dimanche 20 février 2011

Une question d'image


Quelle est l'image d'Haiti entretenue à travers le monde? Quelle est l'image d'Haiti qu'ont les Haïtiens? Ce sont les questions que je me pose depuis que la nouvelle du traitement infligé à notre équipe U-17 à la Jamaïque s'est répandue dans le pays. Plus d'un an après le séisme du 12 janvier 2010, plusieurs peuples et nations continuent de manifester leur volonté d'aider Haiti à surmonter cette épreuve, à se remettre debout. L'ancien Premier Ministre jamaïcain, PJ Patterson était en Haiti, participant a une réunion du CIRH au moment  les autorités de son pays expulsaient des jeunes haïtiens pour cause de malaria. Si dans les discours officiels, la mode est de dire que tout le monde veut aider Haiti et les Haïtiens, qu'en-est il en réalité? Est-ce que le fait de réclamer une reconstruction efficace et rapide, de plaider en faveur des relations de commerce entre les pays, le fait de se déclarer ami d'Haiti -- est-ce que tout cela permet à certains pays de continuer à discriminer contre les Haïtiens dans les situations moins médiatisées?

Dans une note officielle du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, les autorités jamaïcaines affirment qu'elles sont obligées d’être vigilantes face au malaria car le moustique qui le transmet est endémique dans leur île et il y a un vrai danger de transmission si le parasite est introduit  au sein de la population. J'avoue ne pas trop comprendre. Avaient-ils peur que les membres de l’équipe aient des moustiques dans leurs valises? Je ne suis pas médecin, mais après avoir marché aux cotés des membres de l’équipe lors de la marche organisée pour leur manifester notre solidarité, je peux affirmer que je n'ai pas contracté le malaria pour avoir marché avec eux, respiré le même air qu'eux. Dans les années 80, le peuple haïtien était accusé d’être à l'origine du SIDA et on voit que cette perception erronée persiste encore avec l'affaire récente du DJ Cipha Sounds à New York. Mais si quasi tous étaient d'accord pour dire que les propos du DJ étaient déplacés et insultants, j'ai relevé plus de réserve en ce qui concerne ce qui s'est passé à la Jamaïque. Certains ont affirmé que c'est tout à fait normal que la Jamaïque veuille protéger ses citoyens. D'autres se sont demandés si la Fédération Haïtienne de Football n'avait pas commis de faute pouvant conduire à un tel traitement. Pourquoi toutes ces considérations? Peut-il vraiment exister une raison logique pour que des jeunes sportifs de 16 et de 17 ans venus représenter leur pays soient traités en criminels? Si d'autres semblent le croire, cela m’étonne de la part de certains Haïtiens.


Philippe Vorbe
Cela fait tellement longtemps que les Haïtiens sont les bêtes noires de la Caraïbe, et parfois on penserait du monde même! (Je me rappelle mon étonnement une fois que je voyageais avec une amie indienne et que j'ai pu constaté la façon dont elle a été harcelée par les autorités des différents pays dans lesquels nous faisions escale. Je croyais que cela n'arrivait qu'aux Haïtiens!) C'est peut-être inévitable que certains d'entre nous arrivent à intérioriser l'image que d'autres ont de nous. Compréhensible, mais tellement dommage. Haiti est souvent représenté comme pays désespérément pauvre, anarchique et écartelé. Certes, il existe ici des problèmes, comme partout ailleurs. Mais notre pays ne pas être réduit à ces images négatives.

L'insulte faite aux jeunes joueurs haïtiens et par extension au pays, a soulevé un tollé d'indignation et de colère.   Des pétitions ont été lancées, ainsi que des notes de protestations et des appels aux boycotts, tout ceci en plus des actions prises par le gouvernement, comme le rappel du chargé d'affaires ou par la Fédération Haïtienne du Football, comme les protestations auprès des instances officielles du football.

