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December 22, 2015 Weblog:

Opinion: Haiti’s Electoral Shambles, CEP Officials Can Either Fix the Mess or They Go to Jail


For too long, people paid by Haitian people to do their job have not been held accountable. Now, it’s the time for the Haiti’s electoral officials – the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) – to either fix the electoral mess or go to jail.

It is despicable that a CEP official threatened to shut down the whole electoral process instead of collaborating with a government-backed commission to investigate massive electoral frauds that they fail to avoid. Marie Carmelle Paul Austin, a member of the electoral council, told a radio in Haiti’s capital that the electoral council members are ready to depart in bloc “If this commission’s purpose is to redo or verify the work that the CEP has already done, the council members will resign.” What Madame Austin did not say is that when you betray your people, violate your country’s laws and contribute to social and political destabilization you should be in jail.

For too long, Haitian people have been struggling for participative democracy and social justice. They’ve been ignored by Haitian officials who primarily seek to satisfy the interest of their international backers like the United States, Canada and France by either plotting electoral coups. Although the Martelly administration finally established a commission to address the latest electoral disaster, it is uncertain that anything will come of it.

Martelly himself was a beneficiary of an electoral fiasco. How can one believe he will accept any recommendation asking the removal of his handpicked candidate? This move reminds me of an article by Haiti’s renowned author Edwidge Danticat: Sweet Micky and the Sad Déjà Vu of Haiti’s Presidential Elections.

» continue reading "Opinion: Haiti’s Electoral Shambles, CEP Officials Can Either Fix the Mess or They Go to Jail"

December 19, 2015 Weblog:

Haiti Elections: Catholic Church still Undecided whether to join the Govt.-formed Electoral Commission or Not


Nearly two months since Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisional Council), know as the CEP, announced the final results for the first round residential, second round legislative and local elections that plagued with massive frauds. The controversial results for the presidential elections placed Haiti’s ruling Party candidate, Jovel Moise at the first place with over 34 percent of the popular and the former 2010 presidential candidate Jude Celestin in second place. Since then protest against those tainted results have been widened through the country.

After candidates and their backers, religious leaders (Catholics and Protestants) and national and international human rights and advocacy groups urged the CEP to form an independent commission to investigate the electoral frauds that were no longer mere allegations, the CEP rejected such proposition and proceeded to schedule the presidential runoff on Dec. 27 with the two candidates obtained the majority of the vote. Celestin, a member of group of eight presidential candidates, known as G8, who have been protesting the CEP’s results, declared he would not participate at the runoff unless the CEP satisfied the demand of G8.

The United States, a staunch supporter of the current administration, and spent over $30 millions for the organization of these log-overdue elections, sent Kenneth Merten, the U.S former ambassador to Haiti and State Department’s Special Envoy to Haiti to convince candidates, most importantly Celestin, to accept the CEP’s results. Merten, a close friend of Martelly, and one the controversial figures that engineered Martelly’s election in the 2010 controversial elections, failed to his mission.

» continue reading "Haiti Elections: Catholic Church still Undecided whether to join the Govt.-formed Electoral Commission or Not"

December 18, 2015 Weblog:

Haiti: Govt. Formed an Electoral Commission to End Electoral Deadlock; Will the CEP Reschedule the Runoff?


Since the CEP published its tainted and most controversial results for the presidential, second round legislative and local elections early last November, thousands have been demonstrated in the streets of Haiti’s largest cities to reclaim a recount of their votes. Religious leaders and international human rights and advocacy groups have also urged the CEP to investigate irregularities and massive electoral frauds that are no longer mere allegations.

As protests widening, diplomatic talks failed and G8 candidates remaining steadfast in their position, to remedy the situation, Haiti’s PM Evans Paul in an one-page letter sent to the President Michel J. Martelly, proposed a formation of an electoral commission to ensure the credibility of the already festered electoral process.

The commission according to the Prime Minister’s letter will have three days to produce recommendations to the government and the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisional Council), known as the CEP. The head of the government stated,“ …it is necessary to organize credible, transparent, participative and inclusive elections,” as well as “to do whatever it takes” to create a climate of trust for the actors involving in the process.

The CEP shows no sign that it will abide by the recommendations of the government-formed commission. One of its members Marie Carmelle Paul Austin told a radio in the Haiti’s capital that the electoral council members are ready to depart in bloc should the commission interfere in their work. “If this commission’s purpose is to redo or verify the work that the CEP has already done, the council members will resign,” implied council Austin.

» continue reading "Haiti: Govt. Formed an Electoral Commission to End Electoral Deadlock; Will the CEP Reschedule the Runoff?"

December 18, 2015 Weblog:

Haiti: CEP Failed to its Mission, But an Electoral Miscarriage Can Be Avoided

By Wadner Pierre

This article was originally published by UnlessWeCare.org

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 6.34.24 AM It has been over a month since Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisory Counsel), known as CEP, published its foreknown controversial fraudulent results for the first round presidential and second round legislative elections. The CEP’s preliminary results for the presidential elections placed President Michel Martelly’s hand-picked candidate Jovenel Moise of Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale, or P.H.T.K in the first place with 32.8 percent of the popular votes. Jaccéus Joseph, a member of the electoral council, qualified the results as unacceptable.

Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles reported, Joseph refused to sign “the presidential and legislative preliminary results” because of irregularities and frauds that plagued them. Joseph thought his refusal to endorse the results would prompt the Tabulation Center to verify “the allegations of electoral fraud, including checking the voter registration lists against the ballots cast in the Oct. 25” elections to avert an unnecessary electoral crisis.

Joseph said, “We asked the director of the Tabulation Center did he have enough time to thoroughly verify if there was fraud.” According to Joseph, the director told them, “[H]e didn’t have enough time for that.”

Despite Joseph’s insistence on verifying and correcting the irregularities and frauds threatening the credibility of the results, CEP’s President Pierre-Louis Opont decided to publish the tainted results. The electoral crisis that was avoidable is now becoming an inevitable crisis. This man-made electoral dispute could further derail the political and social stability of the country.

» continue reading "Haiti: CEP Failed to its Mission, But an Electoral Miscarriage Can Be Avoided "

December 11, 2012 Weblog:

SOA Watch: We’re Still there Until the School of Americas Is Closed D

By Wadner Pierre- originally published by The Maroon

For the first time in two years, a group of Loyola students traveled to a US military- sponsored school in Fort Benning, Ga. to protest the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests and their two workers.

Hundreds of thousands protesters continue as rally against the U.S.-sponsored military school in the Fort Benning, Ga. Photo by Wadner Pierre

It has been 23 years since six Jesuit priests and their two workers were murdered at the Creighton University in El Salvador. The perpetrators of this crime were alleged to be trained at the School of Americas. For more than two decades the School of Americas Watch, a national organization, has begun a campaign to close the military school. The School Of Americas Watch annual protest coincides with the anniversary of the death of the six Jesuit priests.

Business sophomore, Katie O'Dowd had no idea about the protest until her freshman year at Loyola through her involvement in LUCAP. She said she was struck by the many young people engaged in the movement. “I always want to advocate for the School of Americas Watch. I’ll continue to ask students to go in this protest,” she said.

O’Dowd said she hopes the school will be closed. In 1990, former naval officer and Catholic priest Roy Bourgeois started School Of Americas Watch in a house near the gate of the US military school in Fort Benning, Ga.

Twenty-two years have passed, but the goal has remained the same. Some progress has been made with a half-dozen Latin American countries like Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, which withdrew their troops from this school.

» continue reading "SOA Watch: We’re Still there Until the School of Americas Is Closed D"

March 22, 2012 Weblog:

Thank You Maude Barlow As We Remember Site 41

Taken from response to For The Water,

Submitted by Paula LaPierre on Thu, 2012-03-22 10:33.

The Alliston Aquifer is part of a 12,000 year old water history of the area tracing back to the melting of glaciers and the creation of the great glacier lake known as Lake Algonquin. Lake Algonquin was a pro-glacial lake that existed in east-central North America at the time of the last ice age.

At about 7,000 years ago, the lake was replaced by Lake Chippewa, named after another Indigenous Peoples closely associated with the Algonquin, as the glaciers retreated and 3,000 years later by the current Lake Michigan. Remnants of the former lake are now Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and inland portions of northern Michigan. Throughout its course of visible existence this impressive ancient lake varied considerably in size receding gradually through climate changes to the current Lake Huron and Georgian Bay that we experience today.

This ancient lake whose existence would have been directly experienced by the Indigenous Peoples of that area for thousands of years.

Because of the abundance of water Indigenous societies prospered in the area for thousands of years, developing profound spiritual, cultural, and economic relationships with the waters they found themselves so reliant on.

Traditional Values Claim Water And Women Are Our First Line Of Defense For Healthy Lives and Environment

Embedded within these cultures and socio-political structures of our founding nations were an innate abiding awareness of the special relationship between water-life-motherhood-women and the Anishnabeg Kwe were given a special obligation to protect this vital gift of the Creator.

» continue reading "Thank You Maude Barlow As We Remember Site 41"

March 6, 2012 Weblog:

Clean up Corruption at Home

By Wadner Pierre

When will the U.S. Department go after U.S. officials for the $6.6 billion in “lost” for the reconstruction of Iraq in 2004?

The U.S. Justice Department has failed to investigate. This money is still missing and no one can account for it. American taxpayers deserve to be told about where the $6.6 billion went.

The U.S. government needs to focus more on what is happening in its backyard. It should to give up “investigating” not only on former President Jean-Bertrand Aristidefor corruption, but all foreign political leaders they don't like. Former President Aristide was forced [kidnapped] to get on an air plane on Feb. 29, 2004 by U.S. troops. Why didn't they put him in U.S. prison for all he is being accused of? Now, what are they doing - building a case or making one up against Aristide? And it’s worth noting that the US government has blocked any investigation – international or domestic - into how exactly Aristide came to “depart” Haiti in 2004.

