” said Fuller.
“Being a cricket fanatic of limited ability, writing a book was also the only way my name would ever be mentioned in the same breath as Brian Lara’s.”
Caribbean Lives: Brian Lara, published by Macmillan, is available on Amazon from May 31.
For the original report go to http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/sports/713523.html#ixzz2Ty2aG2P6
Promotion for the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival launched Tuesday as organizers announced some changes to the annual three-week celebration of Caribbean culture to be held July 9 to Aug. 4.
Fans of the masquerader’s elaborate outfits won’t be able to get quite as up-close and personal this year as they have earlier in the carnival’s 46-year history.
Only media, security, masqueraders and other select groups will be given free wristbands allowing direct access to the parade route. Spectators will have to stay behind fences and view the show from there.
Christopher Alexander, the carnival’s chief administrative officer, explained that people simply coming to see the parade couldn’t do so easily because there were too many people in the line of sight.
“This year we’re trying to keep the route free of spectators,” Alexander said, noting the change will allow people to get a clearer look at the action.
Mannequins wearing bright, feathered costumes were set up near the stage at the Ontario Science Centre, where sponsors and supporters spoke and the Toronto All Stars Steel Orchestra performed.
Christine Williams, Scotiabank’s vice president for Toronto East, announced that that bank is renewing its sponsorship of the festival formerly known as Caribana.
“In 2008, we became title sponsor of the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival — the largest North American Caribbean festival of its kind. I’m proud to say that once again, Scotiabank has extended our partnership for another three years,” Williams said.
Alexander also announced several tweaks to the festival. There won’t be a stage in Exhibition Place, as there was last year, and the route of the Aug. 3 Grand Parade will start closer to the Queen Elizabeth building because of construction on the grounds.
From there, the route will continue along Princes’ Blvd., Newfoundland Dr. and Lake Shore Blvd.
And added attraction this year is a children’s play area and amusement rides for kids.
“It’s nicer this year,” Alexander said of the changes. “We’ve expanded the gated area of Exhibition Place, so we’ll be using the entire grounds. That’s a big change and I think people will be able to see more of what’s going on,” he said.
Alexander said he doesn’t have figures for 2012 but said the festival has been estimated in past years to have an economic impact on the city of about $400 million.
For the original report go to http://metronews.ca/news/toronto/679573/2013-scotiabank-toronto-caribbean-carnival-gears-up-for-summer-celebration/
As Caribbean communities grapple with the entwined challenges of climate change and food security, modern technologies offer hope that the region’s stagnating agricultural sector can be made more profitable, as Desmond Brown reports in this article for IPS. It features the work of our good friend Kevin Meehan at UCF.
For the past six years, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has teamed up with the St. Kitts-based Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) to implement a climate change education project for sustainable development in the region.
The institutions are reporting “tremendous success” using hydroponics, organoponics and hybrid-ponics, techniques that they insist are far more cost-effective.
“Climate change affects us all and one of the areas that we are most vulnerable is in the field of food security, namely agriculture. So my task as part of this team was to develop models to test various scenarios to see which one would be the most significant,” Stuart La Place, a lecturer at CFBC told IPS.
“Strawberries don’t usually grow in these climates but we have managed to grow them successfully and we are still growing them at the moment,” he said.
Hydroponics is a technique used to grow plants without soil, instead using mineral nutrient solutions in water.
The organoponics technique involves using a single layer of soil, sand, manure and potting soil for planting vegetables. La Place noted “this is being implemented in St. Kitts on a large scale at the moment.”
Hybridponics, he explained, “is a scenario we created at the college that lends itself to starting the initial growing techniques in hydro and then transplanting into the organo beds and we have had significant results.”
Former CFBC student Candace Richards agrees these methods are more cost-effective and profitable than traditional agriculture.
Noting that for a 20 by 20-foot plot, the hydroponic system costs 2,000 dollars to set up and the organoponics system 3,703 dollars, she said it’s “a worthy investment” since the estimated annual profits are in the region of 66,660 dollars after all costs are deducted. In comparison, a plot of the same size devoted to traditional agriculture produces approximately 740 dollars per month profit.
