Sunday, January 31, 2010

Notebook Writer with Mike Marcellino on radio

Notebook Writer with Mike Marcellino airs our fifth show on Blog Talk Radio Wednesday, Feb. 3th, 8-10pm EST.  We're pleased to welcome a new member of our cast - New York City poet, spoken-word curator & educator Adela Sinclair.

Stay tuned to Mike's Blog, The Point of the Whole Thing, for Notebook Writer show lineups and updates.   Our January show was among the most popular  in the books category on Blog Talk Radio.  Notebook Writer is the first Wednesday of every month 8-10pm EST.  Notebook Writer is produced by Red River Writers Live/Robin Falls (Red River Valley, Texas).

Our next show features guest writers & performing artists: Richard Cave, musician with the popular Haitian band, Camiri, whose members survived the earthquake in Haiti; Ray McNiece, Cleveland author, performance artist, educator and Izreal Kahlid Allah of Washington DC/Mobile Al, poet activist with Blacknez Recordingz and Lola Haskins, Florida author of seven books of poetry/prose, & and the forthcoming poetry collection "Still the Mountains" (2010) 

Host Mike Marcellino, a national award-winning journalist & author of The Point of the Whole Thing Networked Blog, talks with an eclectic mix of writers about writing and life, takes calls from listeners and performs his own stuff. An Army war correspondent, he first wrote poetry and prose during mortar & rocket attacks in Vietnam. He likes to surf and the film "Viva Zapata" with Marlon Brando. His new folk band is Mike Marcellino with Ensor. Mike's performed his brand of poetry folk music at clubs & coffeehouses in New York City, Cleveland, Tulsa, Baltimore and St. Augustine, Fl. 

Co-host Natalie Bliss, a poet, writer and artist from Auckland, New Zealand, likes Leonard Cohen, animals, rugby and teaches grade school kids art. 

Just joining the Notebook Writer Show crew as assistant producer is Adela Sinclair, a New York City poet, educator, spoken-word curator, performer and blogger. Member of the Madison Poets, Gallery RIVAA, PSA and PEN America. She holds a Masters Degree in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and is a NYC Department of Education ESL teacher. Organizer of poetry readings at Gallery RIVAA, FALL FOR ARTS Festival, Salmagundi Art Club. She enjoys setting poetry readings against the backdrop of paintings, sculptures, and photographs. 

The show airs from 7-9pm CST (8-10pm EST). Show call in number is 646-595-4478 or you may listen (or register to be on the air) on the show's Blog Talk Radio website. The show is also archived and Podcast.

Link for the upcoming show -

Notebook Writer with Mike Marcellino 

To listen to four previous shows search On Demand shows October 2009 through January 2010

Robin Falls (producer) on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haitian poetry song

Demele, it’s told
By Mike Marcellino

Reality is French Creole.
Demele, it’s told
Managing up on the ground,
down, once sold
Being bold
No longer doing what you’re told.

Reality is in French Creole
Demele, it’s told
Being late
Defying all odds
peas in a pod
in the face of suffering.

Reality is in French Creole
Demele, it’s told
Getting up. Always
Waking in a fluster,
passing muster in a world ready to explode
Keeping hope

Reality is in French Creole
Demele, it’s told
Carry on
(in Middle English)
Revolutionaries in quarrel,
wear outlaw labels.

Demele, it’s told, copyright 2010 by Mike Marcellino

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A week after the Haiti earthquake the debate continues: Who should be in charge of the disaster response?

Time is still running out in Haiti
by Mike Marcellino

Note:  One January 14, two days after the earthquake struck Haiti, in a commentary, Mike Marcellino reasoned the the U. S. military was best suited to take charge of the disaster response.  Today, the United Nations and what's left of the Haitian government remain in charge.

Seven days after an earthquake struck Haiti, the question of who is (or should be) in charge of the disaster response is still debated.  U. S. Marines who landed five days ago asked the same question.

A retried U. S. Army general on PBS Newshour tonight said the U. S. military should take charge as it's self contained and able to address all the challenges from medial treatment to security.  They are also ready and near  Haiti.

A retired bureaucrat  with USAID (United States Agency for International Development) thinks the United Nations can do the job once coordination is in place.

At this point, the only thing for certain is who is not in charge.

The military isn't, apparently to avoid looking like a U. S. takeover of Haiti.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) isn't.  The U. S. agency responsible for domestic disaster response and should have learned some lessons form Hurricane Katrina. FEMA is expert in immediate reponse, such as USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) and making progress out of chaos.  FEMA refers all reporters' questions to USAID.

USAID, which falls under the U. S. State Department, is the U. S. agency in authority, but it doesn't provide immediate disaster response itself, only coordinates and provides material aid and expertise.

