4 Reasons Caribbean Scholars Could Benefit from Blogging

The panel "Global Voices, Caribbean Accents" takes place today in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad at this year's 31st Annual Caribbean Studies Association Conference. The theme of this year's conference is: The Caribbean in the Age of Modernity, The Role of the Academy in Responding to the Challenges of the Region. When I originally thought up the panel, I didn't realize that the conference would coincide with a good friend's wedding and in the end, I am not in Trinidad today. But Georgia Popplewell and Nicholas Laughlin, bloggers extraordinaire who live in Trinidad have picked up the ball and run with it. They have asked me to participate through my blog and here is my contribution which they will showcase at the panel today:

    1. Great Way to "Upload" Ideas (To quote Patricia Mohammed)
  • At last year's Caribbean Studies Association Conference (CSA), we discussed a lot the challenges that Caribbean Scholars face in publishing theory that might cross the Caribbean Ocean. Patricia Mohammed called this challenges in "Uploading".
  • Though publishing to a blog is not the same as publishing a book, some in the region and throughout the world are taking advantage of this new means of publishing. Here are some examples.
  • From Haiti, the son of Marcel Salnave Jr. has started a blog, Parlons Peu, to publish his father's journalistic works from the 1930s. A book by the same name exists and has been published in print in Haiti since the 90s but it is safe to say that more people have read the works online than have bought the book which was published only in Haiti. Historians or other researchers on Haiti can now have access to the works through a simple Google search.
  • Caribbean writers such as Nicholas Laughlin who is on the panel today already publish their fiction online. Nicholas recently wrote an article surveying other Caribbean authors who do so.
  • Last year, after meeting Dr. Matthew Smith at CSA, I interviewed him for my blog. Matthew is a Jamaica-based historian who specializes in Haiti and studies an often neglected period of Haitian History, the post-1950s. The interview generated a lot of interest and Matthew has since "starred" in a couple of documentaries on this under-researched period. Since he is with you at CSA this year, you can press him directly for additional information on the interview. I recall him emailing me that a grandson of Daniel Fignole -- an important, highly controversial yet mysterious and under-researched post-1950s figure in Haitian History -- got in touch with him, wanting to talk about his grandpa.
  • Dr. Marc Lamont Hill's Barbershop Notebooks blog is good example of a blog kept by a young "public intellectual" who is also an academic here in the US.

    2. Great Way to Show Us as We Are
  • Haiti often gets short-shrift in the mainstream media. Reporters looking for shocking images or a scoop know they can find them in Haiti and indeed come and indulge. Unfortunately, that kind of kamikaze reporting does nothing to showcase all the other facets of Haiti and does not do as much to help it as one might think.
  • This year I started a Kevin Sites Watch (see posts 1, 2, 3)through my blog when Yahoo reporter Kevin Sites made Haiti one of his HotZones for a week. Post 3 of the watch about Kevin's one-sided photo journal of Haiti was one of the most referenced posts on kiskeyAcity, and some reporters and other media professionals referenced it on their blogs. In the post, I offered an alternative photo journal by another photoblogger as well as some recommendations for journalists covering Haiti. (To those of you who know Haiti, can you guess what the recommendations were?)
  • Unlike websites most blogs have RSS or Atom feeds that can syndicate each post to subscribers. Individuals subscribe to blogs through blog readers such as Bloglines. In a way, you can become your own personal news and ideas feed through your blog. That ability can and has gone a long way in creating alternatives to overly simplistic mainstream media. Ways to make sure your content gets to the people who want it such as tagging through technorati are also available for free. (See examples of tags at the bottom of this post.)
    3. Blogging is Free and Easy (Provided You Have Internet Access)
  • Basic blogging software is available for free on the internet and if you can email, you can blog.
  • I will not elaborate further because I know that Georgia (Popplewell) is presenting on the technicalities of blogging today.
    4. Aggregators such as Global Voices Exist to Amplify Your Voice.
  • Global Voices has regional and language editors whose job it is to let the world know what people from around the world are saying on their blogs and in several different languages. Take advantage of this and other aggregators and make your voice heard in the Global Information Highway.

