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Ex-President of Haiti Put Under House Arrest

New York Times on Haiti - Sep. 13, 2014 - 12:00 am
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was placed on house arrest in a corruption investigation, an order protested by his supporters whom claimed there was no provision in Haitian law for such a penalty.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Haiti's Aritide reportedly placed under house arrest

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog - Sep. 10, 2014 - 11:41 am
Both Haiti's Radio Kiskeya and Le Nouvelliste are reporting that Judge Lamarre Bélizaire has ordered former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to be placed under house arrest as persuant to charges against him of corruption, money laundering, extortion and drug trafficking dating from his 2001 to 2004 tenure as Haiti's president. This saga certainly isn't over yet, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Categories: Haitian blogs

the current blur

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 9, 2014 - 3:54 pm
Since I last wrote here it became "fall" and the 2014-2015 school year started. We are zooming toward the end of a calendar year that has been filled with surprises. (A grandbaby, a terrible ongoing battle with a tropical virus we had previously never heard of, a finish line of midwifery school, a start line of midwifery, a wedding in the works, etc. etc. ad infinitum.) 

The days are flying by in a blur of action and activity and intense emotion.  Do you remember when Lydia used to communicate high HIGH emotional turmoil by taking her hands, making little claws, and shaking them up near her ears while gritting her teeth? Well, that's me right now. 

With so much happening I find that there are too many feelings left unprocessed (or possibly too big to process yet) and for me, that is the number one cause of writers block. 

The time to officially begin using our mixed-drink-sounding grandparent names is fast approaching. In a month we will split up our family in order for Mojo to meet grandbump and Tito to keep the other five in school and on task in Haiti.  I am looking forward to that. I am dreading that. I am looking forward to that. AAAARRRGGGHH. I'm conflicted, as per usual.

I have been asking God for an invention that allows me to be in two places at once. I wait impatiently for His reply.

Beth M, KJ, T, Dokte Jen
Last weekend the Heartline midwifery staff of three met up with the Heartline Physician advisory staff of one - and we all re-certified our NRP skillz.  A room full of crunchy midwife ladies with the good Doctor Jen as the only physician in the room made for some good clean fun. We stopped short of taking off our bras, joining arms, and singing to our uteri - thank -you Laawd.
Thankfully, Dokte Jen understands weirdwives after so many years with us. We have all been taught so much by Jen - things that we could not have done without her guidance. We make a rare team and a there is a bit of a mutual admiration society between Doc and Weirdwife.  At the end of the class a lady told us that she enjoyed watching us interact all day and that she could see we loved each other and had a lot of fun together. We felt that was the ultimate compliment.
morning beach walk/jog in FL

not part of NRP but part of being weirdwives - or just weird 

checking out the USA celebrity news in line at WalMartTrips to the USA with Beth McHoul are never boring. A person that has resided in Haiti 25 years is good for many wonderful insights and laughs in 'merica.  KJ (Beth J's name to keep the Beths straight) and Jen tried to say that I am on my way to being just as entertaining but I categorically reject that lie. 

~            ~               ~

As anyone reading this for very long has figured out, Troy married me and got three of us in a package deal. Britt and Paige went through all their teen years with Troy as their (step) Dad (they don't so much like him to have that S word added in.) That to say, we have experienced raising a couple of teens together. We have learned the hard way in a few areas.  We know we've messed up more than once. (Love wash over a multitude of things.) 

We are now entering into teen phase with the next grouping of children. 

Isaac led the way Sunday when he turned thirteen. He learned earlier this year that he was born on the 7th of September, his adoption paperwork had listed his birthdate as the 18th of the month. This year we celebrated his birth on the actual date instead of eleven days late as in the previous 12 celebrations. Our Haiti family/friends came to make the day special. Skype failed us, so the family and loved ones that are far away got to talk to him on Voxer. 

Hope and Isaac are both seventh grade this year.  It seems impossible that it was 12 years ago next month that they joined our family.  It has been wonderful watching them embrace their new more difficult curriculum and see them working hard to get the work done.  Jimmy and Becky are both teaching this first semester. For second semester we are so excited that Caroline (she taught math in Waco last fall) will join us for four months. 

First Day of School at Heartline Academy
Teacher Jimmy in back row, Meadows kids, Livesay kids

~           ~             ~

Links worth your time:

1.) Alice Su, 1 JOHN, ISIS AND THE GOSPEL VERSUS TERROR I have been afraid lately. I think often about the deaths of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, many more journalists and millions of children, women, fathers, brothers, best friends, uncles and neighbors in Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and more. I can’t shake the feeling that death is crouching around the corner, at the doorstep of all the journalists, of all the civilians, of too many people who have become dear to me and thousands more that I’ve yet to meet. Everyone I know is scarred. Some are still bleeding. Hate and fear are in the air, and things are getting worse.Later in the article:

The Gospel offers a call to die, not to take anyone down but to lift them up. To give our lives up in peace and sacrifice and brotherly love. It is not sane. It is utterly unsafe, flying against all my self-righteous inclinations. But that is Christ, and we love Him so, for He first loved us.When we see and know and taste this, we walk forward with joy. We are walking on a stream of living water that flows from Him in and through us. It grows trees with fruit in all seasons and leaves for the healing of the nations. We are so alive! Even if we may die today or tomorrow. We live in light.We are not afraid.Read the rest here.
2.)The Work of the People  - Greg Boyd, Making God In Our Own Image(TWOTP has tons of interviews/videos and is my favorite website ev-ah.) http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/


Donald Miller - I’m Glad I’m Not the Same Guy Who Wrote Blue Like Jazz
If I haven’t changed, something is drastically wrong.People are designed to grow and if they don’t it’s because something’s wrong. There are forces in the world that do not want you to grow, change or get stronger. A variety of motives cause this resistance, but regardless, it must be fought.God designed you to grow from a baby to a child to a teenager to an adult and even after you’re an adult you’re designed to continue learning about God, about love, about each other and about yourself. Not a day goes by when we aren’t given the opportunity to become a better person. Why in the world would anybody want to stay the same?
Read the rest here. 

Categories: Haitian blogs

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice.

HaitiAnalysis - Sep. 5, 2014 - 11:47 am
Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP) Nouvelles du 3 septembre 2014

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice. Les avocats de l'ancien chef d'Etat rappellent entre autres, s'être adressés à la  justice, particulièrement à la Cour de cassation pour obtenir le dessaisissement de son  dossier du juge d’instruction, Maître Lamarre BELIZAIRE, pour cause de suspicion légitime.

 Note de presse  du Bureau des Avocats internationaux

"Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE présentent leurs compliments à la  population et croient opportun de dénoncer une campagne de désinformation visant à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE a refusé de se présenter devant la justice.  Rien n’est plus faux.

Il s’est déjà présenté devant la justice et s’est récemment adressé à la  justice, particulièrement à la Cour de cassation pour obtenir le dessaisissement de son  dossier du juge d’instruction, Maître Lamarre BELIZAIRE, pour cause de suspicion légitime.

Il  n’offre aucune garantie d’impartialité et est totalement acquis au pouvoir pour les raisons  suivantes. La loi fixant le statut des magistrats établit clairement les conditions pour être nommé juge à un Tribunal de Première Instance.

