La Lingray

It was nearly winter in the Wilderness of North America, but this time the machines had been running for so long that it was neither cold nor impassible, nor even vaguely uncomfortable. It was still leather Jacket season just a week before the Christ Mass. And Sebastian Adon, this time in his own body and grounded in reality was humming and strolling with his hands in the brown leather jacket he’d owned for fifteen years. It sowed as much.

Alkaline, the Jamaican philosopher says ‘Everything in life just takes time,’ and that was the song in his head and that song sustained him. It was the water to parched lips and limbs and it was the kiss before jumping out a plane into the black sky of night.

    In Hebrew, ‘he’ means ‘she’ and ‘who’ means him. And right now though, for the first time in a while since he became a civilian again; he; was Sebastian Adon and wasn’t using any fake papers, faces or nationalities. And she was Valentina Stanovova, aloof and whimsical and strangely interested in checking up on him.    

He hadn’t heard from her in four and some months. 

After the scary episode of fourth dimensional travel, her accusations in the Air Bathhouse, the wearing of the German suit for the first time. He was shook up, and even deleted her social security number and cell phone too. He knew he was gonna get out gunned, out spent, out classed and quick too. She was so real and so powerful, he had not been near magic like that since, and well dare he even say.

Curiously the next time Valentina Stanavova popped into his life; it was via an email inviting him to go ice skating in the globally jeans and t shirt warm late December in Bryant Park; filled with those who skate fast and those who dash their booties hard on the ice for all to see. And Sebastian Adon remembered that he used to roller blade when he was young which could not be conceptually much different. He hoped.

It was only her smile and little hand clasping his that prevented him from becoming a casualty of the ice and hoypaloyik mobs flying by all around them. She was so patient, she let him take her hand and slow her down and they spun by, several times he almost toppled them both. This was nothing like sky diving, nothing like gun play, nothing like painting, nothing like giving public speeches, nothing like evasive driving, nothing like hard fucking; nothing at all like several of things he believed he was good for. This was so pleasant. And it wasn’t very cold at all, and he genuinely felt that Ms. Stanavova didn’t judge him. Didn’t have man expectations at all.

Around they went. He was happiest holding her hand though she pushed him to find balance on his own, as many women ultimately did. There seemed like hundreds of people watching them, pointing waiting for people to wipe out. He’d give them a run for their money.

    I’ll tell you what the strangest part was. She couldn’t read his mind so she didn’t see him scanning the crowd for a suicide bomber to blow apart all these happy people. She didn’t hear him ask himself were they being watched, all the paranoia of all his other work.

She couldn’t hear him being crazy, basically. Because this was the temple mount, this was the top of the citadel. There weren’t gonna be any bombings here. This wasn’t a backwater colony on the edge of the empire, like say Tel Aviv. This was a hard an monitored place.

“You know” she says, “you can buy a pair of skates on Amazon, we can make a little habit out of all this,” and she smiles at him. And he breaks his mental train of thought about wondering what year it was.

“I should, I mean I like it,” he replies.

The skate on and then she heads to the center of the rink to practice her precision amid some little cones. He mostly watches. The war is so far away, it was maybe like; there was no war?

“I love skating so much, I love all winter sports; do you ski or snow board, maybe we can make a trip later on, when I come back.” 

 She was always coming or going this little architect. She was supposed to have been visiting family in Russia, but had ended up in Hong Kong. She was soon to be off for Brazil, but who knew it was all so effortless her various movements. She had changed her architecture firm about four times since they met, maybe that was normal. She was an artful dodger, filled with wanderlust like him, but perhaps with more means to act on it casually. She was either wealthy herself or had a patron, like everyone else in this city.

A massive airship was moving directly above the city New Jersey bound, these ‘floating fortresses’ were massive cold fusion powered leviathans. They could wipe out whole cities, they housed vast drone fleets and terra drone soldiers for mop ups. Actually no one could see it seemed, but him. He’d seen on brought down over Strong Island two years before in the Battle of Brooklyn Soviet.

“Stop day dreaming droog, look at me, look at my moves!” she says and executes a little spin twist, twirl.

“How now!” he smiles.

