By Matthew Rothschild on December 27, 2013

Earlier this month, police and other armed men destroyed many makeshift homes in a village on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, displacing 200 families.


These families were refugees from the 2010 earthquake, and they had been uprooted once before. So this is the third time in four years they have had to move.

According to the nonprofit group Haiti Allies, "Over a dozen people were hit, smacked, stepped on, beaten with gun butts including a pregnant woman and children."

Amnesty International issued an "Urgent Action" appeal on December 18, noting "the violence used against the residents."

They also published addresses for Haitian authorities and urged people to write and demand "an investigation into the participation of state authorities in an illegal eviction, and into the apparent excessive use of force employed by the officers."

The reason for the destruction of the village remains unclear, though it was rumored to be connected to a plan for a development project on that site.

"The forced eviction at Vilaj Mozayik shows how the terrible trauma of Haiti quake victims continues, four years later, after more than $9 billion was collected and managed by Bill Clinton as UN envoy to Haiti," says Ezili Danto, a Haitian-American human rights lawyer. "But, as The New York Times said, little footprint of these billions actually got to Haiti other than a Korean assembly plant factory up north, where there was no quake, and where recently the minimum wage was reduced for the benefit of the factory owners and consumers abroad."

Bryan Sirchio, with Haiti Allies, went down and visited with the leaders of the village last week.

"They were thoroughly traumatized," says Sirchio, whose group has been distributing emergency food and water, and hygiene kits and blankets obtained from the Mennonites. His group, he added, "was able to sponsor two days of meetings for residents so they could plan some sort of response together."

Sirchio is worried about the fate of this community.

"They may not survive this as a community, as individual families may just have to disperse," he says, adding that this would be a disaster.

"They've been together for four years," he says. "They've developed a community in the midst of incredible destitution and heartache. The only semblance of any security they have is by taking care of each other. To lose that would be loss upon loss upon loss."

Photo: arindambanerjee /



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By Ruth Conniff

Wisconsin workers face a lousy jobs picture this Labor Day, according to...

Here, for Labor Day, are the top ten working class hero movies of all time.

At a swank club in Madison, Walker supporters get an earful.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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