 Le postulant doit être diplômé de l’École de la magistrature ou être avocat depuis 8 ans. Maître Lamarre Belizaire n’est pas diplômé de l’École de la magistrature et avait lors de sa  nomination à peine trois ans de pratique comme avocat et non les 8 ans qu’exige la loi.

 La Cour de cassation a décidé qu’un plaideur qui a des motifs sérieux de douter de  l’impartialité d’un juge, en raison de ses tendances et de ses intérêts peut demander le  renvoi devant une autre juridiction pour cause de suspicion légitime : « Voir Pierre-Marie  Michel, Code de procédure civile, note 16 en dessous de l’article 457 ».

Dans ce cas, le cabinet d’instruction du juge Raymond Gilles avait été dessaisi et l’affaire  renvoyée à un autre juge d’instruction, ce qui devrait mettre fin aux informations erronées  qu’un  juge d’instruction ne peut être dessaisi.

 D’ailleurs, en date du 16 Juin 2014, la Cour de  Cassation de la République a rendu un Arrêt dans lequel elle a déclaré admissible la  demande en récusation présentée contre le juge d’Instruction Lamarre BELIZAIRE par les  sieurs Franckel  POLYNINCE, Yves CUPIDON et Luckner JEAN.

De plus, le Doyen du Tribunal de  Première Instance de Port-au-Prince, Me Raymond Jean Michel, n’a-t-il pas  déclaré sur les  ondes de certaines stations de radios de la capitale :  « dès lors où le juge reçoit la  déclaration en dessaisissement , il doit surseoir à la connaissance de l’affaire ».

Le respect dû à la loi s’impose d’abord à ceux qui sont chargés de l’appliquer. En convoquant dans ces circonstances le chef de la police, le juge Lamarre Bélizaire essaie de retenir un  dossier qui a été l’objet d’une demande en dessaisissement pour cause de suspicion  légitime.

Un juge dont l’appartenance et les intérêts sont de notoriété publique, peut-il sans porter  atteinte à sa fonction, méconnaître les droits d’un justiciable ?

Les avocats du président Jean Bertrand Aristide renouvellent à la population l’assurance de  leur haute considération."
Categories: Haitian blogs

Harry Numa: 1961-2014

HaitiAnalysis - Sep. 4, 2014 - 7:45 pm
By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte
Harry Numa, 52, a long-time leader of the National Popular Assembly (APN) and later the National Popular Party (PPN), died in the early morning hours of Aug. 25 in a tragic car accident in the southwestern Haitian city of Jérémie. His funeral was held and he was buried in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 30.            Born in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 31, 1961, he spent his early years under the dictatorships of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier. “On Rue Sans Fil where he grew up, Harry revealed himself to be a true leader among the youth both through the positions he took and by his serious attitude,” wrote his wife, Lucienne Houanche Irby, in a funeral tribute. “For those who knew him, Harry didn’t joke often. He took everything seriously. Caught up in the socio-political situation of the country, he saw himself as a defender of the weakest and most marginalized.”       In 1980, Harry traveled to New York, where he went to Rockland Community College and worked various jobs. But in 1987, after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, he returned to Haiti like many young people to take part in the burgeoning democracy movement and the newly formed National Popular Assembly (APN), a nationwide popular organization which played a key role in contributing to the political rise of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the turbulent post-Duvalier period. Harry also played an important role in the leading leftist weekly of the day, Haïti Progrès.            During the coup d’état of 1991 to 1994, Harry largely stayed in Haiti where he set up a clandestine printing press to put out anti-coup flyers and a special version of Haïti Progrès, which for several months in 1994 was unable to enter Haiti from New York, where it was printed, due to an international embargo which stopped airline flights.
            Harry also helped organize a short-wave radio network for communications within Haiti and with New York and Miami, as well as keeping track of, hiding, and caring for APN militants, many of whom were on the run from, shot at, and beaten up by soldiers and paramilitaries of the military regime.            Harry helped plan and execute one memorable resistance operation in 1993 with his long-time comrade, Georges Honorat, and other APN militants, which involved the felling of trees with chainsaws along the Bourdon road to Pétionville to impede the Haitian army’s troop carriers.            Along with other APN militants, Harry met with the celebrated North American intellectual Noam Chomsky, who traveled to Haiti in 1993 during the coup, to be filmed and interviewed by Crowing Rooster Arts. Harry engaged in a long animated discussion with Chomsky about how to resist the coup, portions which are captured in the feature documentary Rezistans, directed by Katharine Kean.            “Are the Haitian people ready to carry out those actions [of resistance] given the cost they will suffer,” Chomsky asks Harry in one scene.            “We, the Haitian people, have no choice,” Harry replied. “We have to fight, we have to mobilize, we have to organize ourselves to finish with this situation [of the coup]. So that’s the kind of work we are doing right now.”            In 1999, the APN formed itself as a full-fledged political party, the PPN, of which Harry was one of the principal leaders. The party did not field candidates in the 2000 elections but organized several historic marches of thousands of its militants against the U.S. military assault on Iraq in March 2003 and against the unfolding coup d’état against President Aristide from 2001 to 2004.            In 2004, faced with a number of personal problems, Harry stepped down from leadership of the PPN and Haïti Progrès, although he kept close contact with his former comrades and often offered them his penetrating analysis and ready advice.            He moved back to New York, where he met is wife, Lucienne, moved to North Valley Stream, and made a living driving taxi cabs and later as a building contractor.            But his passion was Haitian politics and every Monday or Tuesday he would call Haïti Liberté’s director Berthony Dupont to offer his analysis of the “conjuncture,” as Haitians call the political situation.            “Harry’s insights were always invaluable in analyzing complex situations,” Dupont said. “He knew the players, he understood political theory and dynamics, and he had a deep faith in the power of the Haitian people when organized.”            Harry was shaken by the fatal shooting on Mar. 23, 2013 of his long-time comrade, Georges Honorat, with whom he had strongly argued not to take a job working for Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s office. Only a week before his killing by two still unknown gunmen on a motorcycle, Honorat had told Harry that his advice had been right. “My place is not there,” Georges had said, according to Harry.            Before the Cuban Ambassador to the UN Pedro J. Nunez Mosquera came to address a community meeting at Haïti Liberté on May 29, 2010, Harry single-handedly threw himself into repairing and remodeling the newspaper’s meeting room to accommodate the overflow crowd that turned out. He also helped organize the meeting with the Cuban ambassador and always came with his wife to support Haïti Liberté at its fundraising events.            The fatal accident was a freak tragedy. Harry was visiting Jérémie for its annual Saint Louis Festival. Leaving the nightclub Pipirit at about 4 a.m., Harry backed up his white jeep to make way for a passing vehicle. Unfamiliar with the road in the dark, he backed his car over a bank so it fell into a rain-swollen river. Although he may have hit his head, it appears that he may have managed to break the windshield and escape from the submerged vehicle but drowned in the strong and deep currents. His body was not recovered until about seven hours later.            Many comrades from Haiti and progressive parties in the U.S. who had a chance to work with him will miss Harry Numa. We at Haïti Liberté will particularly feel the void, missing his sharp insight and deeply principled politics.            A memorial evening commemorating the life of Harry Numa will be held at Haïti Liberté on Sep. 20 at 6 p.m.. Former friends and comrades are expected to attend from as far away as Canada and Florida. Haïti Liberté extends its condolences to his wife, Lucienne, his children, Kenneth and Sandra Irby, and his brothers, cousins, and many other family members.            Harry, for your life of personal sacrifice and unflagging dedication to the cause of the Haitian people’s liberation from oppression and exploitation, we salute you!

