News

Africa Travel Association and New York University-Africa House present
Africa Tourism Day

 

8th Annual Presidential Forum on Tourism

Featuring African Ministers of Tourism and Senior Statesmen

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

10:00 am - 2:00 pm (Doors open at 9:30am)

Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, Kimmel Center, New York University

60 Washington Square South (Between Thompson and LaGuardia), New York 

 

 3rd Annual Young Professionals Program Tourism Roundtable

In Partnership with ATA Media Partner, Applause Africa

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Room 802, Kimmel Center, New York University

60 Washington Square South (Between Thompson and LaGuardia), New York

RSVP at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - Ethiopian Airlines has made a record profit, the company's chief executive officer said this week Tewolde Gebremariam partly credited the profitability of Etethiohiopian Airlines to Boeing's problematic 787 planes. He said the company's operating profit between July 2012 and June 2013 is 2.7 billion birr ($143,137,098) from a billion birr ($53,013,740) the previous financial year.

Citing unaudited company accounts Tewolde said that the company's net profits also surged during the period to 2.03 billion birr ($107,617,892) from 734 million birr ($39,230,167) of the previous year, a 178 percent increase. Tewolde said the performance is a result of "exceptionally dedicated employees" and the Boeing 787 planes he described as super-efficient. He said the planes helped the company save on fuel costs. In January, Dreamliner's around the world were grounded because of overheating lithium batteries.

Ethiopian Airlines was the first to get the plane back in the air, on April 27. In early July one of the company's 787 planes was damaged by a fire while parked at London Heathrow airport. The plane had been parked for about 10 hours when a worker in the control tower saw smoke coming out, and activated a crash alarm. British air safety officials have subsequently recommended that emergency transmitters on Boeing 787s should be disabled after finding that one of the squat orange boxes was the only thing with enough power to start a fire in the scorched tail section of the 787. Tewolde said Ethiopian Air would have been even more profitable, if it had not been for incidents involving the 787 planes. "Definitely the incidents and grounding have some impact. We were very fortunate that coincidentally the grounding of the planes were in what we call slack season . it's a slow demand season. So were able to minimize the level of the impact," said Tewolde. He insisted the Dreamliner's are "the future of the aviation" and his company is sticking with plans to buy five more of the planes and lease three others.

"Whenever we introduce the aircraft in any route, the load factor immediately increases, which means our customers love the plane, they are enjoying its features," Tewolde said. He said the incidents with the Dreamliner are part of a natural teething period "which is not unusual for a technologically game- changing aircraft such as the Dreamliner."

Ethiopian Airlines operates an all-Boeing fleet with some 1,330 weekly flights. The airline flies to 76 international and 17 domestic destinations.

 

Source : African Quarterly Magazine

 

    

 

CrockwellHAMILTON, Bermuda - Bermuda's government-run Department of Tourism will be abolished and replaced by an independent, newly created Tourism Authority. Tourism Authority legislation will be sent to Parliament when it resumes sessions in midmonth, and passage of the Tourism Act is expected quickly, according to Minister of Tourism Development and Transport Shawn Crockwell. "The transition will begin once the act is passed, and the transition is anticipated to be completed by the end of March 2014," Crockwell said.

The move to an independent authority grew out of the Tourism Plan, which launched last year and which called for the creation of a Tourism Authority to revitalize Bermuda's tourism industry, stimulate the economy, create a welcoming environment for hospitality investment and create jobs for Bermudians, according to Crockwell. Since he assumed his post in December following elections, Crockwell has endeavored to reverse Bermuda's sagging tourism numbers and facilitate long-range planning through an independent authority managed by industry professionals. In January he named David Dodwell, owner of the Reefs Hotel & Club in Bermuda, as chairman-designate of the Tourism Authority.

In a meeting on Aug. 27 with the Department of Tourism staff, Crockwell said that no current staff would be dismissed and that all employees would have the opportunity to apply for positions within the new Tourism Authority. "Should employees not be hired by the authority, employment opportunities will be made available within government ministries and departments," Crockwell said. Meanwhile, current staff will continue with their work until activities are transitioned to the new authority. "The government's election platform promised to remove the day-to-day running of tourism away from the political realm and to transition to an independent authority, a mammoth task that involves a multitude of issues," Crockwell said.

