Friday, January 29, 2010

Haiti - A miracle

Thanks God she is alive....alive after 15 days...

Thank you for the miracle...

Pray for miracle to Haiti, like the brave girl. Haiti need courage to change, to change the country.... for the betterment of all Haitian.

She need a good place to live her life.

Will Haiti provide her a good future.....

Well done, brave girl.....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti, rebuilt thy nation

The videa was shot entirely on location in Haiti. This was filmed throughout all of Haiti a couple of years ago, long before the earthquake. All of market and street footage was filmed in the streets of Port-au-Prince. They are a beautiful people in a beautiful country.

The people of Haiti must rebuilt Haiti; a nation that will rebuilt with their love and pride, a nation that will erase their bad memory. A nation that will make them stand tall.

A beautiful country with great potential for tourism.

A talent people for creativity of art and music.

First the public order and stability; let peace come to the nation,

Second let love prevail,and hatred disappear from the nation,

and ultimately let hope take the nation together to higher ground.

No more fighting , no more poverty.

No more negative image,

Haitian must stand tall with the positive value;

beautiful country and rich resources,

and the people's natural talent for creativity.

"Haiti must be rebuilt. Ultimately, we need to treat Haiti with compassion and respect and make sure that the country gets back on its feet once and for all. The west has funded truly corrupt governments in the past. Right now, in Haiti, there is a democratically elected government. Impossibly weak, but standing."

- Arcade Fire's Regine Chassagne, original singer for the song " Haiti".

A new nation with hopes, love ....respect and pride.

Human Right for the young

The music video, United, was produced for use by educators, law enforcement and youth officials to promote human rights and advocate non-violence amongst young people. Subtitled in 18 languages, its universal message of tolerance and peace has to date reached more than 50 million.

Burmese Refugee in Malaysia


Burmese refugees and asylum seekers started running to Malaysia more than 20 years ago and the number has increased since then. Currently, there are more than 60,000 Burmese refugees registered with UNHCR but thousands more are unregistered.

Between 2002 to 2008, more than 4,800 Burmese were whipped for immigration offences.

In 2008, 812 Burmese children were detained in immigration detention centres.

In May 2009, two Burmese asylum seekers died at the Juru detention centre due to Leptospirosis, a disease linked to contamination of food or water. In August/September 2009, another six Burmese died due to suspected Leptospirosis.

In Malaysia, many refugees live in poverty. They have difficulties finding jobs due to their illegal status. Even when they can find jobs, they are usually underpaid and vulnerable to abuse from unscrupulous employers.

Refugee children do not have access to public schools. As such, generations of uneducated refugees are being raised here in Malaysia.

As refugees remain unrecognized by the Malaysian Government, they live in constant fear of raids, arrest and detention. Conditions in detention centres face continuous problems of overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, malnourishment and ill-treatment of detainees. Once detained, they never know when they will be released. Many have died in detention centres.

They cannot go back to Burma for fear of their lives, and yet everyday they live in fear here.

1 October 2009

Report by U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

In Washington, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations issued a report—based on a year-long review—saying illegal Burmese migrants have been deported from Malaysia, handed to human traffickers, and forced to work in brothels, fishing boats, and restaurants in Thailand if they didn’t have enough money to buy their own release.

According to the Senate committee report, "a few thousand" Burmese migrants in recent years might have become victims of extortion and trafficking once they were deported across Malaysia's northern border with Thailand. "Upon arrival at the Malaysia-Thailand border, human traffickers reportedly take possession of the migrants," the report said.

Malaysia’s prime minister says his government will investigate a blistering report by a U.S. Senate panel that says thousands of Burmese migrants have been handed over to human traffickers and sent to work in the Thai sex industry.

"We will take appropriate action," Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters. "We do not want Malaysia to be used as a point for human trafficking ... but we need to know more facts."

(extract from

As Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees nor its 1967 Protocol, UNHCR is the main actor of protection and assistance for asylum-seekers and refugees in Malaysia. UNHCR conducts all activities related to the reception, registration, documentation and status determination of asylum-seekers and refugees.

Malaysia is a largely urban country, with 60 per cent of the population living in cities. Life for a refugee in Kuala Lumpur is challenging. Refugees cannot work legally and most live in fear of detention, despite having received a refugee card from UNHCR.

The address of UNHCR

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Address: 570, Jalan Bukit Petaling, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (603) 2141 1322
Fax: (603) 2141 1780

1369 Burmese New Year Festival" 2007 in Kuala Lumpur

Related websites/blog

4. Refugee in Malaysia,
5. Malaysia To Probe Abuse Claims,
6. Is Malaysia an example?, by Prof. Kanbawza Win, Prof. Kanbawza Win is Dean of the Students of the AEIOU Programme, Chiangmai University Thailand and an Adjunct Professor of the School of International Studies, Simon Fraser University, of British Columbia, Canada)

"Please Don’t Say My Name"

To be a refugee is tough; to live under military Junta is even tougher...

To escape from a military ruled Junta country is not easy; to face human right violation in the country you think is milk and honey is tough to swallow, after struggling all the way to the heaven or Utopia....

I remember the boat people in the seventies; and I now hear the voices of these boat people again here. There are bad people, bad government officials..... and the people are silence....

The following is the story of a Burmese refugee's family. They tell the story of life in Burma—why they had to flee—and why their lives are still at risk in Malaysia.

The issue may have been raised for some time; but in view of the Thailand's new work permit policy, the open policy on the Burmese refugee become important, otherwise the Burmese have not much alternatives available, especially to countries close to them.

A Burmese family’s story of multiple arrests, weekly bribes

In June, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report blacklisted Malaysia for trafficking refugees into Thailand.

Karen Zusman, an independent journalist, was one of few Westerners inside Myanmar in the immediate aftermath of the monk-led protests in 2007. She interviewed Burmese refugees and produced the audio documentary "Please Don’t Say My Name": Burmese refugees at risk in Malaysia over the course of five months in Kuala Lumpur. Please visit website,, which I cannot upload due to copy right reason. But here is trailer....

Please Don't Say My Name - Trailer - Refugees from Burma fleeing for their lives from Brian Larson on Vimeo.

Here is the story,

I met Jack in Kuala Lumpur after the protests in 2007. Jack was imprisoned and tortured for teaching human rights in his country. When he was released from jail, he fled to Malaysia.

I learned that he and nearly 100,000 Burmese who had fled persecution were now held hostage in a country that offered no protection from vigilante groups, police and immigration officials. It was routine to hear refugee stories of mistreatment and physical and sexual abuse.

In January of this year, I returned to Kuala Lumpur, but things did not go as planned. I intended to document Jack’s story — his English was good, he was articulate, passionate and street smart. He was working in a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur with several other Burmese refugees.

Shortly after beginning to record, Jack’s Burmese girlfriend was arrested at the Thai-Malaysian border. She had fled Myanmar to be with Jack in Malaysia because her parents had engaged her to a Burmese soldier knowing the family would benefit greatly from the marriage. The girl was caught at the Thai-Malaysian border and imprisoned in Malaysia. Jack arranged for a friend, John, another Burmese refugee, to meet with the immigration officials at the border who were known to accept payment in exchange for releasing refugees. Malaysian officials took the money. And then arrested John.

Jack lost his girlfriend and his best friend in the same night.

Back in Myanmar, a Burmese soldier arrested Jack’s father, an elderly man with a heart condition, who now faced charges for “trafficking” the girl. Jack’s brother was arrested trying to leave Malaysia (also a refugee, he had a work permit but no travel documents).

I tried to console Jack the best I could. I tried — in vain — to get John released from prison by repeatedly reporting his arrest to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). John had been registered with the U.N. and so it was part of their task to release him from prison. But after he completed his sentence, he was subsequently transferred to detention camp.

While all this was happening, there were rumors that a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report would soon be published bringing the Malaysian “deportation” (a.k.a. trafficking practices) under extreme scrutiny.

Jack and his friends were afraid that this would mean the trafficking would stop, and they would no longer have the option to purchase back their “freedom” should they be arrested. This was particularly distressing for Jack, who felt purchasing his girlfriend from traffickers once she was sold to them by Malaysian immigration was his only hope of saving her from a life as a Burmese junta-wife.

The report, which confirmed the allegations that the Malaysian government had been complicit in the sale of refugees to human traffickers at the Thai-Malaysian border, was made public in early April. Since then, as the refugees predicted, the incidents of trafficking have significantly decreased.

