Hope and Humiliation: HLLN’s analysis
of May 18, 2006 and the Inaugural of President Rene Preval by
Ezili Dantò of HLLN
Today, May 18, 2006 is Flag Day in Haiti. It's a time to remember
why the African general, general Jean Jacques Dessalines took
the tri-colored French flag, ripped out the white and threw it
into the sea, leaving our flag, blue, and the red. It's a time
to remember why the emblem engraved in the coat of arms of Haiti
is "L'union Fait La Force" – “in
unity lies our strenght." (The
Haitian union forged at Bwa Kayiman tha's never wavered.)
It's a time to remember that after 300 years of European barbarity
in Haiti – Haiti, the first place Africans where transported
as European captives for the "New World" - that on May
18, 1803, after beating the armies of Great Britain, Spain, France
and the embargo and arms of the US white settlers, the Africans,
who became "Haitian," in the land of the Taino-Arawaks
Amerindians had, with this great feat even Spartacus couldn’t
achieve, liberated the sons and daughters of Africa, eviscerating
the white men's fatalistic idea that the child of a Black woman
was lesser than that of the white men.
HLLN created a flag for the FreeHaitiMovement which represents
this Haitian struggle against tyranny that continues to this day,
May 18, 2006, some two centuries later.
We take this opportunity to thank all those who have ANSWERED
THE CALL and joined the list of sponsors to the FreeHaitiMovement.-
Dessalines Is Rising Worldwide
Today, May 18, 2006 and throughout the rest of the month, in countries
in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas, decent people worldwide
will stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti against the
Coup, the de facto protectorate and the foreign occupation of
There will be teach-ins, rallies and lectures before and on May
18, 2006 about Haiti's historical accomplishments; vigils, pickets
outside embassies and U.N. buildings; audio and video streaming
for internet and DVD distribution of testimony from victims and
resisters of the 2004 coup d'etat; the wearing and flying of the
blue and red colors of Haiti; and, the sacrilege of the 2004 bicentennial
coup, shall be remembered as Africans and friends of Haiti worldwide
commit to fax, call-in and deliver to French and US Embassies
and Consulates worldwide the People of Haiti’s demand that
France pays back the 22 Billion dollars it extorted from Haiti,
and the US pays back its portion of this illegal slave-trade debt
which was “refinanced” by the US in 1914 (enforced,
through a 19-year occupation), the final payment made in 1947
to the United States, after Haiti’s people had broken the
chains of racial slavery to win their independence.
The year, 2006, also marks the 200th anniversary of the death
of Haiti's liberator, general Jean Jacques Dessalines. Pro-democracy
Haitians worldwide shall continue to call on the vision of Dessalines
for Haitians as we struggle to liberate Haiti of its current France/US/Canada
and UN occupiers. HLLN will culminate our year-long celebration
of the life and works of Dessalines, on Oct 17, 2006, the day
marking the first coup d'etat in Haiti and Dessalines' assassination.
Haitians have live through and survived 33-such coup d'etats as
part and parcel of the legacy of struggle against Euro/US debt,
domination and dependency.
The February 29, 2004 coup d'etat against Haiti's democratically
elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide continues to this day,
as Haitian sovereignty continues to be humiliated by the white
saviors and their Black overseers in Haiti - Haiti's morally repugnant
The imperialist and their Black overseers say Haiti is a failed
state and they will save us. 20,000 Haitians have died, over 4,000
are in prison, there are children jails now in Haiti, something
Haitians have never had before. And though the people of Haiti
continue to resist this tyranny, have elected and fought for the
speedy installation of President Rene Preval to office. The repression
One only has to analyze the May 14, 2006 Presidential inaugural
events to understand how both hope and humiliation still vie for
a place in the Haitian psyche.
Hope, of course, is represented by the Haitian peoples' courage,
commitment and living legacy as pioneers in the human rights struggle
for life with dignity. Humiliation as represented by the presence
of foreign troops to Haiti to install the Latortue death regime.
Humiliation as represented by the fact that these Neocon fascists
even controlled the inaugural day of the people's new president.
Humiliation as represented by the fact that since the ouster of
Haiti's democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
there has been systematic repression of the people and their voice
in Haiti. Humiliation in that, even as President Preval officially
took power, two months after his election, the claws of the coup
d'etat vampires are so deep inside the backs of the Haitian poor,
Haiti still cannot liberate Yvon Neptune, So Ann, Jacques Mathelier
and thousands of others who have languished in Canada/US/France-supported
indefinite incarceration on Dessaline's land.
Even though President Preval has taken power, there is still a
gun to Haiti's head. A gun held by the coup d'etat governments
of the US, France, Canada, with the UN as their "peacekeeping"
cover. There is no justice in Haiti. For Haitians cannot forget
all of Latortue’s human rights violations, will not forget
the 20,000 Haitians slaughtered since Feb. 29, 2004 and 4,000
in prison, mostly all political prisoners; cannot forget the multinationals,
NGOs, foreigners and IFCs’ fleecing Haiti these last two
coup d’etat years and calling it “bringing development,
justice and democracy.”