Even though disaster experts say the first 72 hours is critical to saving lives and preventing greater secondary health issues, the United Nations and a Haitian government in collapse remain in charge.

Today, critics and the media continue raise question, such as, why planeloads of medical teams and supplies of Doctors without Boarders continue to diverted from landing in the Haiti airport controlled by the U. S. military.

One thing certain is Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and it was devastated by an earthquake, leaving 200,000 or more dead, 3.5 million homeless and Port-au-Prince in shambles with chaos and violence in the streets.

Mike Marcellino is a two-time national award winning journalist.  He also served as a U. S. Army combat correspondent in the Vietnam War and worked as a Congressional staff member on international human rights issues affecting Soviet Jews and the people of Taiwan.

copyright by Mike Marcellino 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Time is running out for Haiti

Crisis in Haiti:  An analysis of the earthquake aftermath

by Mike Marcellino

Mike Marcellino is a two-time national award winning journalist and served as a US Army combat correspondent in the Vietnam War.  He also worked as a Congressional staff member focusing on international human rights, community issues and veterans health care.

Is Haiti on the edge of collapse? 

Does anyone know the true extent of the disaster and the threats it imposes?

Based on the latest news reports, it appears some capable organization must take control of Haiti to avoid catastrophe. 

Conditions are chaotic.  Time is running out to save people in the rubble, provide medical supplies and personnel to treat victims and prevent lawlessness to go out of control.

The U. S. military would seem to be the only organization capable of addressing the situation in time to avoid unnecessary death and a total collapse of the society in Haiti.   Perhaps, the Haitian government could allow the U. S. military temporary authority for a period of time to allow stability and some improvement in conditions.

Yet, President Obama doesn't appear to be moving in that direction.  Perhaps he will after Secretary of State Clinton reports on conditions on the ground in Haiti.   

This story filed an hour ago by James Reinl, foreign correspondent for The National (United Arab Emirates) with AP and Agence France Press best captures the urgency of the situation in Haiti, and the chaos on the ground there.

Here are some excerpts -

“We have now used up all of the medical supplies from NGOs based in Haiti. We haven’t yet received anything from the internationals. I know they are at the airport, but there is no distribution yet." (director, Port au Prince General Hospital)

“This is chaos. I’ve been to all the disasters in the world: Myanmar, Pakistan, Iran, India. They were organised much better – there is no organisation here,” said Luc Beaucourt, part of a field medics’ team from the Belgian charity V-Med. “Everything is destroyed. The government. There is no military.”  

“This is a historic disaster. We have never been confronted with such a disaster in the UN memory. It is like no other,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told AFP in Geneva.

To read the entire story posted on the Internet by The National click the link below.

Battle for life amid stench of death

Copyright Mike Marcellino 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

A song of the Haitian spirit in "Flatbush," story of a homeland tragedy

Earthquake and America in Haiti
Saving lives and a nation
by Mike Marcellino

In the aftermath of the earthquake, President Obama is acting swiftly to bring critically needed aid to Haiti.  

But, with this massive natural disaster, the president has inherited a dismal American record in the world's first black republic created by former slaves.  The legacy includes occupation, rejection of  political refugees and neglect in nation building in the world's first black republic, less than 700 miles from Miami.
Haiti lies in ruins with estimates of 250,000 or more dead. 

Does the U. S. and United Nations grasp the enormity of the situation?  After 72 hours without water, food and medical attention, the survivors will start dying, according to experts. In addition to reaching people trapped in rubble in Port-au-Prince, other cities, like coastal town of Jacmel, are isolated as roads have collapsed.  

Military officials have already ruled out air drops of supplies citing concerns of causing chaos and violence, though 10,000 U. S. troops will be in Haiti or off the coast by Monday.

While all human disasters are equally tragic and disturbing, this one hit me personally as I recently spent time living Flatbush, Brooklyn, one of the largest Haitian American communities.

This working and middle class neighborhood is majority West Indian, especially Haitian.  They live in a flat plain founded in the 16th century by the Dutch whose graves remain, though faceless, outside a church filled with Haitians, who still practice voodoo.

Dutch graves in a cemetery outside a church in Flatbush, one of the largest Haitian communities in the U. S. photo by Mike Marcellino

Walking my friends' white dog around the block, going to the supermarket, buying some meat pies, getting to the train station or just wandering, I was struck by the kind, respectful and happy nature of my Haitian neighbors.  I rarely saw another white person, yet never felt like a minority.  

The spirit and nature of Haitians and others from countries like Grenada, Trinidad and Jamaica inspired a song I wrote and recorded simply called "Flatbush."  Now I feel my friends are in trouble and need help.

