Solidarity Across Borders!

Some activist news from Canada. The Solidarity Across Borders march starts tomorrow. It’s an immigrant rights march – press release just below. Also below, a note from the Secwepemc indigenous nation (whose ancestral lands are in British Columbia and under encroachment from various tourist multinationals, which they’ve been fighting, which has led to repression). First the Solidarity Across Borders, then below that, news on the repression of Secwepemc activists.


Tired of waiting and being afraid: Montreal-area refugees and allies to
begin 200km march to Ottawa

-> Press point: SATURDAY, June 18th at NOON
-> Location: Atwater and Ste-Catherine (Montreal)
-> Contact numbers: 514-568-8283 (en.) or 514-298-9974 (fr.) –

Montreal – June 17, 2005 – Solidarity Across Borders, a Montreal-area refugee rights coalition, will be marching tomorrow, from downtown and through the city’s immigrant neighbourhoods, embarking on a 200km walk all the way to Parliament Hill. The march is demanding a full and inclusive regularization program for all non-status people in Canada, as well as the abolition of security certificates and an end to deportations and detentions of migrants. The marchers have asked for a face-to-face meeting with Immigration Minister Joe Volpe.

According to a statement by march organizers :

” We are marching for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in Canada without status. These people – our friends, co-workers, schoolmates and neighbours – make up the social, economic and cultural fabric of cities like Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Without status, and deemed “illegal”, thousands of migrants are forced to live in poverty, without sufficient access to health care or education, and in great fear of being detained or deported, all the while being the most exploited in the workplace.

” We are marching because there is no such thing as an “illegal” human being, only unjust laws and illegitimate governments.

” We will be marching on the 10th anniversary of the “Bread and Roses” March against poverty, organized by Quebec women, and the 70th anniversary of the On-to-Ottawa Trek, organized by unemployed workers during the Great Depression; we march in the tradition of those previous efforts for social and economic justice.

” This march is directly inspired by Shamim Akhtar, a Pakistani refugee claimant and active member of Solidarity Across Borders. Shamim first proposed the idea of a refugee march to Ottawa in the summer of 2003. Unfortunately, Shamim and her family (including 4 children) were deported in the summer of 2004.

” We march almost one year later with Shamim very much in mind, as well as all our other friends and allies who have been removed, detained, forced underground or forced into sanctuary in the past years; Wendy Maxwell, Sergio Loreto, the Cordoza family, the Daschevi family, Zahoor Hussein, Fahim Kayani, Tilo Johnson, Daniel and Irina Isakov, Mohamed Cherfi, Dorothy Dubé, Fatima Marhfoul, Ahmad Nafaa, Ahmed Abdel Majeed, Faraz Abu Zimal, Ali Naqvi, the Ibad family, the Butt family, the Syed family, Dawood Khan, Eduardo Perez, Gorka Salazar, Mourad and Nadia, the Vega family, the Borja family, the Ayoub family, the Ayele family, Sanya Pecelj, Samsu Mia, Amir Kazemian, Kobra and Hassan, Adrian Dragan, Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, Hassan Almrei, Mohamed Harkat, Adil Charkaoui and many, too many, more. We refuse to be invisible and silenced”.

T’kumlups, Secwepemcul’ecw – Thursday, June 16, 2005 – 11 pm PST


In Kamloops Supreme Court today, Justice F. Cole jailed four Secwepemc Nation members – Nicole Manuel, Rose Jack, Trevor Dennis and Mark Sauls for their participation in a 4 hour roadblock on August 24, 2001 at Skwelkwek’welt ( Sun Peaks Ski Resort )

Sentences ranged from 45 days for 28 year old Secwepemc mother of 2, Nicole Manuel, to 90 days for three other Secwepemc Nationals, Trevor Dennis 26, Rose Jack 25 and Mark Sauls 24.

Two other Secwepemc Nationals in today’s proceedings, Beverly Manuel and Miranda Dick were given suspended and conditional sentences, respectively.

Following an established pattern since December 15, 2004, Justice Cole denied all attempts by the defence to have numerous constitutional questions submitted to his court concerning the BC Lands Act dealt with before sentencing in this matter was administered. “Since December 15, 2004, we have targeted the patently unconstitutional 1874 BC Lands Act as the center of our legal actions and defense. Canada’s 1875 Duty of Disallowance reaffirms this illegal definition” stated defendant Beverly Manuel.

Secwepemcul’ecw Traditional Peoples Government spokesperson Janice Billy
said “ I deplore the imprisonment of my people for upholding our sacred responsibility to protect our land from destruction by Sun Peaks Resort Corporation.” She added, the “the imprisonment of our people is just one of the many immoral tactics used by the BC provincial courts, government, and corporations to continue the theft and destruction of our unceded lands. Rather than deal honorably with us, the government uses the RCMP, courts, and media to carry out their theft and destruction. The young people jailed have shown tremendous courage to stand up to this oppressive and racist system” Attending court for the sentencing, Bonnie Andrew, councillor of the Neskonlith Indian Band, said “The government has to respect our rights to this land as Indigenous People and quit it’s ‘business as usual’ approach” Despite the continuing desecration of our traditional territory and the governments refusal to respect our Title to Secwepemcul’ecw, Secwepemc Nationals will continue to ‘occupy, use and enjoy all lands within our Nation’. This is the exact principle which was mutually agreed upon by the Secwpemcul’ecw Traditional Peoples Government and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council on September 20, 2004 prior to the arrests of three other Sewepemc Nationals on September 21, 2004 at Skwelkwek’welt.

