The legacy of impunity of one sector-Who killed Dessalines?

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Ezili Danto
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Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 11:57 pm

The legacy of impunity of one sector-Who killed Dessalines?

Post by Ezili Danto » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:52 pm

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- Who Killed Dessalines and why - October 17, 2006, A Day of Completion. Let the truth be heard

- Three historical documents that implicate Alexandre Petion and Gerin's role in Dessalines assassination, Translated by Frantz Jerome for the Ezili Danto Witness Project. Source: "La Constitution de 1805...deux cents ans après: Les chants de resistance" by Bell Angelot, p.124 to 135

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Onè e Respè la Sosyete;

Honor and respect on this most special day, October 17, 2006, the 200th anniversary of the assassination of Haiti's founding father, the honorable Jean Jacques Dessalines. His spirit lives on, breathes through liberty lovers worldwide.

Today, "HLLN FreeHaitiMovement - Dessalines is rising" brings to you, translated for the FIRST time in English and in one place, as part of our celebrations of the life, triumphs and revolutionary ideals of Haiti's noble founding father, three historical documents that give evidence the October 17, 1806 coup, which cost Dessalines his life, was staged against the popular masses of Haiti. For, "ever since, the new oligarchy would rather form alliances with foreign forces in order to frustrate all attempts to implement a social contract that would benefit the popular masses." (Angelot, p. 124)

The three historical documents will enlighten and contribute to a better interpretation of Haiti's history and the current situation. "Two hundred years later, one can repeat the author who, upon reflection stated, that in “1804 St Domingue is no longer, but Haiti is yet to be.” (Angelot)

Our task as Haitian, is to bring into manifestation what Dessalines died for: Haiti as a free, sovereign and independent nation. Since Dessalines assassination on October 17, 1806, Haiti's independence, the independence of the masses was compromised and has been a mere fiction.

Today, October 17, 2006, Haitians still struggle to make independence a reality and fulfill Dessalines' unfinished revolution. The task remains as Dessalines declared: "I want the assets of the country to be equitably divided."

If Haiti, the most impoverished within the American empire, can set itself free, bringing to manifestation a revolutionary social order where there is social equity and an equitable economic sharing of resources, then the world will forever be altered.

Dessalines' descendants are born to this struggle, live and die to make real Dessalines' great visions.

It is our special honor, at Ezili's HLLN, to bring to the Network and the Ezili Danto listserve, these three historical documents which better explains who, 200 years ago today, assassinated Dessalines and abrogated Haiti's 1805 Constitution. The three documents are letters written by the actors of the time.

The first letter, dated October 18, 1806, the day after Dessalines' assassination, is signed by Alexandre Pétion and addressed to Henri Christophe, asking him as general of the army to take power. The second letter, dated two days after the assassination, on Oct. 19, 1806, is written by General Alexandre Petion and addressed to Mrs. Dessalines trying to justify the assassination of her husband. General Etienne Gérin writes the third letter, also dated, October 18, 1806, the day after Dessalines assassination on the Red Bridge, to Henri Christophe. General Etienne Gèrin along and Alexandre Petion are generally credited with being accomplices and ordering Dessalines' assassination. Although right after Dessalines' assassination, Alexandre Petion, the mulatto who had argued with Dessalines over having the assets of the country equitably shared and therefore conspired to assassinate Haiti's founding father had appealed to the powerful Henri Christophe to take power, he then quickly betrayed Christophe by submitting himself as ruler of the Republic of Haiti.

Christophe, feeling betrayed by Petion, in turn, declared war on Petion and the Haitian nation was split into two, the South governed by President Alexandre Petion and North by King Henri Christophe until his suicide. But not before the generals who supported Dessalines' government and those who were Dessalines' partisans had been exterminated by either Petion, Christophe, or the other insurgent generals (Yayou, Gerin, Boyer...) Haitian heros and leaders who supported the masses' desires for an equitable share of lands and were Dessalines' partisans were imprisoned and/or immediately executed, like Boirond Tonnerre, Capois Lamort, Charlotin Marcadieux and others.

