Los Angeles Underground Artists’ Tribute to Seminal LA Sounds Benefits Haiti Relief Efforts

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Josh Klinghoffer covering Thelonious Monster’s “Anymore” is just one of the many gems on Beat LA: A Benefit for Haiti–a compilation from Narnack Records and Greatminds Records featuring some of today’s Los Angeles artists like Rats, Crystal Antlers, Microphonies, covering bands that shaped and defined Los Angeles’ punk and post-punk sound: X, Black Randy and the Metrosquad,  the Go-Gos, the Minutemen and many more–which benefits Doctors Without Borders and their life-saving endeavors assisting victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Covers of alternavtive radio favorites like fIREHOSE, Wall of Voodoo, Dream Syndicate, the Plimsouls and Cheech and Chong crash up against underground acts’ versions of  grittier bands like the Germs, the Urinals, 45 Grave, Nervous Gender, and Christian Death, with liner notes by LA maestro Gexa X who says:

LA had a FANTASTIC underground scene for a few years, say 1977 to 1982. It never got properly documented but it was huge and it was fun. These songs were part of the soundtrack of my life back then. But there is more to it. This is a healing project too…This album is one of many goodwill gestures people have come up with to help out. The political problems of the Western Hemisphere may be too much to tackle as individuals. But human problems sometimes wake the world up to the need to pull together and do something.

The album is available on iTunes, with links to listen and stream at the Narnack site. And we’ve included some of the originals for your nostalgic pleasure.


Haiti: Wyclef Jean To Contest No Go on Presidential Ballot

Singer Wyclef Jean has been a denied a spot in the presidential election in Haiti, and plans to appeal the decision by Haiti’s board of elections  which stated that he is not a resident of Haiti. Wyclef was born in the island nation and claimed to People magazine that

the psychology of the Haitian people is something that I understand ever since birth.

But actor/activist Sean Penn–who created a 55,000-person tent camp/relief village through his own foundation, J/P Haitian Relief Organization and has lived in the country for several months–
expressed his concerns about the singer’s qualifications. In an interview with Larry King, Penn alleged that Wyclef Jean mishandled $400,000 in earthquake-relief donations and has been absent in the country.

This is somebody who’s going to receive an enormous amount of support from the United States, and I have to say I’m very suspicious of it.

Wyclef told People magazine that there are 4 million Haitians living outside the country who bring $2 billion in a year into the Haitian economy. The Haitian constitution requires that candidates be residents of Haiti for five years prior to the election.

GW Bush Shakes Hands with Haitians, Wipes Hands on Clinton’s Shirt

GWB, nice work maintaining that “ugly American” stereotype. Wow. Just wow.

Evangelicals Violently Disrupt Haitian Religious Ceremony

Full disclosure: I practice an African Diasporic religion, and after the Haitian earthquake, along with a donation to the Red Cross, I gave a small sum to help the voudou community. In other words, I have a religious opinion; and like Brit Hume, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, the right to express it in the media.

Tuesday, Evangelicals violently disrupted a traditional religious ceremony in the Cite Soleil slum, located just outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. According to AFP:

Police said a pastor urged followers to attack the ceremony, resulting in a crowd of people throwing rocks at the voodoo followers.

Throwing rocks? WTF?! Is this anyway for Christians to act? Are they all so sinless?

Today the Washington Post reported that a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows

American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and “uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights.

While our foreign policy at a governmental level may be “handicapped” by secularism, the private sector is screwing up by pushing their religious agendas, retarding efforts to actually do a greater good.

In the wake of January 12 earthquake, hundreds of religious groups headed to Haiti bringing food, water and aid, some including solar powered Protestant bibles and their own religious tracts in their care packages. Some called themselves “Volunteer Ministers” and interfered with medical personnel in attempts to recruit.  It’s a huge dog pile as minsters of God ply  Haitians with various versions of salvation.

Religious tensions have increased and accelerated. Dr. Christos Kioni, the Florida-based vodou expert profiled in Christine Wicker’s Not In Kansas Anymore wrote us:

The violence fundamentalists have engaged in upon the practitioners of Vodou in Haiti is fueled by a sectarian demon. It is the same spirit that spurs Muslim radicals to engage in terrorist activities in the Name of Allah, it is the same spirit that fanned the flames of the Inquisition and Crusades. Christians have long ago abandoned their faith in the authentic teachings of Christ that God is Love. They have also forgotten that Christ said to his disciples “Other sheep I have that are not of this fold.” These radical evangelicals show no religious tolerance nor the Fruit of the Spirit by their rhetoric and actions. Such acts of violence reveal just how far Christianity has backslidden.

Earlier this month, as reported in the New York Daily News Max Beauvoir, vodou’s supreme leader

believes Christians in Haiti are taking food and supplies, and not allowing them to reach needy people outside Port-au-Prince.

“They take everything they get to their own people,” he said, “and that’s a shame.”

