Archive for June, 2012

June 27, 2012

A Haitian-American rises in Utah and in the Republican Party

Haiti may get some attention from U.S. media during the 2012 election season. Utah mayor and Brooklyn-born daughter of Haitian parents, Mia Love, is supposedly on track to become the first black Republican woman in Congress. I say, supposedly, because even if the media and some Republicans are excited by the novel rising star, Love’s up against a six-term Democrat who’s also a fiscal conservative. Caution is in order, and definitely more than the media will exercise for a black, Mormon Republican woman who has said she wants to take apart the Congressional Black Caucus from the inside-out. Love’s politics aside, what caught my attention a couple of months ago was the extent to which her Haitian immigrant identity is integral to how she sells herself to voters. She mentions her parents’ influence quite a bit, specifically their aversion to handouts.

“[My father] said: ‘Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society,’ ” she said with a stern smile. “ ‘You will give back.’ ”

I’m not taking a huge leap when I say that the subtext here is one with which Caribbean and African blacks are intimately familiar: “we” are not like black Americans.

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June 13, 2012

Gros Morne mango plant closed by the U.S., but is the story true?

A Le Nouvelliste article about a Gros Morne mango plant, closed by order of the US, is being circulated online as an example of the US delivering, according to the mayor, yet another “slap to the Haitian people.” I tend to focus on foreign coverage of Haiti but I’m writing about this LN article (read the English version on Defend.ht) because I want to encourage readers to demand the quality information they deserve about a field as critical to Haiti’s development as economic news–and this article ain’t it.

As an outsider, I learned early on that a defining quality of The Haiti Conversation is the frequency and normalcy with which rumor and hearsay is deployed to support fossilized political points of view.

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June 11, 2012

Haiti news coverage after the world has gone away

Support journalism done by Haitian journalists. Above, one training sponsored by Solidar’IT (Frederick Alexis).

It’s been nearly two years since I visited Haiti and a year since I’ve written about it on this blog. In a perfect world my silence here reflects how often I’ve thought about my time in the country, its problems and of course, this Develop Haiti-diaspora-aid news idea. In a perfect world.

Back then, I used to look ahead to what news coverage about Haiti would be like once the world and its money inevitably moved on. I see diaspora as key to developing Haiti because unlike the native-born, the world has a short attention span and ‘two-years-post-quake’ can’t make the coin jingle like ‘6-months-post-quake.’ With barely enough bright spots to dimly light a dark room however, the English language information on offer generally sucks. The reason is simple: very few people if anyone with a stake in Haiti’s development (diaspora, NGO, business, donors, etc) demand better information.

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