The renewed investigation against Aristide also occurs at a time when one of Haiti's most brutal dictators, Jean-Claude Duvalier, is being let off the hook.

The U.S. has one problem with Aristide. He enjoys too much support from the Haitian people, most importantly the poor majority who want change. After all that has been said to vilify and destroy Aristide's image around the world, the goal of this smear campaign remains unachieved.

In Feb. 29, 2012 several thousand Lavalas supporters demonstrated in the street of Haiti’s capital to renew their passionate support for their leader. This recent demonstration certainly shook the U.S. imposed status quo. That is why they reactivate their slanderous campaign against Aristide.

» continue reading "Clean up Corruption at Home"

February 17, 2012 Weblog:

Let Us Reason Together

In response to the recent February 14, 2012 article
Algonquin Land Claim Deal Near, Lawyer Says Pact of Significance to Ottawa Valley, by Mohammed Adam, in the Ottawa Citizen.

In the referred to article negotiations lawyer for the incorporated entity the Algonquins of Ontario, Robert Potts, is quoted as stating that:

"It is 400 years since Champlain set foot here, and our confederation will be 150 years old in 2017. We are right in the middle of what is one of the historic claims and settlement that will have occurred in Canada. This will be a historic treaty at a historic time."

It is 400 years since Samuel de Champlain set foot here and entered into diplomatic negotiations in accordance to customary law and diplomacy. It was during these historical meetings based on mutual respect that Canada's laws and our unwritten Constitution found their secure footing.

These important relationships, built on mutual positive intent, grounded on the rights and freedoms of natural persons are the genuine foundations of Canadian nationhood.

While the newspaper article in the Ottawa Citizen opens claiming that the "federal government grapples with festering aboriginal discontent" this must be put in proper context.

It is not about "us" or "them", natives or non-natives. It is about natural law and natural persons versus incorporated legal fictions and contractions of the higher law to suit economic and human rights disparities. Commercial contracts, whether domestic or international, cannot fully reconcile many of the underlying issues, so why are we pretending that they can? Why are we wasting tremendous amounts of time, human energy, and money in processes that cannot fulfill the requirements?

Canadians need an open and transparent process.

» continue reading "Let Us Reason Together "

November 27, 2011 Weblog:

Chomsky Post-Earthquake: Aid Should Go to Haitian Popular Organizations, Not to Contractors or NGOs

By Keane Bhatt
Photos by Wadner Pierre
For decades, Noam Chomsky has been an analyst and activist working in support of the Haitian people. In addition to his revolutionary linguistics career at MIT, he has written, lectured and protested against injustice for 40 years. He is co-author, along with Paul Farmer and Amy Goodman of Getting Haiti Right This Time: The U.S. and the Coup. His analysis “The Tragedy of Haiti” from his 1993 book Year 501: The Conquest Continues is available for free online. This interview was conducted in late February 2010 by phone and email. It was first published in ¡Reclama! magazine. The interviewer thanks Peter Hallward for his kind assistance.

Keane Bhatt: Recently you signed a letter to the Guardian protesting the militarization of emergency relief. It criticized a prioritization of security and military control to the detriment of rescue and relief.

» continue reading "Chomsky Post-Earthquake: Aid Should Go to Haitian Popular Organizations, Not to Contractors or NGOs"

» view more photos in"Chomsky Post-Earthquake: Aid Should Go to Haitian Popular Organizations, Not to Contractors or NGOs"

October 28, 2011 Weblog:

Haitian Lawmaker Released from Prison

By Wadner Pierre

41-year-old Haitian Lawmaker, Arnel Belizaire arrested at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport Port-Au-Prince on Nov. 27, 2011 upon his return from participating at an even in France where he presented other members of the Haitian Chamber of Deputies. Belizaire accused of escaping prison.

Belizaire's colleagues accused President Michel J. Martelly of being behind of this arrest. They said that the Chief of State is trying to use his executive power to silence his opponents or those who have severely criticized him.

Belizaire released after he spent his night and part of his day at the National Penitentiary, the biggest prison in Haiti. Whether Beliziare was at fault or not, his arrest didi not follow the leggal procedure of how to arrest a an elected member of the Haiti's Parliamentary. The Deputies and Senators said that the process was unconstitutional. the lawmakers could consider to interpellate some of the members of the newly installed government.

Can the President use his executive power to solve his personal quarrel with another elected official or individual? Not sure that the ongoing Haitian gives him this right. What would be the next step and Beliziare-Martelly's fight?

Whatever the next step that Belizaire-Martelly's affair would take, one thing is clear for both elected officials is that the country cannot handle this.

Posted by Wadner Pierre at 5:00 PM 0 comments
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October 16, 2011 Weblog:

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti: Students Praise Education and Voice It for All

By Wadner Pierre
Part I

Left Dorgilles Wichmie, Melissa Jeonnat, and right Nathalie Jonnat and Jean Michelda.