            Harry Numa !presente!
Categories: Haitian blogs

U.S. Haitian Puppet Targets Jean-Bertrand Aristide Yet Again

HaitiAnalysis - Sep. 4, 2014 - 7:43 pm
By: Joe Emersbergerfirst published, in a slightly different version, by Telesur.
No evidence of corruption has ever been found to incriminate the former Haitian leader, who was overthrown by a U.S.-led coup.
Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is once again being hounded with bogus corruption allegations by the government of Michel Martelly – a government that owes its existence to U.S. bullying.            I don’t dismiss corruption allegations against any politician lightly – even one the U.S. despises. Reasonable, but uniformed, readers may ask why we can be sure the allegations against Aristide are baseless.            If the facts were widely known about what the U.S. has done in Haiti in recent years, nobody would ask that question. They’d be too busy working for the prosecution of U.S. officials for crimes perpetrated in Haiti. In fact, Canadian, French and United Nations officials would also be struggling to stay out of jail for aiding and abetting those crimes, as I’ve mentioned before.            On Feb. 29, 2004, the U.S. perpetrated a coup against Haiti’s democratically elected government which was headed by Aristide. That’s worth repeating. The U.S. directly perpetrated the coup. It did not simply provide decisive support for a coup carried out by local allies as it has done so many times in Latin America. In this case, U.S. troops physically removed Aristide from Haiti in the middle of the night and flew him off to the Central African Republic. Canadian troops assisted the U.S. by securing the airport in Port-Au-Prince. The U.S. government claims that Aristide begged rescue from a small group of “rebels” even though his own security team could have led him to safety, if that was his priority, in various countries within the Caribbean.  The U.S. and its allies, after its alleged “rescue” of Aristide, took over Haiti and promptly set up a dictatorship under Gérard Latortue. The rebels – essentially led by the death squad leader Jodel Chamblain – were immediately made completely subordinate to the U.S. and its allies. Rebels who objected too strongly to their subordinate role were simply told to get lost and, in a few very isolated cases, hunted down. Hundreds of the more obedient “rebels” were incorporated into a revamped Haitian police force under the close direction of U.S. and UN officials. Yes, criminals were made police under the direction of even bigger criminals in Washington. That’s how our upside down world functions.
            It should be stressed that even those who insist that U.S. troops “rescued” (as opposed to “kidnapped”) Aristide have absolutely no basis for denying that the Washington perpetrated a coup. The U.S. and its allies used the “rebels” as a pretext to forcibly restore its traditional far right allies to dominance in Haiti. Aside from the widely ignored murder of thousands of Aristide’s supporters that took place under Gérard Latortue’s dictatorship, Aristide’s political party (Fanmi Lavalas) has also been banned from participating in elections held since the coup. Latortue stacked the judiciary with people keen to facilitate the persecution of Aristide’s supporters – people with the same mentality as the Martelly-appointed judge who recently issued the arrest warrant against Aristide for allegedly ignoring a summons. And that examining magistrate, Lamarre Bélizaire, is disbarred from acting as a lawyer when he steps down as a judge. So a judge who has been renounced and cast out by the Haitian Bar issued the arrest warrant. That’s perfectly consistent with what the U.S. has established in Haiti.            Part of the U.S.“rescue” of Aristide in 2004 supposedly included a promise to protect his property in Haiti. Colin Powell – the man tasked with lying extravagantly to the world about Iraqi fictitious weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – claimed that the U.S. had made this promise to Aristide. Immediately after the “rescue”, Aristide’s house was ransacked for days thereby exposing Powell, yet again, as a liar.             But there is another consideration that is relevant to the allegations against Aristide. Since 2004, the U.S. and its allies had every opportunity and incentive to build a devastating case against Aristide for corruption or anything else they wanted. They had access to any number of personal and official documents combined with the ability to lean on heavily (bribe and coerce, that is) countless former Aristide associates. The Latortue dictatorship spent a lot of time and money in U.S. courts, and predictably received a great deal of help from U.S. Treasury officials trying to build some kind of case. It speaks volumes that all they’ve been able to charge Aristide with after all these years is what this disbarred judge came up with – allegedly ignoring a summons.            In 2005, Ira Kurzban, Aristides’s attorney in the U.S., has pointed out: “If you recall, a lot of the venom was spewed against President Aristide both before and following the coup - wild accusations that he had $280 million in a bank account somewhere in Europe and so forth. To my understanding, the United States sent seven people from the Treasury Department immediately after the coup to investigate financial wrongdoing, and a number of Haitians have been working day and night to find the money that President supposedly took. But, it’s now obvious, there is none. There are no Swiss bank accounts, no yachts, no Trump Tower apartments, all of which there were with Duvalier. There are none of the things that one classically identifies with the claim that a president has abused his authority and stolen money for his own benefit.”            Lack of evidence never stopped the U.S. from aggressively peddling its claims that Iraqi WMD existed. The case for war depended on it. Evidence and logic were therefore dismissed by both the U.S. government and the corporate media. Similarly in Haiti, the ongoing crushing of democracy requires the relentless demonization of the popular Haitian president whom the U.S. government deposed.
Categories: Haitian blogs

20 years after slaying of Haiti's Jean-Marie Vincent, RNDDH calls for new investigation into crime

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog - Sep. 2, 2014 - 5:28 pm
Haïti-Justice : Le Rnddh encourage la relance du dossier de l’assassinat du père Jean-Marie Vincent  

mardi 2 septembre 2014    

(Read the original article here)

P-au-P, 2 sept. 2014 [AlterPresse] --- Vingt ans après l’assassinat du père Jean Marie Vincent (28 août 1994-28 août 2014), l’impunité continue de battre son plein surtout en ce qui concerne ce dossier, dénonce le directeur exécutif du Réseau national de défense des droits humains (Rnddh), Pierre Espérance, dans une interview accordée à AlterPresse. 

Encourageant la famille du défunt à engager des avocats pour relancer le dossier, Espérance affirme qu’il existe certaines possibilités pour le faire. 

« Rien n’a été fait dans le cadre de cette affaire. C’est le règne de l’impunité qui continue. Jusqu’à présent, le dossier n’est même pas à la cour de cassation », critique t-il. 

Il rappelle que l’actuel président du Conseil supérieur du pouvoir judiciaire (Cspj), Anel Alexis Joseph, qui était en charge du dossier au niveau de la cour d’appel de Port-au-Prince en 2005, avait décidé de classer le dossier, malgré des contradictions apparues dans les témoignages des personnes inculpées. 

Le directeur exécutif du Rnddh condamne l’arrêt rendu par le juge Arnel Alexis Joseph à la cour d’appel concernant ce dossier et qui comporterait un vice de forme. Ce juge avait fait sortir, dit-il, une « ordonnance intéressée ». 

« Il n’y a jamais eu un procès. Tous les inculpés ont été blanchis dans ce dossier », déplore t-il. 

En vue de commémorer le 20e anniversaire de l’assassinat du père Jean Marie Vincent, un ensemble d’activités dont une exposition et une conférence-débats ont eu lieu à Port-au-Prince pour retracer la vie du prêtre engagé, éducateur et entrepreneur social. 

D’autres activités ont été aussi réalisées à l’échelle nationale et internationale. 

