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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Unrest in Martinique and Guadeloupe...


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I find that whenever I raise the subject of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the most common response is, "somet'ing happenin' in Martinique and Guadeloupe?"  In short, both islands are in a state of paralysis, in the midst of nationwide protests over the cost of living.  Gas stations, supermarkets and ports have all remained closed for weeks in Guadeloupe and a little over a week in Martinique, with unrest threatening to spread to other French overseas departments.  The latest story appearing on the Google's News aggregator service, a correction, states:
"Today, given the number of gendarmes who have arrived in Guadeloupe armed to the teeth, the French state has chosen its natural path: to kill Gaudeloupeans as usual," Elie Domota told AFP on Saturday.

Domota is the leader of the Collective against Exploitation (LKP), which groups most of Guadeloupe's unions and political parties and which launched the general strike there on Jan/ 20 over low wages and the high cost of living.

His accusation came as some supermarkets and petrol stations, which have been shut for more than three weeks, reopened as police stood by to protect the premises against potential protests by strikers on the tropical island.

"Every time there have been demonstrations in Guadeloupe to demand pay rises, the response of the state has been repression, notably in May 1967 in Pointe-a-Pitre where there were 100 deaths, building workers massacred by the gendarmes," Domota said.
Martinique and Guadeloupe are among Trinidad and Tobago's closest Caribbean neighbours geographically, and it is troubling that we seem so oblivious to the meltdown that's occurring just 400 miles north of Port of Spain.

Although the situation in the francophone islands is not quite as bad or alarming and I hope that things get no worse, I am reminded of 100 days in the African continent when the world was blind to the slaughter of 800 thousand to one million Tutsi tribesmen and their sympathisers in Rwanda.

Is there anything that we can do actively?  Honestly, I doubt that there is anything because the matter is an internal problem, the overseas territories being actual parts of the French Republic.  However, with more eyes on the events there, perhaps President Sarkozy and his Government will take a more active part in ensuring that the core issues are dealt with peacefully and that without a repeat of the bloodshed of 1967.

Doing my part to keep eyes on, I've added a news feed in my sidebar which will display the latest news items polled by Google News .

I'll also tweet and re-tweet any new tidbits that I hear or come across in subsequent days.  See and subscribe to my Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/keith_in_tnt

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Quick Note on the T'n'T versus El Salvador Match...

So we drew, El Salvador pulling level on the last kick of the game.

When El Salvador turned on the pressure late in the game though, we lost any hope of controlling the match's pace.  When we end up playing in that kind of harum-scarum, we fall apart in the back, and it's up to an opposing player to take advantage of a lucky toe-poke past the defence.  Trinidad and Tobago simply does not play well at speed.   That's the long and short of it.  For us, controlling the pace and keeping a match low-keyed is critical.  It's how we survived Sweden, how held on for so long versus England, and also why we lost so badly to Guatemala.  It's also why the US throws all out attack at us in the first 20 minutes of any match we play them.  They score two quick goals while we're on the back foot and then they hang back and defend; their goals are guaranteed at pace.

Truth be told, we did well early in the match, but should have built a much bigger cushion.  The fact of the matter is that we threw away the goals that would have killed El Salvador's spirit, and there is as much culpability in the attack as the defence.

We drew.  Next.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Interesting Reading Today...

Slate.com: Why Don't Indonesians Know How To Swim?
http://www.slate.com/id/2208442/?from=rss
An Indonesian ferry bearing 250 passengers sank on Sunday. Twenty-two people have been rescued thus far, but, according to the Associated Press, "Indonesians generally don't know how to swim, and the others on board were feared dead." Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, with more than 50,000 miles of coastline. So why don't its citizens know how to swim?
I wonder whether Trinidadians suffer the same problem...

BBC.com: Synagogue desecrated in Venezuela
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7863356.stm
An armed gang has ransacked the oldest Jewish synagogue in the Venezuelan capital Caracas after occupying the building for several hours.

About 15 unidentified men broke into the building before daubing graffiti on the walls and desecrating scriptures.

They also called for Jewish people to be expelled from the country.

Jewish leaders say tensions have risen since Venezuela broke diplomatic relations with Israel this month over its recent military offensive in Gaza.

Elias Farache, president of Venezuela's Jewish Association, said the gang had tied and gagged security guards before destroying offices and the place where holy books were kept.

Anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli slogans were painted on the walls.
A place of worship feels impact of a secular government's actions.  To me, this is the equivalent of ransacking an Anglican Cathedral because of the actions of the British government.

Raffique Shah: Tourism down, Carnival dying
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_opinion?id=161432653
One bandleader lamented, "Today we hardly see spectators." True. My family and I are part of the "dropouts". And I'll tell the minister, bandleaders and musicians why. Why should I endure traffic and parking horrors to watch half-naked 'bumsees', no costumes, and be subjected to jarring, repetitious noise that passes for music?
Some of my old school comrades should appreciate this article...

SLATE.com: I just ate salmonella-tainted peanut butter. What do I do now?
http://www.slate.com/id/2210165/?from=rss
The Peanut Corp. of America expanded its national recall Wednesday after eight people died and more than 500 got sick from salmonella poisoning. Recalled items include all Clif Bars with peanut butter, Jenny Craig nutritional bars, and Keebler Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers. What should you do if you've already eaten a recalled product?

Wait and see. Just because a product was recalled doesn't mean it was contaminated. (That's why companies like to emphasize the word voluntary when they pull food off the shelves.) And exposure doesn't mean you'll get sick. But most people exposed to salmonella—bacteria that originate in the feces of animals and humans—do develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours. If this happens, you should call a doctor, who might prescribe antibiotics or just tell you to drink lots of fluids. Often the sickness will pass in four to seven days, although in more severe cases—when bacteria get into the bloodstream—salmonella poisoning can lead to arterial infections, heart inflammation, and Reiter's syndrome, a form of arthritis. These extreme reactions are most common among the young, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.
In light of the fact that the recall is now global, this should quell some local anxiety...

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