Reverend Gerard Jean-Juste. Rev. Jean-Juste died two years ago from Leukemia because he was jailed for his political views and was not allowed by the 2004-2006 U.S deposed Gerard Latortue to travel to US to receive early treatment. Jean-Juste's legacy endures amongst the young and old in Haiti. He was [is] like an adoptive father for some people and a mentor to others.

Over eleven years ago, Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste and Margaret Trost, founder of the What If? Foundation, partnered in an effort to bring food and education to children in the Petite Place Cazeau neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Through funds provided by the What If? Foundation, thousands of young people have been supported over the years through the community-based food and education programs that Fr. Jean-Juste created. Today, over two hundred children receive school scholarships, with some going to vocational school, and one thousand meals are served every Monday through Friday. Children are the priority. In the past three years the What If? Foundation has also funded an After-School Program to help students with their homework and provide an opportunity to learn income-producing skills. It has also sponsored a Summer Camp for the past nine years in the area. Five hundred students have attended. Trost said, “All this is only possible because of our wonderful Haitian partners who run the programs with such dedication, courage, and faith.”

» continue reading " Port-Au-Prince, Haiti: Students Praise Education and Voice It for All"

October 10, 2011 Weblog:

Editorial:Nobel Prize Winners from Latin America Demand Withdrawl of all UN Troops in Haiti

Editorial and photo by Wadner Pierre

As calls mount in Haiti to demand that UN troops to leave the country, other prominent Latin Americans have raised their voices in sign of solidarity with Haitian people. Nobel Peace Prize laureates Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Irish Betty Williams, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, and Brazilian theologians Leonardo Boff and Frei Betto are among hundreds of organizations and personalities around the world who signed this letter below. The letter is addressed to government of all countries who have troops in the UN mission in Haiti/MINUSTAH, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, and the General Secretary of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza.

Many questions need to be answered by United Nations about its troops in Haiti:
1- Why UN sent the troops in Haiti right after the 2004 coup d'etat that overthrew the democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide?
2-Does Haiti need schools, hospitals, universities or UN's occupation troops?
3-Are the troops in Haiti to protect Haitians interests or the neon-liberalism/capitalism interest?
4-Why can UN use the $865,313,200 to help rebuild Haiti's infrastructure in the aftermath of Jan.12?
The letter:
Sign-on in Support of Haiti, MINUSTAH Out!
List of signatures updated as of October 7th.

ADD THE SIGNATURE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION by sending a message to: haiti.no.minustah@gmail.com
More information: http://jubileesouth.blogspot.com/p/haiti-no-minustah.html
To the Secretary General of the UN, Dr. Ban Ki-moon;
To the Governments of States members of the Security Council and the MINUSTAH;
To the Secretary General of the OAS, Dr. José Miguel Insulza
To the international community and public at large

» continue reading "Editorial:Nobel Prize Winners from Latin America Demand Withdrawl of all UN Troops in Haiti"

September 14, 2011 Weblog:

Former Haiti's Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Speak Next Month About Education-But No Confirmed Date

By Wadner Pierre
Haiti's first-twice democratically elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide will be speaking about Education next month according to former Sen. Dr. Louis Gerald Gilles. The Senator told Associated Press that the former Head of State's speech will be focusing on Education. The event seems most likely to be taking place at the University Aristide Foundation for Democracy in commune Tabarre.

In one of his letters written and published by the Guardian UK before his return from his 7-years exile, the former head of State stressed his love for education and will be devoted his time in the field he likes as a professor. He said,"As I have not ceased to say since 29 February 2004, from exile in Central Africa, Jamaica and now South Africa, I will return to Haiti to the field I know best and love: education. We can only agree with the words of the great Nelson Mandela, that indeed education is a powerful weapon for changing the world."

When he was forced to leave his office under the pressure of some most powerful countries in the International community like United States, France and Canada Feb. 29, 2004, President Aristide continued his studies upon his arriving in South Africa. In April 2007 he received a Doctoral degree from the University of South Africa in African Languages.

» continue reading "Former Haiti's Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Speak Next Month About Education-But No Confirmed Date"

September 6, 2011 Weblog:

NUSTAH’s New Chief: Herve Ladsous Haiti’s 21st Century Gen. Rochambeau

By Wadner Pierre

This year Haiti will celebrate its two-hundred-seventh anniversary of Battaille de Vertieres Battle of Vertieres) in which the former slaves and colored people proudly defeated the French army and broke the slavery chain. Battaille of Vertieres was the last battle after which Haiti proclaimed its Independence and –became the world’s first Black republic in January 1, 1804. This war to liberate the country and ban slavery cost the lives of about 160,000 slaves, 60,000 French.

Two of the most powerful countries that lead the United Nations today United States and France were opposed to Haiti’s Independence. For them, the Black Republic represented a threat. Slavery, which continued in the southern USA for over half century after Haiti’s revolution, made black people [Africans] into objects – tools that generated huge profits for the masters. Those who survived the French atrocities in Haiti were the most incredible heroes.