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A Sunday Chock Full of (Caribbean) Festivals in Brooklyn, NY

Dance Africa 2006

See album

Every Memorial Day weekend, the Brooklyn Academy of Music holds Dance Africa, a three day festival part African Dance show, part street fair. Since I live a 10 minute walk away from BAM, I went over and took some shots that I thought I'd share with you.

Haitian Day Parade 2006

Haitian Day Parade 2006

This is a newbie, I think. My friend over at Nightshift Chronicles was kind enough to put up a reminder that scheduled the event for 1PM. However, when I arrived around 3PM (having first made the stop at Dance Africa), things had ended. The only remnants of the parade were these signs found all along the parade route from the corner of Nostrand and Empire to that of Nostrand and Foster. And they say the parade was at 11:00 AM! Someway, somehow the times got jumbled. But a rara (a kind of mas) was playing at a little playground at Nostrand and Foster and I brought back these shots.

That's the West Atlantic Cosmos, for you, baby. Brooklyn NY, one of the hearts of the Caribbean, is for sure the most pan-caribbean of cities.

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Digicel Revolution, The Global Voices Show & Mothers' Day

Cell Phone Costs Decrease in Haiti/ Could He Be Talking about Digicel?
  • I came across this blog entry today on Moose's Adventures Abroad. Moose did not name his employer but could he be talking about Digicel, the new Caribbean Telecom Giant who recently made its grand entrance on the Haitian market, much to the chagrin of its competitors?
    The company I work for invested $130M into Haiti - this is the largest foreign investment ever into Haiti. People lined up for phones starting at 4am the night before our launch. Line-ups were hours long at EVERY store in the country. It is the first time affordable mobile phones have been available in Haiti. The current provider charges:
    i. $50 USD to activate
    ii. cheapest phone = $60
    iii. You pay to make and receive calls
    iv. Rates are per-minute

    Our charges:
    i. $0 to activate
    ii. Three phones available for under $20
    iii. You only pay to make calls
    iv. Rates are per-second

    People cannot afford mobile telephony at the current rates - they can afford it now. The number of mobile subscribers in the country could go from 3-4% to 60-80% (this is all speculation on my part). Honestly - it is a bit of a revolution - there is not landline phone network either so this is the first time many people in Haiti will have any phone!

    I know many people will argue that we are not in fact revolutionizing the country and that this is consumerism in its worst way. I disagree for a number of reasons -
    1. the phones we market and push are the phones under $20 USD.
    2. We don't accept credit and we don't reduce the price of phones and force them to take long contracts (in the mass market) like you see in North America. If a person wants to get an expensive phone they have to save up for it and in that case I think it is a legitimate spend.
    3. Phones are always a balance of style versus function. In developing countries the large portion of the selection is based on price and function with style lagging behind that.
    4. I have heard of a direct correlation between telecom growth and GDP growth in developing countries (not in the developed world). I can't find anything strong that correlates it... but telecom is an enabler. If teleco and technology improves communications improve which facilitates economic growth over all. Yes I realize this is very glossy, high-level and weak.

Mothers' Day in Haiti Today

  • Happy Mothers' Day to all Haitian Manmies today. I got reminded of this by reading this entry at AyitiCherieConnexion. (Translation here.)

