what frigate bird and pelican can seefar over water they have yet to tellso we must put up with that oily smelland other facts that do not well agreewith ease and comfort still by this warm seait is so simple to ignore the yelljust keep the eye on that hypnotic swellthinking that it is right to let things bein other places the cold presses hardon other faces and the nights so longwhile city noise forces folk to the barsthen there is longing for the warmth of yardbrightness of seas the comfortable songand in the night the many lovely stars
31 October 2008
30 October 2008
there is no question that the night is longwith clouds unbroken in the sky abovewe want to give slow-moving time a shovewith urgent purpose we await new songthis calendar that warns of winter's wrongour hearts demand the springtime morning dovereturn of flowers reawoken lovedays may be cold but hope is very strongall that we know is how much each must ruethose painful stories of a different mapon which new facts and new lines would be writbut now we find that not a thing was trueeach noble tale has turned out to be crapand we need help to get out of the shit
29 October 2008
without hard struggle there is no progressit is by effort that we make our gracefear must surrender at last to successwe let the fools and liars acquiescein our destruction by granting them spacewithout hard struggle there is no progressthe preachers tell us that we have to blessthe ones who curse and spit upon each facefear must surrender at last to successyear after year we only have bad cesswatching as step by step we lose our placewithout hard struggle there is no progressonly the evil seem to coalescethey seem the victors in this ghastly chasefear must surrender at last to successit takes no hero's hand to clear the messjust hope and tears of the whole human racewithout hard struggle there is no progressfear must surrender at last to success
28 October 2008
this is the point where all our natures meetyou'd think us mad were we to list the talesso many fools have been lost on this streetone thinks himself part of the great eliteanother looks and laughs when the first failsthis is the point when all our natures meetyou hide your heart and wait to see completethe fullness of the light on all detailsso many fools have been lost on this streetthat when we speak it seems a huge deceita way to suck the wind out of our sailsthis is the point where all our natures meetno proper chance here for any retreatwe do not let the train go off the railsso many fools have been lost on this streetand in the end there is no one to greetnor any chance to balance all the scalesthis is the point where all our natures meetso many fools have been lost on this street
truth is best found in small silent placesyou find at last the finer goods you seekand learn that honest things are not uniquebut do not come arrayed with airs and graceshonour is not reserved just to the meektruth is best found in small silent placeslove shows herself alive in joyous facesand happiness in valley not on peaknot by great river but by little creektruth is best found in small silent places
26 October 2008
no meaning in the noise just empty ragebut meaning in the numbers we can reada lamentation for the passing ageso much is noted in the angry deednot one second of silence they concedealthough rough bone on bone will harshly gratethey won't surrender to the ones they hateso little of our temper they can gaugeand not a portion of our urgent needthat forces us to deepest loudest rageat sight of all their joyful hateful greedthe product of the nature of their breedthey name this glory and call this their statethey won't surrender to the ones they hatewith such an enemy we can't engagewithout an understanding of their creedmore than the lying words upon the pagewe cannot trust the man riding the steedwho tells us that like us he has to bleedand though their pain like ours can become greatthey won't surrender to the ones they hatethey will not quit their places on the stagenor pay our anger any sort of heedfor that we know slow death's the only wageand harsh uprooting as with any weedjustice we know we never could exceedsince though we tell our story plain and straightthey won't surrender to the ones they hate
each aching slave will see the pirate slainfrom recollection of that stinking holddon't name revenge that last easing of painso many fools who will not see things plainnor taste of patience that has been served coldeach aching slave will see the pirate slainyear upon year each one piles up the painthe lone reward is simply growing olddon't name revenge that last easing of paina form of passion made to entertainthe ones whose enterprise was manifoldeach aching slave will see the pirate slainbut silence will not fill this place againnow that the fallen have at last turned bolddon't name revenge that last easing of painall that we are all that our hearts containcannot we now declare be bought or soldeach aching slave will see the pirate slaindon't name revenge that last easing of pain
you wake up to the sharp scent of bush teabefore the sun has touched the eastern hillthe clock is independent of your willand early hours and you do not agreefree education does not come so freethat you can wait till after morning chilljust hurry and don't dare a drop to spillthat's just the way that matters have to bethe voices carried on that early airfrom distant places each with their strange wordyou had to mark and now cannot forgetbut all your duty and your hard won carewon't turn back time or make the case absurdsince age owes youth a large and heavy debt
day turns to night and night returns to daythe cycle is the same the actors notwhat seems to matter is the blasted playno one's the winner in the long affraya little difficult to change the plotday turns to night and night returns to daya common fact no matter what we saythe sort of thing that no one has forgotwhat seems to matter is the blasted playthe long parade has gone wholly astrayfar off the road and moving at a trotday turns to night and night returns to daywhile all the towers are falling back to clayan entire city's now an empty lotwhat seems to matter is the blasted playthe only truth is knowledge of the wayout of the devastation and the rotday turns to night and night returns to daywhat seems to matter is the blasted play
The people of Haiti are as poor as human beings can be.
