Articles

A Language and Grammar of Healing – A review by Erica Holum

 

Ife Piankhi, Artist in Residence: 

Ife Piankhi is currently an artist in residence at 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust. Working as a performance artist, singer, poet, and creative facilitator for over 30 years, Ife has recently ventured into a creative practice where her craft has taken visual form through a textured, multi-media approach to paper mache and collage work, and the creation of bright and colorful mandalas. The material and spiritual elements embedded within Ife’s work create a semiotic grammar and visual language with symbols and metaphors that unfolds into a space for peace, calm, and healing.

Ife grew up in London for most of her life with her Caribbean-born mother who took Ife and her siblings traveling from a young age. She describes her experiences in the U.S. as the time when her “politicization as an African began.” As a young adult, Ife stayed in the U.S. as an exchange student where she began learning about the Civil Rights Movement, and leaders like Marcus Garvey who advocated for Africans to return to their ancestral home. Never feeling like the UK was her place nor home, Ife returned from the U.S. and began traveling to Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Zambia, before making the decision to repatriate to Uganda. Ife has been living in Kampala for over eight years, and uses live performances, poetry, creative facilitation, and visual art to fuse her work into different mediums.  

Through a process of reeducation, Ife ventures into unwritten histories of the continent to reveal contemporary and contextual meanings of a hidden past through poetry, music, and art. Ife believes that Africans of the diaspora have important contributions to bring back to the continent, and engages specifically with mass healing after mass trauma, with a focus on the collective memory and collective consciousness among descendants of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

 

During her time at 32° East, Ife used multi-media art forms and natural materials to create paper mache collages and mandalas from newspaper clippings, beads, shells, and cassava flour. Ife weaves together these materials to create a visual language with beads and shells, and writes text-based poetry with newspaper clippings on paper mache made from cassava flour. The materials symbolically illustrate ancient history and the decomposition of the pieces made of organic materials denotes the passage of time, a process which critically engages with the maintenance of art, the legacy of an artist’s work, and the temporality of embedded meaning on objects. The process of creation, engagement, and deterioration of the work represents a cycle from a traumatic past and healing for the future.

Ife believes in taking art to public spaces and using her work to bring ideas, methods, and approaches to that public that are not the norm. Her work pushes back against institutionalized methods of artistic production in favor of public engagement and discussion of her work. Ife has held community conversations surrounding the formation of identity, self-liberation, and mass healing, which has prompted personal stories and revelations from participants on these vital, yet contested matters. Following her residency at 32, Ife wants to continue exploring the creation of paper, collages, and mandalas, hoping to expand her installation work and continue to broaden and diversify exhibition platforms and audience engagement.

 

Activities

The Comfort Zone- an experiment of art in a public space (a chapati stand) with Mo Siira

 

As part of KLA Art Labs I was involved with 2 workshops. 1 dealing with deepening our observation skills and a collaboration with performance artist Mo Seira about engaging with performance art in public spaces.

Sometimes we resisted being directed, but it seems humans seek to be told what to do. We are comfortable with that.  Making our own artistic discoveries is hard it seems.  People have lost their agency and wait to be given permission by someone to do something, anything.

We entered the local chapati restaurant (The Comfort Zone) located in Kansanga. Alongside customers, chapati makers, waitresses, and various small children is a welder working with machinery. The tent has open sides and a blue roof, is very noisy and congested. Eventually the sound reduces but i don’t know if anyone noticed. People come and go and change positions. As part of the lab we are exploring how the general public engages with Art in public spaces.

We were the guests but somehow we became the hosts. We occupy the space. Like refugees crossing borders we overwhelm our surroundings.

‘Lets invite her (one of the waitresses) to sit with us’. Members of the group ask the boss first before speaking directly to the woman.  She sits against a ply board partition. squeezed.  Shes been watching us as she passes. Someone must have made eye contact which gives us permission to impose our ways on others and call it inclusion.  How can this be art? We can’t just be in the space observing the happenings. How can we be present and just allow things to happen around us?

