Tenth anniversary edition of Haitian Reporter

May 2011 edition marks ten years of the BHRMay 2011 edition marks ten years of the BHRThe tenth anniversary edition of the Boston Haitian Reporter hit newsstands across the region on Wednesday, May 11. The edition carries a special section dedicated to the inaugural Boston Haitian Honors event, which will be held on Thursday, May 12 at the Boston Seaport Hotel. Honors will be presented to five outstanding community leaders from Boston's blossoming Haitian community to celebrated the newspaper's milestone and to mark the opening celebration in a long weekend packed with Haitian Heritage Month events.

You can download the full edition of the BHR May edition (PDF format) here.

On May 12th at the Boston Seaport Hotel, the Boston Haitian Reporter will commemorate its first decade in business by launching Boston Haitian Honors, an annual event recognizing exemplary community and civic leaders of Haitian descent who have demonstrated leadership, unrelenting commitment to community service and volunteerism.

The event is co-chaired by Senator John F. Kerry, Governor Deval L. Patrick, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Dr. Paul Farmer, who will attend the event and offer special remarks to the luncheon crowd, which is expected to draw roughly 300 attendees.

Is this the authentic face of Toussaint L'Ouverture?

Toussaint L'Ouverture portrait by Girardin: Recently discovered, this portrait is believed to be the only historically accurate painting of the Haitian leader.Toussaint L'Ouverture portrait by Girardin: Recently discovered, this portrait is believed to be the only historically accurate painting of the Haitian leader.“Images are not arguments, rarely even lead to proof, but the mind, craves them, and, of late more than ever, the keenest experiments find twenty images better than one, especially if contradictory; since the human mind has already learned to deal in contradictions.”
— Henry Adams, A Law of Acceleration

If there is one important historical figure from the early nineteenth century who has been consistently misrepresented through imagery, it would have to be Toussaint L’Ouverture. One would think that as a minimum, someone of his ilk and significance to Haitian history and the overall contribution to humanity’s fight for equality, freedom and dignity, a proper physical representation of his figure would be easily accessible. However, that has not been the case.

As we know, images are powerful tools. Unfortunately, they are often conjured and perpetuated by the victors of history, and are thus prone to reimaging and propaganda. Predictably, the essence of Toussaint over the years has suffered a vast distortion and vilification that has been seared into our minds as we remember him as a figure that was either homely and diminutive, or at times ostentatious and imposing – perhaps misrepresentative of his legacy.

In March of last year, after Haiti’s tragic earthquake, a friend of mine, researcher, Mario Valdes, whom I had the opportunity to work with at PBS Frontline, emailed me a photograph of what may be the only historically accurate painting of Toussaint, shattering any and all previous notions I held about his physical appearance and affect.

Final results of legislative races delayed as questions persist

The certification of legislative election results from last month's runoff election will be delayed after U.S. and U.N. diplomats raised questions over the victories of more than a dozen candidates, Haitian officials said Monday.

U.S. diplomats said last week they wanted a public explanation for how Haiti's election commission declared victories for 17 Chamber of Deputies candidates and one Senate candidate after they ended up with far more votes than they had when preliminary returns were announced April 4.

Martelly's election: Shades of populism and authoritarian rule

Patrick SylvainPatrick SylvainOne could consider Michel Joseph Martelly’s recent election a sequel to Graham Greene’s The Comedians.

It seems as though everything in Haiti is either a comedy or tragedy; the political emergence of a popular singer known for his superficial and sexually explicit lyrics is more than anything, akin to a stage comedy, a momentous farce. Michel Martelly, despite his lack of political experience and training/education, is now expected to serve as Haiti’s Head of State, and lead a nation in a perpetual state of crisis, lacking institutions and qualified civil servants.

BHR 4-11BHR 4-11For the past few decades, the derision of ethics, justice, education, and national character could only produce a political candidate that mirrors the ideals of the society at large. Martelly’s ascension to power is a by-product of the society’s ills and entrenched crises, but it is also the repudiation of Préval’s failed presidency and politics of silence that displeased and alienated the already disenfranchised population.

Leading up to the election, much of the population, at least those who voted, carried pictures of Aristide while simultaneously sporting the number “8” (to symbolize Martelly). In any logical realm, those two figures would be incompatible (despite their populist driven campaigns).

As a matter of fact, Aristide and Martelly represent politically antithetical points of view. After all, Martelly openly supported Aristide’s ouster from power in both 1991 and 2004. Also, he is a strong supporter of the re-establishment of the military that Aristide banned from operation. The intersecting point between these two charismatic figures however, is the fact that populism resides strongly in the realm of Haitian popular representative democracy.

Hurry up and wait: Presidential results due on March 31

PORT-AU-PRINCE— Haitians wearied by long years of poverty, corruption and natural disasters are settling in for a wait to find out who they have elected to lead efforts to rebuild the earthquake-devastated capital, improve education and create some optimism for the future.

The choice faced by voters in the presidential election Sunday was between Mirlande Manigat, a longtime political fixture as a former first lady and senator, and Michel ``Sweet Micky'' Martelly, a popular singer who has never held public office.

Preliminary results are not expected until March 31.

Aristide lands in Haiti to cheers

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand AristideFormer Haitian President Jean-Bertrand AristidePORT-AU-PRINCE —Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is getting celebrity treatment following his arrival in Haiti after seven years in exile. A small crowd of journalists, dignitaries, airport workers and former members of his security team mobbed Aristide as soon as he descended the steps of the small plane that carried him from South Africa on Friday.

He waved and blew a kiss to the crowd, but made no statement before entering a VIP lounge inside the airport terminal. His wife, Mildred, wept. Hundreds of people gathered outside the airport waving flags and photos of Aristide.

Aristide arrived with a small entourage that included actor and activist Danny Glover. Democracy Now! reporter Amy Goodman was also aboard the small plane and has been covering Aristide's route from South Africa.

Trailblazing Women

This month we celebrate the legacy of International Women's day and Women's History Month by featuring remarkable women in the Haitian community. From Rep. Linda Dorcena Forrry and Carline Desire, a domestic violence advocate to Natasha Archer, a young doctor, Karen Keating Ansara philanthropist and Carla Prophete, an emerging high school star, these women embody the indomitable spirit of their fore-mothers in their own unique way.


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