Konch Magazine - Pearl of Antellis Tom Karlson

Pearl of the Antilles by Tom Karlson

They walked and paddled 
wanderlust and wondrous game, easily caught,
pulls proto-Indians east and south
across the Bering strait down to the Caribbean rim
from Venezuela to one hundred islands north and west
bringing cassava, cotton, tobacco, sweet potato
and five thousand years of language and culture

1492: Taino and Columbus collide
Taino-Arawak one million strong 
Columbus armed with gun, smallpox, chain gang, iron, and time
Two generations later, 600 natives remain

1508: The thousand plantations must be fueled
Natives gone, West Africa’s humanity is for sale

1790: French slave masters destroy 30,000 slaves each year 
Europe feeds on Haitian
tobacco, coffee, sugar, cotton, indigo
produced by the black gold
of the French bourgeoisie
750 ships, 24,000 sailors move this
cargo and humanity 
from Africa to Haiti to Europe
the triangle of death

1804: Toussaint L’Oveture leads 30,000 slaves,
against Napoleon’s finest 
actions birthed by the French and American revolutions
the little man’s dreams of new world empire extinguished, 
French Louisiana sold, 
the US doubles size
Haiti the second republic of the new world
The first freed slave republic 
US, France, the rest of Europe responds
Haiti must be crushed 
embargo and boycott
force her to pay 152 million francs 
reparations to French and US bankers
Interest and principal paid off in 127 years,

1915: Wilson sends in the Marines
US debt collectors
19 years occupation
After 127 years interest and principal paid in full

1957-1986 the US runs Haiti
a client colony with 
Papa Doc, then Baby Doc and
the tonton macoute
60,000 murdered, millions stolen
Haiti is in good hands

1990, Aristide elected, wins 90% of the vote, US coup, 1991
2000 Aristide reelected,
Demands 21 billion at UN
Kidnapping and coup 2004
2,000 disappeared 
Jean Bertrand Aristide banished to Africa
Fanmi Lavalas, his party, barred from all elections by US

January 12, 2010
200,000 dead
Fourth invasion
200 flights a day
180 military flights
12,000 marines, guns, secure the rubble
(rumor of oil)
Graffiti in cite soley
“Marines al lakai nou”
“Nou pap tounin esclav enko”
Marines out, we will not be slaves

Haiti the struggle must continue