According to the statisticians of the World Bank and others who speculate about how many Anglos can dance on the head of a peon, Haiti may either be the second, third or fourth poorest country in the world.
In Haiti’s case, statistics are irrelevant.
When large numbers of people are reduced to eating dirt – earth, clay – it is impossible to imagine poverty any more absolute, any more desperate, any more inhuman and degrading.
The chairman of the World Bank visited Haiti this past week. This man, Robert Zoellick, is an expert finance-capitalist, a former partner in the investment bankers Goldman Sachs, whose 22,000 ‘traders” last year averaged bonuses of more than $600,000 each.
Goldman Sachs paid out over &18 billion in bonuses to its traders last year, about 50% more than the GDP of Haiti’s 8 million people.
The chairman of Goldman took home more than $70 million and his lieutenants – as Zoellick once was – $40 million or more, each.
It should be clear that someone like Robert Zoellick is likely to be totally bemused by Haiti when his entertainment allowance could probably feed the entire population for a day or two. It is not hard to understand that Mr Zoellick cannot understand why Haiti needs debt relief.
Haiti is now forced by the World Bank and Its bloodsucking siblings like the IMF, to pay more than $1 million a week to satisfy debts incurred by the Duvaliers and the post-Duvalier tyrannies. Haiti must repay this debt to prove its fitness for ‘help’ from the Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFI).
One million dollars a week would feed everybody in Haiti even if only at a very basic level – at least they would not have to eat earth patties. Instead the Haitians export this money to pay the salaries of such as Zoellick
But Zoellick doesn’t see it that way. According to the World Bank’s website the bank is in the business of eradicating poverty. At the rate it does that in Haiti the Bank, I estimate, will be in the poverty eradication business for another 18,000 years.
The reason Haiti is in its present state is pretty simple. Canada, the United States and France, all of whom consider themselves civilised nations, colluded in the overthrow of the democratic government of Haiti four years ago. They did this for several excellent reasons:
• Haiti 200 years ago defeated the world’s then major powers, France (twice) Britain and Spain, to establish its independence and to abolish plantation slavery. This was unforgivable.
• Despite being bombed, strafed and occupied by the United States early in the past century, and despite the American endowment of a tyrannical and brutal Haitian army designed to keep the natives in their place, the Haitians insisted on re-establishing their independence. Having overthrown the Duvaliers and their successors, the Haitians proceeded to elect as president a little black parish priest who had become their hero by defying the forces of evil and tyranny.
• The new president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide refused to sell out (privatise) the few assets owned by the government (the public utilities mainly);
• Aristide also insisted that France owed Haiti more than $25 billion in repayment of blood money extorted from Haiti in the 19th century, as alleged compensation for France’s loss of its richest colony and to allow Haiti to gain admission to world trade;
• Aristide threatened the hegemony of a largely expatriate ruling class of so-called ‘elites’ whose American connections allowed them to continue the parasitic exploitation and economic strip mining of Haiti following the American occupation.
• Haiti, like Cuba, is believed to have in its exclusive economic zone, huge submarine oil reserves, greater than the present reserves of the United States
• Haiti would make a superb base from which to attack Cuba.
The American attitude to Haiti was historically based on American disapproval of a free black state just off the coast of their slave-based plantation economy. This attitude was pithily expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s idea that a black man was equivalent to three fifths of a white man. It was further apotheosized by Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan who expostulated to Wilson: “Imagine! Niggers speaking French!”
The Haitians clearly did not know their place. In February 2004, Mr John McCain’s International Republican Institute, assisted by Secretary of State Colin Powell, USAID and the CIA, kidnapped Aristide and his wife and transported them to the Central African Republic as ‘cargo’ in a plane normally used to ‘render’ terrorists for torture outsourced by the US to Egypt, Morocco and Uzbekistan.
Before Mr Zoellick went to Haiti last week, the World Bank announced that Mr. Zoellick’s visit would “emphasize the Bank's strong support for the country.” Mr. Zoellick added: "Haiti must be given a chance. The international community needs to step up to the challenge and support the efforts of the Haitian government and its people."
“If Robert Zoellick wants to give Haiti a chance, he should start by unconditionally cancelling Haiti’s debt,” says Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. “Instead the World Bank- which was established to fight poverty- continues to insist on debt payments when Haitians are starving to death and literally mired in mud.”
“After four hurricanes in a month and an escalating food crisis it is outrageous that Haiti is being told it must wait six more months for debt relief,” said Neil Watkins, National Coordinator of Jubilee USA Network.
“Haiti’s debt is both onerous and odious”, added Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners In Health. “The payments are literally killing people, as every dollar sent to Washington is a dollar Haiti could spend on healthcare, nutrition and feeding programs, desperately needed infrastructure and clean water. Half of the loans were given to the Duvaliers and other dictatorships, and spent on Presidential luxuries, not development programs for the poor. Mr. Zoellick should step up and support the Haitian government by cancelling the debt now.”