Was it real? The airship and the Battle of Brooklyn? Can his soul be loaded like a wetware microchip into a German businessman’s flesh suit? Was that real, did that happen? Did the map that he had seen in the bunker on avenue J indicate that the elevation of Manhattan, therefore the entirety of the Isle of Man citadel was actually almost 40,000 kilometers above sea level; therefore like a veritable mountain above the mostly flat Brooklyn Soviet? Was it disguised by hologram?

“You’re doing it again Sebastian,” she laughs, “you’re spacing away when you should be here with me. Are you having fun with me?”

“I’m having more fun than I’ve had in a year,” he says, which is true as this is very fun and you cannot line up tantric sex and ice skating, because they are not even the same category of fun. His last couple ex-girlfriends were not that ‘fun’. 

“I’m happy too, this is great,” Valentina says and they return into the fray of clockwise movement, dashing, darting, moving fast and slow.

Had he ever been ice skating in this decade? No, he doubted it. This memory pops into his head suddenly; of the ice cracking, or shattering and his falling into a frozen lake and then, black.

“We could try more places too,” she says. She notices he’s taken her hand again even though maybe he doesn’t need to, she lets it go, and he is a sweetheart. A beautiful minded Amerikanski, so rare.

The Bryant Park rink closes and they’re sitting in his battered white Civic sipping tea.

There are these rules the Resistance codified called the ‘Security Culture’ it’s an understanding that you can be recorded almost anywhere, but cars, homes and public places are always recorded. Cell phone microphones are always on, even though most think it wipes out your battery quickly to real time record. Sending anything electronically is all recorded. Searching for anything unorthodox is flagged. Public libraries are all flagged. You basically can’t have a secure conversation except on a hike, with no phone, in a bathhouse, except the ones already wired up, you can have one by passing had written notes. Was he going to pass her the note that he wrote, not this time. 

    All smiles and tea, all free loving and also quick to block him out for months on end with no explanation other than she was busy, or a family emergency. What were they going to do with each other.

    He offered to drive her home, and she said simply, “I’m not sleeping at my home tonight.” And that broke his heart a little that that was so overt. 

    Boyfriends and husbands never stopped him much before, but it was 2016 soon, it was time to have a higher opinion of oneself. He’s never even thought to try and kiss her, it just hadn’t been appropriate, and wasn’t now. They sipped more tea.

    Waited to part company soon, the white bent up, economical Honda Civic faced East on 42nd street, parked next to the Grand Library where he used to study medicine with Ariel Elmallay. Just several clicks ahead was the United Nations building whose big white tower could be hit by almost any errant rocket fired from the coast of Breuklyn Soviet, visually speaking but in reality to hit that tower would require Iranian fire power, not made in Brooklyn basements; because it was an illusion that the World Trade Center, the UN Building and Empire State building could be seen from places like Dumbo or Williamsburg; an illusion! Rockets couldn’t easily hit these edifices because they were high above, higher than third dimensional perception allowed. He knew that to be true, like he knows he is a lefty.

    Maybe he’s drifting so far away because he knows there isn’t anyone to center him back, no one who cares to take the risk to do that work. Certainly not her.

    “I wonder what you’re doing with me,” he says.

    “I enjoy your mind a lot.”

    “What if I didn’t want to see you again?”

    “I would discourage that, we have fun don’t we. Don’t cheat me out of clean fun.”

    “You make me feel marginal you know, you’re real busy. I for the very first time have too much time to know what to do with. But I don’t have anything to offer you, I have dirty job, a shitty car. No money.”

    “You have a lot more than most. Your mind is exciting and I would never encourage you to not see me, but you need to respect my time and my; shall we say circumstances.”

    “I think I will develop feelings for you and ruin the little magic you might feel.”

    “Take whatever risk you must.”

    “What am I good for?”

    “Remains to be seen.”

    “Do you remember the last time we were together?” he asks her.

    “Live in the moment Sebastian, droog, wake up, this is all real. I go to Brazil in 5 days, there will be no time to see you before I go, it’s not personal. I’m working on a complex structure at work, something like was always talked of; a hanging garden above central park! Exciting right, as we always talked about.”