“This is better than traditional agriculture that requires more land space, is more labour intensive and presents challenges that can yield fewer crops,” Richards told IPS, pointing to the added advantage of having crops all year round rather than on a seasonal basis under traditional agriculture.
Using the organoponics method, it takes 45 days to get lettuce from seed to maturity, using 9.1 gallons of water; while with hydroponics, from a seed the lettuce takes 25 days to mature and uses significantly less water because it’s in a circulation system. The water keeps moving around and the only way out of that system is through the plant.
Growing lettuce the traditional way – planting in the ground – the growth cycle from a seed to maturity is 55 days and uses 11.3 gallons of water for a single plant from a dripper that delivers 50 milliletres per minute.
Each summer a group of UCF students visit St. Kitts and Nevis through the President’s Scholars programme at UCF to work with students at faculty at CFBC.
Charlene Kormondy was among 11 UCF students who travelled to St. Kitts and Nevis in 2012 under the programme.
“I was part of the agro technology team and our product was to build a shade house now known as the CFBC plant research facility,” she told IPS.
“When we got to St. Kitts we worked alongside students from St. Kitts and Nevis, CFBC professors and members of the local community to construct the shade house.
“It’s an example of action learning, implanting something that is a solution to a problem in the community and also generating knowledge about how to build these shade house systems and how to make agriculture more sustainable in the face of climate change, which you know could have temperature and precipitation impacts which could adversely affect crop production,” she said.
Now that the facility is up and running, Kormondy said it provides many tangible benefits to the community, including health benefits because the plants and vegetables grown there are substitutes for less healthy foods.
She said it can also lead to greater independence from foreign imports, and even gender equality.
“Women and children are the ones who are most vulnerable to climate-related disasters and socio-economic impacts, and this kind of agricultural system allows women to participate in agriculture but also have enough energy to devote to their role as primary caregivers and that’s because the growth of these plants are more efficient,” Kormondy said.
Another UCF student, Jessica Gottsleben, noted that a rise in tourism has led the economy and lucrative jobs to be less focused on agriculture, and food imports now exceed exports by a factor of four to one.
“Food supply is vulnerable from these climate-related disruptions,” she noted, adding that in future years the programme will seek to create local leaders from the youth being brought into the agricultural and business communities to increase self-sufficiency and resilience.
“The partnership has the potential to create jobs in existing sectors of agriculture and also create innovation in fostering jobs in areas such as agro tourism, agro processing, marketing, collecting evidence-based social data,” Gottsleben told IPS.
Sixteen CFBC students are currently registered in the programme and are trained in building the hydroponic system.
But UCF Professor Dr. Kevin Meehan said they are getting the wider community involved through what’s known as ‘The Take Five Programme’ that was implemented in February last year.
“We used a publicity campaign in print and electronic media to invite the general public as well as CFBC faculty to come to the campus to bring five containers (hence the name take five) and we would drill drainage holes in the containers, fill them with nutrient rich potting soil and then put in seedlings and then they would take those home to cultivate those buckets.”
Some 52 participants showed up over the course of three days at the CFBC campus.
“A second round of ‘Take Five’ was driven by the students and they adapted it as an outreach competition to the primary schools throughout the Federation,” Meehan said.
With funding from the Organisation of American States under the Special Multilateral Fund of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development, Dr. Meehan said they are now getting ready to implement the programme in Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana and at two separate locations in Haiti.
The UCF and CFBC representatives participated in a two-day UNESCO Sub-Regional Meeting on the environment and climate in Nevis on May 15 and 16.
It was organised by UNESCO in collaboration with the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission on UNESCO and the Nevis Island Administration to support national adaptation policies to climate change in the Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean.