But because the raids by Rela (Malaysia’s citizen volunteer corps) and arrests have not decreased, the detention camps are severely over-crowded. Two Burmese refugees have died as a result of water contaminated with rat urine in a camp in Penang. John called while I was still in Malaysia and told me there were 47 people in one tiny cell with no water supply.

Jack’s brother called from a camp in another part of the country and told us that though the monsoon rains had begun, they were kept outside with no shelter and were given food to eat off of the mud floor.

Every week for five months, Jack wired money to each camp to pay for provisions such as toothpaste. Jack said the money was also for them to give money to their jailors so they would not be beaten. When Jack took time off from the restaurant to try and visit them, he was fired.

Now it’s July and Jack’s girlfriend has been deported to Myanmar. His friend was released last week and his brother is being hospitalized for a heart condition exacerbated by his time in the camp — he is still in the custody of his Malaysian jailors.

- Karen Zusman
July 14, 2009

Please don't say my name........ Malaysia have never sign the Geneva Convention.....??? Malaysia is not a signatory of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Burmese refugees do not have rights in this country.

We are able to allow illegal immigrant workers; we are able to allow migrant workers yet we cannot allow a refugee status workers? Can we formalized the refugee status, and allow them to work as legal migrant workers?

Please don't say my name......

Related websites/articles:
1. "Please Don’t Say My Name",

Myanmar: New Work Rules in Thailand

Security concerns plague migrant workers

Jan 22, 2010 (DVB)–Burmese migrant workers are waiting with concern over the new National Verification Programme which will seek to register the millions of migrant workers currently in Thailand.

The plan, which involves migrants from Burma, Laos and Cambodia registering with the government in their country of origin, as well as the Thai government, has triggered security fears among the migrant community.

“Many workers are concerned about security, especially their relatives in Burma because there are rumours that local authorities will threaten and extort money from the families of migrant workers,” said Moe Swe of Yaung Chi Oo migrant workers association in Mae Sot, Thailand.

“One of the workers’ mothers in Moulmein [Mon state] had money extorted from her by authorities. There was also a group of workers in Phuket [Thailand] who filled out the form and then the local authorities went and extorted money from their families,” he continued.

The Thai government has extended the timeframe for verification to 2012 and a Burmese labour minister has urged migrants to complete the registration. The Thai newspaper, The Nation, reported that the minister had claimed the migrant workers would not be taxed.

Moe Swe said that some of the workers will not complete the National Verification Process, even though they are registered.

“They cannot hold their passport because the employers often keep their passports, so the employers always control them; they still won’t have the freedom it is meant to give them.”

There is also the concern about the price of documents and travel for registration, which could discourage many.

It could also mean that migrants enter into exploitative bonded labour with employers, whereby they take out a loan on to attain the documents and then spend a year working off the loan in poor conditions.

“It is a good thing,” said Moe Swe, but “in reality there are several problems”. For example, ethnic minorities who live outside of Burmese government territory no longer appear on ‘family lists’, and so therefore will have trouble registering in Thailand. The process relies on a claimant having a country of origin and being able to prove that.

Furthermore, decades of military rule in Burma have caused an absence of competent bureaucracy, and fuelled a reluctance to give the authorities personal information for fear of the abuse.

Reporting by Joseph Allchin
Democratic Voices of Burma
dated 22-1-2010

Thailand: New Thai Work Permit Rules

While we are occupying with the happening of Haiti Earthquake, the new work permit rules planned by the Thai government, come really at the wrong timing. It come at the time when the world is having attention on Haiti. But the impact on the Burmese refugee, illegal and IDP who are potential illegal migrant or legal refugee, are great in negative way. The new National Verification Programme which will seek to register the millions of migrant workers currently in Thailand.

The following is the posting from the news:

Burmese Migrant Workers Fear New Thai Work Permit Rules

by Ron Corben , Bangkok, dated 21 January 2010

Burmese migrant workers in Thailand fear new immigration and work permit procedures will make life harder for them and their families back home. Thai authorities say the new procedures will curb illegal migration but rights activists say the measures threaten the migrants' security.

The Thai cabinet has recently ordered migrant workers to verify their nationality to qualify for work permits.

The new guidelines cover over one million legal Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, as well as more than 200,000 workers from Laos and Cambodia.

Under the guidelines announced Tuesday, migrant workers must begin the new work permit procedures by February 28th or risk deportation.

The Thai government says the new rules are meant to control the flow of illegal migrants, now estimated to number three million. Panitan Wattanaygorn, a government spokesman, says the influx of illegal migrants has reached a critical stage.

"I think the situation is very critical had they not begun to implement this kind of policies or procedures," he said. "So the National Security Council sees this as a major concern for Thai security and they want to implement the law. But the law has to be adjusted so they have come up with this new proposal because we need foreign workers in Thailand," he said.

Thailand has long relied on migrant workers, who usually take tough, low-paying jobs in the construction, farming and fishing industries.

The government has been talking with officials in Burma, Laos and Cambodia since 2004 on ways to clarify the status of migrant workers.

The Lao and Cambodian governments agreed to send officials to Thailand so their nationals could verify their nationality without leaving the country.

Officials in Burma, also called Myanmar, refused to send staff to Thailand. Instead, Burmese workers must go to registration offices just across the border to complete the process.

Thetis Mangahas, a migration expert with the International Labor Office, says while a comprehensive migration policy is necessary, the new rules trouble Burmese workers.

Mangahas says the workers worry about how the information they provide will be used.

"There are individuals who are in real fear about providing information that might cause the government of Myanmar [Burma] to retaliate or to take action against the families. So you have a very complicated situation here and it's really as a result of policies which have not been thought through," said Mangahas.

There are reports that when a worker files the paperwork to start the new process, Burmese officials use the address to harass families for additional taxes.

Joseph Serrani is the foreign affairs coordinator with the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, an organization that offers training courses for Burmese migrants. He says the workers have little confidence in the Burmese government's national verification policy.

"Because of the past experiences of the government in Burma and the way they have treated their people most migrants see this as another opportunity for the government in Burma to exploit them further. So most migrants see this as an opportunity for the Burmese government to regularize them, somehow tax them," he said.

Na Bamoom Maha works as a nanny in Bangkok. She fears being sent back to Burma.

She says if the migrant workers fail to go through the verification process it may result in a crackdown against illegal and undocumented migrant workers. She says her family in Burma says if she cannot stay with a work permit, she should return home.

There also are risks with crossing the border. Young women, for instance, can become victims of human traffickers. Other workers may be forced to pay bribes to get the paperwork done. Some workers fear losing their jobs because they have to take time off to go to the border.

Migrant rights workers say some Burmese may go underground, rather than risk crossing the border.

The new rules also mean new costs for migrants - up to two month's wages. They have to pay for the new documents and the trip to the border, and often have to pay fees to the labor brokers who get them jobs.

Debbie Stothardt is with the activist group the Alternate ASEAN Network, which campaigns for political reforms in Burma.

"It is ironic and it's tragic that the lowest income earners doing the dirtiest, dangerous jobs are actually being forced to go through this process which is expensive and far too complicated," she said.

Despite the complaints of rights activists, the Thai government remains determined to implement the new guidelines. But experts on migrant labor in the region say the policy could be counterproductive, by driving more migrants to work illegally and putting them at risk of abuses by unscrupulous employers.


The Burmese are going to face very tough time with the new rule. Most of them may not willing to go back and face the life under Junta government; at the same time if they are sent back their life may be in danger as most of them support the freedom and democracy movement. They are in real dilemma....

It is hope that UNHCR is working hard to provide them refugee status, so that they can legally work in Thailand. The most worry is still the IDP, who crossed the border to seek work, and return frequently and illegally to their home country. Some of the poor families may be adversely affected.

The tribal people are borderless people, they have no strong identity to the concept of nationalism; the land is their country, their nation. They have been there since ancient time, and they cross the rivers, hills, and borders as they like. Their culture and livelihood will be affected. Is is fair to the natives, if the law restrict their movement?

It may be good for Thailand, but it will be disaster for the Burmese families, especially the minority tribes. It is time UNHCR and ILO come quick with the solution; we do not want the repeat of the incident like Hmong from Laos.......

Otherwise a underground market will be ready for these people; who will face more danger and human right abuse by corrupted government officials and criminal gangs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti Vs Dominican Republic

Haiti and the Dominican Republic: A Tale of Two Countries
Haiti or Republic of Haiti, and Dominican Republic, occupy the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago. The Greater Antilles are one of four island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (containing the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic) , and Puerto Rico—the fourth largest island of the Antilles and the only U.S. Territory—the Greater Antilles constitutes almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.