    They had been on four or five or six dates, some were not really dates some were just sweet palavers, maybe they all were since she had a boyfriend or a husband or a patron or a keeper and they’d not even done more than barely hold hands on ice.

    The second date he told her an idea of building a floating pleasure garden above central park and it stuck in her head and now she had done it; she had found the backers to erect such a thing and political will bought to uphold that plan.

    “You’re so impressive,” he tells her.

    As long as he’s known her he’s though so.

    “Wonderful that you think so, I think so too, about us both.”

    “Well what now?” he asks, “when again will I see you?

    She hands him a little envelope and inside it is a picture of her looking blonde and ravishing shot by a professional photographer. There is a red lip stick kiss on it. Some numbers are written on the back. There’s a lot of reason to believe he shouldn’t call those numbers. But he will.

    “I’m worth so much to so many, just go slowly,” she says.

    “I don’t know when you’ll see me again, but I know you won’t forget me,” she says. 

    “You’re sweet,” he says.

    “Don’t get a cavity,” she replies.

    A great Rabbi once said ‘in love don’t ever come empty handed’, but he did. He didn’t have anything to give her before she left, just a letter he wrote in the glove compartment, but he wasn’t gonna open it now. It wasn’t even sentimental like her photo, although a few guys probably had that photo for Christmas, whoever she was going to Brazil with something better still. Maybe, but maybe that was all a story in his head. Maybe she was sweet. Honestly, who knew?

    The things I might do, he thinks.

    “The things you might do, is why I keep coming back to you,” she says.

    “Can I take you on a real date after Brazil?”

    “You can try.”

    “I’m going to think about you a lot when you’re gone,” he says.

    “Not too much,” she says, “just enough so a smile forms on your lips and then it passes. Not like your other girls, not like anything before. Think about me until it hurts, and stop there. Think about your future.”

“When you come back from Brazil, it will be the future.”

    “That’s true. I must go, please know that I have never had any intention of hurting you.”

    “Good bye, have fun in Brazil.”

“I will. Have fun wherever you are.”

    And they kiss professionally on the cheek only one time, and she get out of the car and takes of briskly into the streets and the night.

    And he is sure he will never see her again. But he’s thought that before. The Civic takes off down 42nd street heading to the FDR where a bridge, an illusionary bridge between two words or a tunnel, a paid tunnel will take him back to the tiny Brooklyn safe house he is staying on Avenue J and Coney Island Ave. His body hurts, he’s uncomfortable in his own skin. 

The New Ground Rules

The New Ground Rules: Ending the politics of international doublure

Haitian Development Authority Plan 2020-2030

Policy Briefing for the Office of the President

Walter Adler, Ministry of Planning   

Republic of Haiti

“The NGO sector in Haiti is best described as an uncoordinated mass of organizations de facto unaccountable to any governing or regulatory institution, i.e. no accountants, no auditors, no reviews, and no publication of poor or dishonest performance.”-Schwartz Report

Introduction and Background 

We submit a policy package designed to restore our national sovereignty, assert control over our resources, ports and airspace, and forge a pathway whereby the citizens of our nation will know dignity, human rights, hope and opportunity.  The aim of our proposed policies are to dismantle the ‘Republic of NGOs’ and restore in its place an empowered, socially, environmentally and economically sustainable Republic of Haiti.

A series of human and environmental catastrophes have befallen the Republic of Haiti since the moment of her independence. It has repeatedly been stated that Haiti bears a certain ‘uniqueness’. We assert that this ‘uniqueness’ is artificially enforced to the detriment of all our citizens and must be corrected by political action. We are the most disaster casualty prone nation in the Americas (UNOHA, 2014). We are the absolute poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and second only to India the highest perceived ratio of NGOs/to population on earth (Clinton Global, 2012). Perhaps more striking is that our income inequality is seventh most unequal on earth (2012 GINI is 0.61). We are also the only nation on earth with a peacekeeping operation presiding over our military jurisdiction without a ceasefire in place between warring factions. 