The Global Voices Show
  • Georgia recycles podcasts from all over the world in the first edition of the podcast The Global Voices Show. The francophone world has barely caught on to blogging, let alone podcasting, so it is not really represented on this 1st 17-minute edition of the show. But there are some hilarious clips from the rest of the world my favorite being a skit of a South African mother coming to grips with her son's gayness.
Haitian Actor Jimmy Jean-Louis in Hollywood
  • A Haitian film is forthcoming starring Haitian-born French-grown actor Jimmy Jean-Louis. The director is Arnold Antonin who did a great documentary on Haitian painter Tiga. The title? Does the President Have AIDS? (Whoa!) Anyway, in this interview of the actor by AlterPresse (Fr), he talks about growing up in a house without electricity in Petion-Ville, moving to France as a teen, becoming an actor whose worked with the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme and J-Lo and meeting Mandela. Nuff said. :-)

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New Haiti-Based Haitian Blogger Expresses Complex Emotions

So Yon Ayisyen has some competition now, and it's in English. Ayititoma (aka Alexandra) posted her first post this morning. It is superbly well written and leaves you with a complex set of emotions that might as well be the equivalent of a snapshot of my own brain sometimes: a mishmash of every emotion humanly possible all for this one place (or really its--errh my-- people). Much like Jamaican Francis Wade, she chose to return home against the tide and is particularly emotional today about the killing of former President Dumarsais Estime's wife last week:
I am from the Diaspora and have returned to Haiti to work, responding to that Haitian call, wanting to make a difference, sacrificed my family, my independence, my way of life, to living the difficulties of Haiti. I have myself fell in the hands of bandits but like the Estimé family, I stayed on. When will it be my turn? when will they ship my corpse to my mother? I ask myself. My mother with her daily calls constantly tell me Alexandra, you will not do that to me, YOU WILL NOT have them bring me your corpse, come back!

Also familiar is the blogger's annoyance at the one-dimensional image that just cannot begin to mirror the complexity of the Haitian mosaic:
When will our worlds stop colliding for the recognition of a Haitian society that is multifaceted and the acceptance that the real Haitian is composed of a mosaic of differences and not this homogeneous being that people want to portray us to be?

The post is obviously a rant and thank God for the blogging medium because it's obvious AyitiToma needed to vent. I just wish she'd read this article I saw in AlterPresse the other day about a group of Haitians from all over the world who got together in Miami to revive Haitian tourism having understood that Haiti's crime problem is not worse than its neighbors' with thriving tourism industries. (Ask Trinidad's The Initiative Against Crime Blog.)

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Emails That Make Me Smile

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Hello
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006
From: Patti Kolbjornsen


Hello. I just wanted to thank you for such a great blog. My father is from Haiti and my mother from Mexico. They met in Los Angeles circa 1972 (go figure?!) I spent many a summer in Haiti and have fond memories of trips to Les Cayes and the such.
I have been there recently and the memories of my childhood are so very different than the country I see now. I appreciate conscious Haitian Americans who put forth the effort to discuss and comment on the status of our dear "Haiti Cherie". Thank you for making me proud to be a Haitian woman.


Patricia "Patti" Kolbjornsen



How Unsafe is Haiti, Again?

How Unsafe is Haiti Exactly?
Everything that the media says about it being unsafe is a load of crap. Aside from seeing the UN soldiers at the airport we never saw or experienced any of these things that they have been saying about this struggling country. This little country has so much potential. So many times I have thought of my people and how there are many similarities between the two people groups and the situations that they are in. I have so much hope.
So, you ask, "Are you guys going to go back?". We sure are!
Scenic Haiti
  • Video from Haiti Innovation blog.
Montserrat Volcano Watch
  • The latest at GV with a little cricket thrown in. (I know you Haitians will gloss over the cricket part but a little exposure is never a bad thing. )

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New Blog, Brain Drain and More Mangos