The day after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, Christian televangelist Pat Robertson sparked outrage with his comments on The 700 Club that the nation's history of catastrophes was due to a "pact to the Devil" its residents had made some 200 years ago. How else to explain why Haiti suffers, while the Dominican Republic - which shares the 30,000 sq. miles of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola - is relatively well-off? "That island of Hispaniola is one island," Robertson said. "The Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, et cetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty."(source: Times, 19-1-2010)

Robertson's rationale is more than suspect, yet the differences between the two nations are undeniable. The UN ranks the Dominican Republic 90th out of 182 countries on its human development index, which combines a variety of welfare measurements; Haiti comes in at 149th. In the Dominican Republic, average life expectancy is nearly 74 years. In Haiti, it's 61. You're substantially more likely to be able to read and write if you live in the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, and less likely to live on under $1.25 a day.......

Map of West Indies

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The Greater Antilles

The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as the West Indies, are sorted by size and location into the Bahamas (or Lucayan archipelago, which includes the Turks and Caicos Islands), the Lesser Antilles, and the Greater Antilles. The "Greater Antilles" refers to Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico. The smaller islands in the vicinity of these four major islands are sometimes also treated as part of the group. This includes the smaller islands that surround the main islands, but are still part of the main island country (for instance, the Republic of Cuba consists of the island of Cuba, the Isle of Pines, and several smaller islands around them.) The Cayman Islands are also often included in the Greater Antilles because of their geographical proximity to Cuba. The Greater Antilles are made up of continental rock, part of North America, as distinct from that of the Lesser Antilles, which are mostly young volcanic or coral islands.

The Yucatan Channel separates the Greater Antilles from Mexico, and the Florida Straits separate them from the United States. To the South of the Greater Antilles, and completely surrounding Jamaica, is the Caribbean Sea.

All countries are members of UN, except Puerto Rico, which is still a voluntary Commonwealth of the United States (by repeated votes by its people), which means that it is neither a state, nor an independent country, but is a U.S. territory.

Map of Hispaniola Island

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Hispaniola (from Spanish, La Española) is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west, and Puerto Rico to the east, directly within the hurricane belt. Hispaniola is perhaps most famous for marking the first European colonies in the New World, colonies founded by Christopher Columbus on his voyages in 1492 and 1493. It is the tenth most populous island in the world, and the most populous in the Americas. It is the 22nd largest island in the world.

Before Christopher Columbus arrived, the indigenous Taínos (meaning ‘Friendly People’) lived on the island now known as Hispaniola. Taínos gave the world sweet potatoes, peanuts, guava, pineapple and tobacco – even the word ‘tobacco’ is Taíno in origin. Yet the Taínos themselves were wiped out by Spanish diseases and slavery. Of the 400,000 Taínos that lived on Hispaniola at the time of European arrival, fewer than 1000 were still alive 30 years later. None exist today.(source: Lonely planet)

Two colonies grew on Hispaniola, one Spanish and the other French. Both brought thousands of African slaves to work the land. In 1804, after a 70-year struggle, the French colony gained independence. Haiti, the Taíno name for the island, was the first majority-black republic in the New World.

In 1821 colonists in Santo Domingo declared their independence from Spain. Haiti, which had long aspired to unify the island, promptly invaded its neighbor and occupied it for more than two decades. But Dominicans on February 27, 1844, Juan Pablo Duarte led a bloodless coup and reclaimed Dominican autonomy. Feeling threatened by Haiti in 1861, the Dominican Republic once again submitted to Spanish rule. But ordinary Dominicans did not support the move and, after four years of armed resistance, succeeded in expelling Spanish troops in what is known as the War of Restoration. DR then started their independence.

Geographical difference
The mountains that lie across the island can cut off Haiti's rainfall. The northeast trade winds, and so the rain, blow in the Dominican Republic's favor. Haiti's semiarid climate makes cultivation more challenging. Deforestation - a major problem in Haiti, but not in its neighbor

Haiti/Republic of Haiti
Map of Haiti

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The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.(source: CIA)

Social & Cuturally
A "forlorn, hate-filled little Caribbean island" in 1965. On the eastern part of Hispaniola, you'll probably speak Spanish; in the west, it's more likely to be French or Creole, a division that's the result of centuries of European colonization and numerous power struggles. (Not to mention the decimation of Hispaniola's indigenous Taino people - who, of course, spoke neither.)

When Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, he named the land La Isla EspaÑola; it served as a Spanish colony and base for the empire's further conquests, though was never particularly profitable. In 1697 the Spanish formally ceded the western third of it to the French, already present and more heavily invested. The Hispaniolan outposts of both empires imported African slaves, though the latter did so to a much greater extent. The colonies - Santo Domingo and Saint-Domingue, respectively - subsequently developed vastly different demographics. According to a study by the American Library of Congress, by the end of the 18th Century there were about 40,000 white landowners, 25,000 black or interracial freedmen, and 60,000 slaves in the Spanish colony, compared with approximately 30,000 whites, 27,000 freedmen, and at least 500,000 black slaves in its French counterpart.

Domestic Security

For many years now, not only with the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, Haiti has been breaking up politically, socially and economically.The consequences have been growing insecurity and violence, the loss of institutions, authority and power dispersion, and widespread poverty.

The international community carried out five military interventions in the last fifteen years; nonetheless, the causes leading to these interventions, especially the lack of governability to ensure the security of the population, seem to be prevalent still today.

The negative legacy of these failed interventions also contributes to the current instability. Furthermore, Haiti is the most corrupt country in the world and the level of insecurity and violence has affected even the United Nations forces working in the country, with the death of two blue helmets in mid-November.(source:

Poverty and Instability
A report from a U.N. fact-finding mission to Haiti said widespread poverty is undermining ongoing operations to stabilize the country. The current levels of extreme poverty, with 80 percent of the population subsisting on less than two dollars a day and 50 percent with less than one dollar, it is incompatible for achieving the goal of attaining stability in the short term."


There are no "safe” areas in Haiti. There is a persistent danger of violent crime, which can be subject to periodic surges sometimes not obviously explained by other events or conditions. Haiti is among the four most important countries for drug transit to the United States. Law and order in Haiti has steadily deteriorated as a result. Kidnapping, death threats, murders, drug-related shootouts, armed robberies, gang fight, home break-ins and car-jacking are common in Haiti(source: Haiti is called Kidnap Capital by the world. Crime become a culture and norm?.....

There were negative report of fighting and looting for food during the 2010 earthquake; but however there were also stories of how Haitian help each others and the foreigners, even with limited resources.

Map of Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic (Spanish: República Dominicana, pronounced [reˈpuβlika ðominiˈkana]) is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are occupied by two countries. Both by area and population, the Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 48,442 km² and an estimated 10 million people.

Inhabited by Taínos since the seventh century, the territory of the Dominican Republic was reached by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, namely Santo Domingo, the country's capital and Spain's first capital in the New World. In Santo Domingo stand, among other firsts in the Americas, the first university, cathedral, and castle, the latter two in the Ciudad Colonial area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1821 colonists in Santo Domingo declared their independence from Spain. Haiti, which had long aspired to unify the island, promptly invaded its neighbor and occupied it for more than two decades. But Dominicans never accepted Haitian rule and on February 27, 1844, Juan Pablo Duarte – considered the father of the country – led a bloodless coup and reclaimed Dominican autonomy. Fearing an invasion and still feeling threatened by Haiti in 1861, the Dominican Republic once again submitted to Spanish rule. But ordinary Dominicans did not support the move and, after four years of armed resistance, succeeded in expelling Spanish troops in what is known as the War of Restoration . (Restauración is a common street name throughout the DR, and there are a number of monuments to the war, including a prominent one in Santiago.) On March 3, 1865, the Queen of Spain signed a decree annulling the annexation and withdrew her soldiers from the island.

The young country endured one disreputable caudillo (military leader) after the other. In 1916 US President Woodrow Wilson sent the marines to the Dominican Republic, ostensibly to quell a coup attempt, but they ended up occupying the country for eight years. Though imperialistic, this occupation succeeded in stabilizing the DR.

The rise of the caudillo
Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, a former security guard and the eventual chief of the Dominican national police, muscled his way into the presidency in February 1930 and dominated the country until his assassination in 1961. He implemented a brutal system of repression, killing and imprisoning political opponents. Though he was himself partly black, Trujillo was deeply racist and xenophobic. In October 1937 he ordered the extermination of Haitians along the international border. In a matter of days some 20, 000 Haitians were hacked to death with machetes and their bodies dumped into the ocean.

