Haiti: ‘Baby Doc’ escapes justice for past abuses

Given the Slugger community’s interest in Haiti, I thought it worthwhile to note the regrettable decision by a Haitian court not to charge the country’s former dictator,  Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier, over allegations of torture and murder. Duvalier returned to Haiti this time last year after 25 years in exile in France. Since then, he has been under investigation for serious human rights violations – including torture, disappearances and extrajudicial executions – that took place during his rule from 1971 to …

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And the winner was …

Haiti was the real winner at last night’s Great Big Politics Pub Quiz where just over £1000 pounds was raised to support the rebuilding of homes on Haiti through Haven Partnership. Over a hundred political anoraks (and friends) gathered in Belfast’s Black Box to tough their way through seven rounds of questions. Which team would have a combined knowledge that could span across international politics, political history, the politics of UK and Ireland, popular culture and the brilliance to decipher …

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POTD – I see you and am not afraid

A young artist from the Arts collective Atis-Rezistans who are based off the Grande Rue in Port-au-Prince, strikes a pose in front of a sculpture made by Eugene Andre one of the collective founders. I found this to be a very special and inspirational place. Three members of the collective exhibited at the Venice Biennnale . Slugger’s Big Political quiz is tonight with all money raised going to The Haven Partnership. Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I …

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Great Big Politics Quiz kicks off tomorrow Night (Black Box, Belfast)…

Last chance to book your place… We have a stack of great prizes, courtesy of our old friends and consistent supporters Stratagem… All proceeds go to charity, in aid of rebuilding homes in Haiti… In fine old Northern Irish tradition the much revered office of Quiz Master will be rolling (d’Hondt has not been used and no politicians have been hurt in the scrupulously fair process)… Mark Devenport, Jim Wells MLA, Naomi Long MP, Basil McCrea MLA, Alban Maginness MLA, …

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POTD – Demolition by hand

A team of workers demolish a building that collapsed during the January 2010 earthquake. Across Port-au-Prince similar sights can be seen as any building materials that can be reused are salvaged when possible. One of the difficulties facing Haiti is that the government buildings that held records of land ownership were destroyed along with the records. This has led to many disputes over ownership and is another factor slowing the rebuilding of Haiti. Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in …

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POTD – Children at Henri Christophe Park

Living in a makeshift camp at Henri Christophe Park these children will know little of the story of one of the leaders of the revolution which saw Haiti become the second country, after America, to break free from colonial shackles. An aid worker i spoke with told me that there are always spikes in birth rates after natural disasters. The child at the front is playing with a condom which the children often use as ballons. Thursday night is the …

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Great BIG Politics Quiz: latest news!

An unofficial ‘Haiti Week’ is underway on Slugger, with Moochin’s terrific photo-series on POTD, with further shots to be featured as wall projections during Belfast Culture Night on Friday, and more from me later in the week on Haiti and human rights. And, of course, there’s just days to go until the 2011 Great Big Politics Quiz night gets underway in Belfast’s Black Box (Thursday 22 September, 7:45pm). Latest news… new prizes have been added to the pot (already looking …

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POTD – Portrait of a blockmaker

Across Port-au-Prince and Haiti you see blocks offered for sale along the roadside. This man makes 600 of these a day for something in the region of £2 a day. Thursday night’s Big Political quiz will hopefully raise a good few pennies for the Haven Partnership who build houses in Haiti Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young …

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POTD – Pitched tents and makeshift shelters on a football pitch

Haven Partnership who build homes in Haiti, are the charity of choice for the Big Political Quiz this Thursday. In the run up to Thursday night i’ll be posting photographs from my trip to Haiti in mid April to early May. Here a football pitch has been enveloped by a makeshift tented camp. Across Port-au-Prince, camps sprung up in the aftermath of the earthquake on any suitable flat areas. Most public parks, football pitches and the like have some sort …

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Great BIG Politics Quiz: prizes to vie for!

Courtesy of Stratagem, here’s the awesome prize list for the Great BIG Politics Quiz, supported by Slugger O’Toole, and being held next Thursday, 22 September at 7:45pm in the Black Box, Belfast. There’s enough in this valuable prize hamper to keep even the most anorakish of political anoraks going for quite some time – and plenty to share amongst your triumphant quiz team-mates. “The Thick of It Series 1 & The Special Boxset” DVD “Last Mitterand,the [DVD]” “Pistols at Dawn: Two …

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Great BIG Politics Quiz: tickets now on sale!

