AN INHUMANE POLICY OF THE DR

The Dominican Republic continues its inhumane and reckless policy of creating a caste of “Stateless Individuals”. In the month of September 2017, Lt. General Maximo William Munoz, delegate of the Directorate General of Migration (DGM) said that over nine thousand “foreigners” were expelled or not admitted to the country. These “foreigners” are Dominicans of Haitian descent that the DR has arbitrarily stripped of their nationality. This has created a human right crisis that has made thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent in a state of homelessness.

The record shows that a large percentage of these being deported were born in the DR, of which many are children. Another substantial percentage of those being deported have been living in the Dominican Republic for decades and have no ties at all with Haiti. Children are being deported unaccompanied, and seniors are being sent back to a place they have no attachment, to live in makeshift camps in abject poverty. Haiti does not have the resources or capacity to provide for those who are being deported.

Unfortunately, the history of this policy of the treatment of Haitians by the people of the Dominican republic has a strong underpinning of racism. This form of “Ethnic Cleansing” we are now witnessing by arbitrary laws passed to deport Haitians dates back to the Dominican Dictator Rafael Trujillo, when thousands of Haitians were slaughtered in the Parsley Massacre of 1937 when dark skinned people identified as Haitians were marked to be killed. It was Trujillo’s method of getting rid of blacks in the Dominican Republic.

So the rounding up and deportation of Dominicans of Haitian descent is an extension of the long held policy of the Dominican Republic ridding itself of its people of color and have engendered the legal system to accomplish that goal. The Government of the Dominican Republic itself has described the program as a “cleansing” of the country’s immigration role, in other words, “Ethnic Cleansing”.

Then why is there not a massive outcry against this policy of the Dominican Republic? There have been some marches and speeches, but major organizations and leaders of the DR Community have gone silent on the matter. Alliances are formed with blacks by the Dominicans on the matters of politics and empowerment of the groups in the US and rightfully so. These alliances have an obligation to speak out and speak up about the “ethnic cleansing taking place on an island that both people inhabit. Cassandra Theano, a legal officer at the New York based Open Society Foundation said the comparisons between the Government’s action and the denationalization of Jews in Nazi Germany are justified. She explained because denial of citizenship were the first acts perpetrated against the Jews in Nazi Germany.

The root cause of the people of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic is discrimination. There is a long- standing discrimination against Haitians and the Dominican Republic has done very little to combat it. In fact, they are now codifying it. The Government of the Dominican Republic, as a strategy, keeps referring to the policy as an immigration issue, but the majority of the people they are rounding up and departing are not immigrants, they are Dominican Haitians. The Dominican Government has created a web of rules and processes to create the condition that they can decide who will stay and who will go; it is clear who is going.

Haitian-American author, Edwidge Danticat helps us to understand a little known American history, when she noted - “One thing that is not mentioned as often is that early in the 20th century (1915-1934 for Haiti and 1916-1924 for the DR), the entire island was occupied by the United States. Then again, in the DR in the 1960’s, Trujillo – who not only organized a massacre, but wiped out several generations of Dominican families – was trained during the occupation by the US Marines and put in power when they pulled out. Same with the Haitian army that terrorized Haitians for generations; it is not a matter of blame but a matter of historical records”. The human rights of the people of Haitian descent is being violated- people born in the DR are essentially “ghost citizens”, lack identity or State. It is time people of goodwill, organizations, public and private, stand up for basic human dignity, and Dominican-American voices must be heard on this matter if they are going to be credible partners in the struggle for human rights and human dignity; they should put pressure on the Dominican Republic Government for justice and human rights for people of Haitian descent in the country. They can beg

REPARATION - PREPARING THE CASE FOR REPARATORY JUSTICE

The University of the West Indies, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, has made a historic step of establishing a Center for Reparation Research (CRR), which is believed to be the first of its kind in the academy. We welcome this bold step and support the vision of the CRR.

Sir Hilary has posed the question “Can the Caribbean achieve economic development without reparatory justice?” In fact, the Heads of CARICOM countries have written to the European States who were enriched by Caribbean slavery, to call for a kind of Marshall Plan model to address the issue of reparatory justice. Sir Hilary stated the decision to launch the Caribbean Center for Reparatory Research is to professionally prepare the evidentiary basis of the claim.