New Haitian Diaspora Blog CollectifHaitideProvence
  • See the profile I wrote of them on GV here.
More Mango Talk: Haiti Among 10 Highest Producers of Mangos
  • The article is from AlterPresse (Fr). I have a summary translation of it here. Basically, a study reveals that 20% of the mangos consumed in the DR come from Haiti. The article explains why Haiti needs to fight to maintain its global position in this industry. Apparently, worldwide consumers of mangos are quite demanding. Not that I blame them. I love mangos myself and although I consume loads of the Haitian kind sold here (Mango "Fransik", I believe) I often "cheat" with the yummy firmer red-skinned ones from Mexico. Sigh.
Francis Wade on The Missing Generation
  • Superlative blogpost by Francis Wade (who brought us scents and flavors of mango season in Jamaica yesterday) on the pluses and minuses of returning home for the brains drained from the Caribbean. He concludes that middle-class Jamaicans who stayed behind did not necessarily do all that badly, especially when it came to raising and educating children, for example. (I think I know what he's talking about: I and my siblings who were raised in Haiti until college did just as well --and this may be an understatement--as our cousins raised here when it came to pursuing higher education degrees.)

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New Orleans+Policy +Mangoes

    From St-Domingue to New Orleans
  • AyitiCherieConnexion posts and comments on an interesting article by Mary LaCoste on an Exhibit happening in Louisiana on those Haitians, black and white, free and slave, who left St-Domingue to take exile in Louisiana around the time of the Haitian revolution. From the article:
    Many locals have been amazed to find out how much the bloody revolution in Saint Domingue, now called Haiti, enriched New Orleans' culture and population. Refugees who left the island two centuries ago found new homes in South Louisiana, and their descendants are here today, sometimes unaware of their Haitian roots.

    And they came in large numbers, too. Between 1794 and 1810, rich and poor, black and white, free and enslaved flocked to the shores of South Louisiana from the wealthiest of the French colonies that maintained close ties to Paris. Among them were highly educated persons of color who became community leaders, teachers and writers.
  • And yes, I too, AyitiCherieConnexion, was pleasantly shocked at how similar New Orleans traditional dishes were to everyday Haitian ones. I loved New Orleans during the summer I spent there and did indeed feel very much at home.

Policy and Solutions minded
  • This interesting post on the Haiti Innovation blog outlines a set of recommendations for Preval. It is focused on policy and solutions rather than dwelling on the negative. Caught my attention but I know nothing about the organization and do not endorse it in anyway.
Mango Season in the Caribbean
  • Memories, memories, brought back by this lovely post on Francis Wade's Moving back to Jamaica.

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Montserrat: Ashes, Small Tsunamis but No Danger

So says Nicholas Laughlin who has been looking into the matter. Read more here.

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Volcano Activity in Montserrat

Not a breath has been taken from the floods in Suriname that a volcano is showing some activity in Montserrat... Georgia Popplewell has more here and here and since she is in St Kitts, better check back with her for updates.

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Grenada, St-Lucia + Kiskeyan Caciquess+ Aesthetically challenged Dad

Georgia in Grenada and St Lucia
Georgia Popplewell has been off from Global Voices this week touring the Caribbean. Thankfully, she is taking us along for the ride through lovely updates on her blog:

Djaloki to my Kiskeyan Caciquess
Also, among recent updates to my Caribbean Blogroll (bottom right of the home page) are
  • Djaloki's Pawol Apranti-Saj whose earliest post (2004) predates any Haiti-based Haitian blog I've been aware of. The difference between he and (the now defunct) Haitian Mofo or Yon Ayisyen however is that he 1)blogs in all three of the Haitian languages (French/Creole/English) and 2) blogs almost exclusively about spiritual matters unlike the other two who are pundits. Now that he's called me a Kiskeyan Caciquess (!), you know I'm converting to his PARADIGM SHIFT FACILITATION. I must admit, I'm not altogether clear what it is but it sounds very poetic. I mean his life calling is

    Activating Postmodern Cultural Keys for Global Balance and Sustainability.