Alexandre Petion, Haiti's most powerful general and future head of state, writing to Mrs. Dessalines, is an immensely important detail. It reveals, if nothing else, the esteem with which she was regarded and perhaps even the power that was held by Empress Marie Claire Heureuse Félicité Bonheur Dessalines (1758- 1858), in her own right.

This, October 17, 2006 is a special day. It's a day of completion. Today, let the truth about Haiti, its history, its peoples, resources, triumphs and special courage, be heard.

Marguerite "Ezili Dantò" Laurent, Esq.
Chair and Founder,
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
(dedicated to defending the civil, cultural and human rights of
Haitians living at home and abroad and to institutionalizing the rule of law
and democracy in Haiti)
October 17, 2006

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Support HLLN works. Help us continue this work. Make a donation at:
http://www.margueritelaurent.com/donate/donate.html

Expose the Lies

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October 17, 1806 to October 17, 2006 - 200 years since the assassination of Haiti's founding father - 1805 Constitution torn by October 17, 1806 Coup d'état bayonets, excerpt from "La Constitution de 1805...deux cents ans après: Les chants de resistance" by Bell Angelot, p.124 to 135, translated into English for the Ezili Danto Witness Project, by Frantz Jerome, Oct. 17, 2006


"...1805 Constitution torn by October 17, 1806 Coup d'état bayonets

The October 17, 1806 Coup d'état did not merely put an end to the life of a man, it also denoted the end of a constitution, of a true social contract. It also marked the end of the alliance between two classes on opposite ideological spectrum. These differences were manifested throughout the colonial era. Dessalines, for the common good, had agreed to a historical compromise with Pétion. Colonial history reveals that every time the interests of the class composed of “previously freedman” (Affranchis') were threatened, the freedmen negotiated compromises either with the slaves against the colonists, or compromises with the colonists against the slaves.

For example, in 1791 Ogé and Chavannes armed slaves against white colonists in order to conquer their civil and political rights. In September 1791, having witnessed the huge slave revolt in the north, the Affranchis and whites signed an accord to curtail the slave movement. The spilling of blood on November 21, 1791 broke this conjunctural or tactical understanding, known as the Damien legal settlement. A few months earlier, the Affranchis of the west had armed slaves against white colonists at the battle of Pernier, near Port-au-Prince, promising to free them upon victory. Once victorious, the slaves were exiled from the colony, to Jamaica, from where they were ultimately returned to the colony to be exterminated in the area of Mole St Nicolas. At the Arcahaie congress, a new alliance was formed between previously and newly freedmen. Fresh in the memory of the latter was the March 20, 1796 coup d'état staged by Vilatte against Toussaint Louverture at Cap-Haitien, the war started by Rigaud in the South against Toussaint Louverture for the continuation of slavery.

Thus, on October 17, 1806, the era of coup d'états and political instability was inaugurated in Haitian history. From October 17, 1806 to February 29, 2004, thirty three coups were recorded. And, “it is always the same water flowing. Always the people's blood flowing. Always the same song that bring tears to the masses.” For the sake of truth, history safeguarded three documents that prove that the October 17 coup was staged against the popular masses formed by newly freed slaves, and ever since, the new oligarchy would rather form alliances with foreign forces in order to frustrate all attempts to implement a social contract that would benefit the popular masses. The reading of the three documents will enlighten everyone's belief in order to contribute to a better interpretation of Haiti's actual conjuncture. Two hundred years later, one can repeat the author who upon reflection stated that “1804 St Domingue is no longer, but Haiti is yet to be.”

The first letter signed by Pétion and addressed to Christophe, was asking him as General of the army to take power. The second one, addressed to Mrs. Dessalines from this same Pétion, tried to justify their act. The third one, signed by Etienne Gérin and dated October 18, 1806, year III of the independence, was also addressed to Henri Christophe already recognized as general in chief of the army and supreme chief of the government of Haiti. In the same letter, Gérin proclaimed himself minister of war and of the marines.