The explanation for the creation as Sir Hilary sees it, is a direct response to CARICOM’s mandate to the UWI at its 34th meeting of the Heads of Government in July 2013, to collaborate with other Caribbean Universities to establish the research institute as a vehicle for research and public advocacy.

The CRR is moving the Reparatory Justice movement to another level, and a meaningful one. The European countries who have grown prosperous with the use of slave labor and the genocide of a people over centuries, have essentially been dismissive of the claim of Reparatory justice. It is a past that they do not wish to be engaged with and riches they do not want to depart with.

Once the topic of reparation is raised, as Ta-Nehisi Coates states, “a barrage of questions inevitably follow; who will be paid? How much will they be paid? Who will pay? But if the practicalities, not the justice of reparation, are the sticking points, there has for sometime been the beginning of a solution” The CRR will be very instrumental in clarifying the justice and the practicalities of reparation with recommendation for appropriate remedies.

Over sixty-five years ago, an agreement was reached by West Germany to provide compensation and reimbursement for the Jewish people of $60 billiion US dollars as reparation to mostly victims of the Holocaust for their losses and suffering caused by the Nazis. A case was made for this reparation. The CRR canDevelop the case for reparation for the Caribbean Countries and by extension, Blacks in the US. Japanese Americans who were sent to international camps during World War II have been paid reparation. Reparation and restitution and compensation for injured people all over the world is a common practice.

The issue of Reparatory Justice is a burning one for African-Americans and there is currently a Reparation Bill before Congress, sponsored by the veteran Congressman and Civil Rights activist John Conyers. There is the Reparation Co-Ordinating Committee led by Civil Rights Activist Randall Robinson and The Institute of the Black world led by activist Dr. Ron Daniels that are steeped in the question of reparation in the United States. We are well aware that Sir Hilary Beckles has been engaged with the various reparation groups in the US. But with the launch of the CRR there should be a formal code of collaboration with the US reparation efforts. There are some differences, but the core issues are the same, justice for a people who have been exploited to enrich another group. As Randall Robinson puts it, “when Government commits crimes. . . these governments have a continuing responsibility to address (the crime) and to provide restitution.

There is no disputing the people of African descent in the Caribbean and the United States suffered centuries of enslavement, crimes against humanity, and that debt is owed to the descendants of these slaves who are still suffering from the institution and laws that perpetuate the condition. The scars of slavery and decades of discrimination that follow, have had a disastrous impact on a people. This then is why the CRR is on spot. The Center Director, Professor Shephard states, the mission is to “support the CARICOM Reparatory justice movement, build awareness and conduct the research which will advance the claim to Europeans for reparation for native genocide, African enslavement, deceptive indenture and colonialism and its legacies.” The case for Reparatory Justice can and should be made; We welcome the CRR.

Irma - Maria: A reparations requiem for Caribbean poverty

Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, issues the following statement on the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria:

Hurricane Irma’s fury preceded Maria’s by a deadly Caribbean second. Together they constitute the familiar sound of death and destruction reminiscent of a colonial past that clings to the present and is determined to possess and own the Caribbean future. The chain-linked imperial legacy that still imprisons the islands, keeping them politically fragmented and economically divided, was exposed as both cause and effect of a fragile region still feeling the presence of an imperial ethos that assigns to them a reality of structural dependency. Irma-Maria blew away the roof of the long and ongoing imperial cover up and, critically, was revelatory of the horrific history that dwells in the ruins of the present.

The destruction is an instruction for the survivors of slavery who are the majority in these islands. As descendants they were left for over half a century, when some of them stood up and demanded constitutional independence in the quest to be members of the free democratic world. They have annually battled ill-winds without any reparations support from former and contemporary imperial owners and overlords.

The persistent loss of black life and the dereliction of poor peoples’ materialism in a backward built environment, that was designed for the sole purpose of servicing imperial sugar plantations, reside squarely at the core of their respective metropolitan capitols. Barbuda tells the story in a stark fashion. An island once grabbed by Christopher Codrington imperial warlord of England, and genocidal leader who received a mandate from his King to wipe the native Kalinago people off the face of the earth was wiped out by Irma. Codrington, the island’s only town, is no more. Yet, the rich-descendant Codrington family of England sent no e-mail, posted no blog, and cares nothing for the Caribbean place that bears their name.