    Which he breaks down further into:
    - Transconsciencing- Metamidwifing- Wholikeying- Globainment (and related Globainability) [for Global Balance and Sustainability]- Syshamanism (for systemic shamanism)- Key Mending

  • What is a Kiskeyan Caciquess, you ask? I know Djaloki has his own explanation for it that cannot possibly be as literal as this one but: Kiskeya= One of Haiti's many Taino/Arawak names and Caciques =what native Taino/Arawaks called the kings of the kingdoms the island was subdivided into. I believe there were 5 such kingdoms when Columbus arrived but I'm no historian. Caciquess is therefore Djaloki's adaptation of the word Cacique to my gender. *Swoon*

    Handy but Aesthetically Challenged Dad
  • Gary Dauphin, former Village Voice writer, says in his blog's "about me" section that his family is from Haiti. So I wrote and asked: "Can I add you to my Haitian Diaspora blogroll?" to which he acquiesced. I found this gem of a quote on his handy but aesthetically-challenged dad in the Haiti category of his blog, in a post titled Eye and Hand of the Father:
    on the crucial question of aesthetics we will likely remain at loggerheads. My dear old dad, you see, did not much believe in beauty. For example, to my great chagrin he made my first bicyle out of a pile of parts he had collected at the no-joke, actual junkyard. The thing worked fine but was a mess to look at - seat, frame, spokes and handle-bars a mish-mash of styles and eras, states of disrepair and decay. I had to force him to put a new seat on (he was going to throw this crazy, gold-speckled banana seat he had found back in the junkpile), and it was another ordeal getting him to paint the thing a single color. I think he could have turned me on to the pleasures of symetrical ownership and sourcing sooner (i.e., pre-posthumously) if he had been less engineer and more artist, but therein lies the tale, right?

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France & Francophonia Commemorate Slavery for the First Time

Image courtesy of oliviermr2Commemoration of Slavery

A Day of Remembrance

France commemorated slavery for the first time on May 10, reports Haiti's Alterpresse:

Le président francais qualifie d’infamie, la traite négrière et invite les Français à « regarder tout notre passé en face », « sans concession ». Abdou Diouf, Secrétaire général de la Francophonie, salue la décision de Chirac. Cette commémoration, affirme-t-il dans un communiqué parvenu à AlterPresse, « vise à faire prendre conscience à l’humanité tout entière de la gravité de cette période dramatique qu’a été la traite négrière » ... Au musée du Panthéon, l’entrée est gratuite ce 10 mai, afin que le public puisse se recueillir devant les tombes de ceux qui, comme Toussaint Louverture (Haiti) ou Victor Schoelcher (Guadeloupe), ont lutté contre l’esclavage. Des expositions, lectures de textes et autres activités culturelles sont prévues à la capitale française et en province, notamment à Bordeaux et Nantes, ainsi qu’à Gorée (Sénégal), d’où sont partis des esclaves vers l’Amérique.

The French president calls the [Transatlantic] trade in African slaves a disgrace and invites the French to "look all of our past in the eye," "without concession". Abdou Diouf, La Francophonie's Secretary General, salutes Chirac's decision. This commemoration, states he in a press release received by AlterPresse, "seeks to inform humanity of the gravity of the dramatic period of the slave trade." ... At the musee du Pantheon, admission is free this May 10 so that the public may reflect on the tombs of those who, like Toussaint Louverture (Haiti) [pictured below] and Victor Schoelcher (Guadeloupe) [sic], fought against slavery. Exhibits, readings and other cultural activities are scheduled in the French capital and outside of it, in Bordeaux and Nantes but also in Goree, Senegal, a departure port of slaves towards the Americas.

Deputies Attack Taubira's Law

Read more at Global Voices...

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Kevin Sites Watch - 3: Thumbs down for Kevin's Flickr Photo Journal

Why the thumbs down

Kevin's flickr photo journal of Haiti gets two thumbs down. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the pictures Kevin shows speak louder than any article.

The photo journal does what mainstream journalists usually do when they show Haiti: show the very worst and the very worst *only*. Some would argue that the shock created by the pictures helps bring attention to the problems. Hmmm... only partially. At this point Haiti is dealing with a "helplessly hopeless and darn right cursed" image that MSM tend to feed into.
Needless to say, why help the "helplessly hopless"? I almost regret the thumbs up I gave him for the vodoun story because the photo journal will no doubt have more of an impact than the article.

