Archive for ‘Twitter’

May 8, 2011

DH Film Review || When the Drum is Beating

Recently I walked out of When the Drum is Beating, a new Haiti doc that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.  I fumed on Twitter but later that night I dropped in on the after-party at a hotel bar for the doc’s stars, visiting members of a 62-year-old orchestra from Cap-Haïtien, the Septentrional. By Flatbush, Brooklyn standards the party would’ve been a flop but as far as artsy-intellectual Manhattan gatherings go, it wasn’t too bad either. “There’re a lot of newcomers to Haiti here tonight,” was how one enthusiastic Haitian mingler described the crowd. Makes sense. Much of the doc came across like it was made for a liberal sensibility that’s shocked-just-shocked by deprivation.

When the Drum is Beating is about the band and the history of Haiti from slavery through the 2010 earthquake.  That’s a lot, too much, and it shows. Thank God then for the archival footage (rare stuff, to hear a 1915 Marine narrating the US’s arrival), some poignant interviews and the festival scenes.  As a concert-goer says during fet chanpet, “When Septen plays I’m rich, when they stop I’m poor.”

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March 23, 2011

Which NGOs are doing a good job in Haiti?

Last week journalist, Michele Mitchell Tweeted me to ask who or which aid organizations are doing a good job in Haiti.  I didn’t want to Tweet back, “I dunno,” without explaining so here goes.

As vital as international NGOs can be, they’re not first on my mind when thinking of what works in Haiti. In truth I’d rather brainstorm, innovate and build long-term programs that strengthen the country, i.e. job creation, investing in entrepreneurs, strategic economic development, public-private partnerships, bolstering public sector capacity. But INGOs operating on a charity or short-term aid model dominate Haiti’s landscape so (shrug) unfortunately they dominate The Haiti Conversation, too.

I can’t really answer Michele’s question though because, well, how would I gauge who’s doing a good job?

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