The death and destruction accounted for is measured in the way the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has well taught the islands. Methodologies that highlight mythologies like gross domestic product (GDP) per capital loss, and resultant national debt rather than community death ratios, occupy international relief rationalisation. Barbuda, home of England’s first native genocide in the Caribbean, is once again devoid of people, emptied by Irma.

But beyond the measurement of materialism, there is the haunting spectre of the metaphysical that speaks to the persistent imperialism that grips the Caribbean by the throat. Images of roofs warped and ripped, and domestic walls flattened into useless bridges of debris now populate the Internet. Meanwhile, injured introspective inhabitants cannot but ponder how these ill-winds so precisely trace the journeys of the deadly European slave ships that crossed the middle passage.

Irma-Maria’s blowing apart of the Caribbean adds to the daily tearing apart of islands by the legacy of lingering pain and poverty caused by Europe’s colonialism and its attendant crimes. There is the stillness of an imposing immorality within this hurricane moment. Under dark, deadly clouds, Irma-Maria’s all-seeing eye brought the illumination necessary for a people who were recently told by David Cameron, speaking in Jamaica’s Parliament as Britain’s prime minister, that his nation’s enslavement of their five million ancestors across these islands was unfortunate, and that folks should stop moaning and “get over it”.

Packing winds between them of near 200 kph, Irma-Maria unearthed the sordid details of as many years of the Caribbean’s colonial past and present. They tore the scales off 20 million Caribbean eyes. They exposed the excretions of inconvenient truths that constitute the rotten colonial carcass long brushed under a carpet of criminality that increasingly resembled a mountain, the monumental Caribbean colonial mess that has gone without reparations. Europeans in their rush for competitive economic development committed their unrepaired crimes against humanity in these islands. No paradise has ever seen as much blood spilt in the name of white supremacy, economic accumulation, and competitive nationalism. Twenty million natives put to the sword; 10 million Africans put to slavery in chains; and descendants trapped in the hell of 20th century racial apartheid.

Then, as if on a stage of glory, Europe walked away into the sunset leaving survivors to endure the task of Sisyphus. Undeterred descendants set about the job of cleaning up the colonial carnage. They build micro-nations as celebrations of democracy. But alas, without reparatory justice, managing the colonial mess has overwhelmed them.

Painful it is to see the British imperial foreign minister, Boris Johnson, arriving to inspect Irma’s damage to his colony while ignoring the images of England’s slavery legacy everywhere to be seen. Shameful it was to see the Mother Country dangling piddly amounts of pounds in the face of the destruction. Prime Minister May offered 32 million, then as Irma was upgraded from category two to four, she revised the sum and offered 52 million.

Disgraceful, many said, as the Union Jack fluttered above the Caribbean carnage left behind by 300 years of black enslavement and 100 years of the racial segregation installed in the aftermath of a shambolic emancipation. England’s slave ownership had received £20 million in compensation for freed Africans in 1834, a sum worth 15 billion in today’s money.

Then, in the shadow of Haiti, came the French in the person of President Macron, with a promise to rebuild rather than liberate their colonies, a pledge made before and for the paparazzi, but with no parliamentary power. The French and the British vied for political advantage and the moral high ground over who will give the more to address the colonial mess magnified by Irma. Another Anglo-French war on Caribbean soil ensued. The Dutch, meanwhile, seeking to hide deceptive hands in mudslides of their St Maarten, quietly came as if in shame, and offered to help the hopeless.

The colonised Caribbean has taken centre stage. To the north, Canada and the USA boast of their national freedom. To the south, Latin America celebrates its freedom. Only in the centre, in the Caribbean, do colonies remain. Only here are imperial powers raising flags to a colonial reality. Only here is history halted. Irma-Maria has revealed these truths. Islands entitled to reparations for the crimes against humanity committed upon their inhabitants are offered plasters to cover their wounds that will not heal. Sir Richard Branson, English mogul, who owns privately an island in the Virgin group, called upon his British Government to formulate a Marshall Plan for the region. Such a call was made in 1838, 1898, 1948, 1963, 1992, and countless other times to the closed eyes and ears of his nation. Similar calls were made by every colonised island in the Caribbean seeking justice and development, rather than aid and relief that have never been sufficient to meet basic needs and moral expectations.

