Dantò's Note: Remembering the July 6, 2005 massacre of more than
60 civilians in Site Soley by 1,400 UN troops, remembering the courage
and life of Emmanuel Dred Wilme
Ezili's HLLN send this first post out for our July 6 FreeHaitiMovement
events. It contains a link describing the Site Soley massacre through
declassified documents obtained through the freedom of information act
by Keith Yearman. (The
Cite Soleil Massacre Declassification Project Keith Yearman,
Assistant Professor of Geography, College of DuPage).
Dred Wilme spoke against the UN occupation of Haiti, for this he was
called "bandit." For the power and influence he held with
the approximately 400,000 people living in Site Soley, Haiti, he was
dubbed the Bandit King of Cite Soleil and the US/UN Most Wanted Man.
In the declassified report, Keith Yearman, lets Dred Wilme speak, sharing
an April 4, 2005 Lakou New York interview of Dred Wilme where he states:
“MINUSTAH has been shooting tear gas on the people. There are
children who have died from the gas and some people inside churches
have been shot. The Red Cross was with us. The Red Cross was just here
and might have just gone on to pick up more children and adults who
have gotten shot. The Red Cross is the only one helping us. The MINUSTAH
soldiers remain hidden in their tanks and just aim their guns and shoot
the people. They shoot people selling in the streets. They shoot people
just walking in the streets. They shoot people sitting and selling in
(For entire interview, go to: Listen to Dred Wilme (in Kreyol).
translation and Kreyol transcription of audio interview.)
In the early hours of July 6, 2005, 440 UN troops attacked Site Soley
in order to kill Dred Wilme, one lone Haitian man attacked at home in
the dead of night. And, according to the declassified documents an additional
1000 foreign soldiers secured the perimeter area. The UN soldiers fired
22,000 rounds of ammunition into Site Soley during the operation. Countless
Site Soley civilians, over 60 at last report, were also shot dead during
the raid. Dred Wilme stood alone, outgunned and outnumbered and fought
like Charlemagne Peralte against the 2004 US/UN invasion of Haiti. He
was hunted down for 17-months by the greatest armies – first the
US Marines than one night by 1,400 UN soldiers – armies from all
the nations, with the most advanced weaponry on earth. They assassinated
him in Haiti, at Site Soley, on July 6, 2005. The declassified documents
shows US Embassy cables describing the event from US Embassy perspective.
Notice also the paragraph from then Ambassador Foley citing HLLN's role
in being the first to report on the UN July 6, massacre.
"...Foley's July 26 cable is entitled “Human Rights Groups
Dispute Civilian Casualty Numbers from July 6 MINUSTAH Raid.”
In this cable, Foley accused Marguerite Laurent of the Haitian Lawyer's
Leadership Network of taking “the lead on spreading massacre rumors
on the Internet…[she] cited conclusions of a San Francisco-based
labor and human rights delegation which claimed video evidence of the
Cite Soleil Massacre Declassification Project. See the actual
articles written by Marguerite Laurent on Dred Wilme and his
STOP THE CRUCIFICTION OF DREAD WILME BY U.S/UN TROOPS")
It's not the first time, nor obviously the last time Ezili has been
disparaged by a US Ambassador to Haiti intent on recolonization, assuring
foreign domination, and Haiti's continued pillage, plunder and containment
in poverty. It's part of the territory and started for this Ezili Danto
in 1995, when the then US Ambassador to Haiti, formally wrote a letter
to "advise" the Haitian minister of justice that US "reforms"
and monies to the justice system would be put in jeopardy because Ezili
Danto had a "conflict of interest!" and she must not remain
in her position as coordinator of donors interested in Haiti's judicial
reform...As everyone now know, the US spent BILLIONS supposedly in Haiti
for "reform" Haiti from 1995 to 1998 - Nothing was reformed
in Haiti. That was the net results Marguerite Laurent and Ezili's HLLN
fought against and was vilified for attempting to stop.
Similarly, Ezili's HLLN was the first and ONLY, only
voice with the courage to write non-stop and to ask, before
he was assassinated, that the UN not slaughter Dred Wilme.
For that and for Ezili's transformative work and denying the US Embassy
and State Department's propaganda that those who stand against the UN/US
occupation of Haiti are "bandits," for this the targeting
continues... From any perspective you look at it, this is no small threat.
