Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Black Massive Migration in the Words of Ray Bradbury

This post is the continuation of my previous one “About Haitians Relocation: the two sides of the same coin”.

January 9, 2009. Evelyn, a Haitian immigrant, wears a permanent tracking device while she awaits a decision from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on whether she will be deported back to Haiti or allowed to stay with her 5-year-old daughter, who was born in the U.S. (SANDRA C. ROA/NYT INSTITUTE) From Marguerite

In the aftermath of Haiti earthquake, South Florida leaders and academics are wondering about the possibility of a huge wave of migration from Haiti, which would be reminiscent of the Mariel boatlift, when more than 100,000 Cubans fled to the U.S. Professor Jaime Suchlicki, who is an expert on the Caribbean and Latin America at the University of Miami says he is sure about the massive migration, but it is difficult to say if it’ll be of 10,000 or 100,000 people.
Samuel Bartholomew of the Haitian Center of New York said it was to early to predict migration. “Haiti is getting help now. The world must help rebuild Port-au-Prince and build new towns around it to stop the flow of people to the city,” he said. As long as that happens, he said, it was likely that Haitians would stay put.
Joel R. Charny, president of Refugees International, agrees that any refugee flow will depend on how effective the relief effort turns out to be, but he adds he doesn’t expect the numbers to be massive, at least in the beginning.
“People are in shock now. Survival is the priority. When that changes to asking whether life in Haiti is viable, that is when we are likely to see refugees”

Immigration in boats. From

It is not easy to leave the country. It takes months for the boats preparation, and to seek the help from fishermen in uncertain waters. In the last influx, most of the boats were small, crowded with over 100 people, and once the migration began, it was overwhelming.
Samuel Bartholomew of the Haitian Center of New York said it was too early to predict migration.
In the meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who arrived in the United States prior to January 12. In the wake of the disaster, U.S. officials warned now-homeless Haitians against building makeshift boats and heading for Florida’s coastline. But, before a January 25 Haiti rebuilding conference in Montreal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that the Obama administration is “looking at” legal immigration as a means to ease the crisis.
During a January 25 press conference, Secretary Clinton responded to a question about whether Washington would consider easing immigration rules for Haitians. Her answer, for now, was indefinite.

Haitians wade through a flooded town in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, September 2008

Ray Bradbury, in his Martian Chronicles of 1950 envisioned a massive black migration in the “future” june 2003 (“Way in the Middle of the Air”) which he described with his beautiful words. Though, this is a different case, Blacks were leaving the Earth carrying their stuff and memories to begin a new life in Mars, the story is really moving, containing racial issues. I don’t think we can call it strict science fiction, just find the similarities with real life by yourself….:

“Them leaving, pulling out, going away; did you hear?”
“What you mean pulling out? How can they do that?”
“They can, they will, they are.”
“Just a couple?”
“Every single one here in the South!”
“I got to see that. I don’t believe it. Where they going- Africa?”
“They can’t leave, they can’t do that.”
“They’re doing it anyways.”
“Where did you hear this?”
“It’s everywhere, on the radio a minute ago, just come through”.
Far up the street the levee seemed to have broken. The black warm waters descended and engulfed the town. Between the blazing white banks of the town stores, among the tree silences, a black tide flowed. Like a kind of summer molasses, it poured turgidly forth upon the cinnamon-dusty road. It surged slow, slow, and it was men and women and horses and barking dogs, and it was little boys and girls. And from the mouths of the people partaking of this tide came the sound of a river. A summer-day river going somewhere, murmuring and irrevocable. And in that slow, steady channel of darkness that cut across the white glare of day where touches of alert white, the eyes, the ivory eyes staring ahead, glancing aside, as the river, the long and endless river, took itself from old channels into a new one. From various and uncountable tributaries, in creeks and brooks of color and motion, the parts of this river had joined, become one mother current, and flowed on. And brimming the swell were things carried by the river: grandfather clocks chiming, kitchen clocks ticking, caged hens screaming, babies wailing; and swimming among the thickened eddies were mules and cats, and sudden excursions of burst mattress springs floating by, insane hair stuffing sticking out, and boxes and crates and pictures of dark grandfathers in oak frames –the river flowing It on while the men sat like nervous hounds on the hardware porch, too late to mend the levee, their hands empty.”

U.S. Suspends Haitian Deportations as Florida Prepares for Migration From Quake Zone. January 15
Experts: Haitian quake could result in massive migration. South Florida Business Journal. By Bill Frogrameni. January 15, 2010.
The Haitian Migration Debate. By Carin Zissis January 27, 2010
Ray Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles. New York, 1972

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