Thursday 21 January 2010

Really, blessings should be counted

or - I don't think my problems count as a gnat bite on a rhino's arse compared to what is happening in Haiti and I should curtail my whinging fingers, or at least use them for typing something more interesting and helpful.

So, I didn't know much about Haiti. I knew it was poor and there was crime. I had heard the song Haitian Divorce by Steely Dan - my parents used to have it on their juke box when I was a kid. I had a fair idea they spoke French there. But I didn't know it was part of the same island as the Dominican Republic, and when I found that out, well, I had to do a little research and find out - why does one half of this island speak French, and the other Spanish?

Ah, murky colonialism, you are often lurking just below the surface of human tragedy, making it just that bit more awful.

I found an excellent, and brief, article detailing Haiti's past as the French colony of Saint-Domingue, the subsequent slave rebellion (incidentally Haiti is the only slaving colony which earned its freedom this way) and the heinous reparations wrung out of them over a period of more than 100 years. Naturally, that article is now buried somewhere way down a list of new articles which have appeared online in the past few days and I can't find it, but if you're interested in reading a little more of the history, I have found this article which, while more verbose, is still very good.

I didn't think I could feel any sorrier for the people of Haiti than I already did, but there it is. I have been sharing a convoluted version of this story with my classes this week, all of whom have been interested and actually quite coherent on the subject. We're having charity events next week to raise money for the relief long as Ofsted don't come in.

(An aside - The head upset our finance dept today by telling them the way they collated CRB checks was all wrong and if Ofsted come in on Monday we'll go into special measures just on the strength of that. They are all expecting to have to work all weekend to fix it, and looking very glum. He's over-exaggerating in his panic, I have no doubt. Ohgoodgriefjustlethtemcomesowecangetitoverwith!)

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