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At the Port-au-Prince General Quarters, October 18, 1806
General of Division Pétion, Commander in Chief
Second Western Division,
To his Excellency the General in Chief of the Haitian Army
Henri Christophe.

General,

Having escaped the destructive blows that the ingrate and barbaric government's agents inflicted upon this country's inhabitants, we thought it well advised to entrust the means of our reconstruction in the hands of a man who by personal danger and experience, would, in a wise way, be able to bring happiness in our midst, when he abused our patience and forced our will, by crowning himself. We could have thought that at the height of greatness and power, he would have realized that his power was attained as a result of our tilling hands and at the cost of our courage; he even appeared to have pondered upon it, and we hoped that through the security of laws, we could have enjoyed in a peaceful state the fruit of all the sacrifices we had never ceased to make for so long.

What were the results? The general, once his authority confirmed, forgot his duty and scornfully ignoring the sacred rights of a free people, started to believe that true bliss stemmed from extreme despotic and tyrannical power. Our hearts have groaned for a long time, and we have only used subservience and docility to bring him back to the principles of justice and moderation by which he promised to govern us. His last trip in the South finally unveiled his plans, even to the least intelligent, and proved to us that our only means to protect ourselves and to protect against the external enemies' attacks, was a general uprising if we wanted to avoid coming resolute destruction. This spontaneous move, the rush of our oppressed hearts, produced an effect as prompt as that of lightening. In a matter of days both Southern divisions prepared; nothing could have stopped this erruption for it was a move as just as it was sacred, that of citizens' rights violated with impunity. We joined our arms to those of our southern brothers, moved by the same sentiments and the army went to Port-au-Prince in the most admirable disposition and the discipline, respecting property, never for a moment disrupting agricultural work, nor spilling any blood.

Providence, that is infinite, manifested rejoice in this just cause, by guiding the oppressor to his awaiting fate, and made him meet the punishment of his crimes at the feet of the ramparts of a city that he and his forces were coming to drown in the blood of those like him, for to use his last statements, he wanted to reign in blood.

We would not have finished the deed, general, if we were not sure that there existed a chief made to rule the army with all the latitude of power that until today it had in name alone. It is in the name of this army, always faithful, obedient, disciplined that we beg you, general, to take the reins of government, and to make us enjoy the plenitude of our rights, of the freedom for which we for so long struggled and to be the agent of our laws that we swear we will respect, because they will be just.

I have the honor to salute you with a respectful attachment,
Pétion

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Letter from Pétion to Mrs. Dessalines on October 19, 1806.


Madame:

All of the most sacred laws of nature, violated by the one who used to bear the name of your spouse, the general destruction of true defenders of the nation his culpable mouth ordered imprisoned, the excessive crimes, finally, led all oppressed citizens to take arms to deliver themselves from this insupportable tyranny. The sacrifice has taken place, as well as the vengeance. Here you have Madame, a brief description of the last events, and the end of the one who profaned the title that joined him to you. “What a difference from virtue to crime? What contrast! As soon as we breathe, subsequent to the great dangers, that while lifting our hands towards the supreme being, your name, your inestimable qualities, your pain, your patience to bear it, all came back to our hearts and reminded us what power, appreciation, admiration you inspire us.

Take comfort Madame, your are in the midst of a people that would sacrifice their life for your happiness; forget that you have been Dessalines' spouse to become the adoptive spouse of the most generous nation, that has only directed hate against one oppressor. Your properties, all that belongs to you or upon which you have some rights, is a repository put in our hands by your fellow-countrymen. It is in the name of the entire army, for which I am honored to be the interpreter, that I beg you, Madame, to be assured of our sentiments for your virtues of which the traits are indelibly etched in our hearts.

I have the honor of saluting you with respect.
The General, Commander of the Second Western Division.

Pétion

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Letter from Gérin to General Christophe dated October 18, 1806.

