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The Repeating Island – Representations of the Francophone Caribbean

With close reference to Benitez-Rojo’s notion of the ‘repeating island’, discuss how the Francophone Caribbean has been represented by writers, travellers and artists.   This essay shall focus on how various writers, travellers and artists have represented the Francophone Caribbean. The Islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Haiti shall serve as the focus as these are the locations in the Caribbean where a Francophone culture dominates. From the art of Agostino Brunias, to depictions of Haitian revolutionary hero, Toussaint Louverture. From Martinican poet, Aimé Césaire’s, Le Cahier du Retour au Pays Natale to how film director Euzhan Palcy depicts Plantation culture in Rue Case Nègres. Of course, Benitez-Rojo’s notion of the ‘repeating island’ shall never be far from our minds and in order to utilise his ideas to full effect it shall be essential to firstly summarise exactly what this Cuban author refers to in his conceptualisation of Caribbean culture. Antonio Benítez-Rojo sees in the Caribbean a meta-archipelago that is affected by elements of Chaos that repeat across the different islands, incorporating a polyrhythmic essence that reverberates across the multilingual cultures that comprise the Antilles. In the postmodern, post-colonialist environment, the remnants of slavery cannot be escaped in that Plantation culture remains embedded, a core component of cultural discourses, resistance and a division along racial lines, more so than in other geographical regions of the world which adapt more readily to the global environment as they haven’t the same inherent difficulties as having to constantly define history, the oft suppressed history of the Atlantic Slave Triangle, the undocumented creolization, an oral history of African traces or eradicated Carib races or of illiterate Maroon communities who struggled against their Béké masters. The repeating island is a polyrhythmic syncretic agglomeration of different cultures that unites Africa with Europe and Asia with the Americas. Agostino Brunias was a London-based Italian painter from Rome, whose travels to the West Indies have bequeathed us with a rich vein of material of a not only escapist, but also romantic nature. Agostino Brunias ‘The Linen Market Santo Domingo’, ca. 1775   Agostino Brunias ‘Mujer criolla y criadas’, Saint-Domingue (Haiti), painted between 1773-1796     Agostino Brunias ‘Dancing Scene in the West Indies’, 1764-1796  In the first of the three paintings Brunias depicts a market scene. There is a stark contrast in the painting between the use of black and white, with the women mainly wearing white clothes. The…

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End Of Terror Meeting with Politician, Jessica Morden MP

jessica morden mp

This morning I met with my local MP Jessica Morden. Jessica represents Labour and is the parliamentary representative for the Newport East constituency. Over the past few years that I have known Jessica we have had two face-to-face meetings scheduled that have unfortunately not materialised due to me being sectioned on both occasions by mental health authorities. It was to be third time lucky and it was with great pleasure that, without any unwanted intrusions, I attended Jessica’s surgery at Caldicot library today. In Wales, health is a devolved matter and most of the issues I have with Mental Health Authorities fall into the remit of Jessica’s Welsh Assembly cohort, John Griffiths AM. I had a productive meeting with John Griffiths AM a couple of months ago and we are still following up with work based on what was discussed at that meeting, with Welsh Minister for Health Vaughan Gething currently attending to my plight. Parliament, however, does house the Mental Health Act, the legislation that governs Mental Health care in this country and I felt that a meeting with Jessica Morden MP would be of paramount importance in order for me to successfully challenge the provisions of this Act. After being contained within the mental health system for approximately 20 years I am especially keen to find a permanent solution to escape this legislation as a persecuted individual and also to build a better future system for the healthcare users of tomorrow. Jessica welcomed my partner, Nicola and I, with warm smiles and an invite to take a seat in her office. Jessica was accompanied by an assistant who was very helpful throughout the meet. Jessica was pleased that I had previously met with John Griffiths and from the outset of our meeting Jessica was graced with an air of positivity and a desire to help me change the system for the better. I explained the circumstances of my most recent hospitalisation, when pure ‘thought crime’ was invented and acted upon and how I was shepherded off to detention and tortured for several months before the Mental Health Review Tribunal Courts overturned the psychiatrists and, finding in my favour, secured my release. Only 5% of patient appeals ever result in success and despite the long wait for justice,I felt that it had been served and that I was a lucky man. I made it clear that after that judgement…

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