For More Info contact

Janice Billy ( 250 ) 318 – 4290

Freedom Summer and Violence

It’s another summer of intifada in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

And since there’s occupation, there’s resistance. The International Solidarity Movement is doing a freedom summer this year. The International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) is involved in a campaign already. Below are some reports from the ground.

Saturday, 11 June 2005

IWPS House Report No.77

Week of Palestinian nonviolent resistance met with Israeli military violence

– Marda village, Salfit region, West Bank

Twenty kilometers east of the Green Line, the settlement of Ariel (population 20,000) looms above a village one tenth its size. Marda was one of the four villages named in a recent Israeli court decision that canceled all previous injunctions halting construction of the Annexation Wall in the area. The government is now free to uproot trees and begin to clear the path for the Wall, and the affected villages have been promised that in the case of a decision reversal on June 21, when the final path will be decided, the damage will be undone. Villagers of Marda recognize this empty promise for what it is, knowing that the damage done is irreversible.

On Wednesday, June 1, Israeli workers with chainsaws began to cut Marda’s trees, and in a five day period, they had cut more than 800 trees. Monday, June 6, bulldozers arrived to begin uprooting the cut trees, and they have been working every day since. After years of occupation, land theft, random arrests, and army invasions, this latest offense has caused Marda villagers to say, “Enough!” Ariel already has a fence surrounding it, they note. Why does it need another? And why on our land? Ariel has already stolen most of our land; why take even more? Determined not to sit quietly while their land is destroyed, Marda farmers, in cooperation with the Popular Committee against the Wall and the entire Salfit region, and Israeli and international groups, decided to reclaim their right to be on their land and on their roads.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

The march from Marda to Kifl Hares was supposed to be proactive, preventative. Little did Marda know, when they scheduled the demo two weeks in advance to coincide with the anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank, that their land would begin to be destroyed so soon. Little did they know that their march from Marda to Kifl Hares, along the main settler highway (which had been used by Palestinians for decades before Israel’s occupation), would be more than symbolic. That they would be marching not only for the impending land destruction, but for the hundreds of trees whose crop had been cut from them just two days before.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the center of Marda to begin their march to Kifl Hares, which would end directly next to the entrance of Ariel settlement. More than 50 soldiers met demonstrators at the entrance of Marda before they left the village, telling the crowd it could not proceed beyond a white ribbon the army had placed across the road. The front line marched directly through the ribbon with arms linked, and came face to face with a line of soldiers, also with arms linked. Soldiers were armed with guns and batons, demonstrators with flags and signs, proclaiming, “Build trust, not walls,” and “Uproot settlers, not trees.”

As villagers and supporters continued to move forward, soldiers lunged at the crowd, beating several people, including one Israeli who had to be taken to a hospital. After Palestinian village leaders and officials like Mustafa Barghouti and Kadura Fares spoke with the army commander, the army finally allowed the crowd to walk through the olive groves and across the main road to get to a new road that Israel is building on Palestinian land. Villagers slowly made their way across, happy to see that the army had closed the road completely, to both Palestinian travelers and Israeli settlers. One boy who stayed in the road longer than soldiers wanted was grabbed and taken to a jeep, only to be taken back by three Palestinian leaders just minutes later.

Demonstrators successfully made their way to Kifl Hares, followed the whole way by soldiers who continued only to let one lane of traffic pass on the settler highway. The demonstration was a huge success: Villagers completed their intended walk, closed the settler highway for some time, and made a statement to the settlers and soldiers of Ariel that their land could not be quietly stolen from them.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Sunday morning, villagers saw Israeli workers with their chainsaws once again, cutting trees near the top of the hill as they had been the previous week. Again, farmers would not let this destruction happen without trying to stop it. About 20 adult men and one IWPS woman started up the hill, and were quickly followed by about 30 boys who ignored their elders’ order to stay below. We made our way towards the cut trees, and shortly before arriving, security guards and soldiers, whom most of us still could not see over the terraces and through the olive trees, began yelling at us not to come any further. When villagers advanced, one of the security guards fired a shot towards the ground directly in front of the crowd. “Do not move!” they screamed. “Can we talk to you?” people asked. Each time the response was, “Do not move!”

Despite the fear inspired by the private guards and army, Israeli workers had left the area quickly upon the group’s arrival, a major victory for the farmers, who had also stopped the work with a quiet confrontation the previous week.