And when and if this breathing Danto is silenced in this realm of things,
be assured there will be a thousand other Ezili Danto's who will rise,
again and again, until Haiti is free. Ginen poze, fanmi m yo. For, just
as Dessalines cannot be dismembered out of Haiti, neither can Manbo
Danto nor any of Haiti's Dred Wilmes' be slaughtered. The unborn and
free African soul, an irreducible essence, depi lan Ginen, cannot be
shot, burned, slaughtered or colonized. July 6, October 27, August 14
and May 18 are always commemorated by Ezili's FreeHaitiMovement. To
that end, in this beginning post for July 6, which is the date when
UN troops assassinated Emmanuel Dred Wilme, we re-post PM
Yvon Neptune's explosive and condemning August 23, 2004 letter from
Prison to US Ambassador James Foley, and HLLN
Honors Yvon Neptune, July 29, 2006
EMMANUEL "DREAD" WILMÈ,
The Bandit King of Cite Soleil and the US/UN Most Wanted Man
In Haiti right now, SPEAKS -
In his own words, (in Kreyol (audio)
& English Transcription). April 4, 2005
interview on Lakounewyork for Lakounewyork and for the Ezili Dantò
Project, Broadcast - April 4, 2005. (English
translation of interview for the
Ezili Dantò Witness Project is below.)
June 29, 2008
The Cite Soleil Massacre Declassification Project
Crucifiction of Emmanuel "Dread" Wilme, a historical perspective
the Life of Emmanuel "Drèd" Wilmè by Frantz
Haitian Perspectives, July 1, 2006
6, 2007 - HLLN Links to honor of Dred Wilmè and all the UN victims
July 6, 2005 and the UN massacre of innocent civilians from Site Soley:
Demand UN soldiers stop killing innocent Haitian civilians and
brutalizing the Haitian public, Demand Justice for the UN victims from
Soley (also in Kreyol)
In honor of Dred
Wilme, July 6 is known as - International Day Against the
Extermination of Black Youths
Lasous O M Pwale – Going Back to Root, translated by Ezili Danto,
June 30, 2008 dedicated to Dred Wilme for HLLN’s July 6 FreeHaitiMovement
Haitian Epistemology: Lasous
O M Pwale - Going back to Root translated and Analyzed by Ezili Dantò,
June 30, 2008
The Haitian Vodun song - Lasous
O M Pwale meaning Going
Back to Root is an incantation, a tool, a means, and
a ritual for going back to source, to the river of life, the portal
of birth, a place of sanctuary, harmony, and creation. It simply details
the Vodouist's sacred path, the way to transformation, peace, renewal
and how to restore your soul.
The title, Lasous O M Pwale, means To the Beginning I'm Going
or To the Root I’m Going, or To the Source of Knowledge I’m
Returning and it embodies the healing way of Vodun.
This song cannot be translated literally. It's grounded in Vodun metaphors
that require extensive knowledge of Vodun and Kreyòl. It is not
all that it says, but more. Kreyòl says more in the hieroglyphics
of the vèvès.
So think of the forms being conjured up by the words. And their infinite
connections to more forms and pictures – from waters to waters,
ad infinitum. Imagine, the form (of Ayida Dan Wedo) that you are, at
its highest point of magnification, at its core, where all form is undetectable
to the eye, its just unseen serpentine waves, an ocean of radiant energy.
It may be seen as a sort of anthem for the Vodouist, an affirmation,
and also a baptism, an immersion in (sous kay la li fre) the
fresh spring waters of life: Lasous O M Pwale – Going Back to
the Beginning, or Going Back to my Root.
Danbala and Ayida Wedo are the irreducible essences, the infinite intelligences,
the male/female Rada essences of creation. Danbala and Ayida Wedo are
the unborn cosmic serpents, the font of universal knowledge. The Initiate
or the Vodun worshiper at a Vodun ceremony calls on the Rada nations
first, they call on Ayida Dan Wedo, the gods of creation.
Their words shall not return void. The worshiper calls: Danbala
Wedo, Lasous O M Pwale, Ayida Wedo, Lasous O M Pwale.