There are now 10.32 million citizens now living in our Republic and they are living with daily existential threats to their welfare. Currently our HDI is 168 (0.417). Haiti has an adult life expectancy of 63.1. A full 50.16 % of our population is living in multidimensional poverty (UNDP 2014). A 2012 World Bank survey places 6 million Haitians (59%) living below $2 (90 HTG) a day while 2.5 million (24%) are living below $1(45 HTG). Therefore 83% are below our own domestic poverty line. Adult literacy is at 48.7% (UNDP 2014). Only 5% of the population can functionally comprehend our language of education and administration (MIT, 2014).

This proposal will recommend policies in the following strategic arenas; State Capacity, NGO Regulation and Investment.

Literature Review 

On State Capacity: Only 10% of the population are employed in a taxable sector (WB, 2014). Our state does not currently have the capacity to exert full sovereignty (Farmer & Schwartz, 2014). This is derived from a combination of stressors; a) having no substantial tax revenue base; b) donor circumvention of state structure in delivery of aid via NGOS; c) the sensitive nature of our domestic politics; c) ongoing MINUSTAH presence; e) our lack of an armed forces and underdeveloped police force; d) and NGO proliferation (Schwartz, 2014)(CFPS, 2014). If we examine USAID development policies ranging from HAVA to subsequent newer incarnations, we observe not only several generations of clusters that paid only lip service to the authority of the state, but also demonstrated non-coordination facilitated by USAID subcontracting to both NGOs & Beltway contractors (Schuller, 2012).

A range of capacity building priorities will require both management training and eventually take over of NGO facilitated services (NORD, 2014). MINUSTAH policies which once urged ‘clusters’ now suggest a firmer hand in regulation of NGO actors in Haitian soil. On either end of this extreme are polices of India v. NGO policies of Sudan (Oxfam, 2012). UN OCHA 2014 policy recommendations involve development of command and control over NGOS, public-private partnerships, extension of microfinance sector; new tax identity cards, direct taxation of remittances and transfers, as well as extension of sales taxes on items in the large informal economy (World Bank, 2014). According to the GAO Congressional policy studies in the US; of $631 million allocated to our post-2010 reconstruction: 0.7% went to our government, businesses or organizations; 43% was routed to NGOs and a full 56% was reinvested via contractors. 55% of obligated pledge has evens been delivered (GAO, 2013)

On NGO regulation Policy: The NGO sector remains unaccountable. As of March 31, 2013, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has obligated $293 million (45 percent) and disbursed $204 million (31 percent) of $651 million in funding for Haiti from the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010: less that 1% has gone to our government (USIP, 2010).

  While officially, there are 560 registered NGOs, there may be at any given time upwards of 5,000 formations (missionary, humanitarian, and domestic) dispensing services illegally in our territory. Perhaps not with malice, but with total disregard we have been reduced to predatory dependency, regulating them will be highly complicated (Chafetz, 2006)(Schuller, 2012 )(USIP, 2010). Reduction of duplication and overlap most coincide with thorough monitoring and evaluation.

On Investment Policy: ‘Open for Business’ legislation has allowed a degree of exploitation of our labor force and further destruction of our environment (Johnston, 2013). Investment policy should shift away from garment assemblage (Titus, 2012). It should absolutely enforce state ownership of resources especially in light of the recent discovery of gold (HGW, 2014). Note the Dominican Ministry of Tourism’s Dual Track; segregated all-inclusive hotels on the coast and islands used to pay to more culturally sensitive development open to all within the interior. Investment garment assemblage at Sai Ah Industrial & export-processing zones is not a proven model for development (NY Times, 2014). Through U.S. legislation such as HOPE I & II as well as the Help Economic Lift Program (HELP) Acts we retain duty free access to the US. (Chandler/ Clinton Global Initiative).  Capital inflows from the diaspora are estimated to be $1.5-1.9 billion a year (23-30%) of our 2010 GDP Most of the existing policies in place to empower the diaspora to reinvest financial and human capital are only proving partially effective (Titus, 2012). Allowing dual citizenship (Maretlly, 2011) was critical but needs to be expanded (Zéphir, 2004). Dual citizenship in the information age should facilitate the ability to monitor, evaluate and participate not only invest (Stepick, 2001). This investment is not just a question of capital; reengaging Haitian youth in diaspora through a type of Birthright program was invaluable to Israeli policy and would be valuable to us. Studies of diaspora migration yield a durable pattern of either reclamation or interference (Newland, 2004) According to the CFIC briefing, we must shore up our massive brain drain (80% of degree holding Haitians living abroad). Critical studies of diaspora mobilization policy convince us of the critical need not empower, not simply extract remittance support (Newland, 2004). 