It wasn't an easy job for these folks to turn Haiti back to this
miserable level. But, as President Preval stated in his inaugural
speech - and HLLN takes the liberty of forgetting the double entendres,
high-society proprieties and diplomatic protocols, to say what
a manacled President perhaps cannot and even may not have intended
to say – but we, HLLN say, on behalf of the people of Haiti
who were not INVITED to the inaugural of the President they elected,
that "it wasn't easy but the illegal Boniface Alexandre,
Gerard Latortue, their cabinet members and their illegal Provisional
Electoral Council did EVERYTHING they could to undermine the people
of Haiti, so Haiti could get to this point of humiliation, this
point of insanity, bloodshed and chaos that it is today.”
It was not easy, but they had powerful US/Canada/France/UN guns
behind them to push Haiti to here:
HERE where Prosper Avril, a former general who
escaped two years ago from the National Penitentiary where he
was being held as a threat to national security, had a front row
seat, while Rene Civil, who HLLN is told, allegedly had a letter
of invitation in his hand to attend the inaugural, was illegally
arrested, on the Friday (May 12, 2006) before the inaugural, at
the border of the Dominican Republic.
So, at Preval’s inauguration, Proper Avril was out of prison
and in a front row seat of the Legislative Palace. So Ann, Yvon
Neptune and thousands of political prisoners, with no human rights
violation records, still languish in jail.
That’s where we-Haitians are.
HERE where we hear an unconfirmed report that
even Louis Jodel Chamblain attended the inaugural.
HERE where the Haitian people’s duly chosen
President has no control of the police force, the UN soldiers,
not even the National Palace.
BUT, but, in spite of all of the Boca Raton regime and their powerful
Western supporter’s undemocratic efforts, the people of
Haiti still won back the presidency.
This folks, is how the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network explains
the comment made by President Rene Preval at the inaugural that:
“…President Boniface Alexandre, Prime Minister Gerard
Latortue, cabinet members [applause], you have done EVERYTHING
you could so Haiti could get to this point. It was not easy, but
we got here. [Applause]
Members of the Provisional Electoral Council, your job was not
either. Since 1987, elections in Haiti have been trouble. The
one ended in blood. Most of the others ended in challenges. These
elections also had their problems, but everybody acknowledges
there was no violence. The people participated en masse, and
everybody acknowledges the results. [Applause] “
Our work at HLLN is to give voice to the voiceless people of Haiti,
a voice not often found in the mainstream press or the powerful
citadels of power on this planet. That the Boca Raton regime did
everything to destroy justice, democracy and anyone associated
with the Constitutional governement of Haiti is undisputable.
Fortunately, like the Haitian people outside the inaugural halls,
who came to make their presence known, their grievances heard,
HLLN also has no diplomatic need or practical reasons to couch
this truth behind double entendres or diplomatic protocols.
But, true also, is the fact that, even as there is hope today
in Haiti, we are still being humiliated as a people, a nation.
That is why when HLLN ponders at what point are we-Haitians in
the struggle today for self-determination, self-respect, self-defense
and national sovereignty, we singled out the noted paragraph from
President Preval’s inaugural speech and ask:
Is President Preval being held prisoner in plain sight without
the bars, for instance, locking in So Ann and Yvon Neptune? Is
Preval unable to freely speak? Is that what we fought for? Or,
in the alternative, if President Preval meant to freely praise
the Boca Raton regime for “doing everything” to get
us “to this point” - to this repression point that
continues right up to this very moment, is that what we all fought
It doesn’t take much thinking to figure out why the double
entendre. Why President Preval, who is hobbled by the events of
the coup d’etat, the presence of a police force trained
by Haiti’s enemies, backed by UN guns, is limited. The humiliating
part we are in right now as a nation is that Haiti is under domination
and pretending to be electing a president, hoping we can transform
the dynamics of the situation: buy ourselves breathing room, stop
the killings, free the political prisoners, get the return of
President Aristide, alleviate the people’s total repression
since the 2004 coup d’etat.
The inaugural of President Rene Preval is one step in this direction.
For that hope, Haiti has paid with the lives of over 20,000 of
its sons and daughters and continues to pay, as at least 12 political
prisoners are reported to have been killed by the defacto police
with UN firepower cover just hours before President Preval’s
inaugural. Haiti’s humiliation continues this May 18, 2006.
But Haitians know how to fight US/Euro containment-in-poverty.
Those of us who stand without shackles, like the Haitians in the
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, owe our success and survival
to this legacy.
We teach our children, the example of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune,
that NO, it is not alright to reconcile with injustice. We teach
our children what Dred Wilme and the people of Site Soley, Bel
Air, Solino, Martissant and all over Haiti have taught the world
these last two nightmarish years, NO, it is not acceptable to
"get along on our knees" rather than telling the truth
because that would mean risking losing a job, a social status,
even prison or a bullet in the head.