Things were worsened for the newly born Nation when France came back and threatened the Haitian government to pay 150 million francs as a compensation of the goods the French colonizers lost during the Battaille of Vertieres and to recognize Haiti’s Independence. Haiti had to borrow money from the French and US banks. Haiti would therefore not be able to build schools, hospital and University, but instead had to pay the former masters for her independence.

» continue reading "NUSTAH’s New Chief: Herve Ladsous Haiti’s 21st Century Gen. Rochambeau "

August 23, 2011 Weblog:

Martelly Still Unable to Appoint New PM

By Wadner Pierre
Published by IPS

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 22, 2011 (IPS) - Almost three months since he was sworn in as the country’s president, Michel J. Martelly has already attempted to appoint two prime ministers to guide his government. Bernard Gousse, a minister of justice under the Gérard Latortue dictatorship (2004-2006) and businessman Daniel Rouzier, were both rejected by Haitian lawmakers.

Rouzier was rejected by lower chamber over technicalities. Gousse was rejected by a group of 16 legislators in the Senate because of his appalling human rights record. Under Gousse, the jails were filled with political prisoners - mostly people from poor neighbourhoods where there was strong support for ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The country is now suffering because there is no prime minister to form a new government to apply the programme of the new president. When he campaigned, Martelly promised to send all Haitian children to school for free. The Haitian people are waiting for him to deliver his promise in September when schools reopen theirs doors.

Martelly needs to have a prime minister approved - a huge challenge without a majority in Parliament - if he has any intention of fulfilling this promise. According to the Haitian Constitution, when the president does not have the majority in the Parliament, he has to choose the prime minister by consulting the presidents of the both chambers. Martelly has already missed two occasions to do so. Some people blame his chief of staff, Thierry Mayard Paul, for his failure, while others say Martelly’s advisers are at fault.

» continue reading "Martelly Still Unable to Appoint New PM"

August 16, 2011 Weblog:

Nouriel Roubini: "Karl Marx was right"

Nouriel Roubini, one of the world's most well-known economists, discusses his take on the current market climate in the Wall Street Journal.

Money quote:

"Karl Marx said it right, at some point capitalism can destroy itself because you cannot keep shifting income from labour to capital without not having an excess capacity and lack of aggregate demand and that's what's happening. We thought that markets work; they're not working...it's a self destructive process."

August 16, 2011 Weblog:

Is Haiti's Church Hierarchy Failing in its Mission? Bishop Louis Kébreau’s Immoral Advice to Martelly

Article and photo by Wadner Pierre

Did Bishop Louis Kébreau, President of the Haitian Episcopal Conference, call on Haitian President Martelly to be ruthless and dictatorial?

In an article published on August 11 by the Haitian daily Newspaper Le Nouvelliste, Bishop Kébreau, a close friend of President Martelly urged him to put his "Sweet Micky pants on” as to govern the country. Martelly’s administration has essentially not even begun after Parliament refused to accept two of his selections for Prime Minister.

The upper echelons of the Catholic Church in Haiti and the Vatican have a deplorable history of backing repression. The Vatican, virtually alone in the world, recognized the Cedras military dictatorship of 1991-1994. Recent Wikileaks have exposed the Vatican’s behind the scenes encouragement of US efforts to undermine democracy in Haiti prior to the 2004 coup. After the coup, the Vatican openly applauded it by saying there was “nothing to regret” about Aristide’s ouster.

To defend his remarks, Bishop Kébreau said, on Radio Magik 9, that he was misinterpreted and that there was “no question of repression, no question of dictatorship" but he added that "If we continue to undress the President we will go nowhere.”

» continue reading "Is Haiti's Church Hierarchy Failing in its Mission? Bishop Louis Kébreau’s Immoral Advice to Martelly "

July 25, 2011 Weblog:

Dispatches from a pool shark on the frontlines of Suburbia - Part 1

Not that type of pool. I’m a lifeguard. I work at private swimming pools all around the island of Montreal as a substitute or stand-in. When you’re sick or don’t want to work for whatever reason, I’m your guy. I’ll bike over to your pool and sit there for 8+ hours at a time.

Why would I travel so far just to sit and bake myself in the sun for a day? A big part of it is that I love biking and being outdoors in Montreal; the city glimmers in the summertime. Mostly though, it’s for the people-watching. The residents whose pools I guard are the other Montréalers. The oft-forgotten residents of Montreal’s suburbs who don’t usually come to mind when we think of la belle cité. My job gives me access to those whose lives are rarely covered in the news, in books or in the movies. Far away from the glamour of the downtown, this city’s suburbs are vast and otherworldly to me. Exploring them and the people who live there has been quite a learning experience and I’d like to share some of my thoughts from it.


Apartment building pools are interesting places. For most of the residents, when the summer comes, the swimming pool becomes an extension of their home. Children who have languished in their rooms all winter gladly take up residence in the pool every moment that they can, right up until the minute I close it down for the day. Retirees who had lost touch with their friends across the way during the rest of the year happily gab with each other, picking up where they had left off. I watch them – it’s my job – and I learn a lot about how the other half live.