Né le 21 octobre 1945 d’une famille des Baradères, Jean-Marie Vincent a été assassiné à l’âge de 48 ans (28 août 1994) par des hommes armés devant la maison des Pères Montfortains, à la rue Baussan à Port-au-Prince, durant la période du sanglant coup d’État militaire de septembre 1991.[jep emb apr 02/09/2014 12 :10]
Categories: Haitian blogs

discussing all the things you must do or should never do

Livesay Haiti - Sep. 1, 2014 - 4:56 pm
There is no shortage of  instructions on the interweb.In any given month it is quite likely you will be instructed on multiple topics.  The list could include: Ten things not to say to your single friendsFive things Christians should stop sayingTen things for a healthy marriage.Five reasons your teen is rebelling.Those never ending lists just serve to overwhelm me.  Say this. Don’t say this. Do that. NEVER do this.I can barely follow directions. Kraft Mac and Cheese has one step too many for me.There are SO many instructions and they all run together and before I know it I have applied one of the items to the wrong problem.  After reading all those articles I learned that my teen was rebelling because I was too controlling. Somehow I got mixed up and became certain one of the keys to a happier marriage was to be more controlling.As you can see, there is a HUGE margin for error here.
Read the rest of the post at A Life Overseas...*                *                * At the post above, we discuss some ways to deal with trauma. While we were looking back for an old post from the year of the earthquake we came across this fellow sharing his earthquake account ... He is an entirely different big-guy now, we almost did not recognize this little boy...
Categories: Haitian blogs

Interviews with IJDH's Brian Concannon and Haiti Action's Pierre Labossiere on the trumped up charges and character assassination targeting of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 28, 2014 - 2:33 pm
Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio's Senior Producer Kevin Pina interviews IJDH's Brian Concannon & Haiti Action Committee's Pierre  Labossiere. Listen to the interviews here: http://www.haitiinformationproject.net/blog.php
Categories: Haitian blogs

Stop the attacks on former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Movement

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 28, 2014 - 2:28 pm
By: Haiti Action Committee - HaitiSolidarity.Net

      On Aug. 13, the Haitian government summoned former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to court on corruption charges. This summons is part of a chilling pattern of repression aimed at destroying Aristide’s political party, Fanmi Lavalas, as the country approaches new legislative elections. We denounce it in the strongest possible terms.
      On March 18, 2011, tens of thousands of people followed President Aristide’s car as it drove from the airport to his home, following his return from seven years of forced exile. They then climbed over the walls into the courtyard of the Aristides’ residence to continue an emotional and heart-felt greeting for Haiti’s first democratically elected president, overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated coup in 2004. In his speech at the airport, President Aristide focused on education and the importance of inclusion for all Haitians in the process of restoring democracy.
      Since his return, President Aristide has done exactly what he promised to do – reopen the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA). On Sept. 26, 2011 the Medical School once again opened its doors. Today, there are over 900 students studying medicine, nursing and law at a university whose mission is to provide higher education to all sectors of Haitian society, not just the children of the rich.
     And yet, in spite of this powerful and important work, Aristide and other Lavalas leaders and activists remain the target of government harassment and attack. This is not surprising; after all, the Haitian government of Michel Martelly came to power after elections with a historically low turnout in which Fanmi Lavalas, Haiti’s most popular political party, was banned from participation.
    Martelly has embraced Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the former Haitian dictator. Human rights organizations estimate that the Duvaliers – “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” – were responsible for the deaths of over 30,000 Haitian citizens during their 29-year rule. While Duvalier now lives freely in Haiti and was honored by Martelly at the Jan. 1, 2014, Haitian Independence Day celebrations, President Aristide and the democratic movement are under assault.
    For over a decade, U.S. and Haitian authorities have periodically threatened President Aristide with indictment and “tried” him in the pages of a compliant media. None of these charges has stuck, for the simple reason that they are all lies. This is the third time since his return in 2011 that Haitian authorities have trumpeted charges against President Aristide. Each time, after sensational headlines, the cases were unceremoniously shelved after an initial hearing and interview, before President Aristide could even challenge the accusations.
    The politicized nature of the charges is further evidenced by the history of the judge in the case, Lamarre Bélizaire. The Port-au-Prince Bar Association has suspended Bélizaire for 10 years from the practice of law – the suspension to begin once he steps down as judge – for using the court to persecute opponents of the Martelly regime. This latest summons is one more example of a government determined to derail any opposition.
    Each time these charges are trotted out, the goal is to defame Aristide, weaken Lavalas and endanger the vital educational work that he has led since his return. Haiti’s grassroots movement knows that each new rumored indictment is part of a campaign to intimidate and silence them. When President Aristide was last called to court, thousands of people surrounded the courthouse, chanting: “If they call our brother, they call all of us.” Yesterday, once again, people took to the streets to show him their support.
    We echo their voices. Enough is enough. It is time for education, health care, and democratic development in Haiti, not a resurgence of political repression. We call on the Haitian government to withdraw this warrant.

Revolving door of criminal charges against Aristide in Haiti
    A summons was reportedly issued for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti on Tuesday that was said to be related to corruption charges and a litany of well-known accusations for which evidence has never been presented in a court of law. It is part of a long list of charges in the U.S. and in Haiti that regularly appear whenever there are moves towards serious elections. Aristide and his supporters believe this is part of a documented campaign of character assassination against the former president that is designed to exclude the Lavalas party from free and fair elections in Haiti.
    Contact the Haiti Action Committee at www.haitisolidarity.net and on Facebook.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Aristide Warrant and Brandt Prison Break Overshadow Election Derailment

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 28, 2014 - 2:26 pm
By Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Last week, Haitian demonstrators erected barricades of burning tires and car frames in front of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's home in Tabarre to prevent the government of President Michel Martelly from arresting him. On Aug. 12, investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire had issued a court summons for Aristide to come to his offices for
questioning the next day, Aug. 13. Aristide never received the
last-minute summons which was allegedly left at his gate, according to his lawyer Mario Joseph. Having heard about the summons on the radio, Joseph did show up at the 10 a.m. hearing with a letter explaining that the summons had not been correctly served. Ironically, Judge Bélizaire did not show up for his own hearing but nonetheless later that afternoon issued an arrest warrant for Aristide because of his

Meanwhile, at about 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, two vehicles of armed men shot automatic weapons at the outside of the new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets, just north of the capital, precipitating the escape of 329 prisoners. Among them was Clifford Brandt, 42, the scion of a prominent bourgeois family who was jailed in October 2012 (but to date never tried) for heading a kidnapping ring that held hostage the
son and daughter of Haitian banker Robert Moscoso. On Aug. 12, Dominican authorities recaptured Brandt and three other fugitives across the border in the neighboring Dominican Republic and turned them over to Haitian authorities, who tried to take credit for the capture. (The Dominican Defense Minister had to issue a statement setting the record straight.)

These two unfolding dramas, perhaps by design, have all but eclipsed a much more ominous development last week: the cancellation of parliamentary and municipal elections, already two years overdue, which had been promised for Oct. 26. As a result, it is all but certain that another third of the Haitian Senate and many in the House of Deputies will see their terms expire on Jan. 12, 2015, rendering the Parliament nonfunctional and Martelly ruling by decree.