I recently wrote a DR of Congo blogger to ask him if I could use some of his pictures on DR of Congo public transportation on Global Voices. His answer: yes but under one condition: that the pictures not be used to promote what he called "povertyism". I told him not to worry. I knew all too well what he was referring to. Showing misery is one thing. Showing only misery and none of the self-help and hope is another. Can you imagine showing only Harlem's projects to report on New York? Or only the worst banlieues where buildings have no windows to represent Paris? That is just what Kevin Sites does in these pictures.

Call me crazy but "reporting" is not the same as one of those "the cost of a cup of coffee" Sally Struthers ads we're used to seeing on TV. There is something exploitative about the choice of pictures Kevin put in his Flickr photo journal, especially in comparison to the other countries represented on the photo journal.

A good alternative

Consider Martin Baran's recent pictures of Hinche, Haiti. Do they sugar coat anything? No. There is a picture of a smiling woman at a cybercafe, the chief means by which Haitians communicate with their relatives abroad. There is a picture of not necessarily wealthy women eaking out a living the best they can at the market. There are pictures of several local churches and schools. We get to see people *living their lives*, in the thick of the hustle and bustle of their daily routines, despite the terrible odds. Is that a fairer photo journal of the country? I'll let you answer that for yourself.

A recommendation for Kevin

Kevin can make up for this, however by devoting a story or two to a broader cross-section of Haiti's social strata. That would be groundbreaking! How accurate would reporting on the US be if it either showed *just* blacks or *just* whites? How accurate can reporting on Haiti be if it shows *just* one social stratum? Answer that for yourself and be forewarned that very little social diversity has indeed been portrayed in his coverage so far (as always in MSM). So much for "balanced" reporting. But there is still time and HotZones in Haiti can still redeem itself...

Moulin Sur Mer, HaitiMoulin Sur Mer, Haiti.

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Kevin Sites Watch - 2

Moulin Sur Mer, Western Department, Haiti
Last week I wrote the following in response to a quote inaugurating Kevin Site's newly announced coverage of Haiti:

Okay then Kevin, about your voodoo comment ["I've heard so much about this island nation awash in voodoo"], we might have used a bit more context seeing as how many (if not most) in your audience think that when you are talking about voodoo, you are talking about putting pins in a doll to get rid of someone. If there was ever an area that needed more context and merits a video, it would be that one.

Today I checked the HotZones site, and waddayaknow, Kevin indeed has a story offering context on Voodoo and maybe even making up for that initial comment he made. I asked for context and I think we got context. See for yourself:

Kevin Sites Blog: Zombies Not Welcome

Please chime in and let me know what you think. (I am still chewing on his "mud pie" story and will have to get back to you after I've thought it over some more.) For now, the watch seems to be yielding some results.

Kevin, you can continue differentiating yourself from incomplete, unethical coverage of Haiti by showing some of the social and ethnic diversity in Haiti as well some of the country's beauty. Hopefully you won't disappoint. There are plenty of beautiful spots in the country, the capital included, that you can immortalize. Again, make sure you let the world see those sites that Haitians hold dear but that are consistently ignored by many mainstream journalists looking to cover only the sensational. See you soon as the Watch continues.

Pictured above: Moulin Sur Mer, Western Department, Haiti.

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Announcing...Kevin Sites Watch

Okay, I'll admit it. When I posted earlier about a discussion needed at We Media 2006 about "Christiane Amanpour-style reporting" and its effects on Haiti, I had not the slightest clue who Kevin Sites was. Then Yon Ayisyen blogged about him being in Haiti. Then a friend emailed asking what I thought about it since I had just blogged about "Christiane Amanpour-style" Haiti coverage.