» continue reading "Dispatches from a pool shark on the frontlines of Suburbia - Part 1"

July 10, 2011 Weblog:

Why Bernard Gousse Shouldn't Be Haiti's Next Prime Minister

Article and photos By: Wadner Pierre

First publihsed on San Francisoc Bay View

In 2004, I was in Haiti living under the injustice Bernard Gousse inflicted on his own people while serving the Haitian elite and the "International Community". Like many of Gousse's victims, I was driven into hiding - in my case it came after the arrest of the late Father Gerard Jean-Justice, a prominent Lavalas leader and human rights activist. Under the dictatorship of Gerard Latortue, Gousse ran the Ministry of Justice - an injustice machine that filled Haitian jails with political prisoners, usually targeting the most vulnerable.

Here are seven reasons why Gousse shouldn't be Haiti's next Prime Minister

1) Gousse became the Minister of Justice after the 2004 coup against Haiti's democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Gousse was considered as one of the most powerful men in the U.S-backed regime that ruled from 2004 to 2006. In the 1990s Gousse served in the military dictatorship of Raul Cedras; a regime that used the FRAPH death squads and brutal FAd'H forces to murder people in the slums and countryside.

2) Among the people illegally jailed by Gousse were Fanmi Lavalas officials under Aristide such as former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, the former Minister of Interior Joselene Joceleme Privet and former legislator Amanus Maette. The allegations against all of them were shown to be completely baseless. In the case of Neptune, the illegality was so egregious that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ordered the Haitian government to pay Yvon Neptune reparations.

» continue reading "Why Bernard Gousse Shouldn't Be Haiti's Next Prime Minister"

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July 7, 2011 Weblog:

The revolution will not be Canadized

The other day I walked into a Mexican restaurant on Cote des Neiges. It was as big as a hallway and on its walls hung pictures of Aztec temples and bright blue beachsides. After getting a basket of nachos and some salsa-verde I hunkered down at a table on the patio overlooking the street and began to work from my computer. The waiter, a burly guy with olive skin and a thick beard came out to take my order. As he was telling me the password for the restaurant’s wi-fi he saw the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) sticker on my computer. Despite my prominent orange hair and pale skin he asked me “Are you Arab?” I replied, “No, Jewish”, and so our conversation began.

He told me that he was Tunisian and had just finished studying international relations at U de M. He had moved here before the ousting of Ben Ali but was headed back in a few weeks to visit relatives.
As my over-fried meal arrived the same waiter sat down at the table and began to talk at me. The BDS sticker had broken what hesitation he might have had and soon the topic of conversation turned to the history of Western imperialism in the Middle East. My co-conversationalist spoke on the issue with an obvious passion. His words took in the whole restaurant and no other conversations could be heard as he told me about what was happening in his country and his region.

I was interested, as of course most foreigners to the Middle East are, in how the Arab spring had been sparked. However, I wasn’t going be given a free ride. Instead, the questions were turned on me and I became, as so often is the case for immigrants to Canada, the representative of my country.
He asked me three questions that I’ll reproduce below:

» continue reading "The revolution will not be Canadized"

June 27, 2011 Weblog:

Manizing Womanism

I wrote last week about my observation that women tend to voice their opinions less frequently than men in both educational and casual spaces, and are less assertive when they do voice their opinions. My musings for this week stem from a weekend outing in an all-female space that, for me, bore seedlings of problematic and potentially oppressive "maninzing" of conversation about sexual experience.

It is a common experience to, after reuniting with a group of girlfriends after a long period separation, converse about the nitty gritty of romantic life, which is precisely what I did over at Eat my Martini in Toronto over the long weekend (for Quebec) with a group of friends with whom I'd gone on exchange program to St. Félicien, in Northern Quebec, 3 years ago, as an awkward, green 16-year old seeking to improve her awful Ontario-curriculum-reared French.

Over in the Lac-Saint-Jean area as sixteen and seventeen year-olds, we were very much adolescently fixated with summer romances, and, in in our encounters with one another since then, conversation have oftentimes revolved around the romantic and, more openly and confidently as we strut into our twenties, the sexual.

» continue reading "Manizing Womanism"

June 19, 2011 Weblog:

Women in Space

Second Wave feminism sought to address the dearth of women's presence in the public sphere, particularly in the workforce, recognizing that their bodies were disproportionately tied domestic work in the private space of the home.

So when Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to enter space on June 16, 1963, this majestic symbol of women entering a "space" to which only highly entitled - educationally and career-wise - individuals could access became a hallmark event for feminists. Since then, the types and amount of spaces that women occupy have increased to an extent which has encouraged the common perception within the non-academic-feminist Western world to be that Westerners finally inhabit a post-feminist era.