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs recommended:

Empowering government departments and agencies to engage local and regional religious communities where they are central players in the promotion of human rights and peace, as well as the delivery of health care and other forms of assistance.

Local and regional should mean traditional and indigenous, not just the missionary groups and those they convert.

Catholicism and vodou are the Haiti’s traditional religions.  Vodou, more commonly spelled as voudou or voodoo, is a syncretic faith combining various West African religions carried by slaves with the colonizing French’s Catholicism and aspects of the Northern European folk faiths. A voudou ceremony held by escaped slave and hougan (voudou priest) Dutty Boukman was the catalyst for Haiti’s 1791  slave rebellion that led to the island’s freedom.

Pat Robertson–who later backpedaled after a public outcry–had harsh words about Haiti’s history and blamed the country’s troubles on their faith:

They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it’s a deal.

That sort of intolerant thinking is what leads to actions like Tuesday’s stoning in Jesus’ name. AFP reported:

Rosemond Aristide, police inspector in Cite Soleil, said he has since spoken with the pastor, who agreed to allow voodoo ceremonies to take place there. However, Aristide could not explain why no arrests were made nor provide further details.

Beauvoir claimed hundreds of Protestant Evangelicals along with other people they hired attacked the ceremony, causing a number of injuries.

KWTX reports that the attackers were Haitian Christians.

Praying and singing, the group was trying to conjure spirits to guide lost souls when a crowd of evangelicals started shouting. Some threw rocks while others urinated on Voodoo symbols.When police left, the crowd destroyed the altars and Voodoo offerings of food and rum.

Christians supposedly follow the Prince of Peace; unfortunately, their hostile behavior could lead to some repercussions. Max Beauvoir  told AFP:

It will be war — open war. It’s unfortunate that at this moment where everybody’s suffering that they have to go into war. But if that is what they need, I think that is what they’ll get.

Dr. Kioni added in email:

I agree with my friend and colleague, The Supreme Servitor of Vodou, Ati Max Beauvoir, that this attack by the evangelicals is a declaration of war. These Bible Thumpers have no idea how powerful Vodou is nor how lethal it can be.

We are mobilizing our forces to meet this demonic spirit head on; bullets nor pious, hypocritical prayers have no power where Vodou is concerned. Vodou will be recognized and accepted as a valid and legitimate system of spirituality just as the Wiccan and Pagans have been accepted. Freedom of Religion is a right and no man nor religious organization has a corner on God nor salvation. There is only ONE God and His Universal Name is Yawe.

The Chicago Council’s Richard Cizik (from the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, who ought to be taking those rock tossers to task!) said:

Some parts of the world — the Middle East, China, Russia and India, for example — are particularly sensitive to the U.S. government’s emphasis on religious freedom and see it as a form of imperialism.

It’s also a form of  imperialism to proselytize and try to convert people during a disaster when they are at their most vulnerable. Note that the pastor who incited the stoning “agreed to allow” traditional religious ceremonies on native soil. WTF? Talk about imperialism.

I deplore the actions of those Evangelicals in Cite Soliel–all thinking and all loving people do–and pray that the Haitian people will not return ignorance and violence with more violence.

As an American, I ask my fellow Americans, whatever faith they may be, to act with grace and dignity, respecting the religious traditions of those to whom they bring aid.

Oh ministers and pastors and your flocks, do unto others as you would have them do unto you–and really, in a disaster aid situation, would you want someone trying convert you to say Islam or some arm of Christianity that doesn’t jive with yours? May peace prevail in Haiti.

Latest from Haiti


Photojournalist Zoriah has posted powerful images on his website, and writes:

Refugee camps are literally on every block and public parks have become make-shift homes to thousands.  Families construct shelters out of flimsy fabric sheets and sleep in the squalor of waste, refuse and dirt, cooking simple meals in the same gutters that must be used as toilets and bathing areas.  In the several dozen refugee camps I visited, I never once saw an aid worker, food supplies, shelter supplies or any form of assistance or education as to how to avoid disease and survive in this difficult situation.  While it is necessary to search for survivors, it is also necessary to take car of those who have survived…

We must continue to pay attention to the situation there and remember that while there is dire and immediate need there, this will not go away after a few weeks of media attention and fund raising. I urge all of you to get involved in any way you can in the effort to help the Haitian people.

And could MSM please stop covering the Scientology PR mission flown in by John Travolta? Yeah he brough in MREs and some doctors (and Mormons) but instead of 70 Scientology “volunteer ministers” could have brought in more real medical personnel who wouldnt have been part of a hype for Scientology recruitment as they try to touch people while saying

Feel my finger

More Celebs, More $ for Haiti


Not on Our Watch, a international advocacy and humanitarian assistance non-profit founded by Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman and Jerry Weintraub has made a $1 million grant to Partners In Health (PIH), which

presently has relief efforts underway providing emergency medical care for the wounded, and is addressing the critical shortage of hospitals and care centers destroyed during the disaster.

Madonna also donated $250,000 to PIH.