C'est une image de résistance à l'outrage, de dignité et de grandeur que le pays donne actuellement au monde alors que des Haïtiens d'ici et d'ailleurs se mobilisent. L'image de mon pays que je choisi de garder et de promouvoir est celle que j'ai vu hier dans les rues de Port-au-Prince: des milliers d'Haïtiens, hommes, femmes, enfants, marchant avec notre équipe pour leur dire que nous sommes tous avec eux, qu'ils sont et demeurent nos champions.

NM


video

Jhon Miky Benchy Estama, capitaine de l’équipe

lundi 7 février 2011

Sa k pase Ayiti

Last Sunday, January 30th, I went to the launch of Sak pase Ayiti. It’s a song inspired by the January 12th earthquake (lyrics here), with the proceeds going to benefit an association for Haitian musicians, Ayiti Mizik. In the newspaper and online, the event was announced as being held from 4 to 7, which is why I decided to make it a family outing. It was held at Quartier Latin, one of my favorite restaurants – could be because they have free books for the grabbing! – but their apple pie was not satisfying, for future reference. We arrived at around 4:30pm. Well, the jam session started late – very late. When we got there, Ti Coca and his band were playing. Every now and then, the Sak pase Ayiti video was played on two screens.



I did wonder at the choice of venue for a fund-raiser. The restaurant’s back courtyard doesn’t seat many, so I have to wonder how much money was actually raised. Cds of the song and dvds of the video were both on sale. And everyone who made a purchase received a free T-shirt. Prestige Beer was the sponsor and they went all out, even offering two beers for the price of one. I did enjoy the intimate setting, and I trust they’ll raise more money at larger fundraisers to come.

At around 6pm, the MC, Stéphanie Renauld Armand got on stage and I thought she was going to announce that the artists were going to play. No, they were going to sign cds first. I guess that’s cool, but it was hard for me to be patient. And harder still for my 6 year old daughter.

Armand returned to the stage several times and as she described the project, she repeatedly stated that those involved wanted to fill a void. They asked themselves in light of the different collaborative music projects by others after the earthquake (We Are The World 25 for Haiti, Rise Again, Un geste pour Haïti), why there wasn’t a similar undertaking by Haitian artists. I have to admit the question confused me since several songs were produced and distributed by Haitian artists in the weeks and months following January 12, 2010. There were singles by Kreyòl La, T-Vice and at least one collective effort spearheaded by Michaël Benjamin. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I know there were several similar projects launched among artists in the Haitian diaspora. Maybe this is the first one with proceeds going towards a fund for Haitians artists?

Lionel Benjamin
Please excuse the poor quality!
Lionel Benjamin was introduced as president of Ayiti Mizik, the Haitian Association of Music Professionals. He reminded us of the fact that many Haitian musicians live in extremely poor conditions, and receive no help from government, regardless of their talent or fame. This has always been the case. Benjamin emphasized the fact that this association aims to help everyone associated with the Haitian music industry, from the musicians themselves to those who transport their equipment. He also announced a big concert to be held this summer, in honor of World Music Day in June.

It was close to 7 when the actual performances began. Yes, almost the time when the concert was scheduled to end. I regretted that I would not be able to stay until the very end, but I had my daughter with me and the following day was Monday, a school day.