A series of conversations and experiences that I've had both (1) recently in academia and (2) over the entirety of my life elsewhere consolidate my belief that public "space" is still much more occupied by men despite the typical statistics that anti-feminists will cite, such as the fact that North American women presently comprise a larger part of the workforce than men.

I'll be referring to space in a most elementary form - conversation - although we could certainly cite how women are still more systemically occupy less space. A recent conversation with a "feminist" male friend was one of the many triggers of my reflection on the topic. He stated that , as someone understanding and supporting of the concerns of feminists, he still catches himself being more heedful of men's opinions that than that of women, for instance in environments of political activism.

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June 19, 2011 Weblog:

Ansanm Nou Kapab...Together We can

Summer Trip to Haiti: From July 7th to August 7th, 2010

Dear friends and supporters,

My name is Wadner Pierre. I am a photojournalist and activist from Gonaives, Haiti.

For five years, you have generously supported my work for Haiti both

within Haiti’s borders and outside of her borders with your prayers, words

of support, and generous donations. As a mere freelance photojournalist

for these five years, I now hope to continue this work and more.

However, without your encouragement, financial support, and advice, my

work would not have reached such a wide audience, more importantly, my

people’s voice might not have been heard in different parts of the world.

I am so grateful for everything you have done to help me get this job done

in a more perfect way. I thank you for your commitment in continuing to be

part of Haiti’s endless struggle for social justice and equality.

I have joined many people around the world who are committed to work for

real democracy, social justice, and equality in Haiti. Together with my

colleagues and journalists, Jeb Sprague and Joe Emersberger, we founded www.haitianalsyis.com, a website dedicated to provide news from the voices of Haiti. This website has allowed young English-speaking journalists in Haiti like me to give a voice to our communities. In addition to that website, I started a blog so individuals may also read and comment on issues affecting communities:

During this one-month trip plan to reach as many communities as I can whether farmers, grassroots organizations/or human rights groups etc.

Haiti: Work Plan Summer 2011

1. Investigate and write about social justice works in the aftermath of Jan. 12 post-earthquake.

» continue reading "Ansanm Nou Kapab...Together We can"

June 12, 2011 Weblog:

Permaculture 1

My name's Omri and in addition to being one of the new interns at the Dominion I'm also really into Permaculture.

What is Permaculture you ask? Permaculture is a composite word that means both permanent agriculture and permanent culture. A combination of earth-care and people-care that results in sustainable ways of living on and interacting with the environment and each other. In addition to these two elements there is also the core value that we must only take what we need and fairly distribute what we take. This ethos extends from gardening to house construction, from animal husbandry to urban planning and beyond.

Originally developed in the 70s by two Australian academics turned practitioners, Permaculture is now practiced by a wide variety of groups for a diversity of reasons.
I'm just in the processes of completing my Permaculture design certificate after taking a 72 hour course. This course, like hundreds of others that happen all around the world allows ordinary individuals to take agency in their lives. This is done by teaching them the basic skills required to sustain themselves independently from prevailing systems of exploitation.

My reasons for learning Permaculture stem from an involvement in food sovereignty related groups. Permaculture, for me, provides the best framework for tackling issues of the environment, self-governance and corporate imperialism that are tied into our livelihoods. This is no yuppie escapism. It is instead a well tested and respectfully conceived set of principles that can be applied to many aspects of our lives.

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June 6, 2011 Weblog:

Political prisoner Bassem Tamimi's statement at trial opening


Press release
Monday, 6 June 2011

West Bank Protest Organizer, Bassem Tamimi, to Judge: “Your Military Laws Are Non-Legit. Our Peaceful Protest is Just”
Tamimi, who has been held in custody for over two months, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and held a defiant speech explaining his motivation for organizing civil resistance to the Occupation. See his full statement below.

After more than two months in custody, the trial of Bassem Tamimi, a 44 year-old protest organizer from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, finally commenced yesterday. Tamimi, who is the coordinator for the Nabi Saleh popular committee, pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against him.

In a defiant speech handed before a crowded courtroom, Tamimi proudly owned up to organizing the protest in the village saying, "I organized these peaceful demonstrations to defend our land and our people." Tamimi also challenged the legitimacy of the very system which trys him, saying that "Despite claiming to be the only democracy in the Middle East you are trying me under military laws [...] that are enacted by authorities which I haven't elected and do not represent me." (See Tamimi's full statement at court bellow).

Tamimi was interrupted by the judge who warned him that it was not a political trial, and that such statements were out of place in a courtroom. Tamimi was cut short and not allowed to deliver his full statement.

After Tamimi finished reading his shortened statement, the judge announced that the hearing's protocol has been erroneously deleted. However he refused to submit the full written statement to the stenographer. She went on to dictate a short summary in her own words for official record.

» continue reading "Political prisoner Bassem Tamimi's statement at trial opening"

April 29, 2011 Weblog:

COLUMN: Church Fails to Act on Time

By Wadner Pierre

Religion at Loyola

It seems from time to time that the Catholic Church has been deliberately late in addressing the real issues that face God's children on this earth.