During these years Trujillo used his government to amass a personal fortune by establishing monopolies that he and his wife controlled. By 1934 he was the richest man on the island. To this day there are many Dominicans who remember Trujillo’s rule with a certain amount of fondness and nostalgia, in part because Trujillo did develop the economy. Factories were opened, a number of grandiose infrastructure and public works projects were carried out, bridges and highways were built and peasants were given state land to cultivate.

Caudillo redux

Joaquín Balaguer was Trujillo’s puppet president at the time of Trujillo’s assassination. Civil unrest and another US occupation followed Trujillo’s death, but Balaguer eventually regained the presidency, to which he clung fiercely for the next 12 years. And like his mentor, Balaguer remained a major political force long after he gave up official control. In 1986 he became president again, despite frail health and blindness. He was as ­repressive as ever and his economic policies sent the peso tumbling.

Dominicans whose savings had evaporated protested and were met with violence from the national police. Many fled to the USA. By the end of 1990, 12% of the Dominican population – 900, 000 people – had moved to New York.

After rigging the 1990 and 1994 elections, the military had grown weary of Balaguer’s rule and he agreed to cut his last term short, hold elections and, most importantly, not run as a candidate. But it wouldn’t be his last campaign – he would run once more at the age of 92, winning 23% of the vote in the 2000 presidential election. Thousands would mourn his death two years later, despite the fact that he prolonged the Trujillo-style dictatorship for decades. His most lasting legacy may be the Faro a Colón, an enormously expensive monument to the discovery of the Americas that drained Santo Domingo of electricity whenever the lighthouse was turned on.

Breaking with the past

The Dominican people signaled their desire for change in electing Leonel Fernández, a 42-year-old lawyer who grew up in New York City, as president in the 1996 presidential election; he edged out three-time candidate José Francisco Peña Gómez in a runoff. But would too much change come too quickly? Shocking the nation, Fernández forcibly retired two-dozen generals, encouraged his defense minister to submit to questioning by the civilian attorney general and fired the defense minister for insubordination – all in a single week. In the four years of his presidency, he oversaw strong economic growth, privatization and lowered inflation, unemployment and illiteracy – although endemic corruption remained pervasive.

Hipólito Mejía, a former tobacco farmer, succeeded Fernández in 2000 and immediately cut spending and increased fuel prices – not exactly the platform he ran on. The faltering US economy and World Trade Center attacks ate into Dominican exports as well as cash remittances and foreign tourism. Corruption scandals involving the civil service, unchecked spending, electricity shortages and several bank failures, which cost the government in the form of huge bailouts for depositors, all spelled doom for Mejías’ reelection chances.

Familiar faces appear again and again in Dominican politics and Fernandez returned to the national stage by handily defeating Mejía in the 2004 presidential elections. Though he’s widely considered competent and even forward thinking, it’s not uncommon to hear people talk about him rather unenthusiastically as a typical politician beholden to special interests. The more cynical claim that the Fernandez administration is allied with corrupt business and government officials who perpetuate a patronage system different from Trujillo’s rule in name only. In 2007 the faltering US economy, the devastation brought by Tropical Storm Noel, the threat of avian bird flu and continued tension with Haiti provided challenges to Fernandez’s reelection campaign.
(source: Lonely Planet)

Although the economy is growing at a respectable rate, high unemployment and underemployment remains an important challenge. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income.

Dominican Republic is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking, particularly in terms of not adequately investigating and prosecuting public officials who may be complicit with trafficking activity, and inadequate government efforts to protect trafficking victims; the government has taken measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts with children through criminal prosecutions (2008)(source: CIA). Drug-related activities is also active in DR.

Politically - both countries struggled with democracy
As revolution raged in France in the 1790s, its colonial slaves in Hispaniola revolted; in 1804, they declared independence, and Haiti, which was named after the Taino word for "land of mountains," became the world's first sovereign black republic. The Dominican Republic wasn't established until 1844, after not just European rule but also 22 years of Haitian occupation. Strife between (as well as within) the neighbors, rooted in deep class, racial, and cultural differences, was constant. Interference by foreign powers was often the norm. The Spanish took back the Dominican Republic again in the early 1860s, and for periods during the twentieth century, the U.S. occupied both nations, supposedly to restore order but also, in the face of European threats, to assert its influence in the Western Hemisphere. Internal politics were characterized by multiple coups, revolts and dictators, the most infamous being Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and FranÇois and Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti. Juan Bosch, the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic in 1962, was almost immediately overthrown after taking office in 1963. Jean-Bertrand Aristide became the first freely-elected president of Haiti, in 1990; he was ousted as well, returned and was ousted again. Haiti is however a failed state....where there is disorder and instability, where the authority is not able to manage.

The difference: Ecomically -they began to diverge.

Haiti had long been exploited, by foreign powers, neighbors and its own rulers. France not only milked its colony for coffee and sugar production, it also extracted an indemnity from Haiti: the young nation had to pay a burdensome sum to its former colonizer in order to achieve France's diplomatic recognition.

The lighter-skinned Dominicans looked down on the darker-skinned Haitians: in 1965, even as the D.R. was embroiled in civil war, Haitians were working in Dominican fields and not the other way around. And while Trujillo at least encouraged economic development in his country, Duvalier pere et fils essentially sold their own people as cheap sugar cane-cutters to the Dominican Republic. This make the difference....

Dominic Republic is able to develop their economy, especially tourism; but Haiti was still indulged in their political instability, gang fighting and criminal/social unrest.They lost the opportunity to develop their economy, despite having great tourism potential similar to DR.


Today, with a lack of resources and a much higher population density than its neighbor, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The UN has sent peacekeeping missions to maintain order there since the mid-1990s, but terrible conditions persist. Haiti's dismal statistics have a long history; no Devil is necessary(source: Time).

Millions of Haitians live abroad.... a reflection of poor living condition of the country.

Did Pat Robertson speak the true?...... He claimed that the quake was divine retribution for a pact with the devil that was sworn long ago, during Slave Rebellion. An apocryphal tale of Haitian voodoo priests sacrificing a pig and drinking its blood in 1791 in order to secure Satan's aid in expelling the French occupation. In return, the priests are said to have promised Haiti to Satan for the next 200 years. The French were soon beat back, and in 1804, Haiti became an independent nation. Do you believe the story?....

Anyhow, the differences between the two countries in the same island; and even natural disaster seems to beset more on Haiti, just wonder is it act of God, or the warning of God to mankind for the disorder and disobedience....

As desperate believers gathered to pray Sunday across the shattered capital, the Rev. Eric Toussaint told a congregation gathered outside the ruined cathedral that the earthquake ''is a sign from God, saying that we must recognize his power.''

Haitians, he said, ''need to reinvent themselves, to find a new path to God.''

May be this is the answer from Haitian themselves.....

Reference/related articles:

1. Haiti and the Dominican Republic: A Tale of Two Countries, Times dated 19-1-2010
2. Dominican Republic,
3. Haiti,

Haiti Religion

Religion in Haiti

About 95% of the population "claim" Christian beliefs, although the most professed denomination by far is Roman Catholicism. Similar to the rest of Latin America, Haiti was colonized during a period during which Roman Catholicism was prevalent among European monarchs. Following in this legacy, Catholicism is enshrined in the Haitian constitution as the official state religion, and between 80 and 85% of Haitians are Catholics. But most also practice Voodoo, which along with Catholicism is an official state religion. If based strictly on the definition of Christianity as monotheism, which rejected dual religion, the number of Christian may be lower than 80%. The number for Afro-American religion will be higher.

Voodoo is based upon a merging of the beliefs and practices of West African peoples, (mainly the Fon and Ewe; see West African Vodun), with Roman Catholic Christianity. Hatian practiced dual religion or may be a mixed religion, not Roman Catholic per se, and not totally Christian beliefs. Christian like other Abrahamic religion, believed in monotheism (from Greek μόνος "only" and θεός "God"),it is the belief that only one God exists. Haitian Catholic is polytheism, a religion of Catholic cover with Haitian Vodou as a core. Is it Christianity or a new religion? , or just simply a way of life for the former slaves to escape from the hardship, the local people accept duality or all that come to help them?......a compromise of convenience?. Basically Haiti religion(mix of Catholicism and Voodoo)is Afro-American religions (also African diasporic religions), which are a number of related religions that developed in the Americas among African slaves and their descendants in various countries of the Caribbean Islands and Latin America, as well as parts of the southern United States. They derive from African traditional religions, especially of West and Central Africa.