Imagine a temple, at the center is a poll called the Poto Mitan. The
Initiates’ move counter clockwise moving ever closer in circles
towards the center, the Poto Mitan. The body of the Vodun worshiper
is literally the cross, the poll intersecting from the seen into an
unseen world – the water world or Anba Dlo, Lan Ginen which literally
means "beneath the ocean, the waters" - where the beginning,
where our Ancestors, our Roots are. Where all that ever lived, will
live and is living will end up. (See, Ezili
Dantò's Anba Dlo definition and Ezili Dantò's
performance piece Anba
Dlo, Lan Ginen).
It is that primordial, cosmic space where all potentiality lives. It's
also the mythological "Haitian heaven" where all that ever
lived, will live and is living will end up. It is, to the African warriors
who founded African Haiti, the road back to that cosmic space where
the world began, where all is one and not conflicted. Where all is undifferentiated
and no duality exist, only energy. Its nature is manifested as love,
beauty, symmetry, peace, harmony, joy, abundance, order...Lasous is
a place where refuge may be found, a place where one may enter to recharge.
Lasous is symbol for the cosmic womb or the Vodun repository where our
sacred energies, our strengths and force as an African Haitian peoples
lie. Lasous literally describes, in this song that the source is the
place where the water gushes forth at the head of the creek. But the
Vodouist is a wise metaphysician who understands and integrates the
paradox of being both form and nonform, molded and here to mold. Lasous
is described in symbols, Lasous is neither a physical nor temporal place.
It’s the eternal and present realm, so any Vodouizan who goes
to the source vanishes – “M tounen teta nan dlo”
– becomes one with all the sacred stillness, cosmic place, where
life sources issue from and return to, that deepest realm where - the Lwas - those sacred irreducible essences of the Haitian/African
M tounen teta nan dlo. Teta are the tiny fishes or
wiggling creatures one can barely detect that are at the bottom of the
water. M tounen teta nan dlo. Mande kote ya we mwen, means
- I ask how can you see me when I’ve turned into something else,
I’ve metamorphed into a water born creature.
The cantor - Hounjènikon - is also addressing the water
world with this question. In that realm where physical form has no place.
Thus, to that human observer, the listeners of the song living in the
temporal world, this question means the opposite of what it symbolizes
or means to those listening in the mystical realm – Anba Dlo.
The words are, How can they - those in the spiritual realm - see me,
I ask? The inevitable answer is they too can’t hear or see you,
but for different reasons than why those in the temporal world may not
be able to see you. If the worshiper can still observe self, if you’re
still in some physical form and have consciousness, if you’re
still teta – an embryo - than you’re almost at the portal
back to root. But you’re not there yet. For, there’s no
Dlo – but sacred energies.
How can they see me, I ask? - may then simply also mean what will make
me visible to both worlds, seen and unseen?
M tounen teta nan dlo – for this also imagine the metamorphosis
between egg and fish, that’s what the worshipper has become, something
else. Transformed. But is the transformation process complete. Has he/she
reached where they wanted to go, that destination? Are they one with
the water. No. not yet. You’re perhaps at the subconscious realm.
But, not at root yet.
The next sentence is showing homage to the Ancestors, homage to the
divinity of creation, it’s also a mirror, a display of Vodouist
knowledge. The worshiper says M poko rive la tande o Do - Hear me
o Do, I haven’t arrived there.
The name Do, may be a short version for the merger of the male
and female elements that give birth. It may literally stand for the
unity of Ayida Dan Wedo.
In any case, this line indicates the worshipper knows what to do, knows
he/she can’t “arrive.” He tells Ayida Dan Wedo, the
Haitian divinity of creation, I know I can’t “arrive.”
For, before one leaves the physical realm, to “arrive” into
the sacred presence of Danbala Wedo or Ayida Dan Wedo, one must first
pay respect, praise and honor those who came before you – before
transformation is possible.
This display of knowledge carries enormous meaning in Vodun. It is the
respect we pay to the African Ancestors -the original parents of all
human beings- to all the issues of the universe, to humanity, towards
nature, and the Vodun legacy we were left that allows us to reach back
to root to become one with the waters of creation.
