Now I understand why one of the extras carries a tennis racquet in the Soweto Uprising scene of the film Stander.
This image is from Nantes, France, where demos have been going on for weeks. Credit: Stephane Mahe/ Reuters.
Tonton Macoute (Creole: Tonton Makout) can be translated as “bogeyman,” though it literally means “Uncle Gunnysack.”
See this excerpt:
In 1959, only two years after becoming president, “Papa Doc” created a paramilitary force that would report only to him and would be fully empowered to use unremitting violence to maintain the new administration’s authority to summarily dispose of its enemies. This marked the birth of one of the most brutal paramilitary organizations in the hemisphere and was justified by the leader’s profound paranoia towards the threat posed by the regular armed forces. Haiti’s military began to steadily lose a great deal of authority with the consolidation of the François Duvalier regime, which it would not recover until 1986, when the pressure coming from senior military officers played a major role in the fall of Jean-Claude. A spate of coups followed, with military figures occupying the vacancy left by “Baby Doc.”
The Haitians nicknamed this warlord-led goon squad the “Tonton Macoutes,” after the Creole translation of a common myth, about an “uncle” (Tonton) who kidnaps and punishes obstreperous kids by snaring them in a gunnysack (Macoute) and carrying them off to be consumed at breakfast. Consequently, these torturers, kidnapers and extortionists were feared not only by children, but also by the country’s general population, as well as by opposition members and business men not willing to make enforced pay-offs to the authorities. The militia consisted mostly of illiterate fanatics that were converted into ruthless zombie-like gunmen. Their straw hats, blue denim shirts, dark glasses and machetes remain indelibly etched in the minds of millions of Haitians.
Ever since its establishment, this brutal organization had free rein to act unreservedly, disregarding any ethical or civil rights of the citizenry that might interfere with its indiscriminate violence. They were not accountable to any state branch, court or elected body, but rather only to their leader, “Papa Doc.”
… and you should pay attention, in part because the luxury of willful ignorance is a privilege accorded– for the most part– solely to the citizens of Empire. Those who live in places Empire bombs and invades and surveils don’t have the option of turning the channel.
The US Senate is releasing a much-delayed, heavily redacted report on key aspects of the (on-going) US torture regime. The Obama administration and its neoconservative allies did not want this report to be issued to the public. Already, torture enthusiasts such as Mike Rogers are claiming that the release of the report will cause incalculable damage to US prestige and even the death of its agents and operatives. Of course the same was said about wikileaks and Snowden’s revelations.
Read about it. Discuss it. This matters.