A CEO who will report to a board of directors will head the new Tourism Authority. During the interim period that will end once a CEO is in place, an executive steering committee headed by Dowell will run the operation. Bermuda's tourism numbers have plummeted in recent months, dropping 12% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2012. Air arrivals in Q2 were similar to last year's figures of 75,013, but cruise and yacht arrivals fell 17%, to 133,676, due to 22 fewer cruise calls.

Source: caribbeannewsdigital.com

Photo: Minister Shawn Crockwell

 

 

 

arts voodoA new exhibit, “Remembering Ginen: Haitian Vodou Bottles, Flags and Vèvè,” opened Sept. 20 in the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts and continues through Jan. 5, 2014. This exhibition is one of a series of major presentations of Vodou arts at arts and cultural institutions around the world that aim to overcome the misconceptions and misinterpretations of the Haitian arts and culture and to inspire understanding and appreciation of Haitian creativity and artistic expressions. Vodou arts reflect the memories of Ginen, the African homeland and the spiritual abode of the ancestors, thus creating a sense of cultural identity, shared aesthetics and social cohesiveness among the Haitian people.

Vodou arts are integrated into the Vodou ceremonies, but the Vodou lwa (spirits) also serve as muses inspiring Haitian artists to create vivid art works that relate to universal human values and join us all in a dialogue about the meaning of the past in the present, harmony and balance, life, hope, and possible future. The exhibition’s major focus is the artworks of contemporary Haitian artist Kesler Pierre, who creates the sacred bottles that adorn Vodou altars, the ceremonial rattles (ason) used in Vodou performances and the elaborate vèvè designs that derive from cosmograms traced on the floors during Vodou rituals. Each of his bottles is designed to incorporate the physical representation and/or the vèvè associated with the individual lwa for whom it is intended. Pierre uses paint to present a contemporary artistic vision of the traditional beaded bottles. But he also uses glitter to achieve a sparkling effect similar to that provided by the use of beads.

The exhibition also includes displays of traditional beaded Vodou bottles that offer a comparison of techniques and designs. Some are created by the Haitian artist Lina Michel. Others came from the private collections of Lois Wilcken and Angus Kress Gillespie. The displays showcase several painted-on-glass sacred rattles (ason) created by Pierre. Ason (sacred rattle) and bells (klochèt) are also used in rituals. Ason is traditionally made of gourds and adorned with beads. Like to the bottles, the painted-on-glass sacred rattles (ason) present contemporary interpretations of this art form as deemed appropriate by the artist. They were created in partnership with the WheatonArts Glass Studio where the glass rattles (ason) were made and later painted by Pierre in preparation for this exhibition. Pierre’s vèvè designs are symbolic representations of individual lwa (spirits).

The shape of the vèvè reflects the character of the lwa for whom it is created. Displays of Haitian Vodou flags (drapo) complete the exhibition design thus providing a more comprehensive understanding of the Vodou ceremonies and their meaning as reflected in the art works of the Haitian flag makers. The flags in this exhibition are a valuable part of the private collection of Nancy Josephson and Ted Frankel.
Pierre’s photographs of Vodou rituals and additional explanatory panels provide the necessary cultural context for symbolism and artistry thus contributing to the overall experience of the Haitian culture and artistic expressions.

Additional programs being offered in conjunction with the exhibit: ■ Haitian Vèvè Designs Workshop with Kesler Pierre. November 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. Pierre will demonstrate and teach Vodou vèvè designs, while explaining their meanings and significance in the Haitian traditional culture. He will interpret the story of the vèvè designs as symbolic representations of individual lwa (spirits), who are a part of the Vodou pantheon and will explain the meaning of the Vèvè as a sacred sign drawn on the floor either at the foot of the altar or around the center pole in a Vodou temple. Participants will learn how the vèvè’s shape reflects the character of the lwa for whom it is traced, create their own vèvè designs, and learn how to understand both the meaning and the artistry of the vèvè in the context of other Vodou arts.

Additional visual works will be provided as well as handouts for future practice. ■ Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti. A Special Presentation by Nancy Josephson. Nov. 10 from Noon to 1 p.m. Josephson will share her experiences with this unique art form. She will focus on flag making techniques while interpreting the cultural beliefs at the core of the flag designs and a folk lore expressed in the outstanding works of the Haitian artists. ■ “Remembering Ginen: Traditional Music and Dance of Haiti” featuring La Troupe Makandal of New York. Nov. 10 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Haitian people remember and celebrate their history through the arts, and these include music and dance. Makandal's work also derives from Vodou, an Afro-Haitian spiritual practice that honors and serves the ancestors and the forces of nature. The Troupe’s presentation features a suite created from the dances, songs and drumming styles brought to Haiti from West Africa and the Congo region. The program tells the stories of the various peoples who survived enslavement, struggled for and won independence, and established the modern state of Haiti.