Policy Recommendation: 

    Parcel 1: (State Capacity) Increase federalization by sub-dividing governance to the departmental (10), arrondissement (42) and commune (140) levels in a similar scheme as the United States to allow participatory involvement in development. Not all at once, two departments at a time beginning with Grand’Anse & Artibonite. The President’s office will maintain control over MSPP, HNP, and key ministries, which will remain centralized along with an executive veto of department senate proposals. Power will be divested from the existing Senate/CoD and into the new department units.  We thereby allow greater federal autonomy as each sub-federal will establish its own department senate, arrondissement house of deputies, and commune council in pattern similar to post-genocide Rwanda. All NGO/ missionary activity will revolve around meeting policy objectives set by Department Senates and the office of the Presidency. This new state architecture composed of elected party officials will submit all service provision, public safety, and development plans to the President’s office. Fiscal centralization with more operational incentive going to sub-units. 

Lifting bans on all political parties will be contingent on participation in the Haitian Development Plan. Pursue confidence-building measures that realistically address concerns of G184/Lavalas. Politically enfranchise the Diaspora by giving them administrative, voting and business incentivization via supra-territorial departments. Formally enfranchise the Middle Eastern community, NGO class & diaspora with varying political representation. 

Progressively Tax anyone residing in Haiti for over 3 month. Issue tax ID/ driver licenses to population. Encourage use of the ID for virtually all civic functions. Require digital monetization via cell phones to procure social services from licensed state providers or NGO. Utilize ID for benefit and social services dispersal. Increase professionalization of Civil Service on all levels via mass capacity trainings. No Development Aid or foreign assistance can be routed to an NGO operating in Haiti without reporting the amount to our Development Authority. Registered and Compliant NGOs such as PIH-ZL with be given high levels of autonomy as long as they operate within the sector goals of the government. All procurement activities, HR and contracted services must prove there was an adequate domestic bid where applicable. The effect of the policy will be regaining state control.

Parcel 2: (NGO Regulation) NGO Proliferation Control must begin with a rigorous census and designation. NGO Registration will be followed by NGO taxation. Waiver of taxation will be granted by voluntary enrolment in a newly constituted Haitian Development Authority and subsequent enlistment in a corresponding governmental sector. All foreign NGOs must follow standardized design, monitoring and evaluation of projects. All foreign NGOs will form strategic partnerships with Haitian CBO/NGO/ government agencies. NGO fines will be levied for noncompliance of regulations. Harmonization of all NGO work to fulfil government strategies will begin Department-by-Department beginning with Ouest. The effect of the policy package will be to couple regulation & harmonization with purge. NGOs that will not enable the state to accomplish development goals have no place operating inside Haiti.

Parcel 3: (Investment) Concentration of high-end tourist development on Ile a Vache and Southern coast. Focus on Ile Gonave for all inclusive tourist development coupled with deep-water port along lined of LGDA/ICA master plans. Focus all-inclusive development of North Coast. Expand international airports to Cap Haitian, Jacmel, and La Caye to enable direct airport to resort passage. Prohibit foreign land ownership including natural resources and beaches. Make export processing zones/ industrial zones buy into vocational training schemes. Pursue 51% state ownership in overall ventures, preferential access to Haitian diaspora.

Restore high import tariffs on foodstuffs produced outside of Hispaniola to discourage agricultural dumping.
Critical Synthesis:   

Newmont and Eurasian Corporations have invested $30 million in exploratory digging. The Sai-Ah Industrial park received $224 million of the funds earmarked for reconstruction. We have not signed the international Safety and Health in Mines convention or the voluntary Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, both of which offer some protection to our citizens. We have no good record of observing textile assembly trickle down or anywhere else. It is time we make an investment in our human resources. To do so we require the funds to implement the health, educational, and vocational restoration needed to secure our future. Ending Doublure, the long accepted politic of rule through proxy and reclamation of our social service sector capacity is the beginning of that process.