Based on that the religion of Haiti is Afro-American religion, a mixed religion or dual religion of Haitian Vodou and Catholicism; not Christianity......strictly speaking.

Hatian Vodou
Haitian Vodou or Vaudou (French pronunciation: [vodu], Anglicised as Voodoo) is a syncretic religion originating from the Caribbean country of Haiti, located on the island of Hispaniola. It is based upon a merging of the beliefs and practices of West African peoples (mainly the Fon and Ewe; see West African Vodun), with Roman Catholic Christianity, which was brought about as African slaves were brought to Haiti in the 16th century and forced to convert to the religion of their owners, while they largely still followed their traditional African beliefs.

Basically Haitian Catholicism is not Catholicism we know, it is a traditional African religion, using Roman Catholicism to hide their traditional ("pagan" )religion. This type of religion was because of their past history of slavery, when the masters had forbidden slaves to practice their own religion. To practice their African traditional religion, the slaves make use of Catholicism(the religion of the master) as a cover. But in view of little knowledge on their traditional religion, they gather all their knowledge from different slaves of diversified background, and adopted it. They also adapted some Catholicism practices to perfect their religion practice. Eventually the syncretic religion unique only to Haiti was evolved. Thus, Haitian Vodou has roots in several West African religions, and incorporates some Roman Catholic and Arawak Amerindian influences.

The principal belief in Haitian Vodou is that there are various deities, or Lwa (commonly spelled Loa, which is spirit), who are subordinate to a greater God, known as Bondyè, who does not interfere with human affairs. Therefore it is to the Lwa that Vodou worship is directed. Other characteristics of Vodou include veneration of the dead and protection against evil witchcraft.

Haitian Vodou shares many similarities with other faiths of the other African diaspora, such as Louisiana Voodoo of New Orleans, Santería and Arará of Cuba, and Candomblé and Umbanda of Brazil. The Vodou temple is called a Hounfour.

In Haitian Vodou (Sèvis Lwa in Creole or "Service to the Lwa"), there are strong elements from the Bakongo of Central Africa and the Igbo and Yoruba of Nigeria, although many different nations of Africa have representation in the liturgy of the Sèvis Lwa. A large and significant portion of Haitian Vodou most often overlooked by scholars until recently is the Kongo component. The entire Northern area of Haiti is especially influenced by Kongo practice. In the North, it is more often called Kongo Rite or Lemba, from the Lemba rites of the Loango area and Mayombe. In the south, Kongo influence is called Petwo (Petro). Many loa or lwa (also a Kikongo term) are of Kongo origin such as Basimbi, Lemba, etc.

Haitian creole forms of Vodou exist in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, parts of Cuba, some of the out-islands of the Bahamas, the United States, and other places that Haitian immigrants dispersed to over the years. However, it is important to note that the Vodun religion (separate from Haitian Vodou) existed in the United States, having been brought over by West Africans enslaved in America, specifically from the Ewe, Fon, Mina, Kabaye, and Nago groups. Some of its more enduring forms still exist in the Gullah Islands. There is a re-emergence of these Vodun traditions in America, which maintains the same ritual and cosmological elements as is practiced in West Africa. These and other African-diasporic religions such as Lukumi or Regla de Ocha (also known as Santería) in Cuba, Candomblé and Umbanda in Brazil, all religions that evolved among descendants of transplanted Africans in the Americas.
(source: wikipedia)

African origins

The word vodou derives from vodũ, which in Fon, Ewe, and related language (distributed from contemporary Ghana to Benin) means spirit or divine creature (in the sense of divine creation).

The cultural area of the Fon, Ewe, and Yoruba peoples share common metaphysical conceptions around a dual cosmological divine principle Nana Buluku, the God-Creator, and the vodou(s) or God-Actor(s), daughters and sons of the Creator's twin children Mawu (goddess of the moon) and Lisa (god of the sun). The God-Creator is the cosmogonical principle and does not trifle with the mundane; the vodou(s) are the God-Actor(s) who actually govern earthly issues.

The pantheon of vodoun is quite large and complex. In one version, there are seven male and female twins of Mawu, interethnic and related to natural phenomena or historical or mythical individuals, and dozens of ethnic vodous, defenders of a certain clan or tribe.

West African Vodun has its primary emphasis on the ancestors, with each family of spirits having its own specialized priest- and priestesshood which are often hereditary. In many African clans, deities might include Mami Wata, who are gods and goddesses of the waters; Legba, who in some clans is virile and young in contrast to the old man form he takes in Haiti and in many parts of Togo; Gu (or Ogoun), ruling iron and smithcraft; Sakpata, who rules diseases; and many other spirits distinct in their own way to West Africa.

European colonialism, followed by totalitarian regimes in West Africa, suppressed Vodun as well as other forms of the religion. However, because the Vodou deities are born to each African clan-group, and its clergy is central to maintaining the moral, social, and political order and ancestral foundation of its villagers, it proved to be impossible to eradicate the religion. Though permitted by Haiti's 1987 constitution, which recognizes religious equality, many books and films have sensationalized voodoo as black magic based on animal and human sacrifices to summon zombies and evil spirits.

Haitian Revolution

The majority of the Africans who were brought as slaves to Haiti were from Western and Central Africa. The Vodun practitioners brought over and enslaved in the United States primarily descend from the Ewe, Anlo-Ewe, and other West African groups. The survival of the belief systems in the New World is remarkable, although the traditions have changed with time and have even taken on some Catholic forms of worship. Two important factors, however, characterize the uniqueness of Haitian Vodou as compared to African Vodun; the transplanted Africans of Haiti, similar to those of Cuba and Brazil, were obliged to disguise their loa (sometimes spelled lwa) or spirits as Roman Catholic saints, an element of a process called syncretism.(Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparate or contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. This may involve attempts to merge and analogise several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, and thus assert an underlying unity allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths).

Roman Catholicism was mixed into the religion to hide their "pagan" religion from their masters, who had forbidden them to practice it. Thus, Haitian Vodou has roots in several West African religions, and incorporates some Roman Catholic and Arawak Amerindian influences. It is common for Haitians followers of the Vodou religion to integrate Roman Catholic practices by including Catholic prayers in Vodou worship. Throughout the history of the island from the day of independence of 1804 to the present, missionaries repeatedly came over to the island to convert the Haitians back to the Christian religion which previously had been forced on them. This has set many Haitians to project vodou as an evil religion, from the influence of the missionaries to abusive practitioners who use vodou to persecute.

Vodou, as it is known in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora, is the result of the pressures of many different cultures and ethnicities of people being uprooted from Africa and imported to Hispaniola during the African slave trade. Under slavery, African culture and religion was suppressed, lineages were fragmented, and people pooled their religious knowledge and from this fragmentation became culturally unified. In addition to combining the spirits of many different African and Amerindian nations, Vodou has incorporated pieces of Roman Catholic liturgy to replace lost prayers or elements. Images of Catholic saints are used to represent various spirits or "mistè" ("mysteries", actually the preferred term in Haiti), and many saints themselves are honored in Vodou in their own right. This syncretism allows Vodou to encompass the African, the Indian, and the European ancestors in a whole and complete way. It is truly a Kreyòl religion.

The most historically important Vodou ceremony in Haitian history was the Bwa Kayiman or Bois Caïman ceremony of August 1791 that began the Haitian Revolution, in which the spirit Ezili Dantor possessed a priestess and received a black pig as an offering, and all those present pledged themselves to the fight for freedom. This ceremony ultimately resulted in the liberation of the Haitian people from French colonial rule in 1804, and the establishment of the first black people's republic in the history of the world and the second independent nation in the Americas.

(source: wikipedia)


1.Ezili Dantor (also spelled Erzulie with Danto or Danthor) is the Petro nation aspect of the Erzulie family of lwa, or spirits in Haitian Vodou. Ezili Dantor is considered to be the lwa of motherhood, single motherhood in particular. She is most commonly represented by the image of Black Madonna of Częstochowa whose origins are believed to be in copies of the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, brought to Haiti by Polish soldiers fighting on both sides of the Haitian Revolution from 1802 onwards. Other depictions of Ezili Dantor include the Black Madonna, as well as Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Ezili Dantor is associated with the black creole pig of Haiti, her favorite animal sacrifice, and the colors gold and blue, sometimes green and also red to signify that she is a Petro lwa.
Her favorite offerings include: a fried pork dish known as griot, creme de cacao, rum, Florida Water perfume, and strong unfiltered cigarettes.

