Thursday, September 6, 2007

A few articles about Martissant

Below are a few of the articles I wrote or contributed to during 2006/2007 regarding the violence that swept through the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Martissant in recent years and which, mercifully, seems to have abated somewhat, although only after a terrible price had been paid in terms of lives lost.

The first, article, “Storm of Killing in Neighbourhood Has Wide Implications for Nation,” was authored for the Inter Press Service in August 2006, and was the product of a several-days sojourn that I, the American photojournalist Thos Robinson and a Haitian radio reporter made through the Grand Ravine, Ti Bois and Déscartes sections of Martissant,. It presents - to the best of my knowledge - the only authoritative English-language reporting on the conflict there.

The second article, “ACM calls for action on Badio killing,” is a statement by the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) to which I contributed, calling on Haitian authorities to move swiftly to bring the killers of Haitian journalist Jean-Rémy Badio to justice and asks the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to do more to end the isolation of Haiti, its most populous member state.

The third article, “The terrible truth about Martissant,” was published by the Haitian news service AlterPresse in February 2007 as a response to the cynical attempts by a handful of opportunistic North American dabblers in Haiti to score political points off the bodies of yet more dead Haitians, something that certain currents back in my native United States and elsewhere seem to specialize in, always from a safe distance of course.

The intros to the articles and click-through links follow below.



HAITI: Storm of Killing in Neighbourhood Has Wide Implications for Nation

By Michael Deibert

Inter Press Service

GRAND-RAVINE, Haiti, Aug 2, 2006 (IPS) - In this neighbourhood overlooking the placid bay of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, a ghostly silence wraps itself around the burned tin shacks, concrete hovels gutted and scorched black by flames, and jagged rocks that form the paths of the hillside slum, spattered with blood.

Read the full article here.

ACM calls for action on Badio killing

January 30, 2007 - The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) is calling on Haitian authorities to move swiftly to bring the killers of Jean-Rémy Badio to justice and wants the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to do more to end the isolation of this Member State.

Read the full statement here.

Haiti : The terrible truth about Martissant

By Michael Deibert

Submitted to AlterPresse on February 12, 2007

Haiti’s Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix recently released a report covering the human rights situation in that impoverished Caribbean nation of 8 million from October until December 2006. The report therein concluded that 539 people were killed by violence in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan region alone in 2006, and especially noting the southern Port-au-Prince district of Martissant, where citizens have been at the mercy of warring gangs with varying political affiliations engaged in sustained conflict since June 2006. A freelance Haitian journalist Jean-Rémy Badio was murdered in his home, evidently by gang-affiliated gunmen from the area, last month.

There have recently been attempts by some - writing, as always, from the safety of the United States - to exculpate one of the gangs in Martissant, the Baz Grand Ravine loyal to the Fanmi Lavalas party of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, from involvement in the appalling violence terrorizing the community there, instead attempting to suggest that the bloodshed comes only from one side, the Lame Ti Manchèt (The Little Machete Army), affiliated with the Ti Bois and Déscartes districts of the neighborhood, and said to be loyal to a former Haitian police captain and other political elements. Simply put, these statements would appear to be intentional fabrications by the writers, conceived with the intention of deceiving the public, and ignoring the fact that, since the August 2005 slaying of at least a dozen people at a soccer match in the district, and indeed long before, all armed groups in the neighborhood have been implicated in the grossest human rights violations by residents fleeing attacks speaking to Haitian and foreign journalists brave enough to venture there.

Read the full article here.

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