Excellence,

It has been a while since our eyes desired you at our country's helm. Countless arbitrary acts, a reign of terror, innumerable injustices and a government aiming at total destruction and subversion, demanded that you succeeded the tyrant to make us forget, by your virtues and your talents, the excesses of our Nero. The people's plight having reached its limit, it rose en masse against the one who made it happen, and was preparing by force, its fall, when divine providence directing the events, guided Dessalines to Pont-Rouge, on the route of Cul-de-Sac, near the town, to be fallen by the first shot fired since the beginning of this insurrection. While commanding this ambush, I had given strict orders that he not be killed, but rather be arrested so that he be tried. However, once I yelled “halt!”, he grabbed one of his guns, fired a shot and started a retreat and escape attempt. Then the shot rang that hit him, subsequently a fusillade, an the soldier's furor reached a point where they mutilated his lifeless body. Colonel Marcadieux died as well, trying to protect him, and many were sadden by his death. The difficulty of containing rebelling and exasperated spirits made it impossible to save this valuable man. The rest of his troops are mostly here.

So, the tyrant is no more and public joy is applauding this event, as it is naming you to govern us. The people and the army have no doubt, excellence, that you would not refuse the functions that they entrust you with the charge, by a well articulated and spontaneous general will.

I have the honor to enclose, excellence, a letter of the chiefs of the first Southern Division, a division that I have commanded, and the happy results that have come about, samples of the popular acts that proclaim you its chief, and the triplicate of a letter that I wrote you from Anse-a-Veau, of which none, I believe, have reached you, because the one I have the honor to enclose has been given to me here.

I have the honor to be, with respect, of your excellency, the very
humble and very obedient servant.

ET. Gérin

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* Translator's Note: Affranchis are previously freedmen. Their freedom stemmed from a variety of reasons. However, most of them were mulattoes freed by their father.

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Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
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Recommemded HLLN Links:

October 17, 1806 to October 17, 2006 - 200 years since the struggle against neocolonialism in Haiti began, we still say, thank you Jean Jacques Dessalines, for being so far ahead of your time.
https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilid ... 00007.html


Elevate Dessalines, goodness and the spirit of unity tomorrow, Oct. 17, 2006 | Declaration/rapport activités (30 Sept. 2006) | Thousands in Haitimarch to end reign of terror by death squads and UN troops | Aba lokipasyon peyi Desalin nan! - Aktivite NY Madi, 17 Octòb 2006, Komite Kont Jenosid an Ayiti | Desalin di: Depi teritwa nou an menase, "koupe tèt, boule kay" paske Ayisyen pap retounen lan esklavaj | I want the assets of the country to be equitably divided.." Jean Jacques Dessalines




October 17, 2006, the bicentennial of Dessalines' assassination - Join HLLN, throughout the month of October, 2006 in celebrating the life, triumphs, achievements and ideal of Haiti's revolutionary hero and founding father

Empress Verite

Mesi Anpil Ezili

Post by Empress Verite » Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:45 pm

Thank you again Ezili for a great learning experience:

I have no doubt now about the reason and who was behind Dessalines' assasination. Gerin wrote this in his letter : "While commanding this ambush, I had given strict orders that he not be killed, but rather be arrested so that he be tried. However, once I yelled “halt!”, he grabbed one of his guns, fired a shot and started a retreat and escape attempt. Then the shot rang that hit him, subsequently a fusillade, an the soldier's furor reached a point where they mutilated his lifeless body." It was really too bad because I feel that Petion was a sell out black hating biracial man. He went on to sell thousands of black Haitians of African descent to his pal Simon Bolivar who lied to him about his true purpose. Instead of having these men fight to liberate all oppressed people from Latin America, they worked for the mixed race "Hispanics" and kept the blacks enslaved.

