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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Get volunteering with Fashion Awareness Direct

For those in the know, the organisation “FAD” is anything but a passing fad, but instead a key initiative that aims to help young people with real skill to cross from education into the fashion industry.

Written by Camilla Sampson

Is it just me, abortion or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, site misleading, discount inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It would be easy to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

But how about the country that was the first to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1 copy

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, link or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It would be easy to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

But how about the country that was the first to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, this site or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, viagra dosage misleading, physician inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It would be easy to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

But how about the country that was the first to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, hospital or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, there misleading, viagra sale inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It would be easy to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

But how about the country that was the first to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, site or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, look misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It would be easy to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

But how about the country that was the first to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, information pills or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, generic misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, website or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, advice misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, cost or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, visit this site misleading, this inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, medicine or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, sales misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the extremely negative role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, clinic or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, diagnosis misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, help or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, patient misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, price or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, visit web misleading, information pills inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, view or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, viagra 100mg misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, viagra 60mg or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, recipe misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, pilule or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, treat misleading, click inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which later became Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonizers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haiti was still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing Haitians from investing it in their own economic development.

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to immigrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to pay back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
2009 Fashion Futures 1 - Project with teenagers in Newham_012009 Fashion Futures 1 – Project with teenagers in Newham

“FAD” is shorthand for ‘Fashion Awareness Direct, there ’ a registered charity since 2005; although it was successfully managed as a company from 1997. Its ethos focuses on making ‘the person central to design, cialis 40mg promoting respect to the wearer and integrating art and culture into fashion’. I think this is a fabulous way of amalgamating fashion and oneself – allowing inner confidence as you wear the outfit, viagra approved with the pieces representing you as an individual. To produce these designs FAD run a variety of professional fashion workshops, for ages 13 – 25, as well as inspirational industry days and even high profile catwalk events.  These are split into five main schemes: the Fairtrade Fashion Club, Fashion Futures 1, Fashion Futures 2, FAD Competition and FAD volunteering.

2009 FAD Competition - Winner Ana Belen Merono, Nottingham Trent2009 FAD Competition – Winner Ana Belen Merono of Nottingham Trent University

2009 FAD Competition - Winning outfit2009 FAD Competition – Winning outfit

 Every year FAD put on a competition, with the winner getting to show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout as part of London Fashion Week – an amazing achievement! 2009’s winner was Ana Belen Merono, a fashion student from Nottingham Trent University. The brief for the year was ‘Urban Holographic,’ with a suggestion of working on ideas around ‘Retrofuturism’ and ‘space tourism’. Candidates were invited to create ‘fashionable uniforms for galactic hosts/hostesses,’ a very original project I think. Ana’s designs were two outfits, as with all the finalists. One of which featured a structured jacket incorporating an ‘Op-Art’ design, and the other combining a ‘cosmic cloud’ dress with ‘armour’ style layers. Her creations earned her a unanimous vote, with the prize including £2,000 and a work placement with well-respected designer Paul Costelloe – who was also a judge on the panel. 

Fashion Futures 2_2009 FAD Junior Award Winner - Katerina Drury, 18, from New CrossFashion Futures 2_2009 FAD Junior Award Winner – Katerina Drury, 18, from New Cross

Runners up focused on shapes and patterns based on the solar system, as well as ‘space suit’ ideas. The FAD Frontline is the panel of judges that votes on the designs, and it always consists of leading industry personalities – last year it included the editor of Vogue.com, the Director of Vauxhall Fashion Scout, and designer William Tempest.  Throughout FAD students have gained experience in the industry, and have also had their work displayed in exhibitions and even on live catwalks – invaluable experience for those looking for a future in fashion!  Look out for the catwalk final of the 2010 competition on Monday 22nd February at Vauxhall Fashion Scout.

Fashion Futures 2 2009 - Finalist Joel Boyd, 18 from CatfordFashion Futures 2 2009 – Finalist Joel Boyd, 18 from Catford

FAD has its own volunteering scheme – whether you’re a business or individual, you can help out! If you’re an ‘industry volunteer’ perhaps you could donate some materials, or run a workshop. As a ‘young volunteer’ you can learn more about the fashion world whilst mentoring other FAD students in skills you’re well practiced in.  FAD’s records demonstrate that they have worked with as many as 4,000 young people from secondary schools through to university students. These projects are considered a strong link into the industry, even gaining the Chairman’s Award at the London Educational Partnership Awards, so it’s a great chance to get involved with something worthwhile. FAD looks for volunteers in all areas, such as Industry Experiences, Placements, Teaching, Sponsorship and the Media.

Fashion Futures 2 2009 - Finalist Kesoon Chance, 17, from HackneyFashion Futures 2 2009 – Finalist Kesoon Chance, 17, from Hackney

Finally a quote from Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com, on the benefits of working with FAD:
“I think in these awful times of economic drama, there’s a tendency to think there’s no room for new talent.” She hopes that projects like these will help “weed out the mediocre” and find those “truly talented newcomers”. You can volunteer and sign up to FAD through their website: www.fad.org.uk.

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2 Responses to “Get volunteering with Fashion Awareness Direct”

  1. Wintana says:

    Dear who ever this may concern.

    i am a vibrant 17 year old, with a passion for fashion and journalism. i would love to be given the opportunity to take part in any work experience of voluntar work you have available.

    i look forward to hearing your response

    Yours Truly

    Wintana Mathios

  2. Amelia says:

    I’m afraid I don’t offer any work experience at Amelia’s Magazine any more, but we sometimes need new writers so keep an eye out on twitter.

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