Five years after the devastating earthquake that rocked the lives and homes of thousands of Haitian men, women and children, the shadow of that tragic day remains. Thanks to the overwhelmingly generosity of Canadian individuals and support from organizations and government, progress in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas has been made.
Haiti remains the dent in imperialism's white-supremacist shining armour. It remains the African nation which successfully expelled imperialist predatory forces to become the first African republic (post-colonization). It remains the African nation which took the empty rhetoric of equality-liberty-fraternity and gave it substance and meaning.
The February 2004 coup against the democratically elected Haitian president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, serves as a potent example of how Canada's aid program and foreign policy can undermine democratic development. Some will undoubtedly find the preceding statement surprising, if not disturbing, but the documentary record of Canada's relationship with Haiti supports it.
I dare to dream of a Diaspora that is able to actively, consistently and credibly hold individuals like Coderre accountable for their actions; a Diaspora that is in a position of preventing the many Coderre's of this world from adding insult to injury by portraying themselves as true friends of Haiti. Because with friends like these...
When the media in this country focuses on Haiti, it is typically to highlight Canadian aid projects. Yet, here is one of Haiti's most popular politicians telling the press (and audiences throughout South America) that Canada helped overthrow its elected government and continues to undermine its sovereignty.
Even after three years of rebuilding from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, progress continues to be met with stories of difficulty and more bad news. Last week the U.N. issued a report warning that 1.5-million Haitians -- mostly farmers and their families -- are at risk of serious malnutrition because of crop losses.
It may be that the inherent complexity of international development initiatives -- which occur in dynamic and unpredictable environments, such Haiti's -- precludes a quick or linear path towards development results. Within this framework, failure may actually be a necessary stepping-stone on the path towards success.
In Django Unchained, the protagonist makes the fictional journey from slavery to freedom in the Antebellum Southern U.S. circa 1858. As President Obama reminded us, Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation which announced the end of slavery in the USA in 1863. Toussaint L'Ouverture played the leading role in the real-life drama alongside and his revolutionary army of self-emancipated barefoot slaves, defeating the three great empires of the eighteenth century -- Spain, England, and France -- and finally winning independence after a decade of toil.
Natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, are common worldwide and leave the affected public vulnerable to the harsh realities of nature, including the onslaught of infectious diseases. The reality of any disaster of this magnitude is that public health measures are all but forgotten as people do everything they can to survive. The viruses will surely arrive before the area has recovered.
While the Toronto International Film Festival is a time for celebrating the best in film (and fashion!), it is also a time for artists and others within the industry to come together and show their support for causes that matter to them. For me, that cause is Artists for Peace and Justice -- a non-profit organization that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty around the world.
When I tell people how much I love to vacation in Haiti, many look at me like I'm a crackhead. It's not unlike the reaction I got when my producing partner and I decided to produce a whole TV series on Israel. For too long, people have tried to oversimplify the complexities of both Haitian and Israeli politics. I'm not equipped to fully assess these complexities but I know this for sure: people are not their governments.
In this edition of One On One, Mansbridge does a competent job debriefing the distinguished CBC foreign correspondent Susan Ormiston, back in London after her latest foreign assignment. So why do journalists like Susan Ormiston volunteer to go to all these places where people kill each other, and too often kill journalists who might as well have targets painted on their flak jackets?