This is a guest post by MALLIKA SHAKYA
The earthquake in Nepal had been overdue for a while. At one level everyone knew that the 7.9 Richter scale jolt came from the continuing collision between the Indian and Himalayan plates. At another level, Nepalis internalized this seismic science by counterposing 2015 with personal memories of the 1934 earthquake which was the last big one in a seismic belt that shuddered every seventy or so years. Every family had stories about how some or other grand old person in the family perished under the rubble while someone else had a narrow escape, how a particular house needed to be rebuilt from scratch while another could be just mended in parts, or how one brave grand uncle mustered the courage to walk into the rubble to pull out a sack of rice so that the family could eat, so on and so forth Continue reading Nepal – An Earthquake Diary : Mallika Shakya
This is a guest post by John Bevan
Nearly half the 8 million population of Haiti, (the size of Wales, Belize and El Salvador— seems that was one of the standard sizes for countries at the time) lived in the Capital Port-au-Prince. So the elimination of the Capital approximates to the loss of half the country’s entire infrastructure, limited as it was. The loss of many of its intellectuals and elected politicians, few enough in the first place, given the brain-drain northwards, with some third of Haitians living in the US, adds to the knock the country has taken.
In 2006, the main Port-au-Prince daily proudly lead with the story- “Haiti there at World Cup Final”- referring not to their football team but Wyclef Jean who sang a duet with Shakira before the France-Italy final in Berlin. Wyclef boosted the image and self-image of Haitians a few years earlier when he won a Grammy for the 1996 Fugees album, The Score, and accepted it while wearing a Haitian flag, Haitians still being at the bottom of the pile of all US immigrant groups. He rarely appears on videos without the flag somewhere about his body. Continue reading Drop A Beat, Turn Up My Symphony