Im wondering to myself, how can I be heard but not speak?

I stand up and make a gesture. I point to myself.

I cover my mouth with my hand.

I pull my ears. All this is meant to communicate the statement

‘I will not speak, i will listen and observe’. I don’t know if anyone got it.

I sit back down and observe the participants. All men, one woman who sits behind me so I can’t even catch her in my peripheral vision. In front are the men. One in particular talks non stop. Making suggestions of possible actions to ‘engage’ with the people in the space. Not with the space itself, which is confined and noisy. I grow weary and try not to lean my neck too far back because when I do it gets knocked by passing occupants. Its irritating. All I can do is remain small, still and observant of the dynamics in the group. One guy is on his phone constantly. Others are seeking permission to do something by asking the question ‘what are we supposed to be doing? They seem uncomfortable, direction less.

This is a social experiment. In a meeting the previous day we sit with the performance artist Mo Seira to determine the ‘format’ of the event. He doesn’t work like that so all is redundant, not applicable to the work in which he works.

I’ve been asked to manage and direct the conversation today because it all seems so chaotic. I prefer to wait and see what happens especially as I’ve made gestures to say i will not speak.

I listen to as the conversation moves to the subject of gentrification. How if a place is nice, the locals won’t enter. They anticipate higher prices. Its more comfortable for them to stay beneath a tent with no walls, on uneven ground by the side of the road.  If we took the time to look we would see the view of the valley below.  We eat tasty Rolex (chapati with fried eggs and vegetables). This loosens the tongues of the group even more, progressing to a slowing down of speech……………for some.

I stand up, book in hand,  I’m not paid any mind. I sit down. I stand up. One man looks at me and says ‘yes, you have something to say?’. I sit down, ignored by the majority. I stand up and sit down, 9 times I’m told until the Black Russian declares

‘I think Ife has something to say’

The men turn their attention to me, i recite a poem. Written about my observations of the space and the people within it. No plan, no script just what i saw.

I quote the words of Mo Siira –

‘Public space requires improvisation, preparedness, feelings, energy and observation.

Questions of ‘does it work’ don’t apply, was it a mistake don’t matter when everything is essential. I sit down and from my chair say. This is your takeaway, answer these questions for yourself.

What is my comfort zone?

How do I deal with the unexpected?

What makes a space artistic?

What is art and what is not?

I stand up, circling on the spot. I smile and blow a kiss to our lunch guest. She responds and sends a kiss back.  I leave, departing to enter the light. Destination – the other side of the road.

 

 

music, Poetry

To Be or Not 2B

 

Earlier this year I was a participant on the East African Soul Train, traveling from Nairobi to Mombasa on the Lunatic Line. We were encouraged to collaborate with fellow artists in the confines of a moving train and create something that was reflective of our personal experiences. The theme of the residency which lasted a week was Kovu Safarini – My Scar.

It was challenging, inspiring and the beginning of me questioning how I as a poet you explore my work in different mediums other than performance and workshoping.

As an artist in residence at 32 Degrees East I have been exploring my scars. The theme: To be or not 2b is an exploration of Migration, Identity and Mourning. The topic is multi layered, but my jump off point was ‘Maafa’ – The Great Disaster which was Chattle Slavery commonly known as The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. Many Africans know nothing about this period in history or the implications it has had on Africans on the Diaspora and continent. We don’t speak about it, but i feel it is a scar that needs to be healed. But before that it has to be exposed. The continent lost between 11 and 100 million Africans to Maafa and I want us to remember that. We all know what it feels like to loose something and now as more and more Africans are being displaced through conflict, climate change, disease, I believe that even though it may not be us who experience this directly we need to develop compassion for each other and the trauma that this loss creates. This trauma doesn’t just go away it stays with us in the bones and the blood. It is generational.

