Georgianne Nienaber: Needs are many. Temporary classrooms are a must, but tents are impossible to come by here. The current school will never be used, but the field is secured at 83 Delmas Road. She needs $20,000 to pay it off completely. Haitian officials have promised tents, but it is doubtful they will arrive.
Georgianne Nienaber: While Leogane is completely overrun with NGOs, Fayette gets visits from the occasional scientist, and the only camera lens focused on the village is aboard NASA’s EO-1 satellite. Villagers told us they have not seen any aid workers since the quake. Nestled in fertile, natural surroundings along the Momance River, the local population is self-sufficient. They are not requesting money, food or water, but they do not want to be forgotten, either.
Georgianne Nienaber: soft rain has just begun to fall, but it is a terrible event here in Petionville, Haiti. There are 5,000 people with no shelter, food, or sanitation on Highway 1, about an hour from here. Babies are sleeping in dust that is turning to mud alongside mothers with shriveled breasts who are offering the infants paint chips mixed with dirt because they believe it is nutritious. It is all they have.
Georgianne Nienaber: So, the writer does what writers do and steps back, walking alone and searching for vowels and consonants that might describe what is unseen and impossible to understand. Then something happens that challenges the morality and duty of the writer. There is something on the ground that does not fit the pattern of stones and vegetation. A pelvis attached to a spinal column is lying in the open. Pieces of ribs, a wrist and a forearm are nearby. The writer knows it is human but wants it to be something else. It is familiar and something she has seen before.
Georgianne Nienaber: Regine Simon-Barjon, speaking for the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce as the CEO of Biotek Solutions did, and she courageously faced off against a room full of companies, some well-intentioned and some not, who were poised to get paid lots of money to provide “aid” to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
Georgianne Nienaber: After six years, “The Imaginative Storm” has morphed into an improvisational party populated with wordsv–va chaotic captivation designed to stimulate the writer’s imagination. Writers really have no chance for a passive absorption of technique if they brave Huston and Nave’s workshop.
Georgiianne Nienaber: The four-page formal complaint describes a compendium of horrific abuses – including massacres of civilians, summary executions, rape, mutilations of women, the dumping of bodies into latrines, and the recruitment of children – all committed by troops under Zimurinda’s command from 2007 to the present.
Georgianne Nienaber: Obsessions notwithstanding, whatever formulas Holley has applied to parenthood and her creative life seem to be working. Nourishing transplanted Delta roots and tending to a mother’s worries are a challenge, but it appears that Holley may have found her muse and her strength in southern California.
Georgianne Nienaber: What’s the rape and torture and burning alive of many thousands of women and children got to do with anything? What has JUSTICE got to do with anything, for God’s sake? Kabila wants “peace,” after all. A stray bullet might mar the finish on one of his bikes.
Georgianne Nienaber: Bhutto: The Film presents the story of a woman whose strength of personality and conviction totally dominates the constraints of a fundamentalist religious society where women had no intrinsic value. The voice over of Bhutto describing her birth is the ghost in the room. Her extended family was in mourning that Benazir entered the world in a society where the only desire is that the firstborn be a boy. “Dogs and cats were giving birth to boys,” she narrates from the grave.
Georgianne Nienaber: A bunker-busting academic data bomb has just been dropped on the long-suffering Congolese people after the release of a report by the Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. The mainstream press fanned the resulting firestorm of academic debate on methodology by misquoting and misinterpreting death toll numbers in headlines that have now virally spread throughout cyberspace. The resulting confusion has dealt another body blow to humanitarian efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Georgianne Nienaber: My New Year’s resolution is that I will abandon virtual networking for authentic, human contact. It’s time to venture into the heady world of writers and meet artists who excel at their craft. No mere dream-like avatars of the internet, these are verifiable, living, breathing originals, and you can find them at mostly unheralded literary events.
Georgianne Nienaber: The notoriously failed Kimia II operation in eastern Congo has ended today, December 31. Soundly and forcefully criticized by Human Rights groups for the devastation it wrought on civilian populations, it will be replaced sometime in January with a new mission, dubbed OperationAmani Leo, sources say.
Georgianne Nienaber: Surprisingly, to some, the bad guys list also includes scientists, conservationists, non-governmental organizations, doctors, lawyers, public relations professionals and just about anyone who stands to make a buck off of the suffering. As one local Congolese activist told me, “rape is big business in Congo these days.”
“Continued killing and rape by all sides in eastern Congo shows that the UN Security Council needs a new approach to protect civilians,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Security Council should send a group of experts to Congo to kick-start a serious civilian protection plan.”
And so it came to pass during Christmas 2009 that the music of Congo’s Angels filled the heavens above eastern Congo. And there were midwives living out in the fields and refugee camps nearby, keeping watch over the babies at night. And Congo’s Angels sang to them, and the glory of Hope sounded around them. And the angels sang to them, “Do not be afraid. We are with you and we love you.”
Seeing is believing. For the past ten months, human rights organizations, political sources, eyewitness reports, and secret communiqués from remnants of Laurent Nkunda loyalists have reported that joint military operations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been a catastrophic failure.
As I stood in front of Dru’s grave, I was speechless, even in prayer. I was trying to make sense of 45,000 dead in Congo–people I had no ability to help. I was hoping that if I could reconnect with the death of one person who died senselessly and through no “mistake” of her own, other than being in the wrong place at the right time for her stalker, it would mitigate the anger I was feeling about the media pomp and circumstance over a celebrity’s death.
A while back I posted a commentary and review on Indie music as a soundtrack and metaphor for troubling financial times. In today’s atmosphere of music industry giants swallowing the little Indie guys and the news about Ticketmaster’s Echomusic shutting down the websites of 200 mid-level artists with barely a “slam, bam thank you guys [...]