This is exactly where the konpa-singer-turned-president wanted to
arrive. "First thing, after I establish my power, which would be very
strong and necessary, I would close that congress thing," Martelly
told the Miami New Times in a 1997 feature article. ""La chambre des
députés. Le sénat." He claps his hands. "Out of my way.""

These were not jokes. The article made clear that even back then
Martelly was planning a run for president and was "not afraid to
reveal that he has given serious thought to his philosophy of
government," which was essentially a "Fujimori-style solution." Former
Peruvian dictatorial president Alberto Fujimori is presently in
prison, having been convicted of committing major human rights and
corruption crimes during his administration in the 1990s.

Martelly's looming one-man rule marks a sharp political reversal. Last
autumn, massive popular demonstrations, led largely by outspoken Sen.
Moïse Jean-Charles and radical Lavalas base organizations, were
marching almost weekly to demand the resignation of Martelly and his
Prime Minister and business partner Laurent Lamothe and the departure
of the 6,600-soldier United Nations force, acronymed MINUSTAH, which
has militarily occupied Haiti since Jun. 1, 2004.

But in December 2013, Aristide's Lavalas Family party (FL) expelled
Sen. Jean-Charles for criticizing and outshining the party's Executive
Committee, and from January to March 2014, Washington and the Catholic
Church connived with the Martelly government to carry out a charade
conference of national reconciliation, resulting in the "El Rancho
Accord" supposedly putting the country on the road to the Oct. 26
elections. As a result, despite a few sizable marches on symbolic
dates, last year's mobilization began to weaken.

Now from being on the defensive, Martelly is back on the offensive.
"It is not without reason that the puppet judge Lamarre Bélizaire
published a list with the names of [31] people who can't leave the
country a few days before the Martelly-Lamothe-MINUSTAH government
allowed its associate Clifford Brandt to escape from jail," said the
Dessalines Coordination party (KOD) in an Aug. 19 declaration. "They
knew what kind of scandal that would provoke... That may be why they
decided to hatch a plot to issue a warrant for former President
Aristide, as a way to distract the population... That may be why they
created the crisis of Aristide's so-called arrest to cover not only
the illegal liberation of more than 300 bandits, but the CEP
[Provisional Electoral Council] now saying that elections are not
possible this year."

"Instead of the people being mobilized 24/7 to demand the departure of
Martelly, Lamothe, and MINUSTAH, [the regime] is now giving us our
work, making us stand out in Tabarre day and night making sure they
don't arrest Aristide," KOD concluded. "They have now put us on the
defensive so we don't attack them for the crimes they are carrying out
in the country."

On Aug. 18, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the FL's national coordinator and now
formal presidential candidate, held a press conference at the Aristide
Foundation where she called the attacks against Aristide "maneuvers
and diversions to distract Haitians from the real problems they face
daily." Among these, she included the ever-escalating cost of living,
the eviction of hundreds of families in downtown Port-au-Prince, the
uprooting of farmers on Ile-à-Vache, the disaster in the state exam
results this year, the withholding of elections for 4 years, the
failure of the El Rancho Accord, and the spectacular release of
Clifford Brandt. She said that the latest charges of embezzlement and
drug-trafficking against Aristide, which are drawn from a
long-discredited politically-motivated report by the
Washington-installed de facto government which took power on the heels
of the Feb. 29, 2004 coup against Aristide, were "fabricated in a
laboratory with the participation of a small group of enemies of

"The Lavalas Family continues to demand free, fair, and democratic
elections," Dr. Narcisse concluded, from which the party "will not
allow itself to be excluded," as it has been in all elections over the
past decade.

"The Haitian people do not accept and will never accept a retrograde,
reactionary power, which has issued from the Macoute Duvalierist
ideology, to use the justice system to persecute an honest citizen who
has faithfully put himself at the service of his people," said Lionel
Etienne, an FL Executive Committee member and former deputy. FL
leaders also called for the release of the Martelly regime's political
prisoners like Jean Robert Vincent, Joshua and Enold Florestal, and
Louima Louijuste.

Meanwhile, on Aug. 15, Aristide along with several of his lawyers sent
a long letter to the Organization of American States' Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to lay out numerous reasons why the
legitimacy and "impartiality of Judge Lamarre Bélizaire is far from
established, and the credibility of the judicial system is quite
flawed." The letter called on the IACHR to "urgently adopt
precautionary measures to safeguard the freedom and rights of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide whose freedom is seriously threatened
by the reckless and arbitrary actions of Judge Lamarre Bélizaire."

In Haiti, Aristide's lawyers have formally asked that Judge Bélizaire
be recused from the case for which he has summoned the former
Categories: Haitian blogs

Kiosks and Kids

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 28, 2014 - 12:47 am
Paige recently spotted an in-the-box, never been used curling iron in my closet. Why don't you use this, Mom? she wondered aloud.

Buyer's remorse.

That curling iron represents weakness and I cannot bring myself to use it.

*         *           *

We were in the USA. Days before Christmas I ran to the mall to buy the last pair of Christmas pajamas before we headed south to my parents' house for the holidays.

I brought Isaac, Hope, and Noah along with me.  'How often do these kids get to shop, or wander around a decorated mall?', I reasoned. 'They should come with me!'

New jammies are the only gift the kids have come to expect every Christmas, but I had not found any for Isaac yet. (Reason being, he has the up-highest butt on the face of this earth and they don't make many clothes for that butt placement.)

I told the kids our mission was to find the P.J's quickly and head to our next errand on the other side of town.

The kiosks in the middle of malls intimidate me.  Those people that sit on the stools at the kiosk know how to sell. They could sell ice to Eskimos, sand to the desert, trees to the forest. They are the super ninjas of sales and I know better than to make eye contact or interact. Head down, eyes cast to the ground, speed walk past all kiosks. That is the modus operendi.  Correction, that is MY modus operendi.

Isaac was doing his Isaac thing, being all friendly and curious and kind.  His face says, "Talk to me, you won't regret it."  When people test his face, they always find it true.  He's the black Buddy the Elf and he slept a full forty minutes last night and had time to build you a rocking horse, too. He loves smiling, it's his favorite.

I was speed walking when a man stepped toward me and said, "Ma'am can I please curl your hair, just have a seat and in three minutes your hair will be transformed by my amazing iron."  I replied with zero warmth in my voice, "Nope, don't have time, I am in a hurry - plus - natural curls, thankyouverymuch."

Isaac and Noah piped in: "We are not in a hurry, Mom. Go for it."  I quickly killed them in my mind a thousand times.  "No, no, we really should keep moving guys", I said.  Isaac said, "Mom, you should get your hair curled. We can wait."  The kiosk ninja sales man grabbed my wrist and accurately read my tattoo. "You're Jewish?" he asked.  No, no I am not Jewish, but yes - you just read the Hebrew on my wrist correctly and yes, you know what it means. Yes, we now have more reasons why I have to have my damn hair curled at a mall kiosk in Waco, Texas.

I sat down, defeated.

For the next fifteen minutes (note: not three minutes, as advertised) my children oohhed and aaahed over my new best friend from Israel's curling expertise.  As it turns out he loves my children and finds them fascinating and says, "Is your husband very VERY dark?"  I don't know what my face does in response to this cockamamie question. Because, Noah and also because, come on, man.  "No, our Dad is white. We are Haitian and we were adopted", Isaac offers.  I catch Hope's eye in time to let her know I think that was a moronic question.  She smiles, entertained by it all.  My new friend says, "Ohhhhhh, I wish you would adopt me!"  I send Hope another unimpressed look. Isaac, ever the gullible go-along-to-get-along kinda guy says, "Could you actually do that, Mom?" No, son.  No. I cannot adopt a 24 year old mall kiosk curling iron salesman from Israel.  Super fun to dream though, isn't it?!?!?