The program also includes an interactive music and dance workshop for audience members.
For additional information about the Museum of American Glass and/or WheatonArts call
800-998-4552 or 856-825-6800 or visit wheatonarts.org. WheatonArts is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open Labor Day. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. WheatonArts strives to ensure the accessibility of its exhibitions, events and programs to all persons with disabilities. Provide two weeks notice for additional needs. Patrons with hearing and speech disabilities may contact WheatonArts through the New Jersey Relay Service (TRS) 800-852-7899 or by dialing 711.

Funding has been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, and the Cumberland County Urban Enterprise Zone. WheatonArts receives general operating support from the New Jersey Historical Commission, Division of Cultural Affairs in the New Jersey Department of State and is supported in part by the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism. For the original report go to http://www.capemaycountyherald.com/article/arts+and+entertainment/94894

 

 

obama israelThe first Ethiopian Jewish woman to become Miss Israel, Yityish Aynaw, will tour America during the last week of September. Hosted by the National Juneteenth Christian  Leadership Council (NJCLC), her U.S. tour will be followed by a Israel Juneteenth Reconciliation Tour to the state of Israel in 2014.

 

"We are excited about Miss Israel's visit and the opportunity to build closer relationships with the state of Israel through our connection with the Ethiopian Jewish community," states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) and host of the National & World Day of Reconciliation & Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement. "We, as Americans of African descent, share a common historical bond of going from enslavement to freedom with our Ethiopian Jewish brothers and sisters. We look forward to having a historic Juneteenth Freedom Day Celebration in Israel next year."


Rev. Dr. Myers, who leads the Campaign to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday, believes that the annual celebration of Juneteenth affords America a great opportunity to bring reconciliation and healing to one of nation's darkest moments in history. He also believes it is the time to address the need for reconciliation and healing from the legacy of enslavement for not just America, but the entire world, especially Africa.


Rev. Dr. Myers, the first ordained and commissioned medical missionary to America's poorest region, the Mississippi Delta, in the history of the African American church, wants to bring awareness of the needs of Ethiopian Jews.


"There are a number of Ethiopian churches, pastors and ministers in the U.S. that we are working with concerning Miss Israel's visit," states Dr. Myers. Our prayer is to be a blessing by raising money and other resources to help meet the needs of Ethiopian Jews in Israel and in Ethiopia."


"Miss Israel's visit will also bring awareness of black people in the Bible as we acknowledge the African and Jewish lineage of the descendants Ms. Black Israelof King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, who are the Ethiopian Jews," states Dr. Walter McCray, President of the National Black Evangelical Association (NBEA) and author of "The Black Presence in the Bible," an important resource on the subject of black Biblical history. "Our 2014 NBEA Convention in Kansas City next year will continue to celebrate black Bible history. We continue to support Rev. Dr. Myers by our plans to hopefully join him in Israel next year to celebrate Juneteenth."

 

"Together, Jews, Christians, and peoples of African-descent celebrate this occasion by nurturing the shared values of freedom, reconciliation, cultural awareness, and historical ties. Ethiopian Jews trace their lineage to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Understanding the African roots of Hebrews and early Christians during Bible times ties it all together, " explains Dr. McCray.


Aynaw, is an immigrant orphan from Ethiopia who became the first black Miss Israel. She arrived in Israel at the age of 12 years old after both her parents died. She went to live with her mother’s parents who were among thousands of Ethiopian Jews living in Israel.  She had to learn Hebrew from scratch. After finishing high school, she joined the military like most other Israelis. She later worked as a manager  for a shoe shop before becoming Miss Israel.

 

Aynaw  says that it is a great honor not just for her, but the other people that she represents. She hopes her victory will "achieve the acceptance of everyone in Israel." Aynaw was invited to a state dinner by President Obama upon his first visit to Israel.