 

The ideas for this installations have come through my dreams or meditations. As a poet I use paper, I love writing and have a Parker fountain for that specific purpose.  The other day at an event i was MCing I thought I’d lost it. I was frantic, I went back and found it laying in the aisle of the auditorium. I was so relieved I had found it. But what does it mean to loose a person you value and not know if you will ever see them again? How do we cope? Natural recycled materials are what i have chosen to work with.  I have been experimenting with the creation of paper using paper pulp and cassava flour. Using mabati (iron sheets) i  have moulded my pulp onto the iron sheet to create a ripple effect. This represents fluid movement and the the reality that our identities are seldom static. Constantly changing, both physically and mentally we evolve as human beings from year to year. Just like the annual migration of Buffulo across the Masai Mara we as human beings have always moved and when you think about the scale of the African continent this was always a great expedition and ultimately lead us to adapt and change as our circumstances as our environments dictated. This means we are now hybrids, Fusionist. There is more to being an African than being born on the continent. Its now about how we ‘want’ to express our ‘Africaness’, but is there an essence? What are the elements that keep us in contact with the land and each other?  Now in contemporary times Africans are restricted from movement. We are unable to see the other side, to broaden our horizons, we are restricted. Immigration policies mean we have to jump through hoops in order to justify our desires to travel and often even though we are told we are impoverished we pay visa fees which if denied don’t get reimbursed.

 

For most of my life I have been asking who am I? So I took a DNA test which showed me the genetic similarities I have to specific African peoples. Like Cheik Anta Diop I firmly believe we are one people who have mutated into the different forms which represent Africans now. I also discovered I am Haplo Group 1, one of the earliest groups of Africans who made their migrations out of Africa into Asia. So when asked where am I from, I can honestly say I am an African even though the details of location have been distorted or lost through the global trade (not really a trade but a theft) of Africans and the misinformation we are given regarding the contributions of Africans to civilization.  Maybe this is why i was searching to reconnect with those missing parts of myself I felt were lost. I also wanted to explore how other people define themselves as there is an assumption by Africans of the Diaspora that Africans on the continent know who they, celebrate their culture and will place it before anything else. Interestingly enough many of the indigenious Africans who attended the discussion felt that their cultures do not represent who they are or who they want to be and in fact they feel restricted by it. My mind was blown, what does this mean? Why is this happening? Reading C& (Contemporary and) publication ‘I am built inside of you’, the artist Helen Sibidi says ‘we own nothing….. we don’t even own ourselves’ and i see this, I see how we as Africans we are ashamed of our skin, our hair, our ancestors, we cleave to Christianity and Islam, to skin bleaching, to speaking with foreign accents, to being anything other than who we are. The seeds, our seeds are being lost to us and this is what tied us to the land, grounded us in cycles and rhythms and gave us a sense of purpose. Now we have become consumers who have bought into capitalism and expansion at the detriment of our environments. This is also why i chose bio degradable materials because i want the installation to change, decay, fade away just like I will at the end of my life. We are looking for permanence now.  Also as part of my exploration of Identity I interviewed Baba T and his wife Mama T who repatriated to Tanzania. They left Jamaica for the Europe and eventually decided to settle in East Africa. The elder who is 81 gives an emotional account of his experiences which will also feature in the installation.

The paper panels I have created will feature my poetry and quotes relating to the theme. I have a soundtrack which was created by a wonderfully talented artist called Joshua Oyintareoge Egbuson and am supported by so many great creatives Patience Asaba, Nikissi Serumago -Jamo, Kaya Sanaa to create an installation that will be an sensory delight. I will also perform some of the works as a part of the activation.