But before we got to hear the music, which is why I was there, we had to endure the T-shirt auction. A T-shirt signed by all of the participants in the project was auctioned off to benefit the fund. The announcer for this portion of the event was Claudine Oriol, who actually had the idea that eventually became Sa k pase Ayiti. Obviously, she must get credit for that, but I have to say I wish she had stayed behind the scenes. First of all, she insisted on speaking English, even though she was aware that there was a big possibility that a lot of the people in attendance couldn’t understand her. Her bio states that she speaks English, French, Creole, Spanish, and Italian, so I’m not sure what was behind her reasoning, but it really rubbed me the wrong way. If I’m going to criticize foreigners who come to Haiti expecting everyone to speak English, I have to criticize Haitians who do it, too. (I guess you could consider it ironic that this post is in English. But I’m on a rotation – it’s time for an English post – and you can always use Google Chrome to translate.) Second of all, while auctioning the T-shirt that was signed by all of the musicians who participated in the event, including Wyclef Jean, Beethova Obas, and Jocelyne Béroard, Oriol repeatedly reminded people they could sell it on eBay for a lot of money. I assume it was meant to be funny, but I found it kind of disrespectful to the artists there. Is it so hard to imagine that someone could actually be proud and happy to own a T-shirt signed by Joël Widmaier, Renette Désir and Fabrice Rouzier? The third thing that made me wish Oriol had stayed off the stage or at least kept quiet was when she started pimping out herself, friends and cousins to increase the price of the T-shirt. Okay, it was supposedly just for a kiss on the cheek or a drink, but it was just wrong on so many levels. I was actually glad my daughter could not understand what she was saying. Especially when she said, “Hey, I even found a blond for you” or some such nonsense. I was furiously channeling Frantz Fanon. Wow. I did not expect to write so much about that, but I guess I needed to get it out of my system!

Sara Rénélik

Luckily, the jam session itself was great. It more than made up for everything I just complained about. The first singer to perform was Sara Rénélik. She was, as always, an amazing presence on stage. And the power in her voice was breathtaking. Rénélik, who is based in Canada, explained the association’s importance for her, mentioning musicians still living under tents. While in Haiti, she was also promoting l’École Verte d’Haïti.

Afterwards, Théodore Beaubrun, Jr. better known as Lòlò from Boukman Eksperyans performed. He started off a bit slow, but when he launched into Nou pap sa bliye, just about everyone started dancing.



He came back on stage later to jam some more with Bélo when he sang Lakou Trankil. They added a Bob Marley twist to it – No more trouble – which really fired up the crowd.

Unfortunately, the quality of the sound was poor which frustrated the musicians, but professionals that they are; they were able to put on a great performance anyway. Tifane and Bélo’s rendition of Se Kòm si was a big hit. At one point, my daughter asked why Bélo didn’t sing Jasmine. I told her it was because he had chosen to sing other songs instead. She was disappointed. Bélo is one of her favorite artists and she loves Jasmine. So we were both very happy when he chose to close his set with it. Thanks, Bélo!

Next up was Yohann Doré, a rock artist, who showed us just how versatile Haitian music is these days. Kéké Bélizaire’s solo during this particular set was brilliant. In fact, all of the musicians there: Kéké on guitar, Fabrice Rouzier on keyboard, Richard Barbot on bass, Shabba on drums (tanbou) and Joël Widmaier on the drum kit (batterie) were amazing. This was improv, so there were a couple of false starts, but overall, the performances were stellar. It was a wonderful reminder, if one was needed, of the talented musicians we have in our midst.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before Shabba’s turn at the mike, and I missed Joël Widmaier’s solo performance as well, but I have it on good authority that they were as awe-inspiring as everyone else. There was no live performance of the Sa k pase Ayiti single. I guess they’re saving it for the summer concert. If the jam session held on January 30th is any indication of what we have to look forward to, you can be sure that I’ll be there. In the meantime, you can purchase the single here

Jam session musicians: Richard Barbot, Bélo, Kéké Bélizaire, Yohann Doré, Patrick Jeudy, Lòlò, Sara Rénélik, Fabrice Rouzier, Shaba, Ti Coca, Tifane, Joël Widmaier

Musicians participating on cd:  BIC- Belo- Richard Barbot- Kéké Belizaire- Jocelyne Béroard- Carimi- Ti Coca- Raoul Denis Jr- Renette Désir-Yohann Doré - Jerry Wonda Duplessis - Fantom - Smile Fleurimont - Reginald Georges - Stanley Georges - Pauline Jean - Wyclef Jean- Patrick Jeudy- K.Libr’ de Mistic 703- Lòlò - Manzè- Jean-Philippe Martelly- Mikaben- Beethova Obas- J. Perry- Sara Rénélik - Fabrice Rouzier - Shabba - Shoubou - Tifane - Jean-Bernard Thomas - Joël Widmaier - Mushy Widmaier - Camel Zekri

NM