In addition even though some could argue that Christophe was aware of the plot to kill Dessalines and chose to keep quiet for his own gains it is still telling that the (South) Western group of mixed race folks took it upon themselves to carry out the deed. It is so much easier to see the inhumanity in Black folks for these people. For instance, Boyer who went on to "re-unite" the country and freed the DR ( a predominently mixed race state) was a real racist jack a---. He systematically instituted color prejudice and anti black dogma throughout the country. Blacks were not seen in certain powerful positions and they were thus forced into a caste system. I supose that folks could say that this sort of racist practice was "necessary" in order for Ayiti to participate in nation building and to be accepted into global politics. (You know kinda sorta like the spook who sat by the door. Put the light skin white looking guys in charge to spook the "man".) But it has not worked it only served to reproduced a certain system that kept black Africans enslaved. (And look at us now even with the largest number of blacks in the Caribbean and with the oldest "history" of independence we are still not accepted fully into CARICOM).

I find it also interesting that Christophe who was so pro African and embellished his court with Africans and strived to replicate African royal past also had plans to reconnect to the Motherland. His plan was well thought out and it included maritime and social efforts that would have brought Northern Haiti and parts of (Western) Africa into "enlightment". I really appreciate the fact that he saw to it to have boats that would bring back black Haitians to Africa while also returning to the Atlantic to free slaves from slave carrying ships. They of course captured and brought back many Africans who served in his court. I really really admired his vision of establishing a printing press too. Something that I don't recall ever hearing or reading that Petion tried to do even with his French white education. His main purpose seemed to have been to become the slave masters and replace his fathers' generation/race. Go figure...he had a stellar education from France and spoke bon francais and all he could do for Haitians was bring the majority back into the white ages of slavery, colonialism and oppression!

Finally, I feel that Dessalines had a great and brilliant military mind however, as all of these black man fell victim to his own internalized racism. He should have NEVER EVER trusted Petion, and those guys. These folks were born believing that they were better simply because of their biology which governed their priviledge position in society. For that matter, I myself have never met a light skin Haitian who was aware of their social priviledge, admitted it and fought against it in that way. I really like Jacques Roumain and I find his Marxist perspective refreshing however, he never addresses color and caste as it relates to the Haitian experience. His position is to focus on the dark skin black downtrodden male make him "Jesus" and things will fix themselves. The fact of the inherited problems is never addresed and so it remains.

Just like Dessalines felt that he had to marry a woman from Leoganne to perhaps gain credibility with the mixed race "gens de couleur" and the indigenists in order to rule over a mixed race country. I feel that he should have cut his ties with those guys and gone on to focus on helping the ex-slaves, the blacks of African descent regain their dignity, self respect, self love and to become whole again. The kind of integretionist plan that Dessalines emphasized by declaring everyone "black" regardless of colour was bound to anger the non-blacks and to insult them. In addition, by appointing 19 so-called "mulattoes" out of 23 cabinet seat was OUTRAGEOUS! He was making a clear distinction between educated, priviledged and colour and asserting a caste system that reaks of the slave and colonial past. So, in my view, this was indication that he did not want to completely abolish slavery and perhaps he did not believe that the blacks could ever be truly free. This is the problem with OUR BLACK leaders. They don't seem to believe that full emancipation is possible without serious compromise to the benefit of the white and near white world.

Finally, I would love to see a movie about this "ourstory" like a docudrama. I hate to patronize but Ezili with your looks and shade of black you could probably play a good Empresse Marie Claire Heureuse... even though you are not from Leoganne. She was probably just like Simone Duvalier, part black African, white French and Taino/Aawak. I read in Joan Dayan's book "Haiti and the Gods" that they had a good sexy dance scene at some event. ( I would protest if that woman from Boukman Eksperyans got the role. She's nasty and anti black and ignorant!).

(I would love to know where you got these documents and who did the translations. And also I have read some of the history of some of the Haitian founding "fathers" and their decendants on Bob Corbett's educational sites. However, I don't recall seeing these documents. I would love to learn more about Dessalines and his descendants.) I found a book about him at the UC Berkeley library but I wasn't able to get through it because of other demands. Perhaps we could do a reading lists for folks like me who want to learn more. I would really appreciate it.)