Next thing you know my hair has 148 perfectly defined silky curls, something right out of Hollywood, and that curling iron has been cut in price from $250 to $125 and a bottle of shampoo and conditioner has been added to sweeten the deal and I am saying, "No, no, no, no. I don't want a curling iron!!!"

That is, right up until I somehow got so sick of the entire scene and the way nobody was listening to my "no" and somehow I bought the flipping expensive curling iron that I did not need or want. At all at all.  

My oldest daughter, Britt, has witnessed an occasion where I made a purchase I did not want to make because of a crafty salesperson. She also witnessed me going back into the store fourteen minutes after the purchase to return the item.  Sadly, my shame got the best of me on that particular December day and that curling iron was never returned.

My tattoo is the Hebrew word amets  - essentially it means "to be stout, strong, bold, and alert" - it is most similar to the Middle English word courage ... of which I had none on this particular day.

What I do have, 9 months later, is a very expensive unused curling iron.

Categories: Haitian blogs

Isn't she Lovelie?

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 26, 2014 - 10:23 pm

All the Stevie Wonder fans are swaying in their seats.  
Such a great song.

Lovelie's younger sister, Ketia, gave birth and went through our programs earlier this year.  Ketia was a joy to work with and get to know.   Everything in Haiti is about relationship.  There is an unwritten code that requires that each person look out for their family and close friends.  In this case it meant Ketia telling her big sister Lovelie about the Prenatal Program.   

When Lovelie first came on a Friday to ask to be accepted or put on the wait list, we said, "Sorry, we don't have space."  About six weeks later she came back and asked again.  

The second time around she got a little bit bolder.  Bold is a relative term, the bold I am describing for her is not very bold because she speaks quite softly and is shy by nature. On her second Friday visit Lovelie shared with us that Ketia was her sister and that she had been in a very bad accident in 2013. She lifted her skirt to reveal a significantly damaged right leg.  On that day we took another look at how many women were due in the month of September and decided to make space for one more.

As the story goes, Lovelie was hit by a truck while walking on the side of a street.  She ended up at an MSF (Doctors without Borders) hospital. Initially they sent her away and said she was okay and should go home - but within a day or two it was a major infection and she was admitted to the hospital for months of recovery and skin grafting. Currently her upper right leg is sort of half missing, a giant portion of it - gone.  The bottom of that leg and her foot is quite swollen, possibly being made worse by the weight of her growing baby. Her left leg is not quite as swollen and has scars from the skin grafts. 

The folks that hit her promised to help her, but that never came to be and they stopped returning her calls.

Lovelie is having some trouble with her leg right now. The skin had been completely closed and healed over and it has recently reopened in one place. Her first baby is due in late September.  Dr. Jen consults on all cases that are out of the ordinary and she has a plan to help get that leg healed up quickly, we are grateful for that but also would so appreciate it if those of you that pray  -would please add lovely Lovelie to your prayers.  

Categories: Haitian blogs

Death Squads Sow Terror in Port-au-Prince’s Poor Neighborhoods

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 26, 2014 - 7:40 pm
By: Isabelle L. Papillon - Haiti Liberte
Some popular neighborhoods around the capital were in turmoil over the past week. Heavily armed government thugs, or “legal bandits” as they are commonly called, wearing pink bracelets sowed panic in the areas of Simon Pelé, Cité Soleil, the Croix-des-Bossales market, and the suburbs south of Port-au-Prince.             This violence comes at a time when the Haitian people are mobilizing against the political persecution which the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is waging against partisans of its political opposition. The people are also demanding the release of political prisoners such as Jean Robert Vincent, Louima Louis Juste, Jean Matulnès Lamy, and Joshua and Enold Florestal. Progressive political activists rot in prison without trial for years while gang leaders like the kidnapping kingpin Clifford Brandt, Colombian drug-traffickers, and other notorious criminals are released, as was the case when 327 prisoners “escaped,” with the patent collusion of prison authorities, from the modern new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets. Meanwhile, Haitian diaspora visitors and citizens from the United States continue to be victims when arriving on Haitian soil.

            On Wed., Aug. 20 in Cité Soleil, Clifford Charles, a member of the Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization was killed following a demonstration by residents demanding the release of their imprisoned comrade Louima Louis Juste in the National Penitentiary for the past six months for his political opinions. As a leader of the Movement of the Opposition in Cité Soleil (MOPOSS) Louima Louis Juste had been very active at the head of every demonstration demanding the resignation of the reactionary Martelly-Lamothe regime. Another MOPOSS member, Junior Louimé Louis Juste said that Louima's arrest demonstrates how far the neo-Duvalierist Martelly government is willing to go in persecuting its political opponents.             The general coordinator of the Popular Movement of Haiti (MOPHA), Pierre Lemaire, meanwhile points out that the Martelly government has undertaken a propaganda campaign to pretend it is trying to reestablish the rule of law when, in fact, the regime is working to restore a dictatorship in flagrant violation of democratic gains. The proof is everywhere: since the illegal arrival of this regime in power in May 2011, no elections have been held, the municipal administrations throughout the country are led by de facto executive officers appointed by Martelly, the Senate is cut by a third, and the Chamber of Deputies is vassalized as it undertakes its last session, and the negotiations to hold new elections are still deadlocked.            Every day, one sees a terrible political climate emerging which is not conducive to the holding of elections. On Sat., Aug. 23, 2014, the people of the Bélécourt section of Cite Soleil discovered the bodies of five people killed by the “legal bandits,” four boys and a woman. The victims were on their way to where they try to make a living. The residents of Bélécourt point to a man in the area known as “Gabriel,” a gang leader in the Soleil 17 neighborhood, as the person behind the killings. "These crimes were committed by Gabriel, the leader of the Soleil 17 gang,” said one resident. “He works in Cité Soleil for Laurent Lamothe and Michel Martelly. He said he was ordered by the authorities to control Cité Soleil. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe visited him last week."            On Thu., Aug. 21, in downtown Port-au-Prince at the Croix-des-Bossales market, heavily armed bandits began firing weapons and breaking things. Larger stores were forced to close their doors while small sidewalk merchants were forced to flee, sandwiching buyers in the melee. The panic resulted in an unspecified number of people killed and wounded, according to reports.            On Mon. Aug. 25, lawyers André Michel and Newton Louis Saint-Juste were taken hostage in Petit Goâve at the town’s courthouse by “legal bandits” who are in the pay of the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Stevenson Thimoléon. The lawyers went to Petit Goâve to defend their clients, victims of these bandits. They were attacked by the thugs in the court itself. Officers of the Haitian National Police (PNH) had to intervene to save the lawyers’ lives and escort them from the building.            According to some observers, the climate of panic and political persecution in the capital is being generated purposefully to distract from the brief escape of gang leader Clifford Brandt and the dismal scores students got in state exams despite the government’s incessant propaganda that it is providing free, universal schooling for which $1.50 is arbitrarily levied on international money transfers and 5 cents on each minute of every international telephone call.
            One is also justified in wondering if the surge in violence is the result of the distribution of arms to the “legal bandits”?
Categories: Haitian blogs


Livesay Haiti - Aug. 26, 2014 - 12:43 pm

In so many places throughout the world today there are hurting and frightened people - waiting on justice. 
Pray for them.
If it is all too overwhelming, pick one group/situation ...
and pray.
(Haiti photo quoting MLK Jr.)
Categories: Haitian blogs

look up

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 21, 2014 - 9:31 am

On a recent Sunday morning we were riding to church with a car full of kids.
I had not been particularly upbeat for a few days and that morning was no different.

