I attended the Haiti Teach-In last Thursday with other members of the club Solutions Across Borders. The teach-in welcomed many eloquent speakers such as Ned Sublette, Lois Wilcken and Carolyn Rose-Avilla. The event was attended by many students as well as faculty and organized a group of concerned and interested people. The questions and answers session ran short of time, but the few questions addressed got a diaspora of answers.
Frisner Augustin opened the event with a powerful demonstration of Haitian drumming which included the active participation of the audience. All we had to do was clap to a beat, but just that involved us in the vibrant culture and spirituality of the music. It may have been interesting to learn more about the background of this type of Haitian drumming, but the excerpt provided in the memo handed out was a great start. La Troupe Makandal and Frisner Augustin work hand in hand to uphold the spirituality of the repertory derived from Vodou here in the
This serves as a good place to introduce Lois Wilken, who is the Executive Director at La Troupe Makandal. Her short briefing of Haitian culture and spirituality left me specifically with many questions, but at the same time gave me the incentive to further research things which were unknown. Wilken presented a brief history of the origins of Vodou, which translates into “spirit” and described this spiritual belief as the culture of healing. She made the connections between Haitian music and the power of music to heal. This was an interesting correlation which was supported by information on Haitian dance. In most scenarios, we American label all things unknown to us and our culture as “ceremonies,” however, Wilken urged the fact that natives preferred to use just Vodou dance. Whether there was a special reasoning behind this or not, was something which was left unanswered. Vodou dance takes place throughout the night, anywhere from six to seven hours and entails of a unique dance movement and rhythms. The purpose behind these Vodou dances is the belief in “spirit possessions.” It is believed that when music is heard and dance is seen, a higher power chooses someone through which he speaks to a congregation. This activity may leave an individual unconscious.
Wilken concluded her speech with flashbacks from history and films which encouraged the popularity of the word Vodou. At first it was a way to demonize the people of a free black republic around all black slave states; it was an attempt to identify independent
In situations where the world media is paying attention to the same thing, there is room for shaping the story to make it sell! News-media critic Ned Sublette presented us with a fierce representation of what it means to “package a story.” He started off with the term “looting” which was being replaced by information informing people that individual initiatives to survive were taking place increasingly. In many coverage’s, the white male represented the “American hero” and the “hurt black boy represented tragedy stricken
It is important to recognize the need of rebuilding
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