 

For information on the U.S. tour of Miss Israel during the last week of September, with stops in Washington, DC, Fairfax, VA, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA and San Diego, CA, from September 23-30, 2013. For schedule, contact Dr. Myers at 662-392-2016; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Web sites: www.NJCLC.com, www.NationalJuneteenth.com. (Donations for the expenses of the tour through the Myers Foundation are greatly appreciated.)



 

BritishAirwayspILOTBritish Airway's pilot Simon Wood is feared to be one of UK's most prolific child sex offenders. Investigators in Africa say they fear there could be hundreds of victims BA now faces a lawsuit by victims who claim the airline failed to protect them A British Airways pilot used his position to abuse hundreds of vulnerable children in African schools and orphanages, the Daily Mail can reveal. First Officer Simon Wood, 54, claimed he was carrying out charity work for the airline while molesting scores of young girls during his stopovers in Africa.

Dressed in a bogus captain’s uniform, he would use the airline’s good name – and even BA branded toys and colouring books – to lure children out on day trips and to five-star hotels used by the airline, where he would abuse them. British Airways is now facing a hugely damaging lawsuit brought by his victims, who say the company failed to protect them from his horrific abuse. After abusing children for 15 years, the £100,000-a-year pilot was finally stopped when he was charged with separate child sex offences in the UK. Days after appearing in a court in London last month charged with the offences, Wood threw himself under a train. Prosecutor Peter Zinner said: ‘The prosecution say that Mr Wood was a deeply depraved and corrupt individual who had used his ability to fly to other parts of the world to commit sexual offences against children.’ Officials in Kenya have identified at least 15 children, all believed to be girls aged five to 11, that Wood abused – and say they fear there are hundreds more.

As British Airways launched an international investigation into the ‘shocking’ claims, questions were asked over why the pilot – who was arrested after indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl in 2000 – was ever allowed to work near children.' Prosecution sources said they feared the pilot could prove to have been among Britain’s most prolific sex offenders. During his 16-year career with British Airways, Wood chose unpopular routes in and out of East Africa, using his stays there to prey on vulnerable children in the slums. Wood’s first known contact with children in Africa came in 2001 when he began visiting the Nyumbani orphanage in the Karen area of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

It was the first centre of its kind in Kenya to accept only children infected with HIV, and managers said they had received no complaints of abuse against any of their children.

At Easter 2002, he was among 20 crew members from two BA flights who volunteered to spend the holiday period with the Kenyan youngsters, showering the orphanage with presents, medicines and donations raised at home. He told the UK news agency the Press Association, which covered the trip: ‘We play, sing, organise activities and generally entertain them. We become very close to the children.’ In fact Wood was using the prestige of his pilot’s uniform to gain access to children for the purposes of abusing them. Much of the most recent abuse happened during stopovers in Uganda, his normal flying destination, from where he would cross the border to Kenya to target slum children and orphans. Officials in Kenya say, he claimed he was a member of ‘BA’s community relations programme’ when approaching orphanages and schools. If managers complained about his behaviour, Wood made official complaints to the police that the staff involved were stealing from the children’s homes, and at least two managers were arrested over his allegations.

Wood first came to the attention of police when he was accused of an indecent assault on an eight-year-old girl. He met the girl while volunteering for Diabetes UK, escorting young children on a trip to North Yorkshire in 2000. Wood was arrested over the sex attack, but – in an echo of the Jimmy Savile scandal – the Crown Prosecution Service ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge him. He was allowed to keep his job at BA and, in an indictment of the vetting system, continued his charity work with children.

The mother of one young victim told the Mail her daughter was abused at a five-star hotel used by BA crew in Nairobi. She said that after loaning her money Wood duped her into letting him take the five-year-old girl to the Nairobi Intercontinental. ‘I trusted him completely because he seemed so good and so kind. I trusted him with everything, even with my daughter,’ she said. The girl, now 14, is struggling at school and has become tearful and withdrawn. She has threatened suicide to escape the shame and misery Wood inflicted. When suspicions arose about Wood in Kenya, one local school contacted a British law firm, whose staff travelled to Kenya with a view to beginning legal action against both Wood and British Airways. But when they realised the extent of Wood’s sexual offences against the children they passed the matter onto British police. Following a tip-off, UK officers re-arrested him on July 18 in the BA staff car park at Heathrow over the 2000 assault. When they searched his laptops, they found explicit images of African youngsters. During a police search of Wood’s car several school uniforms were found, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told.