In this song, that is symbolized by the sentence "I
haven’t arrived there, o Do, o Do/ Before I go/ O Do, I salute
the flag." Before
you can enter the realm where you originated, before you can use your
ability to oscillate between the world of form and the spirit world,
you must express gratitude and respect for your oneness with all that
is, love for what you are at your core, what your eternal legacy is
- "Salute the flag" means extend wisdom, honest truth. For
you cannot meet yourself if you're not yourself. It also literally means
you must salute the Vodun nations – Rada to Petwo, all the Ancestors,
all the 21 African nations that came together at Bwa Kayiman to create
Haiti, you must salute also the Ancestral presence where you are, the
flag of the peristyle (temple) you’re at, the flag of the country
you are in. And so that’s the Haitian way. Raising up the Ancestors,
paying respect allows what’s worthy of raising up to be manifested
through the Vodouist in the temporal world.
For you are a mirror, a reflection of the sacred energies above and,
unlike in Judeo-Christian ethos, in Vodun you’re not a pawn of
the divine. You may be master of sacred energies, the divine and spiritual
forces. As below so above. What you focus on, what you call forth will
be mirrored more strongly above and will be manifested, generation after
generation in physical forms below. What a Vodouist calls forth with
his/her lifeforce, the forces you bring to life in this realm will be
reinforced, made stronger in the spiritual and psychic realms and will
be multiplied, replicated, objectified, mirrored generation upon generation
on the earth plane. So the Vodouizan knows not to mirror what should
not be mirrored, to only call on the sacred energies, what will bring
forth honor, grace, peaceful co-existence and harmony. That’s
why a healed Vodouist always looks upon the carnal world ak kè
poze – with a calm heart - careful not to raise up, project
disturbing energies from the psychic plane of the many minds. This though
is a process for most, as the army of aliens/illusions, doubt and fears
objectified in the outer world we've inherited these last 500plus-years
have, for most of us, found hosting space within the self and must be
conquered repeatedly, replaced with sacred energies and new visions
for humanity on earth. You skip all this when you carry and mirror your
source, your divinity (sous dlo klè) and sacredness
The word Vodun, means sacred energies in the Fon African language. Vodouist
have a mèt tèt – have come to fulfill a
purpose in this realm, whatever that purpose may be, if at its root
its not extending love, knowledge, harmony, creativity, transformation
that brings balance and healing to collective humanity, yo pa Ginen
Fran - they’re not practicing the Vodun of the African Haitians.
The chant begins with the calling on the divinity of knowledge and harmony
– Ayida Dan Wedo – male/female, yang/yen. Then, the singer
says “M poko rive la, M tounen teta nan dlo – I
haven’t even arrived but I’ve transformed, metamorphosed
into Teta, sort of a wiggling fetus and become one with the water and
Mande kote ya we mwen. M poko rive la tande o Do means I’m
asking, how will they be able to see me when I’m in another dimension.
Hear me, I’ve sought refuge in the waters of Danbala.
The naked eye cannot see the source. Because the destination is not
the bank of the creek, not the head of the creek or spring as the song
taken literally would suggest. The destination is to become one with
the water. To vanish into the water world, into Go(o)d– tounen
teta nan dlo. The destination is to be immersed in Vodun values, the
waters of collective responsibility, harmony, honor and respect for
the Ancestors, your fellow human beings and nature.
Avan Male. O Dan mwen pwal salye drapo a. Before you may be transformed
however, you are required to show respect, generosity and gratitude
– which is here symbolized by the act of saluting the flag.
This coalesces with the rituals of a Vodun ceremony. At the beginning
of any Vodun ceremony or ritual the worshipers salutes the flag of the
peristyle (temple), draws out the vèvè
of the sacred energies being called forth and pays respect to the African
Ancestors being raised up by the coming ceremony. Likewise the song
tells us that before you cross over to the eternal world – to
Lasous – to the head of the creek, the place where the water of
life gushes forth from, the spring head, before you go there to that
realm, you salute those who are there, pay your respects.
But, there are many planes that are in an invisible realm. Just projecting
self into the invisible does not mean you are in the eternal realm.
The key the song says is that if you’re still observing yourself,
you may be at the psychic plane, the realm of many minds, where the
most confident or strongest mind may take you over. But at the psychic
plane you haven’t arrived yet.
According to the song, the metamorphosis is complete only after you’ve
ritually saluted the all inhabitants of the invisible realm, gone beyond
all differentiation and separateness – then, “Sous la
se p am” – You’re there. You’re immersed.
