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28794: Morse (comment) Haitian bands (fwd)

_oloffsonram@aol.com_ (mailto:oloffsonram@aol.com)

My first band was basically an American band. New Wave/Punk rock. I had one
keyboard player. His dad was Vice President at IBM and on the Board of
Trustees at Princeton U. I had two guitarists. One of my guitarists' father was partners with Phil Ramone (who produced Billy Joel) at A&R Studios in New York.
My  other guitarist's father roomed with Donald Rumsfeld at Princeton. My
father,  after a distinguished academic career, was Secretary of Latin American
Affairs  at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington during the Reagan
administration. If this band had ever needed a visa to travel I don't think it would
have been a problem considering the references we could have put together,
however, we were never asked to travel internationally.

My second band is basically a Haitian band. Some of the mothers in the band
are market women, one is married to a Pasteur. One of the fathers was a drum
maker. One was a Vodou priest, who also played the drums, one is an orphan
brought up by his grand mother, and to tell you the truth, I don't know the
family history of every single musician. This band is always asked to travel
abroad. We've been to St Lucia, The Dominican Republic, US, Canada, England,
Scotland, Wales, Denmark, etc.. However, visas are always an unbelievable hassle.

When I was a kid in the States, in social studies class, we learned about
the Voting Rights Act. A potential voter would show up to vote and he would be
given a literacy test. If they wanted him to vote, he would be asked to spell
"cat". If they didn't want him to vote, the potential voter would be  asked
to spell a word such as "hieroglyphics". Current President Bush recently
signed an extension to the "Voting Rights Act" which eliminated the practice. I
saw him do it on TV. Perhaps the President should now take a quick  look at how
we're treating our Haitian friends and neighbors at the US Consulate  in
Port-au-Prince. Apart from the difficult questions sometimes asked, the word on
the street here is that if you go to a pharmacy and buy products to lighten
your skin color you have a better chance of getting a tourist visa to the States.

Dilemmas, dilemmas. What kind of band do I want?

Richard Morse