We were on the main road near our house, we drive on it almost every day of the year.

It was flooded after hard rain and more disgusting than usual.

I was thinking negative thoughts about how gross it looked and how depressing the color of the mud was and how much disease must be in the stagnant water and certainly the least that could be done was for someone to do something about the mounds and mounds of trash spilling into the nasty, smelly, water-filled road. I was feeling sorry for every animal that we passed, every person I could see, myself included.  
The ugliness of poverty was eating me. I was grouchy and angry and down.

From the back seat came the high pitched voice of Lydia saying, "Beautiful BEAUTIFUL ... LOOOOOOK at how beautiful!!!" I turned to look at her because in no way, shape, or form could I find anything in my line of vision that would be labeled 'beautiful'.

Lydie was looking up, pointing above us at a tree in full bloom of red flowers.  She wasn't seeing everything I was seeing.  The only thing that stood out to her in that spot on our familiar road was that the tree had given birth to brand new flowers and she wasn't going to let the rest of us miss it.

I so want Lydia's eyes for beauty.

Look up.

**originally posted summer 2011
Categories: Haitian blogs

#Adoption Ethics - Philomena, a film to see

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 19, 2014 - 10:19 pm
As an adoptive parent that has made advocating for birth-family rights a regular part of my battle cry, I have learned over time that some adoptive parents don't want to be asked to think about the birth parents of their adopted children.

I am not sure why that is, my guess is that it is painful and difficult -- and avoidance of pain and difficulty is a thing people do.  (No, not a detective, just keen deductive powers.) 

Last year we bore witness to a corrupt (American) woman processing adoptions in Haiti and asked for accountability for dishonest practices and fraudulent acquisition of children for international adoption. Following speaking up about it, false stories circulated and six or seven adoptive mothers wrote angry emails informing us we were being used by the devil to destroy international adoption. (Gah!) 

That was a difficult time, because, who wants to be falsely accused or loathed? As it turned out, multiple children had been wrongfully removed from birth-families.

In the end we looked at the lives of the Haitian families all around us and recognized that someone needed to stand up for their rights. They don't have the money or the passports or the social media or the voice or the state senators. 

Recognizing that not everyone automatically thinks it is important to empathize and understand the feelings and experiences of first-families, I am still pushing for all adoptive parents to do just that. Our desire is to continue to encourage adoptive parents to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth by listening to the stories of grown adoptees and first families, by learning about unjust practices and by being very concerned with adoption ethics. Additionally, we must all investigate the agencies we partner with and be vigilant as we gather information.  

What has been done in the adoption business in the past, and what continues to be done in some instances and countries, is unjust. It is challenging to take on the burden of this injustice without trivializing anyone's suffering. We need to try. I think we often don't give credence to the fact that there is a burden to bear here.  There is not a single narrative; someone gains, someone loses, someone has litte to say about how it plays out. 

* * * *

This movie (and the true story it is based on) is a must see for adoptive parents.  It exposes systems that have taken children from mothers and the multi-faceted fallout of this injustice. In the movie it is the Catholic church in Ireland taking babies from teen mothers. This still happens, in a different context, but under the same umbrella of coercion and shame and exploitation of a mother in crisis.  It has long finished its run in the theaters and is available for purchase. You won't regret taking the time to view it. 

This movie is beautiful and redemptive while being truthful, and immensely sad.

Quoting two articles on the movie..."You can't go through life being so unyielding ...so you've got to forgive," (Philomena) Lee said of how she was able to keep her faith. "You've got to. You just have to forgive." On stage at the Golden Globe Awards last month, Lee said the film with her name wasn't just about her."It's the shared story of the women who have yet to receive the justice they deserve," she said, referring to many unwed Irish mothers who also had their children taken from them and who want to find out what happened to them.   (Source)The book also helps dismantle the stubborn myth that silence is the best policy: that children should be sheltered from the facts of adoption, and that love and material comfort will conquer all. Adoption mores have certainly evolved over time; today, adoptive parents often keep in touch with their children’s birth families.  (Source)
Categories: Haitian blogs

Humans of New York Goes Global

New York Times on Haiti - Aug. 19, 2014 - 12:00 am
The creator of the popular photography blog Humans of New York, which focuses on street life in the city, is now documenting the everyday lives of people near trouble spots around the world.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Isaac Livesay, Guest Blogger

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 18, 2014 - 10:23 pm
This can be found in it's original handwritten form at ASK ISAAC too. 

For ease in reading, I have typed it up for him and added a couple more little facts and a video and photo he requested that I add.

~          ~            ~

An OVERDUE Update, By Isaac Livesay
HI ALLHi Guys, it's Isaac with a new 2014 ground breaking column.

Sorry I've neglected my column this summer and since I have only a few weeks before school starts, I want to share these two topics: What I have done this summer and some exhilarating things that will be happening in the next six months. 

This summer has been very fun. We got to help out at a VBS (Vacation Bible School) and meet our new (future) brother-in-law, Michael.  It was really fun having Michael visit us. We went to the beach twice while he was here and played video games with him and swam a lot. We watched movies and had a few dance parties and played lots of Phase 10. It was loads of fun. 

Besides Michael visiting, the other main thing we did this summer was camps. The camps were something we did to learn about stuff and have fun. Each camp was four days long except for one which was only two days long. During camp we weren't the only kids there, others joined us. 

We had four convivial camps. They were, Art, Energy, How Stuff Works, and Agriculture Camp. During Art camp we got to try various things like carving soap bars into whatever we wanted and building stuff from twig leaves, trash, pop bottles, and Popsicle sticks and straws. Of course there was lots of drawing and sketching, which I love.  (I will post a photo of my most recent dragon drawing.) 

Energy camp was awesome - we studied kinetic, potential, heat, electrical and some other types of energy. We got to build catapults, water rockets that blasted off of pressure, and make a solar powered car. We made obstacles that could start a chain reaction and we even got to do this awesome competition in which we used corrugated metal or cardboard box and a bottle. (There will be a video in which I will tell you even more about the camps.) 

Time to get to the truly stimulating stuff. I am so excited for numerous things within the next six months. I will name those things.  

First, my awesome friends Jeff and Dave come back to Port au Prince on 8/19/14 - in other words, tomorrow! 

My birthday is coming up on September 7th and this will be the very first time we get to celebrate on the actual date of my birth. (I did not know my right birthday because my adoption paperwork listed the wrong date but my birth family told me about the real date this year.) Also, I am becoming an uncle in October, I will be called "Uncle Ike" to my nephew. Then, also pretty exciting, Lydia, Phoebe, Paige, and Hope all have birthdays late in the year as well. 