Former (edit: see comment #1) Belfast City Councillor Niall Kelly reckons the SDLP South Belfast team are out to retain their Great Big Politics Quiz champions title: I know that ballot box brainiacs from other parties, campaign groups, public affairs companies and the media will be out to prove him wrong. Indeed, there might even be the odd blogger who fancies getting a team together for a tilt at the title. Well you can all now pre-book your places as ticket …

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Save the date: the Great Big Politics Pub Quiz is back!

Who has the sharpest political brains in Northern Ireland? We’ll soon find out. Yes, it’s time to pit your wits against the finest minds(!) at Stormont as Slugger O’Toole brings the return of the Great Big Politics Pub Quiz. Date: Thursday 22 September at 7:45pm. Venue: The Black Box, Hill Street, Belfast. This is what happened last year, according to Alan in Belfast, as over £1,000 was raised for charity in Haiti and Stoops to Conquer, the South Belfast SDLP …

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POTD – Baby at a roadside camp

Port-au-Prince near the ruined Presidential Palace Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of …

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POTD – Demolished by earthquake and finished off by hand

A common sight around Port-au-Prince is gangs of workers finishing off what the earthquake failed to do. Don’t forget that you can help out Moochin PhotomanPhotographer and visual artist based in Belfast. I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast. My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North …

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POTD – Parade

With the Lord Mayors parade taking place in Belfast today i thought i’d post a photo from a parade i saw in Leogane Haiti which was the closest town to the epicentre of the Jan 2010 earthquake. On Easter Sunday i was taken there ostensibly because i wanted to flavour some of the local Rara music. What i wasn’t told was that every year the town holds a parade which commemorates the history of Haiti, from the first slaves arriving, …

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Haiti: Crime, corruption and giving

Second guest post from Ciaran McKeown, recently returned from a week as a Haven Partnership volunteer building houses in Haiti. Here he reflects on the history of Haiti and its present dire situation – not just facing endemic poverty and the after-effects of earthquake, but widespread corruption and crime too. Haiti is a basket-case, economically and politically. It has suffered relentlessly since the Spanish first annihilated the native Taino or Amerindians who populated Hispaniola and developed its sustainable ecology. Spain ceded …

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From Haiti with thanks

Back in October, much of the Slugger O’Toole ‘community’ – Mick Fealty and Paul Evans, bloggers Alan in Belfast and Mark McGregor, politicians of all hues, public affairs company Stratagem, and of course readers / commenters – came together to support the Great Big Politics Pub Quiz, raising money for a house-building project in earthquake-stricken Haiti. The event raised £1,225, all of which went to the Haven Partnership’s Build-it-Week initiative. Due to the cholera outbreak, the week itself was postponed …

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POTD – Back to porridge

Tattered flags at Simon Bolivar Park near the commercial port in Port-au-Prince. How time flies. 3 weeks in Haiti and i’m back to a shedload of editing. I took the old advertising adage “You’re better looking at it than for it” to a bit of an extreme. I’m looking forward to going through all I took to see the themes and threads running through the work, some apparent at the time others will reveal themselves. I’m also looking forward to …

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POTD – Notre Dame Cathedral, Port-au-Prince

A blind and still traumatised man is led over the rubble of Notre Dame cathedral in Port-au-Prince by his niece. I spent about 10 minutes here and heard the story of this man Christophe,whose wife had been killed during the quake as she prayed in the Cathedral. He pointed to a roofless room that  had the bodies of 120+ people still buried under the rubble. His wife was amongst those. This man appeared as we spoke to and started strumming …

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POTD – Port-au-Prince RC Cathedral

The scale of the damage caused by the earthquake that struck Haiti a year ago is fairly evident physically. Potholed roads, collapsed buildings, raw sewage and rubbish everywhere. (Though the rubbish issue is more to do with it never being collected). The capital Port-au-Prince being so close to the epicentre was near levelled. What cannot be guaged is the lasting psychological after effects. Taking an early morning tour yesterday morning i stopped off at the Cathedral and met Christope and …

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