Prosecutor Mr Zinner said: ‘His computer was seized and evidence was obtained to show that he had visited various paedophile websites.’ Wood appeared at theBritish-Airways-pILOT3 court on August 16 charged with possessing indecent images and indecently assaulting an eight-year-old schoolgirl. He was granted bail on the condition he surrender his passport but two days later he threw himself under a train near his home in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Prosecutors announced last Wednesday that as a result of his death, they were halting the case. Jennifer Swiddon, representing Wood, said that her client intended to deny all offences against him prior to his death. It was revealed in court that police suspected Wood had abused more than 100 African children. A well-placed legal source said it was now feared that Wood had targeted hundreds of girls during his BA career. Before his death, Wood had transferred £64,000 to his legal representatives in Africa. Detectives suspect he was planning to use it as ‘hush money’ to buy off his victims or to open an orphanage in Uganda where more youngsters could be targeted.

The families of Wood’s brothers Nicholas, 52, and Anthony, 51, said it was ‘a difficult time for the whole family’ and declined to comment. UK-based law firm Leigh Day have confirmed that they are acting for the alleged child abuse victims of the late Simon Wood in Kenya and are working with the police to determine quite how many children were abused and the extent to which this extended to victims in the UK as well as Kenya and Uganda. Martyn Day from Leigh Day said: 'We are currently investigating how Mr Wood was allowed to have such access to these Kenyan children and also the extent of the allegations against Mr Wood in relation to his actions in the UK.'

 

Original Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408557/Pilot-abused-position-British-Airways-molest-hundreds-girls-African-orphanages-claiming-doing-charity-work.html

 

 


Slum-tourismDoes it mean that slum tourism tend to turn poverty into entertainment for tourists ? Its quite evident that the local mass are not impressed that tourist groups from America, Asia and Europe visit their small houses with a roof that is ripping apart and taking pictures of their dirty children playing near sewage water. There might be no difference in thinking that tourists come to invade on their privacy as they regard them as monkeys in a zoo!Tourists who visit slums do walking safaris, through the many footpaths, with the help of a tour guide who is mostly a person from the slum area. During these tours they like to take photographs of everything they see as they are amazed by this other kind of life that they have probably ‘never seen’. One would wonder whether they are enjoying taking pictures of poor people who are struggling in order to make ends meet!

 

Slum tourism is a special kind of tourism that for a long time has been looked at as an exploitative kind of tourism whereby tourists travel all the way from their home country to have fun taking pictures and looking at poor people struggling to make ends meet. Promotion of this kind of tourism tends to portray Africa as a pitiful continent whereby those that visit the continent are convicted to donate money to the people. Africans tend to be looked at as a helpless people who cannot develop themselves without receiving aid either from China, US, Russia or the UK….This is a perception that certainly has to stop!!! There is something that slum tourism does not show to the visitors….how hard many of the slum dwellers work to be able to make an honest living because some of those who live in the big houses and drive expensive cars are involved in illegal activities to be able to maintain their expensive lifestyles.

With time, the local people will start to see the benefits of having visitors coming to stay with them, learning things from one another hence be able to embrace them as friends and not people that come to take pictures of them like monkeys in a zoo.

 

africa jAfrica will record the largest amount of population growth of any world region between now and 2050. Africa's population is expected to more than double, rising from 1.1 billion today to at least 2.4 billion by 2050. Nearly all of that growth will be in the 51 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the region's poorest. The Population Reference Bureau's 2013 World Population Data Sheet and related material, including an interactive map and infographic, will be online at 10 a.m. (EDT) on Sept. 12, 2013, at www.prb.org. The Data Sheet offers detailed information on 20 population, health, and environment indicators for more than 200 countries.

Source: Eturbo News

 

 

haitis-carnival-of-flower-008Visitors to Haiti can help trigger redevelopment, providing much-needed funds to boost infrastructure and create jobs, London’s Guardian reports.

Haiti proclaimed its independence in 1804, the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to do so. Despite having to pay an extortionate independence fee, equivalent to $21bn (£14bn) in today's money, it was a relatively prosperous and peaceful place to live.

Indeed, most Haitians had a decent life before the 1960s, when the country could have been likened to Canada and Australia in terms of human development indices. Along with pre-revolutionary Cuba, Haiti was the tourist destination of choice in the 1950s, attracting jetsetters and wealthy travellers from the US and Europe. It was the place to see and be seen.