The standoff continued for a while, with occasional pushing and shoving on the army’s part and chanting on the young men’s part (“hayalim labayta” – “soldiers, go home”). One man was hit on the arm and leg with the butt of a guard’s gun.

Soldiers briefly entered the village, throwing sound bombs and leaving quickly. The villagers stayed above, surveying the damage to their land. No soldier would claim responsibility for the situation or for the other soldiers’ or guards’ behavior, so there was no person to speak or negotiate with until Gilad from the DCO arrived. After brief negotiations, Gilad promised that the work would stop for the day and that the army’s lawyer and the village’s lawyer would have a meeting the next morning to decide how to proceed.

About a half hour after we returned to the village, the work resumed. The army had broken its promise.

Monday, June 6, 2005

At 7:30 Monday morning, farmers gathered in hopes of walking to their land to sit and stop the cutting of their olive trees. 10 farmers, 8 internationals and Israelis, and approximately 40 young men and boys walked up the hill towards the settlement of Ariel where 100-200 soldiers were spread out across the land, concentrating in two different locations on the hillside.

No Wall work was happening at first, but the farmers quickly noticed that a bulldozer had begun to uproot trees near the top of the hill east of where we were standing. The group walked towards the olive trees and was immediately met by tear gas. Soldiers fired approximately 200 canisters of tear gas in the next two hours, hitting two Palestinians directly. One farmer was taken to Rafidiya hospital and two Red Crescent ambulances treated 20 Palestinians.

At 11:00, 3 army and police jeeps entered the village and began to throw sound bombs. Palestinian boys threw stones, hitting a jeep, and four border police entered a Palestinian home, presumably looking for the stone throwers. Many cameras filmed this and the police left quickly without arresting any one.

The uprooting of olive trees continued unobstructed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

At 5:30 Wednesday morning, curfew was imposed on Marda, and the entire area of Marda, Iskaka, and Salfit was declared a closed military zone. The army and border police repeatedly entered the village from 5.30 am, throwing sound bombs and firing tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition into the air. Three internationals attempted to enter Marda at 6:45 am, but were stopped by soldiers and border police and threatened with arrest. Later, 5 Israelis and 2 internationals were able to enter the village and were also ordered to leave and threatened with arrest.

One young Palestinian man had his identity card taken but it was later returned to someone else in the village. Just before midday occupation forces arrested a 25 year old Palestinian. After many hours of confusion and concern, his family discovered that he had been taken to Qedumim. He is still being held.

Approximately 20 Palestinians were injured, among them a Red Crescent ambulance worker.

Friday, June 10, 2005

As villagers in Marda tried to make their way to their fields to pray the Friday midday prayers on their land, accompanied by media, internationals, and Israeli peace activists, tear gas clouded the skies. Four bulldozers that had been uprooting Marda’s trees stopped working as soon as the villagers began their march.

Mere minutes into the ascent upwards and only a few hundred meters up the slope, Israeli soldiers began firing tear gas and sound bombs at the villagers. While a number of soldiers fired from the hill, other military vehicles made their way into the village. Tear gas and sound bombs turned into rubber bullets, and the rubber bullets into live ammunition, reportedly fired directly at children. Soldiers shot tear gas towards the mosque and into a sewing factory where dozens of women were working. Four were taken to the hospital for gas inhalation.

Three Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, one in the stomach, one in the leg, and one in the arm. One Palestinian’s thumb was broken when a tear gas canister hit his hand. Others were treated for tear gas inhalation. One international was detained for several hours and taken to Ariel police station, but was later released.

The DCO later claimed that the Israeli army fired only one rubber bullet and no live ammunition, and that a Palestinian had been shooting a Kalachnikov rifle. Villagers and Israelis collected the bullets and casings, however, and they were clearly from M16s, the rifles that the military uses.

Israeli soldiers threatened to return later that night.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

It is now Saturday, Shabbat, the day that most Israelis do not work. This apparently includes the chainsaw and bulldozer operators who have been coming daily from Ariel to destroy Marda’s land. It is a quiet day. The Israeli holiday of Shavuot begins tonight and will last for two days, hopefully ensuring that the work in Marda will not resume during this time. Shavuot commemorates Moses’ ascent to Mount Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments. Will the villagers of Marda be able to ascend their own mountain and receive anything other than tear gas and bullets?

Text: Hannah, Joy, Suraiya

Date: June 11, 2005

International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS)

Hares, Salfit

Telephone: 09 251 66 44

The Z Media Institute

Just back from the Z Media Institute (ZMI), a 9-day summer school where students learn about vision, strategy, and media skills. I was there as a teacher, doing topics of international solidarity and cultural vision. In addition to teaching, I had the chance to attend classes by Sonali Kolhatkar of KPFK, who taught radio skills; a play by Lydia Sargent, co-founder of Z Magazine; a talk by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, and of course talks by Noam Chomsky. That was just a tiny slice of the huge program students went through. While I didn’t get the chance to attend their classes, I did get to spend time with Jessica Azulay and Brian Dominick, editors of the New Standard, who taught students about the kind of journalism they do at TNS.