Always in the struggle.
EV

Ezili Danto
Posts: 197
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 11:57 pm

Papa's Maroon Lineage

Post by Ezili Danto » Fri Oct 20, 2006 5:12 pm

Empress Verite

Onè my sister,

You really do have a most interesting way - a particular voice. I enjoyed reading your post because it reflects a very learned perspective, but with a particular edge. Obviously you've made the effort to know more about Haitian history and particulars than the average Haitian men and women. I'd truly like to see you do something with this, in a format that could reach a greater audience.

The issue of skin hue ("shade of black") is tremendously important in Haitian society and few Haitians are actually willing to discuss it. Most Pèpè educated Haitians shy away from the black/white discussion and put every exclusion and the apartheid in Haitian society simply into a "class" analysis.

You wrote:[quote]"...I would love to see a movie about this "ourstory" like a docudrama. I hate to patronize but Ezili with your looks and shade of black you could probably play a good Empresse Marie Claire Heureuse... even though you are not from Leoganne. She was probably just like Simone Duvalier, part black African, white French and Taino/Aawak. I read in Joan Dayan's book "Haiti and the Gods" that they had a good sexy dance scene at some event. ...[/quote]

Who knows what is possible. It is dream to put together the Haitian story, as HLLN does on the Internet, Haitian radio and our workshops, ALSO in book, film and fiction formats. If the resources were there, my sister, it would be done. I do hope to create those resources if possible. That's the vision.

Empress Marie Claire Heureuse Félicité Bonheur Dessalines was an absolutely amazing Haitian woman. The story of her and Dessalines is truly intriguing. Here is a woman who wouldn't allow guns in her house, who single-handedly created the precursor to the Red Cross in Haiti. She is reputed to have had the respect of all the combatants and would go into the battlefield, picking up the wounded, tending and nursing them, providing comfort to the mortally wounded. How dramatic is this story. A healer, she marries the fiercest soldier on the planet at the time. Dessalines described himself, as general of generals and as "le père d'une famille de guerriers…" Yes, its a gripping story and, but if the hours in the day would provide, or our resources could be magnified, I'd love to write it and/or make a docudrama.

Empress Verite, next year, when we commemorate Dessalines' life and triumphs, we'd love to get something from you on Marie Clarie Heureuse and this amazing story or some aspect of Dessalines' story. We got three submissions this year on Defile and Toya, but nothing of Marie Claire Heureuse. That story must be uplifted. I hope our work at HLLN inspires Haitians to make those movies, tell the stories of Defile, Toya and Marie Claire Heureuse. That would make all the sacrifice, alienation and tribulations of being called "liar," "far-left," "radical," "chimere-lover," even "the whore ruining the empire" et al, we go through to keep HLLN going really worth it.