Non-resistant. One with all that there is. Flowing with all that is.
(See Ezili Dantò’s I
Just Lost My Way). Make the call, then salut - praise and
give thanks to the Go(o)d -(African Ancestors')- within you.
This simple Haitian song is older than recorded time as Vodun is the
oldest spirituality, oldest religion, oldest psychology, philosophy
and way of life and the root of all such human knowledge that came after.
The Haitian Tainos living on the Island of Haiti before today’s
African Haitians, were also descendants of the Asian/Chinese and the
indigenous African civilizations that had, over time, inhabited distant
lands in the Western Hemisphere – millennia before Columbus arrived
and the European tribes began their over 500-year-old genocide, power
mongering and appropriation and hoarding of the planet’s natural
resources. (See, Blacks
were the original peoples in the Americas,
excerpted and cited from the Three
Ideals of Dessalines.) The Tainos
and Africans fused cultures and co-existed peacefully, shared similar
beliefs, similar cosmologies, similar primordial and psychological archetypes.
And this simple African Haitian song reclaims that fused Haitian narrative
and worldview, tells something of African Haitian cosmology, tells the
story of the African Haitian psyche, its archetypes and says many, many
things. Amongst which are, one is transformed, revitalized when one
goes back to root. When one remembers, calls and shows reverence for
the African ancestors who had lived in harmony and paid respect to life,
the planet and nature during their temporal existence. When you’re
transformed, when you enter - Lasous - the unseen realm of existence,
others (without the third eye of Vodun) can’t see you then. You
become like the tiniest of water-born wiggly creatures – teta
nan dlo. You are one with the breath of life and knowledge, compellingly
one as the wiggle of inhale and exhale that is pictured to call up Ayida
and Danbala Wedo. One with all the natural forces, air, water, fire
as represented in the wiggling, zigzagging contraction and release hieroglyphs
or drawn vèvè
that symbolizes the two cosmic serpents – Ayida Dan Wedo. When
you enter this other realm of existence, earth (female) and sky (male)
merge and you’ve crossed over to the road back to humanity’s
roots, back to Lan Guinen – Mother Africa/Akebullan.
When you enter this other realm of existence, you are also in the water
world, the universal firmament – Anba Dlo – in
that cosmic space where the world began with Lè
Marasa, lè Mò e lè Mistè.
Looking within oneself and nourishing that spark of divinity within
us all with love is another metaphor for going to the source. Lasous,
is an ego free zone. The song tells us that it is when you transform
like teta nan dlo, when your ego self vanishes that you may
enter the mystical world of Danbala and Ayida Wedo. Can go back to that
magical, cosmic space that’s physically represented in this song
by the ritual of going to the water creek.
At every Vodun ceremony, a calabash is laid out with fresh spring water
from the head of the creek where Dan – the cosmic snake, where
the symbol of knowledge, swims. Fetching water in Haitian Vodun tradition
is a ritual, a symbol of calling upon Danbala and Ayida Wedo, and a
ritual for going back to root, to your beginning. Going to the river
is an omnipresent theme of African Haitian Vodun. It’s a ritual
that symbolizes looking deep inside the self to recharge, for healing
and insight. To drink from the fountain of knowledge. To touch creation,
everything that Danbala and Ayida Wedo are.
All waters on planet earth are connected, flow into one another. Like
all human beings. Like all of nature. Everything is connected, we are
part of one another. The creek in Haitian Vodun symbolizes where Ayida
Dan Wedo lives. When the water becomes lake or river, it’s where
Simbi Dlo lives and as the water turns into an ocean, that’s where
Agwe lives. But all creation begins, at the creek – at the portal
of Danbala and Ayida Wedo. They symbolize the source of knowledge, and
creation in the African Haitian Vodun tradition.
© Ezili Dantò, June 30, 2008. All Rights Reserved
Vèvè - are sacred
Haitian hieroglyphics, divine drawings traditionally painted on the
ground at a Vodun ceremony, representing a particular divine spirit,
natural element or an irreducible essence of our African Ancestors.