For the original report go to http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/caribbean-farming-gets-its-roots-wet/
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and writer Edwidge Danticat, who is also a spokeswoman for Haitian cultural and social justice issues, were among those who received honorary degrees from Yale University yesterday. 3,084 degrees were awarded, including 1,266 for graduates of Yale College. Others receiving honorary degrees Monday included John Adams, the American composer and conductor, historian Natalie Davis, economist Esther Duflo, and Frederick W. Smith, the founder of FedEx, the first overnight express delivery company. Here are two excerpts, with links to full articles and videos below:
Yale Daily News: Graduates of the law school stood and waved as Sotomayor took to the stage to receive her honorary degree. “From the Bronx to the seat of our nation’s highest court, by way of Yale Law School,” Levin said, “your alma mater takes great pride in your inspiring journey.” [. . .] Levin next conferred a doctorate of letters upon author Edwidge Danticat for creating “truth-telling narratives” in her works about Haiti, her home country.
Courant.com: Asked if she had any advice for the graduates, Sotomayor said she’d tell them to “stay passionate about what they are doing.” Levin praised Sotomayor, a graduate of Yale Law School, for her “inspiring journey and your uncompromising commitment to equality and justice. From the Bronx to the bench of our nation’s highest court, by way of Yale Law School, your path has been marked by energy, intelligence, and perseverance,” Levin said.
For full articles and video, see http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-yale-graduation-0521-20130520,0,839244.story, http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/05/20/university-confers-3084-degrees-at-312th-commencement/ and http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2013/05/20/news/new_haven/doc519aa1117aa6f713397447.txt
Part III of the 2012 documentary series 1912, Voces para un silencio [1912, Breaking the Silence] by filmmaker Gloria Rolando will be screened as part of the Casa de las Américas International Colloquium “La diversidad cultural en el Caribe” [Cultural Diversity in the Caribbean] on Wednesday, May 22, at 7:30pm. The film will be introduced by Jean Víctor Géneus, Ambassador of Haiti in Cuba, at the Che Guevara Room at Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba. 1912, Breaking the Silence consists of three chapters dedicated to the history of the Party of the Independents of Color (PIC). It offers “an approximation, a tentative sketch, of a little known part of Cuba’s history.” [See previous post New Film: “1912, Voces para un silencio”.]
Negra cubana tenía que ser (blog) writes:
This episode of “Voces para un silencio” is like a love poem for those who gave up their lives for an ideal, in 1912, in the midst of so much injustice, betrayal, mistreatment, discrimination and abuses. It is about a large group of men and women—blacks, whites and mestizos—led by Evaristo Estenoz and Pedro Ivonet, who sought to uphold rights in a racist and sectarian society. Many of them had faced colonialism with courage and determination for the independence of Cuba, but, because of the color of their skin, did not get receive the appropriate treatment with the establishment of the Republic. Some thought that the Republic would constitute a country “with all people and for the good of all people,” as José Martí dreamed. To their surprise, the opposite happened.
The documentary demonstrates that the Independents were tricked; it convincingly illustrates this historic event, which had been hidden for nearly a century. Through chilling testimonial accounts, considerations by historians, photographs, newspapers, and documents of the times, the analysis of symbols and music, Gloria Rolando reflects, accurately, how the slaughter was prepared and what [then] President José Miguel Gómez and the Army (under the command of General Manuel de Jesús Monteagudo) carried out in cold blood.
The material examines retrospectively the relentless and bloody persecution against the Independents by the military, through lynchings, assassinations, and hangings. [. . .] The third chapter of Voces is not only a call for all Cubans to reflect on that disastrous event, in which more than five thousand people of color who dared to claim their rights were killed, but also makes us think about how to ensure that it never happens again.
Filmmaker Gloria Rolando is a screenwriter and director of several documentaries, such as Oggún, un eterno presente; Los hijos de Baraguá; Los ojos del arco iris; Pasaje del corazón y la memoria, Las raíces de mi corazón, and the latest three-part series Voces para un silencio.
For original article (in Spanish), see http://negracubanateniaqueser.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/le-cinemavoces-para-el-silencio-documental-de-gloria-rolando/#more-2602
Posted in Film, History | Tags: 1912: Breaking the Silence, Casa de las Americas, Cuba, Cuban cinema, Cuban directors, Cuban race relations, Documentary Film, film screenings, Gloria Rolando, Havana, Independents of Color, Jean Víctor Géneus, La diversidad cultural en el Caribe, Negra cubana tenía que ser, people of color, race, Voces para un silencio, women directors