I also spent time with Chip Berlet from Political Research Associates. Berlet monitors the right-wing, and it was interesting to hear his perspective, since his outfit (PRA) predicted the rise of the right about 15 years ago, and then had to watch it happen, partly because the left couldn’t get its act together. Instead of integrating diversity, those in power in the left refused to give it up and helped keep the left separate, so that left constituencies could be attacked piecemeal. Those conversations made an impression on me: questions of balancing autonomy and integration and flattening structures of power that seemed like idealistic dreams for the future would also help us survive the onslaught. There were many other interesting conversations from a remarkable group of students. In my own classes we talked about Haiti, Venezuela, Israel/Palestine, and difficulties solidarity movements have and have had.

ZMI is still going on, for another few days, and I suspect so are the conversations…

Open Letter from Colombia

The Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN) read this ‘open letter’ from various internationals who volunteered to help a negotiated solution between the combatants who are currently fighting in indigenous territory in Cauca, Colombia. ACIN read this letter at a press conference yesterday: it was written some time ago. The hope is that the government and/or FARC will respond with a demonstration of willingness to dialogue.

An Open Letter to the Combatants in the Colombian Conflict, FARC and the Government of Colombia.

Since April 14, 2005, the territories and communities of Northern Cauca have been transformed into battlefields. Only the representatives of armed factions have been heard. Civilians have been displaced, wounded, and killed; their houses, churches, schools, and hospitals have been destroyed. Their voice, the most important voice in the conflict, has been drowned out.

The indigenous of Northern Cauca have struggled and sacrificed much in order to attain and build autonomy. In the process they have become an example of sustainable development, according to the United Nations Development Program, which granted their ‘Proyecto Nasa’ the Equatorial Initiative Prize last year. They have become an example to the nation of Colombia and were recognized with the National Peace Prize. One of their leaders, Arquimedes Vitonas, is the mayor of Toribio. He was recognized as a UNESCO ‘Master of Wisdom’ and by Colombia’s daily newspaper, El Tiempo, as ‘Person of the Year’ in 2004. Their achievements in land reform, participatory democracy, and indigenous law and justice are no less impressive. In recent years, their ideas have become important throughout Colombia. Their leadership in a march against President Uribe’s ‘Democratic Security’ policy, against the various Constitutional Reforms proposed by the current administration, and the Free Trade Agreement in September of 2004 mobilized tens of thousands of people and opened an important debate on this crucial issue at the national level. Their Popular Consultation on the FTA in March 2005 was a model of transparency and democratic participation in which the FTA was rejected by nearly the whole population, in an election with record participation. This, too, raised crucial questions for debate at the national level, and a political initiative for such a consultation at the national level is growing. The consultation, like the earlier one in Brazil in 2002, set an important precedent for the continent, showing how people can convene transparent and valid electoral processes that have credibility and legitimacy that governmental electoral processes often lack.

Today these communities are again forced to raise their voices and make demands at the national level. In this case their demands have to do not with crucial questions of democracy and economic development, but war and peace. Their autonomous communal processes have been disrupted by war in their communities, a war in which their views and their rights are not respected.

An outgrowth of the ‘Minga’ of September 2004 was the ‘Indigenous and Popular Mandate’. This mandate included the following:

With regard to the armed conflict, the violation of human rights and the politics of “democratic security”

-To design and put in place popular mechanisms for a negotiated solution to the armed conflict.

-To demand truth, justice, and reparations for the victims of armed conflict.

-Promote popular and autonomous mechanisms of civil resistance, peace and security that include the recognition of the Guardia Indigena as a popular force for peace.

-Demand and design mechanisms of civil resistance with national and international pressure, support, and observation to win the exit of armed groups from our territories and respect for the civil population, respect for indigenous autonomy and indigenous organizations.

-Design mechanisms of resistance and civil disobedience against the politics of “democratic security” of the Colombian government.

In accordance with this Mandate, the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca has made three demands of the armed actors in their territories:

1) An immediate ceasefire
2) The complete demilitarization of their territories
3) The opening of dialogues between the armed actors toward a negotiated solution to Colombia’s armed conflict

Nobel Peace Prize winner and indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchu Tum has supported this call with a call of her own to “the armed groups in this conflict, the FARC and the government, to stop the war, silence the guns, and listen to the words and make redoubled efforts to continue dialogue and search for a negotiated solution to the conflict. Colombia must not have a future of eternal bloodshed imposed upon it.” Rigoberta Menchu also declared that she would “answer the call of the Regional Indigenous Councils of Cauca to form a diplomatic mission to aid in the facilitation of a dialogue towards a negotiated solution” and join an Indigenous Peace Initiative led by the Indigenous of Northern Cauca.

We echo Rigoberta Menchu’s support for the indigenous communities of Northern Cauca in their call for a ceasefire, the demilitarization of their territories, and the opening of dialogues. We will accompany the process of the Indigenous Peace Initiative created for these ends.