SHADES OF BLACK
One day, Empress Verite, if we ever meet, I will share with you the story of how "shade of black" operated in my family in Haiti and in the US. I can say that both my parents come from the Southern parts of Haiti. Both hail from the poor peasantry. My father is from a long, maroon lineage and was never impressed by anything other than Neg Guinen, Neg Bossal and Ginen yo. He was not raised by his father, because Manman li, pa t "madanm marye." His father's wife feared to acknowledge him would be to admit she had to share her husbands properties with him as well as her own children. At the age of 9, my father left his mother's house, walked to Port au Prince, was homeless until he hustled himself a job at the Ibo Lele, where he washed dishes, moving up from the ranks, over ten years, until he became bell boy, then, in time set out, as an entrepreneur, on his own, as a tourist chauffeur with his own cars and hiring other drivers to do mountain tours, city tours, cultural tours. He taught himself English and Spanish from his work with the tourist and never really ever went to school. He taught the only way for Haitians to be independent is to be self-reliant. He knew all the traditional Vodun dances, songs, folklores, oral stories and passed them on. Except for his ingrained sexism, which he unrepentantly admits to, he raised and educated his children by transmitting Haiti's history, culture, the values of hard work and something else....that I think I try to carry forward. Papa m pa renmen sa mwen ap fè an Ayiti. He would prefer I do work that didn't place me in so much danger and within so much hostility. Yes, he doesn't particularly appreciate what I do for a living. My mother was sent to live as a restavek at the age of fourteen to family members in Port- au Prince. She was well treated and sent to sewing school. She is very light and Catholic and apostolic. Never ever did she use a curse word or get angry in public and rarely at home. But she is a great dramatist. If she wanted my father to leave her alone, li pran lwa! I mean that literally. So I have a first hand knowledge of the uses of Vodun. And can spot a phony a mile away. But my father would back away then, cause he doesn't mess with Ginen Yo. So, I know lots about aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviors. When she was alive, I use to tell my mother how the indirect passive-aggressive stuff bothered me. So this explains a bit why I go directly at stuff and disdain the passive-aggressive types. My mom's family didn't understand why she chose to marry such a "dark" man. But they quickly got over it and decided to "give" him two other of their poor children to raise when he married Mom. I have experience of the "shade of black" spectrum from a different perspective - perhaps the perspective where folks purposely marry their tenth removed cousin, or even closer, in order to keep the "good" hair and light skin color. It's fairly revolting. My mom broke that paradigm in her family. My parents both issued from source. I love being Haitian because they transmitted that to me. Although, I must say, Manman mwen despaired of her pagan daughter who after her first communion, refused to ever go to confession again, but still took communion when she felt like it and never aspired to only be Madame "Intel." (See, Papa's Maroon Lineage http://www.margueritelaurent.com/writin ... neage.html )

Empress Verite, your particular voice, on the "shade of black" discourse, the reality is brings forth, also needs a place. Think about how this fits in with what you want to extend into the world, leave as a legacy...produce from your own vision and trajectory. I urge you to teach more. Let me know how our HLL Network may further encourge you. By empowering one another, we strenghten the larger Haitian family. Men anpil chay pa lou.

Empress Verite wrote:

[quote]I would love to know where you got these documents and who did the translations. And also I have read some of the history of some of the Haitian founding "fathers" and their descendants on Bob Corbett's educational sites. However, I don't recall seeing these documents. I would love to learn more about Dessalines and his descendants.) I found a book about him at the UC Berkeley library but I wasn't able to get through it because of other demands. Perhaps we could do a reading lists for folks like me who want to learn more. I would really appreciate it.[/quote]

The documents come from Haitian archives and copies are in the possession of Haitian legal scholar and a former law school superintendent in Haiti, Bell Angelot, who used them in his new book on Dessalines' 1805 constitution.

The book was recently released, and Professor Frantz Jerome, who head HLLN's Ezili Danto Witness Project did the translation for our Oct. 17th activities.

I agree with your analysis empress verite, Christophe, was indeed, a singularly extraordinary man. I often wonder what would have happened if he had gotten together with Haitian heroes like Kapwa Lamo and Boirond Tonerre and the other Dessalines generals that Petion, Boyer, Gerin and the other insurgent general has imprisoned and then summarily assassinated?

From the letters we can see, the Mulatto generals were certainly concerned about Christophe's reactions and knew he could be a problem, so they placated him, pandered to his ego.....then Petion manipulated the Senate to declare himself President and later President-for-life. That sort of intra-Haitian subterfuge and artifice, hasn't stopped in Haiti and it begin with Petion conning of Christophe for power at the exclusion of the input of the masses....Of course, that doesn't mean Christophe and Dessalines didn't have their own faults...Dessalines obviously had little administrative abilities, that wasn't his forte. But it was Christophe forte. Petion and Boyer, I agree with you, were, comparatively, the most mediocre in terms of what they left behind as a stand-alone Haitian legacy.