(If you wish, you may listen to the recording "Flatbush" on the music player on top of this blog) 

Haitians will survive, you can feel it.  They have "demele, " a Creole word that means "to manage life in the face of hardship." 

Haitians overcame slavery and founded the world's first black republic in1804.  They have survived dictators, being turned back by the U. S. Navy in their boats seeking political refuge, abject poverty (Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere) and hurricanes.   

The outpouring by the American people and organizations is encouraging.  You can even donate $10 automatically by texting the Red Cross on your cell phone. Folks in Miami are appealing on Facebook for volunteers to load supplies for Haiti.  A benefit concert, "Hope for Haiti," is already planned.

The sight of American troops on the ground in Haiti and a aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is America at its best.  Will we act quickly enough, or will get bogged down by red tape and the lack of imagination?

This disaster may have a silver lining if it serves as wake up call for the U. S. to stay the course in Haiti.  

The U. S. controlled Haiti for nearly two decades ending in 1934.  Marine Corps commanders governed the provinces.  More than 2,000 Haitians died in a revolt crushed by U. S. forces in 1918.  Marines killed 10 Haitians protesting economic conditions in 1929. 

Before the U. S. departure, a commission appointed by President Hoover, recognized material improvements during the occupation, but pointed out that Haitians were excluded from decision making  in the process.  The commission concluded:
"The social forces that created [instability] still remain--poverty, ignorance, and the lack of a tradition or desire for orderly free government." 

A bad example of helping build a free and prosperous nation.  

The New York Times Friday, published a debate among Haiti experts, "Is the U. S. Doing Enough for Haiti?"  In the article, University of Chicago professor Greg Beckett makes a case for "a long term commitment for durable change."

Beckett, a Harper Fellow in social sciences studying the environmental, urban and political crisis in Port au Prince, further states -

"The U.S. has a long, strained relationship with Haiti, and more than any other country it has a political responsibility to lead efforts to rebuild the country. In the past, the U.S. has occupied and administered Haiti, given support and financial assistance to governments, trained the military, led stabilization missions and shaped economic policy.

"The occupation of 1915-1934 centralized military and political authority in Port-au-Prince, but left little in the form of infrastructural improvement. Economic policies have left Haiti dependent and persistently poor. Aid initiatives have bypassed the government and contributed to the weakening of state and social institutions." 

Today, despite of the United Nations' peace keeping force of 8,000 troops and the presence of 10,000 humanitarian workers, Haitian mothers still commonly make "dirt cookies" for their children to eat. They can't afford food.

Yet, the Haitian spirit endures.  Haitians still pound shape beautiful metal art from recycled steel drums. Now they wonder whether any buyers will be able to reach them in the devastation.   

When the Marines open the roads again, let's hope the United States gets nation building in Haiti right this time.

The fate of rebuilding Haiti lies with America's first president of color.  But for now President Obama has a more pressing question to answer.  The Marines have landed in Haiti and they are asking, "Who's in charge." (source, Christian Science Monitor, Jan, 14, 2010)

copyright Mike Marcellino 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

"The Walls of Fire" a recording, poem and photostory by Mike Marcellino

The walls of fire
By Mike Marcellino

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers
rock cliffs and open fields -
Hornet’s Nest at Shiloh
Devil’s Den, Gettysburg.

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers
sea to shining sea -
lost in the Argonne Forest
face down on beaches at Normandy
frozen by the waters of Chosin Reservoir.

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers
paddies, highlands -
Nui Ba Dinh, the Black Virgin Mountain
the Ashau Valley
along the perimeter of Khe Sanh.

The walls of fire
grow higher, higher
pools of blood, carnage
bodies of brothers
empty deserts
filled with giant rising suns -
Fallujah rooftops
unknown streets of Sadr City
barren mountains, caves of Tora Bora.

The walls of fire
grow higher, still higher
pools of blood
bodies of brothers

The walls of fire copyright by Mike Marcellino 2009

Photos by Mike Marcellino, South Vietnam, 1967-68 Copyright 2010

(top) "My Girls" (right) "Oriental River" and (below) "Search and Destory"

Mike served in the US Army as a combat correspondent and photojournalist in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968.

He  recorded "The Walls of Fire" as the folk band's fourth poetry song in November 2009.  Mike is songwriter and vocalist and Tomas Texino composed the music.

You may listen to the recording of "The Walls of Fire" on the music player here or visit our band site at ReverbNation.  You've invited to be a follower of Mike's blog, "The Point of the Whole Thing" and a fan of the band on ReverbNation and the band's Facebook page.

Mike Marcellino on ReverbNation

Mike Marcellino on Facebook