SHARE, 2010, Haitian mud, smidgeon of margarine, smidgeon of salt, elite granite, absent fork, corrugated cardboard
SHARE appears as an empty small plate devoid of food save the imaginary banquets of children's fancy. It also recalls the 'empty dish' tradition of raising funds for the poor by accepting donations in exchange for a token representation of hunger. Here, the ‘empty plate’ is the dish.
SHARE is prepared with earth, a smidgeon of margarine and a smidgeon of salt as are the dirt pies that some Haitians are forced to eat to have something in their bellies. While dirt pies provide no nutrition they do postpone stomach acids from eating intestines, a phenomenon Haitians call "Clorox bleach" burns.
Former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, stated his foreign policy view as the "Pottery Barn rule." That is - "if you break it, you own it." Haitian destitution is the result of two centuries of continuing punitive as well as exploitative economic imperialism meant to break the first republic of self-liberated slaves. Paying for their own freedom through reparations exacted by the French and enduring subsequent US supported dictatorships and military invasions, Haitians continue to face devastation wreaked by current ‘free’ trade policies. As the USA exports its own rice to Haiti with almost no tariffs (known as “Miami Rice” dumping), Haitian rice farmers are forced out of work into urban slums. Sugar harvesting migrants work without citizenship or rights for Dominican plantations owned by the USA. The environmental degradation continues and is exacerbated by these policies, along with the 2010 earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak. Haitian agriculture is now fractured and no longer self-sufficient.
We needn’t be satisfied with the half-truths and outright lies that legitimize ‘our share’ and ‘their share’ as natural, just, and in proper proportion. Share needn’t be a piece or a market percentage. SHARE can be an imperative, the commonweal.