Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back in California--Oakland, that is. The flight from PAP to Miami was okay except for the security person who took my scissors just becasue they were scissors--never mind the blunt edge all of 4 inches if that in length, never mind that since 9/11 I have been carry these scissors in my backpack and no one has asked for them until this point and this included Haitian security as well, just five months ago. I really liked my scissors, they had a lavender handle.

After getting to the airport three hours early--we were on the road at 6 AM, I almost missed my flight. The airline didn't announce PAP to Miami and then the sign on the board was wrong.

This time when my phone alarm went off I went and asked the attendant when the 9:40 was boarding and he said, right now. To say I was flabbergasted, is putting it lightly. After that the flight part of the morning was fine, as was immigration--the lines were long, so I kept shifting right until I was in line 1. We then had to get our luggage, recheck it and then go through customs (?). I was not going to miss my flight.

I got worried at the carousel; our luggage took almost 25 minutes to come down from the plane. The man standing next to me only had ten minutes to get to his connecting flight--his friend volunteered to ship his luggage to him, but he decided to just get a hotel and spend the night in Miami.

American Airlines had really messed up his connecting flight schedule. Miami airport is crazy large. I had to walk a mile or so to get to the gate for my flight. I almost had a fight with a man in the security line. He was holding up the entire line while he took his shoes off, belt, computer out of his case...while I had four bins on the floor and when I finished I put my bins on the belt in front of him. He asked me what my problem was...it was the wrong day and the wrong moment for that question.

He told me he was going to tell security about my attitude, when he was breaching airport security line etiquette. Then when I finally get to the gate and it's time to board, I get pulled over for a random security check. I haven't had one of those in years.

No I am not saying I feel honored.

On our way to the airport this morning we picked up Rev. Wilbert Blanc who was flying to Oregon. He took more photos of encampments near the airport which had UN security standing armed in the front. I'd never seen armed military in front of any camps. I wondered if they were providing security for inhabitants.

I'd picked up breadfruit and plantain and banana chips. I'd wanted boiled eggs and bananas for the journey, but that didn't happen. They are easy to find on the street, but I don't think Rea is keen on buying eggs and bananas when she has eggs and a banana tree at home, but in this case, no one was up to boil eggs and my yogurt was warm--the electricity went out, so at an airport with no concessions just a bar and a coffee shop, I didn't get any food until I got to Miami at 2:15 where I found a turkey sandwich. I finally got the egg when I got to San Francisco. It was expensive--$1.50 for the egg and I don't know how much for the banana, but all together it was $3.13 (smile). But it hit the spot.

On the flight from Miami to San Francisco, the plane was one of those big ones, with three sets of rows. I was stuck in the middle in a seat that didn't recline. Talk about uncomfortable and the film didn't have captions, I don't know how anyone can hear on an airplane.

Back to Haiti. I was thinking on Marcus Garvey's birthday about Bookman, how he was Jamaican, so the Haitian revolution was Pan African--as was the nation that the revolution developed 208 years ago. If African people could remember this, that the revolution is the same battle just fought on multiple fronts, this is why Dessalines provided sanctuary to escaping Africans and provided training for Africans in neighboring countries who wanted independence.

The lessons, the philosophical lessons or values Dessalines represented...his unflinching and unapologetic belief that nothing good could come from a relationship with the former slavemaster, has proven correct--it hasn't. I think the Haitian nation should forget this and stop relying on the West to save it, befriend it, offer guidance when all the west wants is profit and for any relationship to be profitable for it, not necessarily for the nation.

Look at what happened to Toussaint when he tried to patiently wait out the French in the hopes that they would come to respect the African as they respected themselves. It never happened and later on, the French let Toussaint starve in their prison cell.

Jacob H. Carruthers's The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution is a must read for all Pan Africans, especially Haitians. I'd also include James Baldwin's essay, Notes of a Native Son.(Baldwin is a Black August baby, born, August 2, 1924).

In Notes, Baldwin cautions African Americans against trying to use those that abuse them as the standard for what's ethical, decent or right. A beast is not a great role model.

It was a struggle for Dessalines to keep the class divisions from imploding the new nation and ultimately he was killed; Christophe committed suicide, and I'm not certain if Petition lived a long life. Note I didn't say animal. I think animals are great role models for human beings.

There are similarities between Baldwin's Notes and Carruther's Irritated Genie, the essay's name referencing the spirit "called forth during the celebration of Ogun's ceremony on August 14, 1791. Ogun was the personification of the Voodun Spirit of Warfare and Iron. The event took place in a forest near what was called Cape Francios, the colonial capital. Bookman, a Voodun priest, timed the launching of the revolution with Ogun's celebration in keeping with the time tested tradition among African people that human events must be coordinated with cosmological forces and ancestral spirits (21).

Though I wasn't in Milo at Cape Francios, now Cap Haitian, for Bwa Kayiman, this past weekend, I'm sure there was a renewal of spirit to Ogun to get the nation and its people back on track.


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