Manfred Max Neef (Chile), economist, spokesperson for the Indigenous and Popular Congress
Noam Chomsky (United States), linguist and author
Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina), Nobel laureate
Baltazar Garzon (Spain), jurist
Arturo Escobar (Colombia), researcher
Naomi Klein (Canada), author


Bolivian social movements are once again on the verge of overthrowing a government. Their demands are for the government to go, and for the full nationalization of oil and gas. Bolivia was among the first countries to suffer neoliberal restructuring in 1985, accompanied by the destruction of its mining union. It was also among the first countries to develop unique forms of resistance to privatization and neoliberalism, first with the ‘water war’, and more recently with the ‘gas war’. No coincidence.

Continue reading “Bolivia!”

A Spirited Haiti Protest

Got this in the mail a few days ago. It makes the upcoming ‘elections’ planned for Haiti somewhat problematic. The plan of the regime, the US, and the UN is, presumably, to kill Lavalas and force them into hiding, and then hold elections. There is another wave of massacres happening in Port au Prince’s popular neighbourhoods, and there will be more waves before the October elections.

The below shows the reaction of Lavalas activists to this plan. It is a testament to the resilience of Haitians, a testament that should probably put us to shame.

“We’re Not Participating In Selections!” Says Haitians in Haiti

(“Misery in my A##, Boulos in my A##, Apaid in my A##, Bourgeoisies in my A##, Starvation in my A##. We are not participating in elections!” – Voices from the streets of Haiti, May 27, 2005

….The twisted intestines of an empty stomach are not enjoyable…. – Demonstrators, May 27, 2005 )

For the Ezili Danto Witness Project, by Jean, direct from the streets of Haiti.


Editor’s Note:
This recorded Kreyol report was filed for the Ezili Danto Witness Program by Jean direct from Haiti while the student demonstration was occurring on May 27, 2005 and translated into English by Frantz Jerome for HLLN.

Some within this cadre of “student” demonstrators (the trade unionists in particular) were allied with group 184 and called for the Coup D’etat. As this demonstration indicates, it looks as if they’ve disengaged from Group 184 and Latortue.

Kreyol speakers may listen to the 23-minute original recording, on line, at Lakou New York for May 27, 2005:

Jean: Greetings to everyone…We are live in Port-au-Prince at the Commerce Ministry where students organized a large demonstration, yelling: ‘down with the rising cost of living, down with starvation.’

The students have taken over the Ministry’s yard, to literally run her out of the Ministry.

We have with us one of the organizers of this demonstration and are ready for a short interview.

Lakou New York greets you!

Organizer: Well, we greet all the people listening in New York and say that today we’ve all come together. We have the trade unionists. There’s UNNOH, PAPBA, MODEP, Mega, Kay Fanm, Sofa – all of us.

We are united. We’ve come together to tell this government that we fought against the high cost of living, corruption, theft and still the same situation remains. The cost of living has sky- rocketed. Life is harder. The suffering has amplified and all of us cannot eat or drink. All of us here, whether we are teachers, students, even the cops who are here, the little money they are paying us, we can’t do anything with what we are getting paid. Yet, they are paying MINUSTHA $25 million U.S. dollars per month while we cannot eat.
Therefore, Latortue (“se ti moun”) is a child – He is the IMF’s boy; the World Bank’s boy; USA’s boy – there to execute orders coming from the USA, the World Bank and the IMF.

Today we need visionaries as government officials. We need Haitians with a sense of social awareness, social vision to run the affairs of the country.

The current ones are mere pimps.

Pimps working to fatten their own pockets. They are not working for the people. That is why today Haitians everywhere, in Haiti and abroad, should stand up and demand a country where we can live.

There are Haitians in New York, abroad -everywhere – who want to come back home to live and work. But as long as there are corrupted Toms, ready to say “yes sir” like Latortue, they will never be able to work over here. Although the country is ours, for the past 200 years, we’ve been living with shameless bullies. A small portion of the population is satisfying their unbridled appetite, while the overwhelming majority is starving to death. It’s unacceptable!

We are tired of this.

Today the bourgeois must understand this untenable situation will not continue. Things can’t go on like before. It’s not acceptable that they take all the resources and let the people starve to death. For 200 years the pie hasn’t been cut right. On one side, there’s a small click that has been living large while the rest of us have nothing. Something must be done. Whatever they do, we will not be intimidated. We are not afraid of the “Chimè’s” guns. We are not afraid of anything. (….inaudible)

Jean: What is your name?

Organizer: Josue Merilien, UNNOH

Jean: That’s how things are at the demonstration, where they are directing many venomous slogans towards the ruthless and lawless defacto government.

The students climbed over the wall and jumped into the yard of the Ministry and started to disrupt the environment. The Minister’s car sped away but not before they wrote “down with the high cost of living.” They are chanting and writing it on all the cars parked in the yard. They are making a racket that I am going to have you sample right now.