As we all know, the Catholic Church in particular has been an instrument for powerful European countries in the past, abandoning its mission to be the voice of the voiceless and to make the poor feel that they belong to the kingdom of God as much as the rich do.

In his Easter Sunday address, the pope urged the world to welcome people who are fleeing their countries because of wars or violence. He said, "May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them."

The pope's Easter Sunday message seemed mostly focused on the ongoing Libyan civil war, supported by Western power under the United Nations umbrella. According to Reuters, Pope Benedict also advocated for a diplomatic approach instead of force in the case of Libya.

The pope's Easter Sunday message, however, came too late because political leaders like those from Russia, China, Venezuela, the African Union and other countries already warned against the use of weapons in Libya.

The Vatican has a representative at the United Nations, but it seems that the Vatican failed to take a position against U.N. resolution 1973. This gave the United States and its NATO allies a legitimate mandate to use their sophisticated weapons instead of their sophisticated and smart diplomats to solve the Libyan political and social problems.

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April 19, 2011 Weblog:

Chasing Ghosts: Questioning the death of Vittorio Arrigoni

Vittorio Arrigoni, killed Friday, April 15 is the first international activist killed by Palestinians in the history of the conflict. Mystery surrounding his kidnapping and death leaves significant questions about the those allegedly responsible, the investigation, and the future of the region.

I didn't know Vittorio Arrigoni, the 36 year-old Italian ISM activist killed on Friday, allegedly by a Salafi resistance group in Gaza. The day he was killed, I put his picture as my Facebook profile, alongside a quote by him from two years prior. The week before, I had the picture of Juliano Mer-Khamis up there, with the following words: ""To be free is to be free first of all of the chains of tradition, religion, nationalism " - Juliano Mer Khamis, 1959 - 2011. How long is long enough to keep their pictures a Facebook profile? If these types of killings are becoming a trend, the answer may be - until the next one is killed.

The reasons for the two men's deaths are very different and the people who killed them very likely did it for very different reasons, but their proximity cannot be ignored. More importantly, the shroud of mystery surrounding their deaths and the impact they will have on the tiny community of Israelis and internationals working and volunteering in the Palestinian territories greys further the ever- present clouds on the horizon.

» continue reading "Chasing Ghosts: Questioning the death of Vittorio Arrigoni"

March 30, 2011 Weblog:

Canada: Israel’s New Army Buddy

Originally published at JNews

OTTAWA - It used to be that when you counted Israel’s top allies, the obvious names came to mind: Germany, the UK and, of course, the US. These days, Canada seems determined to soar to the top of that list, confirming the judgment of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister. While visiting Canada in 2009 he said, “Canada is so friendly that there was no need to convince or explain anything to anyone… We need allies like this in the international arena.”

And again, the current Canadian Prime Minister reaffirmed this relationship in his speech at a conference that equated criticism of Israel with antisemitism, where he declared that “There are, after all, a lot more votes in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the United Nations, the Francaphonie, or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost”.

Indeed, while presenting itself as an honest broker, Canada’s been an uncritical friend to Israel, especially since the election of the Conservative minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Under his leadership Canadian aid was redirected from UNRWA, the special UN agency that works exclusively with Palestinian refugees. Domestically, funding was cut to KAIROS, a faith-based group falsely connected to the global boycott movement, sending a chill through NGOs dealing with the Middle East conflict.

» continue reading "Canada: Israel’s New Army Buddy"

March 13, 2011 Weblog:

Return Home: Twenty-One Religious Leaders Extended their Full Support to Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on His Return.

Article and photos by Wadner Pierre

“My time is over. My God is calling me. I ‘m going to die, but make sure ‘Titid’ and his family do not die in exile in South Africa,”

Thus spoke the late Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Haitian activist and the former pastor of Sainte Claire’s Parish of Ti Plas Kazo, a few weeks before his death. He was a champion of democracy and human rights in his country and amongst the Haitian Diaspora. Father Jean-Juste was twice arrested by the de facto regime of Gerard Latortue (2004-2006). The regime was backed by the International Community [especially United States, France and Canada who led the 2004 coup d’état along with the Haitian elite]. The 2004 coup that ousted democratically elected President Aristide forced him to live in exile in South Africa for seven years.

If Father Jean-Juste was alive he would amongst the signatories of a recent letter signed by intellectuals and activists around the world calling for the return of Aristide to Haiti and for the annulment of the sham presidential election that is about to proceed to a second round. Father Jean-Juste might have said, “In the name of brothers and sisters in Haiti, those in the eleventh department and those who cannot write and sign this letter, but are always in the street demonstrating and constantly praying for your return, I join my voice with them to wish you and your family a good and safe return home. May your return serve as salt and light for Haiti and your Haitian compatriots.” Haiti needs all of its children, and this is a time for Haiti’s children to say what they can do for Haiti, but not what Haiti can do for them.

» continue reading "Return Home: Twenty-One Religious Leaders Extended their Full Support to Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on His Return."

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