“Unconditional debt cancellation is the first step in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” according to Nicole Lee, Executive Director of TransAfrica Forum. “There is also an urgent need for U.S. policy towards Haiti to shift from entrenching the country in future debt to supporting sustainable, domestic solutions for development.”
The above quotations are taken from an appeal by the organisations represented above.
Further comment is superfluous.
Poverty and Globalisation
President Jean Bertrand Aristide, now in enforced exile in South Africa, might be sardonically entertained by a new report just published by the world’s Club of the Rich, the OECD –Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
This report, titled “Growing Unequal” examines the accelerating trend toward economic inequality in the societies of the world’s richest countries.
The report contains several mind-blowing discoveries which will, no doubt, amaze journalists and policy-makers in the Western hemisphere and keep them entertained for many years.
The major finding is that globalisation and free trade have hurt millions of people, particularly the poorest.
Another ground-breaking discovery is that “work reduces poverty”.
One of these days Jamaicans and other Caribbean people may decide to find out whether these theses are true and whether if they are, we should have signed on to the new EPA with the European Union.
If our ginnigogs were able and willing to read they might become aware of a phenomenon called the “resource curse’ which appears to condemn developing countries with enormous mineral wealth to misery, war, corruption and destitution.
If our ginnigogs could or would read, they might find it useful to discover whether an acre of land under citrus or pumpkins is not more productive, sustainable and valuable than that same acre destroyed for bauxite.
If our ginnigogs could or would read, they might become aware of the fate of the island of Nauru, ‘discovered’ less than two hundred years ago, mined for phosphate, returning a per capita national income rivaling Saudi Arabia’s two and three decades ago and now to be abandoned because the land has been mined to death and is destined to disappear shortly beneath the waves of global warming.
Softly, softly, catchee monkee
If our ginnigogs were able to read and willing and able to defend the interests of Jamaica and the Jamaican people they might discover that bauxite mining will, within a relatively short time, contaminate all the water resources of Jamaica, destroy our cultural heritage, wipe out our priceless biological diversity, deprave our landscape and reduce those of us who survive to a state of penury and hopelessness. Goodbye tourism, goodbye farming, welcome hunger, welcome clay patties.
According to the experts if you drop a live lobster into a pot of boiling water the creature will make frenzied efforts to escape. If, on the other hand, you put him in a pot of cold water and bring it slowly to the boil, the lobster will perish without a struggle.
Jamaica, on the atlas, is shaped a bit like a lobster.
Copyright © 2008 John Maxwell
25 October 2008
this permitted we have grace to caperfrom dusk to dawn as the leaves redly fallmarking the season with a noble balleach bright dancer bearing amber tapernotes now shining on the golden papermake our demands seem piteously smallas watchers wonder why we had the gallto think our hottest wishes more than vapournow time must move in tandem with the sunour hearts obey an older slower lawwhile in their nests the summer birds still waitfar to the south where warmth is never donebut nature rules with equally harsh clawa younger person wonders at his fate
at this dark curve of the long mountain roadthe signpost tells us just where we must gothose little places we are meant to knowbut do not speak of method nor of modethe yellow finger is a sort of goadto warn us that our pace is yet too slowour feet must hasten so we catch the glowand make most certain that our goods are stowednot here but soon a true signal will cometo clarify just who must keep the scoreand who depart and lose the chance at fameso much depends on true tone of the drumnot how or where each of us comes ashorebut only that we must accept the blame
23 October 2008
so many trees in full and golden leafthis changing season as the days turn coldbirds have gone south and fools have become boldnights grow too long and sunlight is too briefyou know the story it is often toldso many trees in full and golden leafnow swiftly falling for time's a hard thiefand eager hoarding the fast-passing goldleaves us behind nothing that we can holdso many trees in full and golden leaf
21 October 2008
the world is much more complex than you thinktricks that you learn when young turn out to failthis weight of truth would drive a saint to drinkyou've forged a chain of good things link by linkand then find out it's all to no availthe world is much more complex than you thinkyour happy moment passes in a blinkit vanishes the second you exhalethis weight of truth would drive a saint to drinkcold winds will find the one uncovered chinkand force their way in just to make you ailthe world is much more complex than you thinkso you work hard and idlers get the minkwith all the jewels that are out on salethis weight of truth would drive a saint to drinkno one at all must be allowed to thinksince their good effort will end up quite stalethe world is much more complex than you thinkthis weight of truth would drive a saint to drink
20 October 2008
to fear the mountains that you have not seenstrikes me as beyond odd as plain bizarrethere is no horror that could strike so farnor any danger that might come betweenthat place and this you need to find the meanof calm and order not to let things marthe proper temper so that at the barto make all sober we might interveneeach new adventure has a painful pricein time and effort and we can't recallthe life so spent back to a happy placebut you don't ever want to hear adviceand are too eager to run out and falland then return with fresh tears on your face