As an non traditional artist I have been challenged with how to present the work. For me it doesn’t go into a gallery space because I think what I have created is like a memorial to those who have been lost and due to the artist Sunoj D who is an Earth Artist who I worked with a few years back, the installation will happen outdoors in space which reflects some of the emotions and experiences Africans may have felt as they were ‘tight packed’ on the ships bringing them into slavery. The installation is also interactive and there will be certain things people will have to do before entering and whilst inside.  I realize the subject matter is heavy so to bring ease to myself and audience I have created 9 mandalas which represent my desire to heal this wound, to restore myself to balance and allow the ancestors to weep not just tears of pain but of joy, as we recognise their contributions and sacrifices so we can live and be who we want to be in contemporary Africa.

 

Yoga

Afrikan Yoga on Morning at NTV

The practice of Yoga can be very rewarding. I have experienced increased energy, concentration and flexibility. I’ve also been able to relieve my anxiety and develop a deeper sense of well being.

I think its important to learn to love, appreciate and listen to ones body. Too often we are not in tune with our bodies until we become sick then we begin to notice what is going on!

With the practice of yoga you become more sensitive to your body and learn to respond.

Based on my own practice and the teaching of others, I’ve realized its really important to take time with ones body, to nurture it, to respect it. Learning to slow down is important to personal development. It give us the opportunity to reflect and rejuvenate especially as we live highly stressful lives.

With all this in mind, my hope is to introduce the practice of Yoga to Ugandans and to encourage them to stretch regularly. Every Monday from 8.30am we are stretching, but once you get a taste Im sure you will want more.

I am available for private (home visits, booked in 10 week blocks) where I can assess and tailor sequences to meet your unique needs. Consult with you on wholistic well being which includes nutrition.

This is my preference for beginners as its very easy to get distracted by life and not show up for class. If however you feel that group stretching will motivate and inspire you then I hold a public class every Monday at 32Degrees East in Kansanga from 6pm. (please pre-book your place by emailing me at topgie@gmail.com)

I look forward to stretching with you

Hotep (peace)

Activities

The Feminine Fight Club

 

 

The feminine fight club was born on the 6 th July 2016. In a kitchen two women grappled each other to

the ground where one sustained a twisted ankle. It had come as a shock, the burst of energy that

erupted from the younger woman. It was the first day of her period and she was feeling aggressive and

impatient with those around her. So when the older woman grabbed her in a playful headlock the

younger women fought her way out, twisting until both landed hard on the concrete floor. Immediately

the older woman knew she had been injured, as she tried to bend her ankle she heard it click and then

the swelling began.

It wasn’t that they were angry at each other, but both had a rage simmering in their unconscious. No

one likes to feel powerless so they wanted to create a space where that rage could be expressed

productively. Intuitively the older woman had expressed that she wouldn’t fight knowing she wasn’t

ready to test her physical prowess against the younger woman. She had known something might

happen but she didn’t listen. The week before a friend of a friend had died because she was too busy

taking care of others to take care of herself. She didn’t seek medical attention until it was too late. The

day she was admitted to hospital she died. She left two children behind.

No one likes to be ill, have their mobility restricted or not be self-determined. It feels like a prison but

many women and girls live this way. 1 in every 3 girls is married before reaching the age of 18. In

developing countries this means that 47,000 girls don’t get to realize their true potential, most of them

also experience sexual violence. They are bound by patriarchal models which define how they should

behave as females.

So what is the message of these incidents? Don’t overextend yourself? Listen to your inner voice? Take

better care of your body? That day I realized how much I depend on my body. For the next week I was

forced to cancel appointments. It was very difficult, because even though I am female in gender I have

masculine energy in abundance – I’m active, giving, I make things happen.

How many of us give ourselves the time and space to express or experience our feminine energy, which

is passive, stillness, silent and receptive? These energies are important for balanced health. My feminine

and masculine energies were not balanced so I got injured.

maat

What I’m advocating is ‘Self Care’. Within our lives we need to make time for physical activities which

increase our heart rate and tone our muscles. The byproduct of which is a focused and peaceful mind, a

robust body with a strong immune system because our nerves and spine are flexible and energized. We

also need ‘time out’, to be still, to be quiet and receptive to our thoughts and feelings. To take a pause

doesn’t make us lazy or selfish but Self Full.