2. Pat Robertson's response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake drew controversy. Robertson, a religious broadcaster, claimed that Haiti's founders had sworn a "pact to the Devil" in order to liberate themselves from the French slave owners and indirectly attributed the earthquake to the consequences of the Haitian people being "cursed" for doing so. CBN later issued a statement saying that Robertson's comments "were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Dutty Boukman at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French." Various prominent voices of mainline and evangelical Christianity promptly denounced Robertson's remarks. Pat may has historical fact to back him, and the liberty of his personal view on the earthquake, but timing of his response was not right.

Haitian is the first slave republic, they may have escaped the slavery; but still suffered from natural disasters, poverty, violence and crime; and they are economically disadvantage compare with their neighbor, Dominican Republic. Is Pat Roberson speak the true? it is for you to ponder, and wonder.....

Related articles/references:
1. Haitian Vodou,
2. Pat Robertson controversies,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Map of Jacmel

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While the world's attention is focused on earthquake-ravaged Port-au-Prince, a catastrophe of parallel magnitude is unfolding in isolation on the country's southern coast, Jacmel. Video by by Trenton Daniel / Miami Herald Staff

Jacmel before the earthquake(11-3-2008)

Jacmel (Kréyòl: Jakmèl, 雅克梅勒) is a city in southeast Haiti, on the Caribbean coast, at the mouth of the river Grande Rivière de Jacmel. It is the capital city of the Sud-Est Département.

The city is in the Baie de Jacmel ("Jacmel Bay") about 86 km south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. It is also the chief town of an arrondissement (a part of a department) with the same name. The arrondissement has four communes (a commune is like a municipality): Jacmel, Cayes-Jacmel, La Vallée and Marigot

Christopher Columbus gave the name Puerto de Brasil ("Brazil port") to the place where Jacmel is now because there were many trees called "Brasil" (English: Brazilwood) in the region that were cut and sent to Spain;[2] the tree has a yellow substance (and wood) that was used to give that color to hair, cloths and other objects.

In 1504, Nicolás de Ovando, Spanish governor of the Hispaniola, founded the town of Villanueva de Yáquimo (or Villanova de Yáquimo). But people left the town and French people came to live here; in 1698, the new town of Jacmel was founded.

There are many beautiful old houses in Jacmel, from the 1880s. Since 2004, the 'Festival Film Jakmèl' is celebrated in Jacmel and, since 2007, the international music festival 'Festival Mizik Jakmèl'. Many visitors come to Jacmel for its carnival, the Bassins Bleu waterfalls, and the white sand beaches near the city.

From Lonely Planet:

Sheltered by a beautiful 3km-wide bay, the old coffee port of Jacmel is one of the most friendly and tranquil towns in Haiti. Little more than a couple of hours drive south from Port-au-Prince, it’s a popular weekend destination for city dwellers, and hosts one of the country’s best Carnivals every Lent. But at any time of year, Jacmel is a great place for recharging the batteries.

Part of Jacmel’s charm is down to its old town center, full of mansions and merchants’ warehouses with a late-Victorian grace poking out from behind the wrought-iron balconies and peeling façades.

"The Handicraft Center of Haiti"
Jacmel is proudly proclaimed "The Handicraft Center of Haiti," and a city which is restoring its historical heritage.If some of the buildings need a lick of paint, Jacmel’s artists could hardly be described as slouches. The town is the undisputed handicrafts capital of Haiti, with dozens of workshops producing hand-painted souvenirs, from wall decorations to the elaborate papier-mâché masks produced for the Carnival festivities. It’s the birthplace of two hugely influential creative forces, both of whom have created inspiring works depicting the town, the artist Préfète Duffaut, who contributed to the amazing murals of Sainte Trinité Episcopalian Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, and the novelist and poet René Dépestre.

Related articles:
1. Shattered and forgotten, the port city of Jacmel waits,
2. Haiti coastal city, once a destination for tourists and Carnival celebrants, quieted by quake,
4. Video: On the ground Reports from Jacmel, by HaitiCine Institute,
5. Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti; by James W. Coates,

Haiti Is Not The End: Other Earthquakes Are Just Round The Corner – Ulster Expert

Professor McCloskey says: “At the end of a week which has been dominated by the awful scenes from Haiti, the thought that other big earthquakes are just round the corner is a truly bleak picture. Professor McCloskey and his group rapidly analysed the M9.2 earthquake that triggered the Indian Ocean 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and alerted the world to the threat of another large quake in the Sumatra region of the Indian Ocean 10 days before it struck. He is head of the Geophysics Research Group at Ulster’s Environmental Sciences Research Institute.

West of Sumatra

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A huge wave-generating quake capable of killing as many people as in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami could strike off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and the city of Padang is in the firing line, a team of seismologists said on Sunday. The group -- led by a prominent scientist who predicted a 2005 Sumatran quake with uncanny accuracy -- issued the warning in a letter to the journal Nature Geoscience.

In their letter, they stated that:

Padang, population 850,000, sits directly above the Sunda subduction zone where the Australian plate plunges beneath the Eurasian plate. Since late 2004, a series of earthquakes, the first of which triggered the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, has ruptured the plate boundary from the Andaman Islands to the Sunda Strait, a distance of nearly 2,500 km. Only some 300 km of the Sunda margin — the Mentawai segment — remains unbroken in the past five years (Fig. 1a); Padang lies broadside on to this segment.

Under Siberut, the biggest of the Mentawai Islands, the megathrust has not ruptured since the great 1797 earthquake (Mw = 8.7), when up to 10 m of slip produced a tsunami and inundated Padang and its adjacent coast1. The megathrust is strongly coupled there (Fig. 1b) and stores almost all of the 5 cm or so of annual plate convergence. The strain released in 1797 has been more than replenished. Furthermore, recent earthquakes both to the north and to the south have loaded the locked segment and raised the risk of another great shock.

The peril comes from a relentless buildup of pressure over the last two centuries on a section of the Sunda Trench, one of the world's most notorious earthquake zones, which runs parallel to the western Sumatra coast, they said.

Professor McCloskey says:

“For some years now scientists have been warning of the build up of stress on one of the earth’s great plate boundaries to the west of Sumatra in Indonesia. For more than 200 years the collision between the Indian ocean plate and the Asian plate has stored an enormous amount of energy.

“It’s just like slowly drawing a bow. For hundreds of years the energy is stored as the two tectonic plates bend and deform. Then, in just a few seconds all this energy is released generating a massive earthquake and sometimes flexing the seafloor to create a tsunami.

“Off western Sumatra the bow is drawn tight. The last shock happened more than 200 years ago and the stresses are probably larger now than they were then; the earthquake must happen soon.

On 30 September 2009, the city of Padang in Indonesia was rocked by an earthquake with a moment magnitude of Mw = 7.6. Despite its size, the earthquake did not rupture the Sunda megathrust and did not significantly relax the 200 years of accumulated stress on the Mentawai segment. The megathrust strain-energy budget remains substantially unchanged and the threat of a great, Mw > 8.5, tsunamigenic earthquake on the Mentawai patch is unabated.

“The science of earthquakes is still on a steep learning curve and earthquake prediction is as far off as ever.

“Science and scientists do not have all the answers. We don’t know where or when the next big earthquake will happen. We disagree on a lot of the details about how earthquakes work, how they start and how they stop but there are many things about which there is no disagreement.

“All the indicators are pointing in the same direction for western Sumatra. Another massive earthquake is due there and could happen literally any day.

“Scientists cannot forecast the exact size of the earthquake but in this case there is complete agreement that it will be very strong, probably bigger than magnitude 8.5, dwarfing the energy release in the Haitian quake. We also cannot say for sure what size the tsunami will be but it has the potential to be very destructive – maybe even worse than 2004.

Preparation for coming of Earthquake

“It is an international disgrace that we appear not to have made the smallest progress in preparation .The ‘international community’ is very good at preparing for war but has failed completely to prepare to help the poor who are always the ones to suffer in these events.

“But the future need not look like Haiti. We know this earthquake is coming and we might have years or even decades to prepare.

“Given the unfolding scenes of carnage following the Haiti earthquake and the completely inadequate speed of the international response, the responsibility on the Indonesian government, the international community and the international NGOs is enormous.