But, they all did stand, in that one critical moment in time, together and faced the greatest armies in the world together, that is an unparallel feat. Petion, obviously remembered Dessalines good reception of Miranda and helped Bolivar. Though, I do agree with you, Bolivar betrayed the Haitian soldiers after he used them to gain HIS power. Boyer, I won't even go into the legacy the Independence Debt he gave to his French fathers has wrought in misery and death to the long-suffering masses. Christophe left the Citadel, San Souci and a promise of what could have been, I think. If Black freedman with integrity would uplift the masses, give up Western accoutrements and build from source.

Here are some of HLLN's recommended books on Dessalines:[quote]HLLN Recommended Books on Jean Jacques Dessalines:

1. The Irritated Genie: An Essay on the Haitian Revolution. Chicago:
Kemetic Institute, 1985. by Jacob H. Carruthers

2. La Constitution de 1805...deux cents ans après: Les chants de
resistance par Bell Angelot

3. Jean Jacques Dessalines: Itinéraire d'un révolutionnaire, par
Berthony Dupont| Editions L'harmattan, Paris.

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I leave you, sè zantray mwen, with these words of Dessalines:

WORDS OF DESSALINES:

"...Je suis soldat, la guerre fut toujours mon partage, et tant que l'acharnement, la barbarie et l'avarice de nos ennemis les porteront sur nos rivages, je justifierai votre choix, et combattant à votre tête, je prouverai que le titre de vote général sera toujours honorable pour moi. Le rang auquel vous m'élevez m'apprend que je suis devenue le père de mes concitoyens don't j'etais le defenseur...le père d'une famille de guerriers…je renonce, oui je renonce à l'usage injuste de faire passer ma puissance à ma famille. Je n'aurai jamais égard à l'ancienneté, quand les qualités requises pour bien gouverner ne se trouveront pas réunies dans le sujet; souvent la tête qui recèle le feu bouillant de la jeunesse de son pays que la tête froide et expèrimentée du vieillard qui temporise dans les moments ou la témérité seule convient. C'est à ces conditions que je suis votre supèrieur, et malheur a celui qui portera sur les degrés du trône, élevé par la reconnaissance de son peuple, d'autres sentiments que ceux d'un père de famille." (Jean Jacques Dessalines, "Lettre Responsive De Dessalines a la Requete De Ses Generaux" Feb. 15, 1804. Source: "La Constitution de 1805...deux cents ans après: Les chants de resistance" by Bell Angelot, p. 100; See also "Nomination De Dessalines Comme Empereur," dated in Port-au-Prince, January 25, 1804 and signed by the Generals of the then Revolutionary Haitian army, including Vernet, Clerveaux, Christophe, Pétion, Gabart, Geffrard, Jean-Louis Francois, Férou Gerin, Magny, Raphael, Lalondrie Paul Romain, Cange Jean-Phillipe, Daut, Toussaint, Brave, Morau Yayou, Magloire, Amboise, Bazelais, et al... - Angelot at p.98

Ezili Dantò
"I want the assets of the country to be equitably divided." Jean Jacques Dessalines

Empress Verite

Mesi Anpil

Post by Empress Verite » Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:22 pm

Greetings Ezili:

Thank you so much for this encouraging response to my post. I really appreciated the reading. I would love to see more critical analysis of these revolutionary heroes/sheras. I also hope that HLN can do such works soon. These educational works are so necessary in this struggle to bring truth to light and to help our people regain their dignity in the face of world pessimism and skepticism.

Thanks again for all of your kind works on behalf of Haitians everywhere. I also thank you for the biographiical information. As a social scientist I appreciate well how one's personal experiences as well as specific background influences one's life's work and aims.

You know, I am fascinated by the naming patterns of Haitian people. For instance, the Empresse's name. Marie Claire Heureuse Félicité Bonheur Dessalines. This literally translates to-Bittersweet Light Rejoice Happinness Without Salt? Isn't that so true though? Truth hurts and so does knowledge. It's a long and treacherous journey but we must follow through the laberynth in order to come into the light...

Thanks for helping us to get there.


EV

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