These ravished islands have done their best to clean up the colonial mess. They have spent beyond their means in the process of seeking to convert colonials into citizens. Left largely illiterate and riddled with ill health by colonialism, they have built schools and hospitals that must be maintained. Social expenditure in the interest of building democracy exceeds financial income.

This is the price they paid for participation in modernity. Now their public debt strangles their quest for economic growth. It is a debt that should be written off as an investment in democracy. Britain, France and the USA should prevail upon the IMF to lead in this effort.

Once the jewel in the British Crown, these islands are now treated like a pain to their Parliament. The region calls for reparations as a development plan. The British press have said, “Oh, it’s a handout you mean!” The demand intensifies. Heads of governments, constituted as Caricom, have written to those European states enriched by Caribbean slavery, calling for an international summit to discuss reparations as a Marshall Plan. Responses have been muted. On October 12, The University of the West Indies will launch in Jamaica the Caribbean Centre for Reparations Research in order to professionally prepare the evidentiary basis of the claim. The university already has a Centre for Hurricane and Disaster Management Research. There will be a conference informed by the question: Can the Caribbean achieve economic development without reparatory justice? The economics of reparations will take centre stage in a requiem mass to Irma-Maria.

The American Flag is Soaked In Black Blood

By Julianne Malveaux (NNPA Newswire Columnist)

I am not sure why the national anthem and the socalled American flag are part of our nation’s sports pageantry. Before 2009, while the national anthem was played, sports gladiators were not required to suit up, stand up, and put their hands to their hearts; and why should they? The song that is sung is an insult to people of color. When I hear “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” I think, “the land of the thief and the home of the slave.” The Department of Defense paid the National Football League (seriously?) to promote a fake sense of cultural hegemony, and to spread the false notion that we are all on the same page when it comes to patriotism.

How could we be on the same page? How could the men who have been hauled out of their cars, pushed down to their knees, forced to justify the reasons they are driving high-end cars be on the same page with the men who “own” them, who may or may not support them, or may or may not kneel with them? Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, not because he wanted to disparage the flag, but because he disparaged the many ways that African American people were being diminished by police brutality. Call the names, call the names, the men and the women who have been unjustifiably killed, call the names, and call the names of the many ways Back Lives Must Matter. Call the names, call the names, of the structural racism that cuts like a knife, or kills like a bullet. Call the names.

There are those who have a story to tell about socalled disrespect to the “American flag,” the same American flag that is drenched in blood. Black men went to fight in World War I and came back to this country and were lynched, because they refused to yield the sidewalk to White people. What flag did they serve under, and why should we celebrate it? Why do disingenuous fools, including “Mr. 45,” chide NFL owners with strangely coded language, suggesting a lack of loyalty? Where is the loyalty to the Black men and women who supported a country that would not support them? The paradox of loyalty is that African Americans love a country that does not love us. We pledge the flag, drenched in blood, because we want something better.

Colin Kaepernick took a stand, and many of his colleagues support him because they cannot embrace a flag that supports the unjustified killing of African American men. Colin Kaepernick sacrificed his career to make a point, and he has been focused and fierce about his principles. Colin Kaepernick, by kneeling, encouraged all of us to stand up for our rights. Colin Kaepernick is a hero!

This protest is more, though, than Colin Kaepernick. This protest is about police brutality. This is a protest about the fake-Jake way some would bond us together, linking arms and elbows, trying to make a point. There is no point beyond the fact that young, Black men, who play football, baseball, and basketball see their brothers and cousins on their knees, legs and arms splayed, forced to the ground by oppressive police forces. The professional athletes freely kneel, because others knelt when they were forced to, because they were not free.

We can fly this flag all we want to, we can sing melodious songs about “the star spangled banner,” but the flag we fly in the name of sports is a flag that is drenched in blood. Players weren’t “encouraged” to stand at attention during the national anthem until 2009, when the Department of Defense paid money to make it happen. I’d prefer for my tax dollars to be spent more wisely. I’d prefer that some of that money went to washing the blood out of the flag. Julianne Malveaux is an author, economist and founder of Economic Education. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available to order at Amazon.com and at www.juliannemalveaux.com. Follow Dr. Malveaux on Twitter @drjlastword.

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