Over the past 60 years the situation has deteriorated. Most people I meet think the situation here is desperate, but I tell them I believe there is a lot of hope for Haiti because we got into this difficult situation a relatively short time ago. If you look at the history of other rich countries, you will discover that although they spent much longer in difficulty, they managed to fix their problems, and Haitians will do the same.

The 2010 earthquake was a wake-up call for Haitians, including 2 million in the diaspora, to take control and restore the country to how it was three years ago – or, better yet, to the halcyon days of the 1950s.

One of the key ways I believe that Haitians can trigger redevelopment is through tourism, particularly eco or boutique packages for those wanting to experience something different. We have a small amount of passing trade through international cruise ships, but this is of no benefit to Haiti or its people as such excursions are controlled by the cruise liner companies and elites.

The ministry of tourism is rebranding Haiti as a holiday destination, with the strapline: "Haiti – experience it". And last year the country received 950,000 tourists (mainly from cruise ships) compared with 4.5 million in the Dominican Republic, but I know we have the potential to attract at least double that.

If we can bring more funds into the country, the hope is that this can be used to improve infrastructure, create jobs, and support some of the most vulnerable people.

Haiti is a hospitable place where we enjoy life, even when things are difficult. If visitors started to come and praised the small progress we have made, it might drive some communities and leaders to take pride in their nation and really work together to attract greater numbers of tourists.

Haitians are not a lazy people waiting for others to support them. While here, you will experience a vibrant, busy, resilient country, where people are looking for a better life, working hard, and committed to seeking opportunities around every corner.

We are tired of reading in the newspapers that there is no hope for us. Some of those articles are depressing and have pushed some professionals to consider leaving. The good news is that some sectors seem to understand the challenges of attracting tourists and are working together.

Admittedly, there are some problems Haitians cannot deny, including the food crisis in pockets of the island, but there is another side to the coin: the island is one of the safest places in the Americas, in terms of drugs and crime, and we are blessed with some of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches and unspoilt countryside.

There are countless places visitors can enjoy authentic Haitian music, from classical to grassroots folklore (rara), as well as one of the finest cuisines in the Caribbean, incorporating French and African influences alongside native Taíno and Spanish culinary techniques.

We tend to use a lot of different vegetables and meat then combine them with peppers to add flavour and a bit of a kick. And if you visited one of Christian Aid's local Haitian partners, such as Koral (Konbit pou ranfòse aksyon lokal, or Gathering for the strengthening of local actions) and Veterimed, you might also get to taste our farmers' famous organic yoghurt or cheese.

Haitians are busy preparing for the vibrant three-day carnival of flowers in Port-au-Prince on 28 July. The last carnival we hosted was in Cap-Haïtien at the same time as the Rio carnival, and it attracted more than 500,000 people.

Carnival is a traditional part of Haitian culture, and when discussing with some friends who are regular participants, I realised that for them it was a great psychosocial way to heal and renew. Some argue that the government could better use the funds for education or the environment, but I hope to attend the carnival this year for the first time to take some photos with my daughters.

So go and see the Haiti tourism Facebook page and get a new sense of the country. The images represent the undimmed hope and light that Haitians would like to shine above our struggles to make the country a wonderful place to live and to visit again.

I cannot say visitors will find the place to be perfect and polished, but I am sure they will enjoy their stay and make plans to come again. If you are unable to stop by, maybe just take a little time to think positively about the future for Haiti and its citizens. Experience it. Not easy, right? But you can.

For the original report go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/jul/26/haiti-tourism-caribbean-redevelopment

 

Those going through the Legion d'Honneur Square in the northern Seine-Saint-Denis suburb of Paris, will notice the presence of a globe-shaped monument in the middle of a flower bed, as Elise Vincent reports in this article for Le Monde

As they come closer, they will see that names, surnames and numbers have been etched onto colorful medallions. A plaque at the foot of the monument will tell them that these are the names of former slaves, along with their identification number. There are precisely 213 of them. Afr monnd if they read to the end, they will learn that these names are also the names of French West Indians, who added their ancestors – found through genealogy – to the list.

This new monument was inaugurated on May 23 by the Minister of Overseas France, Victorin Lurel. The same day, a similar sculpture was unveiled in Sarcelles, in another northern suburb of Paris – Val d’Oise. For the past 15 years, both Sarcelles and Saint-Denis, two cities where the French West Indian diaspora is most important, have been marking the “victims of slavery” on this very day.