(Editor’s Note: We hear demonstrators jumping up and down, rhyming, chanting. Clapping, shouting vociferously in piercingly angry voices. Above the raucous one singer leads, stridently chanting an impolite call-and-response song denouncing the bourgeoisie, group 184. Everyone answers one unequivocal response in unison: “We won’t participate in elections. And then: “We won’t participate in imported selections” Editor sends her apologies to the Network in advance. But we couldn’t figure out a more polite way to translate the word “bounda” – Kreyol for “ass.” No other English equivalent more adequately conveyed the Haitian students’ disenchantment with U.S. officials, group 184 and Latortue. So “ass” they said. “Ass” we write. Reprints of this report, may use “A###” as an alternative if desired.):

Lead Singer: “Bourgeois in my ass. Misery in my ass.”
Chorus: “We ain’t participating in elections!”

Lead Singer: “Baker in my ass. Misery in my ass.”
Chorus: “We ain’t participating in elections!”

Lead Singer: “Apaid in my ass. Starvation in my ass.
Chorus: “We ain’t participating in elections!”

Lead Singer: “Boulos in my ass. Starvation in my ass.
Chorus: “We ain’t participating in elections!”

(Translator’s notes: And so on and so forth, going through the list of the 184 members. The chanting lasts for a few minutes during which the demonstrators associate the bourgeoisie – Apaid, Baker, Boulos and many more members of the 184 organization – to their misery, starvation, insecurity and inability to buy basic food staples.)

Jean: You hear the very intense atmosphere. Students who claimed the Ministry does not deserve to be called “Ministry of Commerce” have sprayed over where the Minister’s name was written, stating that the defacto government is the one that brought the high cost of living to Haiti. They also have put certain items on exhibit. Here’s a glimpse of the exhibit the demonstrators have put on display:

There’s a small natural gas container with the caption: “in 1986 it cost US$0.65, in 1990 it cost US$1.97, in 2004 it cost US$10.48, in 2005 it cost US$12.45.”

There is a 10 pound bag of wheat with the caption: “not too long ago the price of a 10 pound bag of wheat was US$0.26, now it cost US$0.40.”

The demonstrators are complaining that the price for grapefruit is too much for their pocketbook, as well as sweet potatoes… They further pointed out that not too long ago the cost of a couple of pounds of kidney beans was US$0.65, as opposed to the current US$1.05….

That is how things are even though the police officers are behaving as their usual repressive self.

Right now, although the gate has been opened, the students are still scaling the wall making the point that they must leave the way they entered, understand?

Unidentified Student: If they want to kill us because we are stating the fact the bourgeoisie is responsible for our misery, even though today they make US$0.79 profit on the gallon of gas as opposed to the US$0.08 per gallon profit that they made in 1994, they may as well kill us.

One thing is for sure, we are fighting against the high cost of living. We are fighting in order to eradicate misery in Haiti.

Jean: We noticed that the police officer was harassing you while you were removing the official license plate from the car and writing your slogans.

Demonstrator: The police are supposed to be a law and order institution. As such, we have no problem with the police. Nonetheless we will point out that the police are paid for the job that they do. But although we are pushed around, the problem remains a social one. People cannot eat, the populations of Bèlè and Site Solèy can’t. The current regime has a macabre plan. The imperialists are mixed up with the bourgeoisie in order to lead the people to a hopeless situation. The twisted intestines of an empty stomach are not enjoyable. Latortue must try to imagine what is happening on the street, what the people are going through.

As far as we are concerned, the Constitution is clear. Elections can’t be debated or organized in the current state of things. It is a fact that it is impossible to run elections in the current state of affairs. The problems faced by the country currently have nothing to do with elections. It is about time that we address the true problems of this country. The problem of squeezing, the problem of exploiting, the problem of alienating of the majority by the vampire bourgeoisie.

Us students, we are more determined than ever; us the responsible representatives, the enlightened conscience of the people, we say no. Things must change. The exploitation must stop.

Jean: What is your name?

Student: I am a student at the school of ethnology.

Jean: That is how thing were. The students left the Minister’s yard and continued their demonstration on the streets. Yet when the Minister’s car was pulling out, in an effort to avoid the demonstrators going over the wall, it was a veritable assault on the car, though limited to punches and kicks to the car. They wrote and yelled (“aba grangou, aba la vie chè” ) – “down with the high cost of living, down with starvation.”

They appear to be chanting something new, let’s listen in:

Student: As the song just stated, the police is a tool manipulated by any government. A tool manipulated especially by the bourgeois. We understand that it is their instrument that they use against us. While the cops push us around, we know that they are victims of the very misery that we are contesting. The government and bourgeoisie dispatched their police on us because the police are their instrument. They were given strict orders to rough us up, because as an institution, they are instruments of the government and bourgeoisie to hit us. However, we don’t care and will be sitting here on a regular basis, until the price of gas goes down.

Jean: Today you went over the wall and really disrupted the Ministry’s environment. What is the next step?

Student: We had started by a sit-in and the government ignored our demand. We are going to continue to mobilize in all form of peaceful demonstrations, until the cost of gas goes down. The Ministry’s yard is a public place, access to which we are entitled. We were protesting the high cost of living; we went to let them know.