The act of drawing a vèvè is a calling forth of that particular
Marasa, Lè Mò e lè Mistè - is basic
Haitian cosmology, basic Haitian trinity. It's also a means of explaining
the general process of manifestation. The concept of Lè Marasa,
Lè Mò e lè Mistè is also allegorical
for past, present, future. In the beginning, out of primordial space
came Lè Marasa, the sacred twin - male/female, yin/yang, earth/sky,
high/low, contraction/release, et al... The original twin had children
and then, as time passed away, the Parent(s) died becoming Lè
Mò - the Dead. Through the process of remembrance by their children
(present) the most significant, useful, achievement/part of the Dead,
if repeatedly raised up, will become, after untold generations of remembrances,
irreducible essences, Lè Mistè - or the Lwa yo, divine
archetypes. In authentic Haitian Vodun it is the good, useful and sacred
(Bondye - Good Eye) achievement/part that is raised up and repeated
and so that becomes Vodun's irreducible essences, sacred Haitian archetypes
- the Haitian gods. This is just a brief definition for the purposes
of this essay and not all inclusive of the concept - literally/historically,
mythological, metaphysically, metaphorically, or allegorically. One
and one is three!
(See also Black Women: Mother of All the Races- HOW THAT
BLACK WOMAN CAME TO BE by Ezili Dantò and Vodun
Fè la Fòs" coalition: The Haitian union forged at
Bwa Kayiman has never wavered
Haitian struggle - the greatest David vs. Goliath battle being played
out on this plane
Kayiman, 2008: Reclaiming
the Haitian People's Vodun Narrative at Bwa Kayiman
by Ezili Danto, August 1, 2008, Haitian Perspectives
The Bwa Kayiman Prophecy and Call:
E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga Bafyòti. Kanga Mundele. Kanga Ndòki.
Ezili's English translation: The Supreme Creator (E,
e, Mbomba, e, e!), Master of Breath shall foil the black collaborators/traitors
(kanga bafyòti). Kill/stop the tyrannical white settlers/blan
strangers (kanga mundele). Bind all evil forces/sorcerers (kanga Ndòki).
(Listen to the Welfare
Poets's song Sak Pase and their reciting (2:05) of the Bwa
Kayiman invocation: E, e, Mbomba! Kanga Bafyòti. Kanga Mundele.
Kanga Ndòki. Kanga li! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1DnBmvMjkU)
Ezili Danto's Note on Bwa Kayiman
the Haitian People's Vodun Narrative at Bwa Kayiman
Haiti struggles to survive within a hostile American Mediterranean,
struggles to be how it was born to be - independent, free, Vodun, African
It's been a long and tiresome struggle to return to source.
But, Haitians are still the pioneers of this human rights struggle in
this Hemisphere, pioneers of a more than 200-year struggle, post independence,
and a pre-independence struggle that began in 1503 when the first African
enslaved was forcibly brought to Haiti to work the Europeans' plantations.
So, for over 500 years we've toiled in this scorching furnace made of
this earth for Black and Brown by the US/Euro white settlers.
But Ginen poze. All is calm in the Haitian collective soul
- Ginen poze - because of Haiti's wholesome Vodun culture,
epistemology and psychology.
The journey of the sun people continues. 80, 100 to 200thousand
years out of Africa is a whole lot longer and makes 500plus-years
of European conquest or even 1,000 years of Arab conquest seem fairly
nanosecond small. Some say the Tainos understood that. The Incas, Mayan
and Aztecs too. But the sacred African Chronicles and Living African
Libraries still in existence - evidence how Africans are used to studying
one great sun/lunar cycle of 29 or so thousand years - know
the Ancestors’ line goes too far back to eternity to be uprooted
or erased. Ginen poze. Death doesn't scare the rooted African. What
matters is how one lives and the energies (values/principles/ archetypes)
one allows to mount and be extended.