These are not the first monuments France has erected to commemorate slavery. Former Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy even inaugurated one together in 2007, in Paris’s famous Luxembourg Garden. But even though every little French village has a monument engraved with the names of those who died during World War I and World War II, there are few such monuments for former slaves.

The monuments in Saint-Denis and Sarcelles would certainly not have come to life, without the desire of Antilleans (French West Indians), who wanted to pay homage, in their own name, to the Africans that France reduced to slavery for more than two centuries. The memorials are also the fruit of a little Parisian organization – CM 98 – which struggles to keep alive the memory of slavery's victims -- and make France face this tragic past.

Overcoming the stigma

In most of the French West Indies, even today, lighter skins are considered more attractive than darker skins. Only an experienced eye can tell the difference between the different nuances of black by which many Antilleans define themselves: metis (“mixed-race”), quarteron (“one-quarter black”), chabin (“having two black parents but being light-skinned”)...

This sort of Stockholm syndrome influences family trees. While in France many look for ancestors within the French aristocracy, many in the French overseas territories look for “white” colonists in their family trees, rather than “black” slaves.

The goal of CM 98 is to help all Antilleans – and their descendants – who want to research their family tree. "After years of thinking about it, we came to the conclusion that the problems in our islands were often linked to skin colors," explains CM 98 vice-president Emmanuel Gordien. "We want them to overcome the stigma of slavery, the idea that slaves were dirty and depraved."

On the table of her living room in Aulnay-sous-Bois, in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, Chantal Charles-Fred unfolds her family tree. This 45-year-old woman from the French West Indies Island of Martinique has always been curious of her origins. In her home, everything recalls her native island – her trinkets, her two massive aquariums, a tapestry on the wall showing a beautiful beach.

For a long time she researched her family tree by herself. But when she discovered, thanks to CM 98, the person she points to with her finger, at the top of the maternal side of the tree, Charles-Fred says she was shocked to see the caption born in Africa. His name was Maximin Criart – identification number 128. Maximin was 30 when he was emancipated and given a surname.

Chantal doesn’t have any resentment. Like all those who worked with CM 98 to have their ancestors’ names etched into the monuments, she does not intend on filing for financial reparations from the French government.

"For me, it is just a way to affirm myself," she says, "knowing your origins makes you stronger."

CM 98's secret weapon is a unique database of 120,000 names that they were able to build after searching the archives of French overseas territories for seven years. They researched documents that are not known to the general public, but that historians know well: the registers where the surnames of emancipated slaves where written after the abolition of slavery in 1848.

These notebooks, which were inscribed by quill, are called the registries of the “newly freed” in Guadeloupe, and the registries of the “individualities” in Martinique. Before these registers were created, the slaves only had a first name and an identification number. When they were mentioned in official deeds, it was in the same way that cattle or hectares of land were mentioned.

The distribution of surnames were made by officials who were more or less inspired. In some villages they just inverted the syllables of the first names: Marie became "Rima.” Others had mythology on their mind and went with Dionysos (“Dionysus”) or Andromaque (“Andromache”). The unluckiest slaves were afflicted with “shameful names” such as Bracoupe ("Amputed-Arm"), Grospoil ("Big Hair"), Gros Desir ("Big Lust")...

For the sculptures to become a symbol, CM 98 activists made sure there would not only list the names of those who researched their family trees. For many Sundays in a row, they held office at the Saint-Denis and Sarcelles town halls so that anybody with family papers could come and discover the identity of their ancestors.

Tearful discoveries

To be sure that people came, they searched the directories of the two cities. They identified Antillean-sounding family names and wrote to them on the stationary of the Sarcelles and Saint-Denis town halls.

"We have decided to inaugurate a monument to honor the women and men who were victims of slavery (...). If you want the name of your ancestor – your name or your father or mother’s – to be added to the monument, CM 98 is waiting for you," said the letter.

Marie-Veronique Jeremy, 63, a retired nurse answered the call. "Tell me everything," said the volunteer who welcomed her, shaking with emotion and holding her family papers carefully wrapped in plastic.

Marie-Veronique gave her father's name. The computer found the identity of a certain Noel Jeremy, emancipated in 1849, at 47, in Guadeloupe. She started crying: "I am black, but I didn't think..."

