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The People Rise Up - Hear their Voices and Chants
********

Radio Dispatch from Haiti's Streets

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

"Misery in my A##, bourgeoisie 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."
-
A demonstrators on the streets of Haiti, May 27, 2005

The People Rise Up -- Hear their Voices and Chants

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:
http://www.lakounewyork.com/emisyon5-27-05.mp3
*********

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

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 [UN forces] $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. [referring to the imported "prime minister" of the coup regime]

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 clique 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 with 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.."):

Demonstrators:
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 student heatedly starts 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
*******

*******
Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network
******

"Men anpil chay pa lou" is Kreyol for - "Many hands make light a heavy load."

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