On this May 18, 2006, Haitians worldwide will continue teaching
these values, celebrating our roots, Dessalines legacy, Catherine
Flon’s flag and the Ancestors “live free or die”
principle and heavy example. Our ancestors would not reconcile
with injustice. Even if they died for this, they would not accept
Are today’s Haitians to live in discord with the legacy
the African Ancestors left us in Haiti? No. Haitians cannot and
still BE “Haitian.”
There is a humiliation still to be erased in this current coup
d’etat struggle. President Preval has begun the process
on behalf of the people of Haiti at his inaugural. THERE,
he made three critical points.
MINUSTHA was clearly informed Haiti prefers tractors and bulldozers
to MINUSTHA’s heavy weapons, armored vehicles and war tanks.
The speech was entirely in Kreyol. This is a first for Haiti,
has never been done before to anyone’s memory and is CRITICALLY
significant to Haitians. BUT, equally and the most satisfying
action of President Preval at the inaugural, what made us-Haitians
feel he is OURS, was the way President Preval dexterously and
without fanfare, skipped “the propriety” of having
Boniface place the presidential sash on him. This says much to
Haitians and pro-democracy advocates. It rejects them and soothes
our many wounds since Feb. 29, 2004.
Still, the repression continues and is suffocating us. Haiti is
still not free. That is why today, May 18, 2006 is also International
Solidarity Day with Haiti. And why people of conscience worldwide
will be flying the blue and red colors of Haiti’s liberty
to support our struggle and let the poor majority in Haiti know:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Today May 18, 2006 is better than the last two flag days we have
had, in 2004 and 2005. Again, this year we remember the Haitian
woman who faced-off the US Marines’ guns and refused to
give them the body of the unarmed Haitian demonstrator that was
shot, in cold blood, in front of said “peacekeepers”
with impunity. We remember how, on that May 18, 2004 day, this
anonymous Haitian woman, refused to give up the fallen body of
this demonstrator. She took off all her clothes, staring down
the US Marines tanks and guns, to show them she was not armed.
Then, she wrapped her naked body up in a large Haitian flag, hoisting
up the dead man upon her back, walking off with him on her back,
daring the “peacemakers” to shoot her.
This exemplifies Haiti’s “to live free or die”
motto. It is why Haitians celebrate Flag Day. It is why today,
we pro-democracy Haitians, we too hoist on our backs the 20,000
dead since the coup d’etat, the thousands still in prison,
the 33 coup d’etat’s, the 200 years of containment-in-poverty
and before that, the 300 years of slavery. Haitians are a strong
people and hoist all of this on our backs. We may bend*
under the weight - nou pliye, nou pa kase* - but we shall NEVER
reconcile with injustice.
On Flag Day 2004, at least 9 unarmed demonstrators were shot dead
fighting for Haiti’s liberty. On Flag Day 2005, Sanel Joseph
lost his life, along with many others. Today Flag Day 2006, we
hope no Haitian life is lost. We hope that the inaugural of President
Preval will mean Haitians will stop getting killed by organized,
At Preval's inaugural the crowd outside were chanting “arrest
Boniface and Latortue” and remembering how, after the September
30th killings of unarmed demonstrators, Latortue said “We
shot them, some of them fell, others were injured, others ran
We-Haitians who commit to protect the Feb. 7th vote, who discount
the polemics aimed at “the gallery,” and international
community during the inaugural, we who congratulate President
Rene Preval for safely traversing the dangerous coup d’etat
gauntlet set for his team to bridge at the inaugural, we find,
May 18, 2006 is a good time to ask, “Did you hear Mr. President,
the PUBLIC CLAMOR for the arrest of Boniface and Latortue? When,
sir, will the political prisoners be free? “
The people of Haiti voted for President Preval in order to wipe
out the humiliation of Feb. 29, 2004. The crowd outside told the
world, at Preval’s inaugural, what must be done for Haiti’s
humiliation to be assuaged.
It is wonderful that President Preval has officially been inaugurated,
But, according to the wishes of Haiti’s majority, who elected
President Preval to office, justice must be done. Some request
the arrest of Boniface and Latortue. All ask for the release of
the political prisoners and that MINUSTHA, along with the Haitian
police, stop killing the people. But, for Haiti’s humiliation
to be assuaged, for that to be done, the end of the occupation,
empowerment and inclusion of the people and return of President
Aristide to Haitian soil are the only events Haiti’s majority
poor FEEL will BEGIN to erase the total humiliation Haiti has
suffered, at the hands of the US, Canada, France and the UN, since
Founder and president, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
May 18, 2006
Nou se rozo, nou pliye nou pa kase
*Note: Strong winds
may bend the bamboo tree all the way down to the ground, but it
snaps right back up. It doesn’t break, no matter how strong
the wind. So, Haitians have a saying – “Nou se rozo.
Nou pliye, nou pa kase “ - like the bamboo tree, we bend
but we don’t break; like the flexible bamboo tree we-Haitians
use even the momentum of our falls to stand back up.