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    March 18

  • 01:17 PM

OUR CARIBBEAN: Fitting Haiti tribute in BIM Magazine

by Rickey Singh,

Added 18 June 2010

GIVEN THE continuing trauma and prevailing uncertainties of Haiti’s post-earthquake future, it should not be surprising that BIM, the distinguished Caribbean literary journal published in Barbados, has devoted almost a third of its current edition to the country internationally recognised for heralding the end of slavery and colonialism in this hemisphere.A fine collection of articles by some of the well known academics and writers of the Caribbean region await readers in the current sixth edition, since the revival of this journal that George Lamming credits as being “the cradle for 40-odd years of nearly all the established West Indian writers”.The resuscitated BIM, of which Lamming is its patron and consulting editor, and Esther Phillips editor, is increasingly being recognised for its more creative presentation and richness in diversity of thought from what it used to be for many years. Special editions, since its rebirth, have been devoted to its visionary founder, Frank Collymore, as well as to Lamming, plus one that celebrated outstanding women writers of the region.   The package on Haiti begins with a very moving reflection by Jennifer Rahim on Earthquake, 2010 (starting with the precise time of 2:30 p.m. January 12) of that unprecedented natural disaster in this hemisphere. It is followed with an informative historical account of The first Boat People Fleeing to Haiti for Citizenship and Freedom by Hilary Beckles who is credited with being quite an influential supporter of BIM.In her Haiti –Or What is a Metaphor A Metaphor For, Colin Dayan laments that “amid  evocations of a desperate people and fesfering landscape, the media and the “humanitarian’ community continue to ignore the history and culture of Haiti . . . .”And Anthony Bogues, in his critical analysis on The Dual Haitian Revolution as an Archive of Freedom, reminds us that there were “two revolutions: One against slavery and the other against colonial domination. Both were related and for the Haitians the struggle for political independence was a guarantee against any return to slavery. . . ”.In addition to the focus on Haiti, the contents of the 103-page edition include Henry Fraser’s Thoughts on the Colly Book – A Biography of Frank Collymore by Edward Baugh (published by Ian Randle); Austin Clarke’s Early, Early, Early One Morning; Sea Baths by Brenda Flanagan; Karen Lord’s Bacchanal and Mark McWatt’s; Distractions (one and two).The blurb on BIM explains that it is produced twice each year and publishes “creative works, essays and critical expositions that meet the needs of the literary and artistic community”. Further it accepts “submissions that focus on literary, artistic and cultural phenomena within the Caribbean and its diaspora”.A glance at BIM’s editorial board and board of management reveals an array of impressive range of individuals.  But a recurring question for me is why a journal of such fine quality does not benefit from enlightened marketing visibility it needs and deserves?Clearly new efforts seem sorely needed to move BIM out of its rather limited circulation with creative distribution systems in and out of Barbados.This can hardly be a challenge that’s beyond the capacities of those comprising the journal’s board of management.

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