In Paul Alfred Barton's book, A
History of the African-Olmecs and Black Civilizations of America From
Prehistoric Times to the Present Era, we learn that: "It
is very likely that the very first inhabitants of the Americas were
Negritic Blacks from Africa and Asia, who arrived in the Americas earlier
than 100,000 years Before Christ. This occurrence would have taken place
during a period in human history when the only Homosapiens were Negritic
Blacks, and recent migrants from Africa, who entered into an uninhabited
North and South America. To understand this possibility, which is becoming
more factual as further evidence is gathered, we must consider the fact
that mitochondrial DNA studies done over the years have already fortified
the evidence which points to the mono-genetic origins of all humans
present to a source somewhere in Central Africa. Furthermore, all humans
came from this African source and developed into distinct races only
about 40,000 years ago. This means that the Black race (Negritic) existed
for more than one hundred thousand years before all other races came
The amalgamated Africans who became Haitian in the land of the Tainos
on the Island of Haiti are an ancient people with ancient wisdom, memories
and mythologies. Their direct African ancestors reached Europe some
50 thousand years ago and according to the most advance scientific mitochondria/
DNA evidence, (See Discovery Channels the Real Eve), the Neanderthals
original to Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East apparently eventually
died out when brought into contact with modern humans, the descendants
of Africa (Cro-Magnons). But sometimes one wonders... For who but a
sort of Neanderthal would commit the crimes of genocide to the degree
of the European tribes: 100 million Africans slaughtered in the Maafa
(European Slave Trade), not including those sentient beings enslaved
and slaughtered in the European Mediterranean slave trade; the European’s
Amerindian genocide in the Americas; the over 100 million, mostly Black
and Brown, slaughtered in the two European world wars and their Cold
War of the 20th century and 80 million suffering Russians passing through
the Russian gulags (prison system) over the course of the Cold War…not
to mention 1000 years of incessant European tribal warfare before going
global beginning in 1492 to the present, or, the crusades, the Spanish
inquisition, the European witch hunts, the Jewish holocaust, the Japanese
civilians killed when the US dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima (130,000
killed) and on Nagasaki (70,000 killed), et al.
But it is Haitians, earth-centered Vodun, Haitian independence and Haiti's David
and Goliath struggle to be free from Euro/US dominance and
dependency that the world has been taught is backwards, violent
and uncivilized, not the European tribes, their white settler derivatives
and their bourgeois
patriarchal warmongering, monarchies, papacy and versions of Christianity.
Haitians are an ancient people as old as Vodun. This generation of Haitians
are in the process of reclaiming the Haitian – konesans
- narrative. “Pale Fransè pa vle di lespri.”
Indeed generations of Haitians have reclaimed the Haitian narrative,
in a myriad of ways, even within the swirl of chaos, even under the
veil of the subcontracted, Haitian collaborators’
imposed Western fratricide (Kolon Bafyòti e Ndòki
(fòs djab) yo k ap trayi Negès e Neg Guinen depi lan Guinen,
k ap van nou bay blan yo - Mundele yo), its Christian, French and
colonial graven images, treachery and foreign domination. Ginen poze.
Ours, has always been the serpentine, not linear, path.
Overlapping the misery and chaos imposed on Haiti by the colonially
insane and morally-repugnant-let’s-hoard-it-all global economic
elite, containing Haiti in deliberate poverty post independence, there
Vodun is perennially replacing their chaos with the order, organization,
rites, rituals, rhythms, dances, vèvès and the hierarchies
(Manbo, Hougan, Sèrvitè, Pòt Drapo, Tanbouyè,
Hounsi Bosal, Hounsi Djò, Hounsi Kanzo, Hounsi Sou-Pwen, Hounsi
Desounen, Hounjènikon, Konfyans...et al) in Vodun which anchors
the Haitian, is the vehicle for the manifestation of the Haitian into
the world towards collective perfection. Towards allowing self to only
be mounted by good, so to extend collective good and perfection. Towards,
leaving a responsible legacy that will be raised up by future Haitians,
This is why the Ginen Haitian cannot be enslaved or colonized. Vodun
values directs that a moral life is about letting only good or godly
spirits mount them. This is why the subcontracted colonial zombies -
Haitian collaborators - mounted by Empire’s interests are so reviled
in Haiti and never make it into Haitian folklore or otherwise enter
the holy Vodun pantheon. A Haitian doesn't have to be an initiate to
have wholly imbibed Vodun's popular values and extend them. But, from
the Haitian revolution, only one general amongst the four (Toussaint,
Dessalines, Petion, Christophe) ordinarily identified as the founding
fathers of Haiti are venerated by the PEOPLE of Haiti and, in Vodun
as a Lwa, as an essence worthy of Vodun veneration, popular veneration,
worthy of being lifted up as an African ancestral spirit – a Lwa
– after death. His name is Jean Jacques Dessalines. Dessalines'
Ideals, Boukman's Prayer and Boukman and Cecil Fatiman's
words initiating the successful Haitian revolution at Bwa Kayiman on
August 14, 1791, still provide the leadership the PEOPLE of Haiti (in
contrast with the trapped nation of Haiti) follow today:
Stop the black collaborators and traitors. Stop the white colonizers
and enslavers. Stop all their evil forces. Stop them!