In January my family and I are going to fly to Florida for my sister's grand wedding. Paige's wedding will take place at a gorgeous ranch in south Florida. I saw photos and it is pulchritudinous. At the wedding me and Noah will be groomsmen. A groomsmen stands by the groom in an act of solidarity he supports the marriage and the groom, Michael. 

My Grandma Porter told me this just yesterday. I cannot even believe it yet. My Grandma and Papa are taking me and me and my family on an opulent cruise after Paige's wedding. We will be on it for one week and we will visit Jamaica, Cozumel in Mexico, and the magnificent Caymen Islands. I am psyched! I am a Caribbean boy and can not wait to explore more of the greater Antilles.

Thoughtful comments and questions are allowed.
Categories: Haitian blogs

why i care

Livesay Haiti - Aug. 14, 2014 - 10:12 pm
The following was written many many months ago (a year?) and has been sitting in the draft folder. There was so much discussion that it seemed like nobody was really listening or pausing or considering anything that anyone else said. When nobody pauses, it seems silly to add a voice to the cacophony. I have no idea if anyone is openly listening right now or not, but hitting publish with a prayer.


"Why do you even care?" was the question posed.
Well. Let's see. Truth is, I care for a lot of reasons. I want to be a good neighbor and I want to understand things outside of my reality. Love compels me to care. We are striving and seeking to bring His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. I think that's a perfect reason to care. I have a black son. I have a white son. They would both benefit from a less racially-jacked-up world. 

That is the short list. 

I wasn't there and I am not charged with upholding Florida law, so my thoughts are not actually about the verdict itself. I don't know how it went down, I only know that the feelings it stirred in the mothers of black sons are real. Are difficult. Are raw. 

The case points to the bigger issues.  Racism is a festering problem that hasn't improved as much as most would like to pretend. I notice that most people that tell me racism is not an issue are not the people that would necessarily be discriminated against. I notice that those that say "work hard and everybody has the same benefits", are the people that didn't start with societal and cultural and historical prejudice stacked up against them. I notice that most white people that get angry when black people say there is a problem, are people that don't have a diverse friend group or neighborhood. 

I don't find it implausible that most of us walk around with a certain amount of prejudice in our hearts toward people of differing cultures, languages, and skin colors. It seems much more implausible that everyone is as fair as they say they are. I know this: I grew up mainly fearing black men. I did not interact with black children or adults and I did not sit down to a meal with a black family until I was 29 years old. I don't know if that made me racist but it did make me fearful. We all fear what we don't understand and our enemy comes to destroy and he does it by planting fear and distrust - he did that in my life - and he seems to be succeeding elsewhere frequently.  

Black men (and women) say they experience profiling, overt discrimination, fear, and worse. I don't doubt that for a second. I don't really understand those that want to say that cannot be true in this day and age. Even as my black son leaves "cute little kid" stage and enters into the "threatening pre-teen" stage, I have seen people that don't know him respond to him differently. 
We are generally not a very empathetic people, and that is unfortunate at best and horribly harmful at worst. The suffering of others, no matter how little I can identify with their struggle, should matter to me. The unfair treatment of another one of God's children shouldn't be ignored by me - Because, seeking His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. I think in Heaven we care about injustice, my keen logic skills lead me to believe bringing Heaven to earth means I care here as well. 

Can I fight every battle and every injustice in this world?  No. Of course not. Should I care about racism that doesn't usually directly affect me personally? Yes, and I think we all should.

Living in Haiti has taught me a lot. I am, in fact, a person of privilege. My skin color, place of birth, and passport all make it so. In most situations in life I have an assumed presumption of good-character and I can go about my business unnoticed and unharassed. That said, living here in Haiti as a minority has given me a little tiny glimpse into the world of someone whom is not given carte blanche benefit of the doubt. 

Haiti has had its fair share of abusive, rude, superior acting, white people come through as "helpers" over the years. Technically, the slave owners of more than 200 years ago were all those things.  For that reason and because of many more horrific abuses spanning history, there is a portion of the Haitian population that very much dislikes, distrusts, and even despises white people. On occasion, I have been running and had someone call me horrible names. I have been driving and been told to get the $*&@ out. I have been glared at, mocked, snubbed, and felt unfairly judged. 

Based on things I've witnessed here, I understand that response. I don't begrudge those folks that find my presence here troublesome, some of the things I've heard fellow expats saying about Haitians make me dislike and distrust them (us) as well. Upon glancing at me, how is my Haitian neighbor to know which type of expat I am? I have been given an opportunity to experience prejudice. 

This experience has at times made me mad. "How unfair", I've lamented. However, I long ago decided to see it as a chance to identify more with my Haitian children. Experiencing a tiny bit of ill-will and unfair judgement has taught me how to better identify prejudice and empathize. I feel like it is my chance to walk (ever so briefly and with so much less intensity) in the shoes of my black children and friends. That's incredibly important to me as I raise my Haitian-American children. Prior to living here I had never experienced anything that would have allowed me this unique insight into what they may face. Don't hear me saying I totally understand it, hear me saying, I've begun to understand it and my minuscule experience leaves me wanting better for my children.
I don't want to hear my black friends (or children) saying "This is an ongoing problem for us" and ignore, deny, downplay, or turn away. Would we do that if they came and said they were being abused in other ways? I want to listen and learn. I want to offer genuine concern, care, and empathy. I want to do my part to bring His Kingdom to earth.

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Christena Cleveland wrote:
"Privileged people of the cross seek out, stand with, and stick their necks out for people who have problems that are nothing like their own. Privileged people of the cross resist the magnetic draw of our culturally-polarized society. Privileged people of the cross jump every societal hurdle in order to understand the perspective of, stand with and advocate for the other. Just like Jesus did for us."Greg Cary wrote:
"The unity of the church requires that white Christians truly honor the reality our neighbors experience. We cannot isolate our spiritual lives from the rest of our experience. We cannot say, "We love you, but we don't believe your stories." Shallow reconciliation will not do. We cannot expect to pray with black, Latino/a, or Asian American neighbors while we tolerate the absolute negation of their humanity."

Ephrem Smith
"Even with all this, I am hopeful because I know that the Kingdom of God is near. I realize that race is a man-made social construct influenced by Satan to keep the children of God from understanding their true identity and purpose. I will continue to fight with spiritual weapons to bring the reconciling message of Jesus Christ to the lost and the broken. I will not give up."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I will also continue to fight with spiritual weapons to bring the reconciling message of Jesus to the lost and broken. I will seek out, stand with, advocate for, and jump societal hurdles (allow myself to be utterly uncomfortable) in order to better understand the experience of my neighbors and my children. 

I care. Now you know why.

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(Not in original year old post, added tonight - emphasis is mine.)
Osheta Moore
Today, I raise my hands, because perfect love casts out all fear and because Abba Father sees the suffering of his children.  I raise my hands to bear witness to my  brothers and sisters who were tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets. I raise my hands because my love for them is restless. I can’t do anything tangible with these hands, but raise them high.  Lord, we are restless for change and anxious for hope.  We are witnesses of injustice. We are the women at the foot of the cross, empower us to stay through the torment so that we can be present to bind up wounds and then—see resurrection.

Greg Boyd wrote:
If the church is ever going to significantly manifest the beauty of God’s diverse humanity, it’s going to take place one life at a time. Reach out. Cross ethnic and culture lines. Watch how it challenges your paradigms, enriches your life and expands your worldview. 
Categories: Haitian blogs