Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
As Haiti has tragically managed to find itself in the global eye, I figured some people maybe interested to learn a little more about Haiti; a country that has needed our help for years, with or without the occurrence of natural disaster. The sad truth of the matter is that an earthquake like this would be devastating anywhere else, but is exponentially worse in a country void of infrastructure, effective government, and economic opportunity. And this, the horrid state and quality of life in Haiti, is largely, if not entirely, the result of a global system based around the principles of exploitation and capitalism, a system which keeps few rich and many poor. So, without further rhetoric, here is a repost of "Vodkatron's Wildin' Country of the Week: The Republic of Haiti", originally published on July 3rd of 2008.
Its a land of pristine white sand beaches and lush rain forests. A land where French, Taino and West African influences are found in the language, the cuisine and the art. A land where enchanting mysticism is incorporated into everyday culture. A land where coups are as frequent as elections, and gangs, fresh out of a black-exploitation version of Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, run rampant on the streets. This is a place where UN peace keepers rape fifteen year olds, and disease and famine are an everyday reality. Bienvenue à Haiti.
So, I've given myself a bit of a difficult Wildin' Country of the Week. Don't get me wrong, Haiti is fucking WILDIN' with a capital WILDIN'. But are they wildin' too hard? Is there anyway to make this article funny?
The name Haiti stems from the Taino word 'Ayti' meaning Mountainous land. The country comprises the western half of the island Hispaniola. The first European expedition to Hispaniola was led by Italian sailor and mass-murderer extraordinaire, Cristophero Colombo. He effectively killed all the island's indigenous, wiping the Tainos entirely off the map (which is probably why my spell check doesn't recognize the name). In the next few centuries, the Spanish and French fought over Hispaniola and eventually decided, in the Treaty of Riswick, to divide the island in half. The Spanish had the DR. The French had Saint-Domingue, or present-day Haiti.
Seeing as there were no more natives left alive for manual labour, the French colonists decided they would do it all themselves. Just kidding. In reality, they brought hundreds of thousands of African slaves to the island. By the 1790's, Saint-Domingue was one of the most prosperous colonies in the Carribean. Then the slaves rebelled. Fighting both for emancipation and sovereignty, 1804 saw the first modern slave revolution, and the Republic of Haiti was born.
But dont get too excited ladies and wilders. Assassinations, coups d'etat, secessions, and occupations cloud the next 150 years. In 1957, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier was elected president. Bad move. On the list of horrendous contemporary political leaders, I would put Duvalier somewhere between Kim Jung Il and Pol pot. He consolidated power through the use of death squads, most notably the Tonton Macoute (the Creole name for a certain boogie-man). Papa Doc believed himself to be the spiritual embodiment of Haiti. He claimed he was chosen by god, Jesus, and the voodoo deity Laos. His regime killed an estimated 30,000 people directly. Wildin? Yes. Funny? In a Carlos Mencia sort of way.
When Papa Doc passed in 1971, his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier took over. Baby Doc was slightly better than his father as he was less interested in directly ensuring his people's suffering and more interested in philanthropic endeavors... such as embezzlement.
In the early 80's, the combination of bad foreign relations, an outbreak of African Swine Fever among the pig population, and a level of government corruption that would make a Congolese prostitute look clean, left the Haitian economy in shambles and famine and malnourishment widespread. For some reason, the population was unhappy with this, and a popular revolution ousted Baby Doc in 1987.
After three years with an interim governments, in what was considered the first fair election in Haitian history, populist preacher-turned-dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected president. He was shortly thereafter disposed by a coup. For the next three years Aristide campaigned for military help from the US to reinstall in a position of power. The Clinton Administration, in their third military intervention in Haiti, put Aristide back in power.
Now, I know we all love Bill Clinton, and after seven and a half years of George W. Bush, I understand why. But while Clinton never got us into a full scale war, let's be serious, in regards to foreign policy, Bubba was a dirt bag. I can think of five separate occasions when he negatively altered fragile situations in the developing world. If you don't believe me, fuck you. Question: What does the Republic of Haiti and Monica Lewinski have in common? Answer: They both got fucked by Bill Clinton. Only the Cohiba that Clinton used with Haiti was symbolic...and was actually a coup. And Haiti's fragile cooch was actually their government. And Haiti didn't get a book deal or a spot on the talk show circuit.
What Haiti did get, however, is two more all-expenses paid years with Aristide's military dictatorship. Hooray!!
In 1996, Aristide was forced to leave and Renee Preval became president. He actually did a decent job. Aristide seized power again in 2001, and the US and EU put sanctions on Haiti. Renee Preval was elected again in 2006. Today, Haiti is in terrible shape....so not a whole lot has changed.
So what more can I say about Haiti? Its the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and might be the worst managed state in the world. Still you got to hand it to them, Haiti is wildin' hard. Like, "I have done PCP for forty days straight, and just stole an Aston Martin, and sold it for six dollars wildin'". One question still remains. Is anyone down for Port au Prince Spring Break 09?
Alright bitches, I'm gonna be completely honest. I LOVE SADE. Homegirl is like 60 years old and she still makes sexy thoughtful adult music for sexy thoughtful adults like myself. This song is great, and this video is pretty great too (if you assume the desert setting and Enya-esque mood is some kind of postmodern parody of itself).
Soldier Of Love
Sade | MySpace Music Videos
SOrry I have been gone. I was in Vieques and hardly touched my computer. Anyway, here is a promo video that Mr Aesthetic made for me for my upcoming album.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Bro-Magnon - noun
One of the main types of early bros, dating from roughly 1950 - 1970. Known for their varsity sweaters, adoration of the Kingston Trio, and tendency to date women with two first names (e.g. Peggy-Sue or Louise-May).
ex: There were a lot of Bro-Magnons at Princeton when Scott's father went there.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Sadly it seems that this blog has turned into a very odd specialty dictionary. Sorry about that. I am finishing my album right now, and thus all my creative juices are otherwise channeled. I promise (think) I'll be back on the horse soon. Anyway here are some videos that my friends made (in case you missed em).
Mazzi & Sneakas - Most Hated
Das Racist - Rainbow in the Dark
NSR - City Life
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Broetry - noun
1) Any rhythmical literary work, written or spoken, composed by a 'bro'.
ex: The feelings Devon can't share on his fantasy sports league's message board, he shares in his broetry.
2) Broetic spirit or feeling
ex: Travis drank the beer bong with broetry.
See also: 'Broem'
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
1) the quintessential bro on which all other bros are formed.
ex: All the brothers in the fraternity agreed that the handsome, well-liked, and cool Chad was the brototype.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Brotocol - noun
1) The customs and regulations dealing with fraternal etiquette and matters of social norms and relations on a friendly level.
ex: When Brad slept with Dave's ex-girlfriend, he did not follow brotocol.