As leaders of the now and the future is we need to find our personal balance or what was known as

MAAT is pre historic Africa. If we don’t find it there is no way we can change our society, which is

suffering with all manner of diseases. Bodies and minds not at ease. We owe this to ourselves because

being empowered is not given by others. It’s something we have to give ourselves.

I will conclude with a quote from Anna Julia Cooper who was a black feminist activist. Born in 1858 in

North Carolina (USA) to her enslaved mother, Hannah Stanley Haywood, and her white slaveholder,

Anna Julia Cooper spent her lifetime of over a century redefining the limitations and opportunities for

women of color in a society set up for their disempowerment and subjugation. A distinguished scholar

and educator, Cooper saw the status and agency of black women as central to the equality and progress

of the nation.

‘All I claim is that there is a feminine as well as masculine side to truth: that these are related not as

inferior and superior, not as better or worse, not as weaker or stronger but as complements-

complements in one necessary and symmetric whole.

Activism, music

I Look Away

I’m sitting in front of the computer trying to recollect all what I have achieved this year. It’s hard without my notebook. I have such a poor memory sometimes, so I tend to write things down. As a result I have many past notebooks collected in a box which I take out from time to time to reflect on my life’s journey. It’s surprising sometimes to see my aspirations and goals written down and to realize that some of them I have achieved. Others have not yet manifested but that I am on the way. I feel proud of myself. Especially when it seems that Life is just not going to plan. I encourage all of us to write our dreams down because otherwise It’s hard to see how far we have come.

I’m in a reflective mood, especially as this morning a friend of mine showed me a video of a beheading in some Islamic state somewhere. The crowd was gathered, blood from the previous beheaded people can be seen on the ground. The axeman takes aim and begins his wing, I look away. This isn’t a movie, this is real and I can’t stand to watch, to remember the image, for it to remain in my memory. I know this is the reality of many people who have been caught in conflicts. War is traumatising, it wounds and scares.

Even though I can be forgetful, I know I will be able to recall this. I look away. I’m confused by our inhumanity towards each other. How we can so easily murder and bring pain. And I wonder what is our future? If I was an extra-terrestial what would I think about our behaviour? Maybe it wasn’t such a good thing that God gave us free will, because look what we do with it.

It’ true I’m feeling morose. I don’t know why it happens around this time of the year when people seem to be so happy. Anticipating family gatherings and laughter. In my mind,  I’m thinking how come we can’t show this goodwill all year round? Why do we have to wait for Christmas in order to become more humane, generous and loving?

I’m in a reflective mood. After spending 3 intense days with ‘Barundikazi’, Burundian women who come together to discuss and formulate their opinions and actions regarding the events in Burundi, I keep wondering why these conflicts and traumas continue to happen in our beautiful continent and planet. Are we sick as a species? Will we eventually just destroy each other and leave the planet to evolve without us? I worry about us. Our continued march towards destruction. Are we indeed living in the last days? Who will be saved and who will be destroyed?

There are so many layers of reality, the political, the spiritual, the ecological, the scientific, the philosophical, the social, the mental, the emotional, the religious. If we were a patient what would be our prognosis? What is the percentage of the population who are behaving in a way that is anti life and love?

I know there are good stories out there, the world is full of stories of hope and inspiration but why don’t we hear or see them? I’m asking these questions because i want to know and understand the nature of humanity and how we can change the most destructive elements of our behaviour in order for us to live in peace and love.

Or is it a case of we can’t have one without the other, but like I say in one of my songs ‘there has to be a better way’. And I hope that more of us will make a commitment to finding it and transforming our society. It’s time to break out and try something new.

 

Activism

The Life of the Creative

IMG_1597

This month I will be a panellist at the Bayimba Music Festival Kampala, invited by the Lantern Meet of Poets a group of young Ugandans who come together to critic and perform each others poetry. I feel honoured to be a sounding board for them as they strive to make poetry more accessible and appreciated.

