Sunday, January 5, 2014

Interview: Deisy Toussaint talks Haiti, Toussaint Louverture and Dominican court ruling on Negra Cubana Tenía Que Ser

A little while ago, when you publish a post on a film that would be shown in the Travelling Caribbean Film , I received a comment from someone who claimed to be related to Toussaint Louverture.

Later, I stumble on Global Voice with a post about the problematic situation of suffering loss of citizenship Dominicans of Haitian descent, who are victims of racism in their own land where they were born.

That way I discovered that one of the persons appearing in the campaign , is the same that I had written this blog to show interest in the aforementioned film.

Do not hesitate a second and I got in touch with Deisy Toussaint, intellectual young Dominican, to get to your orders, I'm interested in drawing attention to the identity of the citizens limbo once the Spanish, who are not now nor Dominicans / as Haitians far / as.

That intention was born this interview:

Recognize that you are of Haitian descent is now in your country a situation that reveals certain tensions at the social level. Could you describe them neatly?

I know of no other nation or culture Dominican Republic (DR), even though my mother is from Haiti, my house never spoke Creole or any other religion other than Catholicism practiced, Haiti still do not know for any reason we shall ever had'' closeness'' to the Haitian culture. Although I feel that my mother wanted to protect as far as possible concealing the Haitian one. 3 or 4 years ago is when I started to find my roots, to know about the reality of the other side of the island which also ran through my veins.

For you what would be the peculiarity of your case to be a descendant of Toussaint Louverture?

The level of classism, xenophobia and racism in the DR is very high and has been shown in recent years, especially now with the decision of the Constitutional Court.

The fact that I have some relationship with Toussaint Louverture not think it's very important in this country, where articles of the Constitution are violated and laws apply retroactively. If you know the laws and violate not think they care about my ancestry. I'm afraid that part of the story not too interested.

From the point of view of identity, Dominican daughter of a Haitian mother and a Dominican father, you could talk to your case of transnationalism?

Of all my brothers I'm the only one that does not carry the name of my father, in this case only daughter I suppose as foreign. Perhaps the fact that it was my mother who recognize me, addressed that transnationalization you speak. 'm Dominican by birth and culture, but my legal name, as things look, I denied nationality. With the aggravation I'm not Haitian, nor by birth or by culture. So ... What am I?

About your relationship with Cuba, two trips to frustrated ... you were going to the island?

A Book Fair in Havana and Santiago Fire Festival, through the Ministry of Culture that two years ago won a literary prize for short stories and I'm also very involved in literary activities.

What are your real and imaginary ties to the Greater Antilles?

Through literature I have met many Cuban Nicolás Guillén, Alejo Carpentier, Leonardo Padura ... and I have also coincided with some current in the Book Fair in Santo Domingo. I draw much attention The Festival of Fire, and last but not least, I've heard that they have made a bust Toussaint and recently a film. I feel that my links with Cuba are narrowing.

In the story The letter's fragment "no waste" as we say in Cuba and is "A forensic beautician makeup on me as he mechanically easy jokes about my Negroid features and the color of my skin." I wonder: why the reference to racial identity of this person and especially ridicule, we could understand it as a complaint?

It is rather a form of complaint. Blacks were easily linked to us bad, dirty, ugly ... and it seemed appropriate.

What is the script for you: an office, a gift, mastery of technique, something else?

I wish it was a trade. By now you may be a gift that polishing with practice and mastery of the art. Also a relief when I write I become a little god, and I give life, abuse, kill or unless the characters.
How does your work appear in women? Any trait that distinguishes them?

I prefer male characters, I feel that the best management, where women may appear intended to bring out complaint. Represent injustice, pain and revenge.

Finally back to the Spanish: What the world owes to Haiti?

Should be reviewed in terms of the values ​​of solidarity, charity, even. True, it is a failed state. Likewise we see a homeless person on the street, not so much the source of your bad but, let him sunk? And their children, are going to stop getting sick or starve? On the other hand, and in this area there is plenty to talk, because in times of dictatorship, ampararon American dictators as a convenience, with the sole purpose of preventing the communist guerrillas in the context of the Cold War. (Already had quite a Cuba in the Caribbean), and nothing care if his people plunged in ignorance and in the most absolute poverty.

On the other hand France, well took advantage of their land when Saint Domingue was the richest colony in the colonial world. But a wooded area where logging has about childbearing years, then the land is spent. Moreover drags erosion until the vegetation cover becomes dry soil, which is how Haiti is mostly today.

And as for the RD, it has also been exploited for decades of labor, by necessity, came to do the hardest and lowest paid.

I'm not sure what the world owes to Haiti, what I do know is that the hardship of the people, should not let us sleep with a clear conscience.

Negra Cubana Tenía Que Ser

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