So *is* Kevin Sites a Christiane Amanpour? (You know the I'm-here-screaming-off-the-top-of-my-lungs-in-this-no-man's-land-to- tell-you-about-this -oh-so-helpless-hellish-place-yet-again-sigh-cnn- better-double-my-check-this-time type "coverage" that hardly ever shows Haitian life in its complex truth?) Sigh. Deep breath. So is he? Not sure. One, Yon Ayisyen and many Haitian commentors on the KS blog are actually excited to see KS is in Haiti. Two, I've looked at KS' blog and although the introductory post reads:

I've heard so much about this island nation awash in voodoo and grinding poverty, but I've never set foot on its soil.

there is a decent video story on a Haitian school. He also throws in a video of a man who makes metal art.

Now, in the "our mission " page of the site, it says:

With honest, thoughtful reporting we'll strive to establish Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone as a forum for information and involvement. Users will not only learn about the scope of world conflict, but will find ways to be part of the solutions- through dialogue, debate, and avenues for action.

Okay then Kevin, about the voodoo quote above, we might have used a bit more context seeing as how many (if not most) in your audience think when you are talking about voodoo, you are talking about putting pins in a doll to get rid of someone. If there was ever an area that needed more context and merits a video, it would be that one. Also, it might be a good thing to show the diversity in races and ethnic and social groups in Haiti, for a *long overdue bloody change.*

Can you tell I'm a tad skeptical of the mission? Especially since KS is supposed to only cover Hotzones and his audience is presumably peppered with thrill seekers who will need something to chew on. How is he going to strike that balance in the end? Can he strike that balance?

This is all to say that Kevin Sites and you and me are going to spend lots of time together during his stay in Haiti and that while we will give him the benefit of the doubt that he is *not* Christiane Amanpour, we will make sure to let him know if he turns out to be. Fair enough? Please make sure to post here if anything jumps at you as you follow his coverage, that we may compare notes.

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We Media Day One Links

Okay, here are all the links where you can read about WeMedia's first day:

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We Media: Tomorrow's a Better Day

Okay it looks like critiques abound about WeMedia 2006's day one. Those Global Voices Regional Editors in attendance in London have not been thrilled with the level of discussion at the conference. (Apparently the played out blogger v. journalist polemic got too much airplay.) Meanwhile those --like me-- who tried to "web-attend" were not thrilled with the lack of an audio feed and the low videocast quality not to mention the non-working live chat.

Tomorrow is more promising as Reuters takes over from the BBC and promises today's missing elements. Also, tomorrow is more interesting as Global Voices will be center stage and regional panels take place. Here again though the problem is that the Americas have been omitted as I mentioned two days ago. (God knows we could use a discussion on the ridiculous Christiane Amanpour-style coverage Haiti keeps getting in the mainstream media making for poor representation of a complex Haitian reality.) Anyway, if you want, meet me at the live chat for the We Media Africa session tomorrow at 9:45 am NY time.

How to access the conference online: all the links you need should be here and here.

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PARTY @ TeabagNYC Pictures

Francis Hsueh & Steve Hahn

Francis Hsueh and Steve Hahn, makers of PARTY at a March screening for TeabagNYC Film series.

See more pics.

May 1st Immigrant Boycott Edition

  • Alterpresse published (kreyol) a press release by GARR, a Haitian committee of support to refugees and the repatriated, which supports today's immigrant strike and boycott in the US. "The same situation is developing in the Dominican Republic for many Haitian workers there, says GARR's Martine Dorvilas. While D.R. government representatives have met repeatedly with American officials in defense of their undocumented citizens there, that same government continues repatriating Haitian workers who have contributed to the Dominican economy for decades ... GARR asks D.R.'s government to give Haitian workers who have lived in the D.R. for more than 10 years residency." (Cross-posted at GlobalVoices.)

  • Haitian diaspora blogger Nightshift Chronicles has a very interesting post on Garifunas, Maria Elena Maximo (i.e. immigrants who rob undocumented immigrants of their life savings) and today's boycott.

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