But I’m frustrated, the discussion will be about the challenges to ones creativity especially when it comes to making a living. I’m talking about getting paid for ones art. It seems that organisers and venues want creativity but don’t want to pay for it, or they pay some artists and not others.

I attend meetings, talks and performances. I have to cater to my needs whether that’s transport, food and time spent, but if I worked in the corporate sector those things would have to be paid for by the client who has invited me to talk. Why is creativity so different? Why do people feel that they can have us for nothing, even though we have put in countless hours and energy in refining our art which is why they invite us their events, we have skills, we are competent and bring an energy to the event.

Why are artists struggling?

The life of the creative is not an easy one. There is never enough money to pay us but we are in demand. Every year the Lantern Meet puts on a recital and the theatre is packed so it seems we are appreciated by our audiences who pay to see us. So where does the fault lie?

Are we not valuing ourselves enough as artists? There is no way that a doctor or engineer would work for free after studying for many years. The time spent on refining our skills and practice is meant to mean something. This is why our parents are always pushing us into professions because we can get paid well.  The life of the creative is not taken seriously. Its just a hobby!

I’m not looking for an easy life, I’ve made personal sacrifices because I believe in the power of art to transform people and I understand how people drop out of creativity because they can’t make a living, but I want to change this format.

This is where creativity comes back into focus, not all remuneration has to be in cold cash, what other things can be offered? I suppose I’m advocating for some barter trade as money seems to be the issue, this would be the beginning of something different.

This is my profession, my divine gift, my purpose and I know I make useful contributions to whatever environment I’m placed in.

I don’t live in a fantasy world, I live in the real world of money, rent, school fees but I’m struggling to find the middle ground, beyond exploitation and good wishes. There are countless great initiatives worthy of support but I’m beginning to feel like if you don’t have the budget to at least give me transport, don’t call me. Its a risk because out of sight is out of mind and there is a need for multiple streams of income as a self employed person but damn I think I may have to change my name from Ife the poet who sings to Ife the ‘poetic engineer’ maybe then people will realise they have to budget for my words, time and energy.

Activism

Babylon?

 

skyscrappers

Babylon is all around me

concrete and steel,

right before my eyes.

Babylon is all around me

Confusion, I cannot see.

Extract from Babylon

by Ife Piankhi

I wonder how the freedom fighters; Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Walter Rodney, Toussaint L’Overture, Nanny of the Maroons, Paul Bogle, Yaa Asantewa, Nyabingi felt, when they realized they had to break the law in order to liberate their people?

We’re taught to be obedient. It’s a desirable thing. Instilled in us is a respect for authority, hierachy and all things Western.

Rastafari speaks about Babylon but what exactly is it?

In Biblical times Babylon was referred to as the table of nations as it traces the descendants of Noah’s three sons. In the genealogy of Ham, “Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth” (Genesis 10:8). Nimrod founded a kingdom that included a place called “Babylon” in Shinar (Genesis 10:10).

In English it is easy enough to make the connection between “Babel” and “Babylon,” but in Hebrew it is the same word. This chapter cements Babylon’s reputation as a city of rebellion against God. From then on, the biblical writers consistently use Babylon as a symbol of evil and defiance.

For me Babylon is not just a place but a mindset which is based on the exploitation of people and resources.

This mindset uses fiscal structures, trade agreements, polices, politricks, business and media to dictate the destiny of the majority of the global population.

According to Noam Chomsky in Profit over People-Neoliberalism and Global Order, Haiti was one of the worlds richest colonial prizes along with Bengal and the source of a good part of France’s wealth. Haiti was the first colony in the Caribbean to gain its independence from colonial rule.

