Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’

–we are women” : an article by amanda kijera.

The United Nations, western women’s organizations and the Haitian government must immediately provide women in Haiti with the funding that they need to build domestic violence and rape crisis centers. Stop dividing Black families by distributing solely to women, which only exaggerates male resentment and frustration in Haiti. Provide both women and men with job training programs that would allow for self-sufficiency as opposed to continued dependency on whites. Lastly, admit that the issue of racial integration might still need addressing on an international level, and then find a way to address it!

so i have a special research interest in haiti, in case y’all didn’t already know. i found this article to be really engaging, stupendously interesting. i feel so confused by this! i feel confused by one of the responses to the above:

How is it possible, after being the victim of a brutal rape, to absolve the perpetrator of guilt and point the finger at men of another color who are nowhere near one’s body? This projection is absolutely stunning and self-defeating.

The man who committed this crime committed it for his reason and his alone. Without holding him to account, what hope of change is there? If a person cannot own his behavior, he cannot change it.

This sort of rationalization would absolve white slave owners, by the way. They were simply victims of cultural thinking at the time. And the patriarchy? A remnant of twisted religious extremism.

No one would be responsible for any action at any time, anywhere. There is, after all, a context for every crime.

At the root of this absolution is a desire to push personal responsibility on the collective. Unfortunately, the collective was not in that room that night. One man raped one woman.

oh dear. what now? what is this now. why am i so confused? can anyone please tell me what is going on, and who should do what, and why? and how this fits into all of it?

Melissa’s words are so incredibly powerful, and I can’t make that point any better than she can. This is not about the “global hierarchy”. Every person has control over their actions. Amanda’s rapist is no different. Her response is astounding to most – how could she possibly blame the status of the black man in the world society for this? How was the man that beat her and abused her not at fault? We’re right to question that.

oh, i miss Bq, i want Bq to tell me how to think about this real bad!

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The following excerpt is from Eyes of the Heart, by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first democratically-elected president of Haiti, now in exile in South Africa.

Around the world what is called the informal sector makes up a $16 trillion-a-year economy. Of this women are responsible for $11 trillion. In Haiti, where official unemployment is about 70%, the informal sector is in fact much larger than the formal sector. And the economic strength of this sector in Haiti is a surprise to most economists. It has a total combined asset and property value estimated at $4.71 billion, or more than 72% of the total assets and property of the 123 largest private enterprises in Haiti. It is a complex network of economic activities that extends into every Haitian village and percolates through the urban slums, touching the lives of the rural and urban poor majority. Any economic plan for Haiti must begin here.

Any economic plan for Haiti must also begin with women. In Haiti we say that women are the poto mitan, or “center pole” of the household. During the past 20 years we can say that women have also been the poto mitan of the struggle. We are not surprised then when we see that over 70% of our Foundation are women. As at St. Jean Bosco, the majority of those who attended were women. In the struggle women are always well represented at the bases, if not in positions of power.

Women have unique skills for leadership with cooperation. When we created the cooperative at the Foundation we took some inspiration from the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. We decided to lend money to people in groups of five, with each member being responsible for the others. The women understood and adapted to the system quickly. Many of the men balked. It was not easy to find four others with whom they could form a group, and when it came time to make a loan they did not want to sign for the others.

Studies around the world have shown that when household budgets are in the hands of women, they are more likely to be spent for primary needs (food, education, and health care). I predict that when the budgets of nations are in the hands of women we will see the same result. While I was president, women held major cabinet posts for the first time in Haiti. We had fifteen women ministers in three governments, including a Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Finance, Education, Information and Labor. It made a difference.

Women, children and the poor must be the subjects, not the objects of history. They must sit at the decision-making tables and fill the halls of power. They must occupy the radio and airwaves, talking to and calling to account their elected leaders. Their participation will democratize democracy, bringing the word back to its full meaning: Demos meaning people, Cratei meaning to govern.

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in light of the recent earthquake and aftershock in Haiti, i want to make a post that is perhaps not directly relevant to our mission on this blog, but is nonetheless terribly important.

during humanitarian crises such as this, marginalized groups in society suffer the most. now i have absolutely no claim to an exhaustive history of women in Haiti, and women’s rights in Haiti. however, i tend towards the belief that women everywhere are marginalized, more often than not, and Haiti is not likely to pose an exception to this tendency. i do hesitate to say this, since there is a lot of terrible, misleading media coverage on this earthquake that make awful assumptions, and i do not want to contribute to that mess.

the point of this post is to urge that we keep informed, and keep an eye out on how this earthquake has affected marginalized groups, in particular, women in Haiti. and if any of us an afford to, it would be great to donate. partners in health is an org that i have heard a lot of good things about, especially from individuals who are critical of the patterns of colonial exploitation that america & europe has inflicted upon Haiti. this makes me trust them. click here to donate to this reliable org. you can also donate supplies/volunteer by going to this page. if youre really into it, you can even work for them!

other more-reliable-than-the-UN-and-wyclef-jean-orgs:

1. Doctors Without Borders (Medicines Sans Frontiers)

2. Haiti Action

3. Grassroots International

4. Oxfam

feel free to explore other links on the above sites, and share your experiences. Stand with Haiti.

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