Jean: …(inaudible)

Student: Our principles tell us that once we went over the wall on the way in, we had to use the same approach to exit.

Jean: Why did you need the Minister’s license plate?

Student: We did not need the license plate. We think that the car should be sold and the money used to provide the peasants with seeds and fertilizers. The money used to buy these cars comes from loans given by the IMF.

Jean: What is your name?

Student: My name is Laurent.
Jean: …(inaudible)

Student: I don’t belong to any political party I am a student.

(Translator’s notes): The chanting starts again. But this time around the word “ election” is replaced by “SELECTION” in the chorus– Grangou lan bouda-m, mwen pa lan selektyon!)
“Bourgeois in my A##. Misery in my A##.” (Chorus:) “We ain’t participating in this selection.”

“Baker in my A##. Misery in my A##.
(Chorus:) “We ain’t participating in this selection.”

“The high cost of living in my A##, Boulos in my A##.
(Chorus) “We ain’t participating in this selection”

“High cost of living in my ass. Apaid in my A##. Amwe, Amwe.

(Chorus) “We ain’t participating in this selection.”

High cost of living in my ass. Starvation in my A##.
Chorus: “We ain’t participating in this selection….”

(Translator’s notes: The slogans became more hostile to the bourgeois class):

“People, stand up!
(Chorus) It’s the bourgeoisie that won’t stop killing us.”

“People stand up!
(Chorus) The bourgeoisie won’t finish killing.”

“Young people stand up!
(Chorus) The bourgeoisie won’t stop the slaughter.”

“Young people stand up!
(Chorus) We don’t want imported selections.”

“Site Solèy stand up!
(Chorus) We don’t want an imported administration.”

“Peasants, stand up”
(Chorus) It’s the bourgeoisie that keeps killing.”

“Bèlè stand up!
(Chorus) It’s the bourgeoisie that won’t stop killing.”

(etc, etc,.. Kreyol speakers may listen to the original recording for full chant.)
Jean: Yes, that is the way things are progressing at the demonstration …

(Translator’s notes: Jean’s voice is drowned out by a new chant….. “Nou pa t ap dòmi non. Se yon kabicha nou t ap fè. La boujwazi tonè, nou reveye….”):


We weren’t asleeeeeeeep noOOO.
We were just snoozing. We weren’t asleep!

We weren’t asleeeeeeeep noOOO.
We were just snoozing. We weren’t asleep!
Latortue, it’s for real, we’ re awaaake!

We weren’t asleeeeeeeep noOOO.
We were just snoozing. We weren’t asleep!

We weren’t asleeeeeeeep noOOO.
We were just snoozing. We weren’t asleep!
Danm it bourgeoisies, we’re awaaaaake
Danm it bourgeoisies, we’re awaaaaake

We weren’t asleeeeeeeep noOOO.
We were just snoozing. We weren’t asleep!

We weren’t asleeeeeeeep noOOO.
We were just snoozing. We weren’t asleep!
Latortue, damn it, we’ re awaaaake!
(Note: Another students heatedly start another rhyme with a different slogan, everyone joins in the chorus:)

(“Nou fout grangou” ) – “We’re starving, damn it!”
(Chorus- “Nou grangou”) – “We’re starving.”
“We’re starving, damn it”
(Chorus) “We’re starving”
“We’re starving, damn it!”
(Chorus) We’re starving
“We’re starving, damn it!”
(Chorus slogan gets faster, faster, faster)
“We’re starving!”
“We’re starving!”
“We’re starving!”
Nou grangou/nou grangou/nou grangou…..

End of Report


I’m sorry about the missing days. I am not yet ready to stop making excuses and accept that I am an irregular blogger, even if you (readers) have done so.

Enough with the excuses. My friend Stefan Christoff, from Montreal, is planning a trip to Lebanon. The idea behind the trip is twofold. First, Stefan, who has been doing great work in alternative media, immigration and antipoverty activism, and anti-corporate globalization activism, intends to help facilitate ongoing exchanges between activists in Lebanon and in Montreal. Second, he wants to report on ongoing events in Lebanon for alternative media here. Both are worthy projects, and like many worthy projects, they take resources, some of which Stefan certainly has, others (mostly money) of which he does not.

Take a look at his ‘pitch’ below, and send him some money if you can!

LIVING WAR: Reporting on Struggles for Social Justice in LEBANON A Fundraising Appeal for an Independent MEDIA Initiative….!

This is a call for financial support and solidarity for an independent media initiative of CKUT Radio’s Community News Collective in Montreal, with the collaboration of the Electronic Intifada, Free Speech Radio News and members of the Independent Media Center in Beirut.

Between June & September 2005, Stefan Christoff, an independent journalist and community organizer in Montreal, will travel to Lebanon to produce written, audio, and visual reports on present-day struggles for social justice in Lebanon. He will be the Electronic Intifada’s “Special Correspondent” in Lebanon. Christoff will also be producing regular radio reports for Free Speech Radio News and recording material for a radio documentary series to be produced at CKUT Radio in Montreal and distributed to community radio stations throughout the world in the fall of 2005.