“We must work urgently to prepare for this earthquake if we are not to witness again the awful scenes of children dying for want of a few stitches or a cast for a broken leg.

“The September Padang earthquake and the tragedy of Haiti underline the importance of preparation. There are many things that can be done to reduce the impact of earthquakes. Many of these are low-tech methods that have been tried and tested.

“In an earthquake a table can save your life, its legs are extremely strong under compression so when the roof falls down the table provides a small air space, if you’re in there you have a chance.’

It’s also clear that we haven’t organized ourselves sufficiently internationally.

“It was really disturbing to see children lying on the floor in hospitals with no pain relief, without any medical help at all. How many lives could have been saved if the international community had prepared properly for this event?

“Scientists can’t tell where and when but I can tell you now that other earthquakes like this are absolutely certain. We can’t continue to refuse to accept the inevitable; earthquakes happen, they kill people, they will kill more and more people if we don’t organise ourselves properly. We must start now.

(Extract from dated 17-1-2010)

Yes, agreed with Professor McCloskey; with the Haiti earthquake it revealed weaknesses of our readiness for global disasters, which has become more frequent and with larger magnitude. The strong nation are well prepared for wars, but not ready for global disasters. The countries around the potential site, should now be planning for Risk Impact Analysis; Emergency Readiness Program, and Evacuation Master Plan etc. It include Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Australia, India, Myanmar, Sri Langka etc....

We must start now to prepare for the eventuality, to be ready even if it happen today....

Do not take things for granted...Be prepared just as a Scout motto.

Related articles:
1.Tsunami-generating quake possible off Indonesia: scientists, AFP, dated 18-1-2010,yahoo news,
2. “The September 2009 Padang earthquake”, by John McCloskey ,Dietrich Lange ,Frederik Tilmann ,Suleyman S. Nalbant ,Andrew F. Bell ,Danny Hilman Natawidjaja & Andreas Rietbrock, Nature Geoscience's website on 17 January at 1800 London time / 1300 US Eastern time. A pdf is available from
3. Professor John McCloskey,

Léogâne - epicenter of the Haiti Earthquake 2010

Map of Leogane

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Léogâne (Haitian Creole: Leyogàn) is a coastal city in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located in the eponymous arrondissement, the Léogâne Arrondissement. The port town is located about 29 km (18 miles) West of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The town’s population is about 120,000.

Leogane, a sugar cane town with deep roots in voodoo and a church that would have been 500 years old in August. Within about a minute last Tuesday(Haiti Earthquake), the church disintegrated during afternoon Mass. In its place there is now a mountain of rubble hiding an unknown number of bodies.

La ville de Leogane is most known for its paintings. It is not by accident that the threshold of the proud city of Anacaona exposes the talents of many artists born and raised in Leogane. In fact the city is so artistic that the steps of students along with the noise of taxis form a great repertoire of sound, color, rhymes, rhythms, and harmony. The greed of the businessmen, the style of the houses, and the cadence of our trees always project an allure of festivity that only Leoganais know how to throw.

The city is a beehive of entertainment; at every corner we will spot a group of singers ready to hit the billboard. Leogane claimed and earned the title of city of entertainment by excellence. This is a place herein you will never get bored.

In 1663, thirty (30) French arrived in Haiti with the sole intention to erect two cities that will remind them of some French cities. They wanted to strategically place those cities so they could attract tourists and open to commerce.

After a tone of researches; they sailed their boat toward the West of Haiti where they plant their architecture to shape the cities of Léogâne and Petit-Goâve. Since then; Léogâne had grown to become an arrondisment with the cities of Petit-Goâve and Grand-Goâve.

Léogâne is both a historical and cultural city:

1. About 450 ago; Léogâne was the capital of the island of the St Domingue
2. The only Haitian Queen,Taíno queen Anacaona was born in Léogâne
3. The Emperor Jean Jacques Dessalines married Mrie Claire Heureuse Felicite Guillaume at l’Eglise Ste Rose de Léogâne.
4. Haiti’s oldest sugar cane refinery is located in Léogâne
5. Simone Ovide Duvalier; the mother and the wife of two Haitian Presidents were born in Léogâne.
6. Léogâne is the central point for Rara
7. Carole Demesmin; Ambassador of the Haitian music is also from Léogâne

(extract from

Léogâne is the birthplace of the Taíno queen Anacaona (the town was originally called the Amerindian name Yaguana and the city's name is a corruption of that) as well as Marie-Claire Heureuse Félicité, the wife of the Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758), and Simone Ovide Duvalier; the mother and the wife of two Haitian Presidents were born in Léogâne.

Charlemagne Masséna Péralte (1886 - 1 November 1919)
Charlemagne Masséna Péralte (1886 - 1 November 1919) was a Haitian nationalist leader who opposed the US Invasion of his country in 1915. He had been a military officer stationed in Léogâne. He resigned from the military, refusing to surrender to the U.S. troops without a fight. He returned to his native town of Hinche and began leading the guerrilla fighters called the Cacos against the occupation forces. He posed such a challenge to the US forces in Haiti that the occupying forces had to upgrade their presence in the country. After two years of guerrilla warfare, leading Péralte to declare a provisional government in the north of Haïti, Charlemagne Péralte was betrayed by one of his officers, Jean-Baptiste Conzé, who led disguised US Marines Sergeant Herman H. Hanneken (later meritoriously promoted to Second Lieutenant for his exploits) and Corporal William Button into the rebels camp, near Grand-Rivière Du Nord. Péralte was shot in the heart at close range and assassinated. His assassins then fled with his body during the skirmish and chaos that ensued.

In order to demoralize the Haïtian population, the US troops took a picture of Charlemagne Péralte's body tied to a door, and distributed it in the country. The effect was the opposite. Betrayed and killed at the age of 33, Charlemagne Péralte took the dimension of a martyr for the Haïtian nation.Péralte remains as a highly praised Haitian hero.

Epicenter of Haiti Earthquake 2010
Léogâne was at the epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude 13 January 2010 earthquake, and a United Nations assessment team that investigated three main towns near Port-au-Prince found that Léogâne was "the worst affected area" with 80 to 90% of buildings damaged and no remaining government infrastructure. Nearly every concrete structure was destroyed. The damage was also reported to be worse than the capital. The military estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 people had died from the earthquake in Léogâne. People have congregated in ad hoc squatter camps and relief has taken longer to reach Léogâne.

A first shipment of UN food aid has arrived in the ruined Haitian town of Leogane, west of the capital Port-au-Prince, where street after street of homes and businesses have been torn apart by this week's devastating earthquake. The UN says up to 90 percent of buildings were badly damaged or destroyed. Leogane Catholic Church was destroyed in the earthquake.

Ruins of the Catholic Church in 
Leogane, a town of 134,000 people 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince. The UN estimates that estimates that 80-90% of Leogane was destroyed by the earthquake.

CHF-Haiti Blog Update, Sunday January 17, 2010 on Leogane:

* MINUSTAH (UN mission in Haiti) were undertakni g a protein cookie distribution in front of Leogane City Hall to mostly women and children.
* Much of Leogane, both downtown and the surrounding area, was flattened by the quake and unconfirmed estimates put the death toll as high as 100,000. We sincerely hope this is far higher than the reality.
* Between Leogane and L'Acul we passed a destroyed water pump that is indicative of the below-the-surface damage that has crippled many wells and reservoirs in the region. Potable water is and will continue to be a major issue for the region until water supplies can be repaired or replaced.
* The Ecole National Anna Karina, a high school in the city center of Leogane, was flattened completely. Tragically class was in session at the time.
* Churches appear to have suffered extraordinary damage from the quake, with most crumbling, especially the larger structures.
* The financial system in affected cities has been paralyzed by the earthquake. While some supplies are available, prices have skyrocketed and people simply do not have access to what little money they have in the bank.
* We saw collapsed wooden houses on stilts, common in historic Leogane, a city of approximately 134,000. Many of the multi-level Leogane homes fell to the ground after the stilts and supporting beams collapsed underneath them. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 80-90% of Leogane was destroyed by the earthquake.

Related articles/websites:
1. No food, no buildings, no money, no hope ... and not even a rumour of aid, The Times
dated January 19, 2010,
2. Leogane: A lost town at the Haiti earthquake epicentre,by Victoria ward, in Leogane, Haiti 18/01/2010,
4. Leogane the city of entertaiment by excellence,by, dated June 02, 2009,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Old Haiti

Haiti in 40s & 50s.