Ariane Virginius-Porlon, a CM 98 volunteer, explains: "Even today, in France, we don't tell our children the truth. Every three years they spend their holidays in the islands. They think they will be living the good life, and when they find out their grandparents' house is a hut, they are shocked."

Laura Felip, 33, whose family is from Guadeloupe, had the name of her ancestors engraved on the document. "I was not brought up in the culture of shame," she says.

The window is open. The sun delicately sets. Felip explains that she is often asked for her “residence permit” when she has administrative papers to fill out, even though being from overseas territories makes her fully French. Quietly, she says that she would like those monuments to help people understand that "you can be black and French."

Read the article in the original language.

For the original report go to http://www.worldcrunch.com/culture-society/france-facing-demons-of-its-own-slavery-history/antilles-french-west-indies-guadeloupe-martinique-slavery/c3s12146/

 

 

ethioEthiopian Airlines – Africa’s oldest, largest and fastest growing airline – is proud to announce that it will commence four weekly flights to Enugu (ENU), Nigeria effective August 24, 2013. Located in southeastern Nigeria, Enugu is the capital of Enugu State in Nigeria. Enugu will be the third city in Nigeria served by Ethiopian Airlines. Ethiopian currently serves Abuja (ABV), the capital of Nigeria, and Lagos (LOS), Nigeria’s largest city. Enugu will be Ethiopian’s 46th African and the 76th international destination.

Ethiopian Airlines will be the first international carrier to fly to Enugu. Ethiopian will also increase its five weekly flights to Abuja to daily service. “We are proud to add Enugu in Nigeria to our wide global network covering five continents. The addition of Enugu to our network is a continuation of our commitment to provide the best possible connectivity options to passengers traveling between Africa and the rest of the world. Enugu will be our third destination in Nigeria after Lagos and Abuja, which are both served with daily flights,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

With the new service, four times per week, passengers to and from Enugu will find convenient and hassle-free connections to the many global destinations in the Ethiopian-wide route network such as Mumbai, Dubai, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Cairo and Beijing. About Ethiopian Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in 1946 and now provides dependable services to 70 international destinations spanning four continents. Ethiopian is proud to be a Star Alliance Member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,555 daily flights to 1,356 airports in 193 countries.

Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions toward the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won the SKYTRAX World Airline Award for “Best Airline Staff Service in Africa” for its outstanding customer service. In addition, Ethiopian received the “Airline Reliability Performance Award” from Bombardier Aerospace, “African Airline of the Year Award” from Air Transport Quarterly Magazine, “Transformation Award 2012” from Planet Africa Network, and the “International Diamond Prize for Excellence in Quality” from the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR). Captain Desta Zeru, Vice-President of Flight Operations for Ethiopian Airlines, also won the “Africa Legend of Travel” award from African Travel Quarterly (ATQ) magazine and Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam won “African CEO of the year” from the African CEO Forum as well as the “African Business Leader of the Year” award from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).

 

jacobins2“The Black Jacobins Revisited: Rewriting History Conference” will take place on October 27–28, 2013, at the International Slavery Museum and Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool, England. Papers will be considered on any aspect relating to The Black Jacobins and its legacies.

The Conference Programme includes presentations by Selwyn Cudjoe (Wellesley); Robert A. Hill (UCLA and C.L.R. James’s Literary Executor); Bill Schwarz (QMUL); Christian Høgsbjerg (Leeds Met); Rachel Douglas (University of Glasgow); Fabienne Viala (University of Warwick); Peter Fraser (Institute of Commonwealth Studies); Nigel Carter (London Met); Raphael Dalleo (Florida Atlantic University); Rawle Gibbons (University of the West Indies, Director of three Caribbean Productions of The Black Jacobins Play); Yvonne Brewster (Director of London Production of The Black Jacobins Play; Founder of Talawa Theatre Company); and Nick Nesbitt (Princeton); among others.

There will also be a reading of extracts—Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History—and the first performance since 1936 of precursor to C.L.R. James’s classic history of the Haitian revolution The Black Jacobins (which started life as a play with Paul Robeson in the lead).

As places are limited, attendees should register as soon as possible online at http://blackjacobins.brownpapertickets.com/. (Registration must be completed by 1 September 2013 at the very latest.)

For more information, please contact conference organizers Dr. Rachel Douglas at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and Dr. Kate Hodgson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Source: Repeating Islands

 

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