References:

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) (2012) Evaluation of Donor Response to Haiti Earthquake Shows “Building Back Better” Nothing But a Sloganhttp://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/evaluation-of-donor-response-to-haiti-earthquake-shows-building-back-better-nothing-but-a-slogan(Accessed on May 16, 2013).

Chafetz, M. E. (1996). The Tyranny Of Experts: Blowing The Whistle On The Cult Of Expertise Author: Morris E. Chafetz, Publisher: Madison Books.

Chandler, A. (2014). The Role of the Haitian Diaspora in Haiti Building Back Better. Center for Strategic International Studies-CSIS (2014). Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

Dolisca, F., McDaniel, J. M., Teeter, L. D., & Jolly, C. M. (2007). Land tenure, population pressure, and deforestation in Haiti: the case of Forêt des Pins Reserve. Journal of Forest Economics, 13(4), 277-289.

Feinsilver, J. M. (2010). Fifty years of Cuba’s medical diplomacy: from idealism to pragmatism. Cuban studies, 41(1), 85-104.

Farmer, P. (1994). The Uses of Haiti (Vol. 3). Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.

Farmer, P. (2001). Infections and inequalities: The modern plagues. University of California Press.

Heinzelman, J., & Waters, C. (2010). Crowdsourcing crisis information in disaster-affected Haiti. US 

Jenson, D. & Szabo, V. (2011) Cholera in Haiti and Other Caribbean Regions, 19th Century. Duke FHI Haiti Humanities. Laboratory Student Research Team1. 2130 Emerging Infectious Diseases. http://www.cdc.gov/eid • Vol. 17, No. 11, November 2011

Johnston, J. & Main, A. (2013). Research Breaking Open the Black Box: Increasing Aid Transparency and Accountability in Haiti. Center for Economic and Policy. April 2013. Retrieved from:  http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/haiti-aid-accountability-2013-04.pdf

Katz, J. M. (2013). The big truck that went by: how the world came to save Haiti and left behind a disaster. New York: Palgrave. Macmillan.

Kristoff, M., & Panarelli, L. (2010). Haiti: A Republic of NGOs?. In Peace Brief(Vol. 23). United States Institute of Peace.

Morton, A. (1997). Haiti: NGO sector study. Washington, DC: World Bank, 52.

Newland, K., & Patrick, E. (2004). Beyond remittances: the role of Diaspora in poverty reduction in their countries of origin, a scoping study by the Migration Policy Institute for the Department of International Development. Migration Policy Institute.

Palma, G. (2003). National Inequality in the Era of Globalization: What Do Recent Data 

Tell Us? in Johnathan Michie, Handbook of Globalization, Cheltenham, UK and 

Northampton MA: Edward Elgar, 2003. 

Pan American Health Organization: Epidemiological Update on Cholera (27 June 2014) Situation summary of cholera in the Americas

Ramachandran, V. & Walz, J. (2012). Haiti: Where Has All the Money Gone?”  Centre for Global Development (CGD) Policy Paper 004 May 2012,

Schuller, M.  (2012). Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid and NGOs

Schwartz, T. (2014). History of NGOs and Disaster in Haiti. Retrieved from: http://open.salon.com/blog/timotuck/2013/02/09/ngos_and_disaster_in_haiti

Shamsie, Y., & Thompson, A. S. (Eds.). (2006). Haiti: hope for a fragile state. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press.

Stepick, A., Stepick, C. D., & Kretsedemas, P. (2001). Civic engagement of Haitian immigrants and Haitian Americans in Miami-Dade County. Haiti–Immigration and Ethnicity Institute of South Florida Retrieved November 16, 2006.

Titus, R. F. (2012). Roadmap to Haiti’s Next Revolution: A Plan for Diaspora Haitians to Contribute to a Peaceful Turnaround. iUniverse.

Zéphir, F. (2004). The Haitian Americans. Greenwood Publishing Group.