Haiti 1942

Haiti Earthquake 2010 - why it happen?


The Caribbean island nation of Haiti has been beset by a series of natural disasters in recent years, experiencing four devastating tropical storms in 2008.

Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake will only further complicate living conditions for residents of the poverty-stricken country where 80 per cent of Haiti's nearly nine million people live below the poverty line.

The movement of Caribbean plate
The quake occurred in the vicinity of the northern boundary where the Caribbean tectonic plate shifts eastwards by about 20 mm per year relative to the North American plate. The strike-slip fault system in the region has two branches in Haiti, the Septentrional fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault in the south; both its location and focal mechanism suggest that the January 2010 quake was caused by rupture of the Enriquillo-Plaintain Garden fault, which had been locked solid for 250 years, gathering stress. The stress would ultimately have been relieved either by a large earthquake or a series of smaller ones. The rupture of this Mw 7.0 earthquake was roughly 65 kilometres (40 mi) long with mean slip of 1.8 metres (5.9 ft). Preliminary analysis of the slip distribution found amplitudes of up to about 4 metres (13 ft) using ground motion records from all over the world

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Religion: Pat Robertson's claim of Haiti's pact with the devil

About 95% of the population claim Christian beliefs, although the most professed denomination by far is Roman Catholicism. Similar to the rest of Latin America, Haiti was colonized during a period during which Roman Catholicism was prevalent among European monarchs. Following in this legacy, Catholicism is enshrined in the Haitian constitution as the official state religion, and between 80 and 85% of Haitians are Catholics. But most also practice Voodoo, which along with Catholicism is an official state religion. Voodoo is based upon a merging of the beliefs and practices of West African peoples, (mainly the Fon and Ewe; see West African Vodun), with Roman Catholic Christianity

Pat Robertson's response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake drew controversy. Robertson claimed that Haiti's founders had sworn a "pact to the Devil" in order to liberate themselves from the French slave owners and indirectly attributed the earthquake to the consequences of the Haitian people being "cursed" for doing so. CBN later issued a statement saying that Robertson's comments "were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Dutty Boukman at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French." Various prominent voices of mainline and evangelical Christianity promptly denounced Robertson's remarks.

Haiti religious people - Local Haitians' view

Deeply religious Haitians see the hand of God in the destruction of Biblical proportions visited on their benighted country. The quake, religious leaders said Sunday, is evidence that He wants change. Exactly what change He wants depends on the faith: Some Christians say it's a sign that Haitians must deepen their faith, while some Voodoo followers see God's judgment on corruption among the country's mostly light-skinned elite.

As desperate believers gathered to pray Sunday across the shattered capital, the Rev. Eric Toussaint told a congregation gathered outside the ruined cathedral that the earthquake ''is a sign from God, saying that we must recognize his power.''

Haitians, he said, ''need to reinvent themselves, to find a new path to God.''

No matter what is the reason, Now Haitian are suffering, they need helps

......"People are becoming more aggressive because they need food and water," said a 29-year-old survivor named Sherley, "As we start to figure out that our loved ones are not going to be found, it is as if we are finally understanding what is happening to us. Today, people are fighting to survive."......


Yet in the capital drumbeats still called the faithful to mass at a collapsed cathedral in a city smelling of death. The Rev Eric Toussaint said: “Why give thanks to God? Because we are here. “We say, ‘Thank you God.’ What happened is the will of God. We are in the hands of God now.”


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Port-au-Prince (pronounced /ˌpɔrtoʊˈprɪns/; French pronunciation: [pɔʁopʁɛ̃s]; Haitian Creole: Pòtoprens) was the capital and largest city of the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The city's official population was 704,776 as of the 2003 census.

Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, the region that would eventually become Port-au-Prince was not the site of any permanent human settlement.

The city of Port-au-Prince faces the Gulf of Gonâve, at 18°32′N 72°20′W / 18.533°N 72.333°W / 18.533; -72.333. The bay on which the city lies, which acts as a natural harbor, has sustained economic activity since the civilizations of the Arawaks. It was first incorporated under the colonial rule of the French, in 1749, and has been Haiti's largest metropolis since then. The city's layout is similar to that of an amphitheatre; commercial districts are near the water, while residential neighborhoods are located on the hills above. Its population is difficult to ascertain due to the rapid growth of slums in the hillsides above the city; however, recent estimates place the metropolitan area's population at between 2.5 and 3 million people.

In 2010, Port-au-Prince was catastrophically affected by the January 12 earthquake, with large numbers of structures damaged or destroyed. Haitian officials estimate that thousands have been killed – perhaps more than 100,000 – though there is no firm or confirmed death toll.

Cité Soleil

Cité Soleil, Haiti’s largest slum in the capital of Port-au-Prince, has been called "the most dangerous place on Earth" by the United Nations. Cité Soleil (Kreyol: Site Soley, English: Sun City) is a very densely populated commune located in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in Haiti. It has development as a shanty town. Most of its estimated 200,000 to 300,000 residents live in extreme poverty. The area is generally regarded as one of the poorest, roughest, and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere's poorest country; it is one of the biggest slums in the Northern Hemisphere. There is little police presence, no sewers, no stores, and little to no electricity. Armed gangs roam the streets. Murder, rape, kidnapping, looting, and shootings are common as every few blocks is controlled by one of more than 30 armed factions.

The Cité-Soleil shantytown in Port-au-Prince has been the scene of deadly clashes between armed groups and UN forces. Local people live in abject poverty against a backdrop of violence, without even basic services to make their lives more bearable. ICRC and the Haitian Red Cross are providing an ambulance service for the sick and wounded, repairing water points and seeking to give some hope again to the people of Cité-Soleil.

Since 2004, the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) has been in Haiti and it now numbers 8,000 troops but continues to struggle for control over the armed gangs. In October 2006 a group of heavily armed Haitian police were able to enter Cité Soleil for the first time in three years and were able to remain one hour as armored UN troops patrolled the area. Since this is where the armed gangs take their kidnap victims, the Haitian police's ability to penetrate the area even for such a short time was seen as a sign of progress. The situation of continuing violence is similar in Port-au-Prince.

In 1770, Port-au-Prince replaced Cap-Français (the modern Cap-Haïtien) as capital of the colony of Saint-Domingue, and in 1804, it became the capital of newly-independent Haïti. Before Haïtian independence, it was captured by British troops on June 4, 1794. During the French and Haïtian Revolutions, it was known as Port-Républicain, before being renamed Port-au-Prince by Jacques I, emperor of Haïti. When Haïti was divided between a kingdom in the north and a republic in the south, Port-au-Prince was the capital of the republic, under the leadership of Alexandre Pétion. Henri Christophe renamed the city Port-aux-Crimes after the assassination of Jacques I at Pont Larnage (now known as Pont-Rouge, and located north of the city.)

Port-au-Prince has managed to maintain a tourism industry despite political instability. The Toussaint Louverture International Airport (referred to often as the Port-au-Prince International Airport) is the country's main international gateway for tourists. The Pétionville area of Port-au-Prince is affluent and is generally the most common place for tourists to visit and stay. The vast majority of tourists concentrate their visits around the various cultural sites that exist within the capital, an example being the large number of gingerbread houses.

On 12 January 2010, a 7.0 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, devastating the city. Most of the central historic area of the city was destroyed, including Haiti's prized Cathédrale de Port-au-Prince, the capital building, the parliament building, several ministerial buildings, and at least one hospital. The second floor of the Presidential Palace was thrown into the first floor, and the domes skewed at a severe tilt.

Famous people born in Port-au-Prince

* Jean Alfred (1940-), former politician and deputy of the Assemblée nationale du Québec
* Silvio Cator (1900-1952), athlete and mayor of Port-au-Prince
* François Duvalier (1907-1971), president and dictator of Haiti
* Jean-Claude Duvalier (1951-), former president and dictator of Haiti
* Wagneau Eloi (1973-), former international soccer player and now coach of the Haiti national football team
* Michaëlle Jean (1957-), current governor general of Canada
* Wyclef Jean (1972-), US-based international rapper
* Dany Laferrière (1953-), novelist and journalist.
* Luck Mervil (1967-), Québec-based actor, singer
* Olden Polynice (1964-), former professional basketball player
* Emmanuel Sanon (1951–2008), national soccer player of Haiti
* Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853), declared venerable by Pope John Paul II, the second step toward sainthood
* Samuel Dalembert (1981-), current NBA player. He is the Center for the Philadelphia 76ers.