In the 18th century, Saint Dominigue, as Haiti was then known, became France’s wealthiest overseas colony, largely because of its production of sugar, coffee, indigo, and cotton generated by an enslaved labor force.  When the French Revolution broke out in 1789 there were five distinct sets of interest groups in the colony. There were white planters—who owned the plantations and the slaves—and petit blancs, who were artisans, shop keepers and teachers.  Some of them also owned a few slaves.  Together they numbered 40,000 of the colony’s residents.  Many of the whites on Saint Dominigue began to support an independence movement that began when France imposed steep tariffs on the items imported into the colony.  The planters were extremely disenchanted with France because they were forbidden to trade with any other nation.  Furthermore, the white population of Saint-Dominique did not have any representation in France.  Despite their calls for independence, both the planters and petit blancs remained committed to the institution of slavery. The three remaining groups were of African descent: those who were free, those who were slaves, and those who had run away. There were about 30,000 free black people in 1789.  Half of them were mulatto and often they were wealthier than the petit blancs. The slave population was close to 500,000. The runaway slaves were called maroons; they had retreated deep into the mountains of Saint Dominigue and lived off subsistence farming.  Haiti had a history of slave rebellions; the slaves were never willing to submit to their status and with their strength in numbers (10 to 1) colonial officials and planters did all that was possible to control them. Despite the harshness and cruelty of Saint Dominigue slavery, there were slave rebellions before 1791.

Led by former slave Toussaint l’Overture, the enslaved would act first, rebelling against the planters on August 21, 1791. By 1792 they controlled a third of the island.  Despite reinforcements from France, the area of the colony held by the rebels grew as did the violence on both sides.  Before the fighting ended 100,000 of the 500,000 blacks and 24,000 of the 40,000 whites were killed.  Nonetheless the former slaves managed to stave off both the French forces and the British who arrived in 1793 to conquer the colony, and who withdrew in 1798 after a series of defeats by l’Overture’s forces.  By 1801 l’Overture expanded the revolution beyond Haiti, conquering the neighboring Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (present-day Dominican Republic).  He abolished slavery in the Spanish-speaking colony and declared himself Governor-General for life over the entire island of Hispaniola.

Aerial view of La Citadelle Laferriere

It recent times Haiti has been largely under US control and tutelage since Wilson’s marines invaded 80 years ago.

By now the country is in such a catastrophic state that it may uninhabitable in the not too distant future. What was once rich has now been stripped. The people of Haiti live in abject poverty as the natural resources of their country have been taken by private business in collusion with government, under the guise of ‘free trade’ and Globalisation. Most of these workers are women who suffer under a regime which cannot invest in social objectives because it has received loans which prescribe the minimization of services such as employee rights, health and education.

differences in haiti landscape with graphics haiti

Now I know this is not Uganda. The Pearl is lush but steadily we are cutting down our trees to feed an urban population and who knows what is happening behind closed doors and under the table.

uganda trees UGANDA LANDSCAPE

Babylon now uses a fiscal system instituted over 100 years ago to monopolize the resources of the planet, which has been sliced, diced and defined by geo-political borders and so called democracy.

I believe in power for the people by the people but what we have now is wealth creation for a Silent Minority.

Babylon chooses profit over people. It doesn’t matter how much blood is shed and how many people are lost to disease, war, malnutrition as long as shareholders get their dividends. Our minds will continue to be filled with propaganda. There is no good news on Aljazeera, it would seem the whole world is at war.

What is going on in our country exactly? I know the electioneering has began in the slums, loud speakers blast partisan messages, people are gathering in local meetings to listen to politicians advocating for themselves.

Democracy is now beyond the people. The real power resides in the IMF, World Bank, UN and corporations.

Do our votes even mean anything? or are they just engineered to make us believe we have a say?

Humans like to feel like they have a choice, this is why God gave us free will.

But most of us are not free. Not mentally anyway.

‘Its a diplomatic procedure. Because see, my songs is hard stuff which politicians don’t want on them radio station because they still want people to live in ignorancy. While all people especially black people are divided, the world will keep on functioning in fantasy and bullshit’. Peter Tosh 1978

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