This independent media initiative coincides with a period of significant political change in Lebanon, following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime-Minister Rafik Hariri in downtown Beirut in February 2005. Hariri’s death sparked a political shift in Lebanon, which saw the longstanding presence of approximately 15 000 Syrian troops in Lebanon come to an end. Also in recent months a series of sectarian bombings have taken place throughout the country, igniting a growing fear that Lebanon will relapse into the religious and political sectarianism which defined the 15 year civil-war from 1975 to 1990.

In this political context, the media initiative aims to explore grassroots political organizing and campaigns in Lebanon that oppose sectarian violence as well as Western military intervention in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. Additionally, reporting for this project will focus on political movements that are struggling for broad principles of social and economic justice, in relation to other movements throughout the global south that are fighting for self-determination and against capitalist globalization.

Importantly, this project aims to focus on the politically diverse voices within Lebanese society that are not often broadcast or projected by major media outlets on a local and international level. In so doing, it will confront the international corporate media distortions of the current political situation in Lebanon. This project aims to give voice to the struggles of oppressed communities in Lebanon, from the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, to the working poor, to the foreign workers, and to progressive political movements in a social context in which upwards of 40% the population lives in poverty.

The existing budget for this independent media initative is approximately $3,000 Canadian, which takes into account travel expenses, equipment needs, including recording devices and basic living expenses.

It is only with YOUR financial assistance, solidarity, and support for this important initiative that the radio documentary project will take place. Please consider donating today. ALL financial donation information is included BELOW.

Thank you in advance for your support and solidarity, Stefan Christoff CKUT Radio Montreal — Tel: 514 398 6788 Email:

“I have learned a great deal from Stefan Christoff’s breakthrough reporting on and from Beirut. In the midst of the Bush Administration’s propaganda campaign about spreading “democracy” through the Middle East, it is absolutely crucial that probing and engaged independent journalists like Christoff have the resources they need to bring us unfiltered and unembedded voices from the front lines of Lebanon’s genuine grassroots struggles for self-determination. I urge you to support this project.”

Naomi Klein, syndicated columnist and author, “No Logo.”

—-> If you are interested in supporting this project financially, you can make checks payable to “Stefan Christoff” and mail them to the following address:

Stefan Christoff C/O CKUT Radio Montreal 3647 University Street Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B3, Canada

NOTE – Those wishing to make a contribution to this project that is tax-deductible under U.S. law for U.S taxpayers can make their donation through the Electronic Intifada. To donate, please visit the Electronic Intifada’s donation page at:

—-> Details on Accessing Christoff’s Reporting on Struggles for Social Justice in Lebanon:

Between June & September, Christoff will be filing regular bi-weekly reports for the ELECTRONIC INTIFADA, while also producing radio reports for CKUT RADIO & various community radio stations throughout the world.

You will find Christoff reports as the ELECTRONIC INTIFADA’s “Special Correspondent” in LEBANON online at:…. You will hear Christoff’s audio reports on CKUT Radio ( in MONTREAL at 90.3 FM. The radio reports will also be available for re-broadcast & download on-line at:….

ALSO, Christoff will be collaborating with Palestinian independent journalist Mohammed Shublaq of the Independent Media Center in Beirut for Free Speech Radio News (FSRN). These reports will broadcast on over 93 community radio stations throughout the world and will also be accessible online. All details concerning FSRN and the program’s broadcast schedule can be found at:

AND Christoff will be recording and producing audio material for a larger radio documentary series entitled LIVING WAR, which will be edited and ready for broadcast in October 2005 and will be aired on CKUT Radio in Montreal and throughout community radio stations in Canada, North America and the world.

The distribution of this documentary will take place by Internet. CD mail-outs will be made available upon request to community radio stations…. If you are interested in broadcasting or distributing the LIVING WAR radio documentary project please do not hesitate to get in touch!

—-> Information on Independent Media Activist & Community Organizer Stefan Christoff:

Stefan Christoff is a social justice organizer and media activist based in Montreal. Christoff has been active with various Palestinian solidarity organizing including the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and heavily involved with the struggle of Palestinian refugees in Canada through the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees. Christoff has also been active with various networks and organizations actively confronting capitalist globalization including the Peoples Global Action Network and locally with CLAC, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence in Montreal.

As a media activist Christoff is a long-time member of CKUT’s Community News Collective. He has focused on forging connections between social justice movements and community based media initiatives. Stefan is also a regular contributor to Free Speech Radio News ( based in the U.S. Christoff’s radio work has been broadcast on countless community radio stations throughout the world, including Canada, the United States, the UK, the Middle East & Africa. Christoff’s written work has also been published in various media sources throughout the world, from the Middle East, to Canada, to the U.S. and the UK, including the Montreal Mirror, Lebanon’s Daily Star, the Jordan Times, Z Magazine, Canadian Dimension, and the Electronic Intifada.