Rèl Boukman, rèl Cecil Fatiman e rèl tout Zanset
Afriken nou yo ki te patisipe lan Bwa Kayiman pakapab janm efase. Koute
vwa libète sa a k ap toujou chantè lan kè Ayisyen
Ginen: E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga bafyòti. Kanga Mundele. Kanga
Ndòki. Kanga yo!
Jete dlo, jete dlo, jete yon kout kleren. Lasous
nou pwale…Zanset yo e Timoun yo, yo la! Gran moun pa
lan jwet. Yo pa lan blag. Yo p ap achte. Yo pap van. Ginen Fran poze.
Kolon Bafyòti e Ndoki yo pa kapab fè Ginen fè yon
pa Nago yon pa Kita.
Malè y ap eseye mete sou tèt Ayisyen Ginen an p ap janm
gen pye pou l mache ditou, ditou. Tout moun koudeta yo, tout kolon nwa
yo (Bafyòti yo) – Category Zero yo – k ap krisifye
pitit Desalin yo, k ap chèche kraze travay Desalin e ki panse
yo gen pi gwo fòs djab (Ndoki) lan zafè detwi ou kolonize
vrè pitit Ginen yo, pakapab fèl menmjan lòt Bafyòti
e Ndoki yo lan tan esklavaj la, ki deja eseye l. La fanmi sanble. Nou
la. Nou p ap bay legen. Tout mizè, malè, e malediksyon
Kolon blan e nwa yo voye sou pitit Ginen – sou Chwal Sen Jak -
tonbe sou do Ayida Dan Wedo, e deja glise atè. Rann souf. Gade
Ayida Dan Wedo ale... Rèl Boukman, rèl Cecil Fatiman e
rèl tout Zanset Afriken nou yo ki te patisipe lan Bwa Kayiman
pakapab janm efase. Koute vwa libète sa a k ap toujou chantè
lan kè Ayisyen Ginen: E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga bafyòti.
Kanga mundele. Kanga Ndoki. Kanga yo!
Sa Pap Janm Kase!
THE PEOPLE'S STORY VERSUS THE COLONIAL NARRATIVE AND "HAITI HISTORY"
Recently, the City of New York, America's largest municipality ordered
all official business be conducted in seven languages, including Haitian
Kreyol so that New York becomes more accessible to Haitians as well
as other immigrants who speak other foreign languages like Spanish,
Russian, Chinese, Korean and Italian. This is instructive, for at this
very moment Haitians in UN occupied Haiti are still having to fight
the colonial and French status quo schooled and subcontracted Haitians
and the internationals to include the Kreyol masses in the official
business of the nation by properly implementing Kreyol as one of Haiti's
primary and official languages. But institutionalizing Kreyol is not
the only struggle in Haiti. The 2004 Bush bicentennial coup d'etat and
current US/UN occupation in Haiti is reinforcing foreign values, foreign
cultures (materialism, gun culture, cocaine and crack habits, colonial
celebritism and superficiality, get rich quick organize kidnapping schemes,
objectifying/over-sexualizing women/girls and violence) and undermining
Haitian Kreyol literacy advancements, continuing the negatives about
Haitian capabilities and history and attacking Vodun, as recently evidenced
by the rumors of a Zonbi in Cap Haitian that lifted up the traditional
colonial and racist biases on Vodun. (See, "A response to Zonbi
rumors (in English and Kreyol): Separating fact from fiction" by
Jerry and Yvrose Gilles, archived at
/200807/ msg00010.html and on the Bookmanlit website at: http://www.bookmanlit.com/news/editorial.html
We know that most of what passes as Haitian history is from the colonial
viewpoint, written by Christian-educated schooled Haitians, or, are
of foreign colonial authors who will give you a litany of Haiti's failures
and violence and who ultimately vilify Haitian independence, the Haitian
Kreyol language, Haitian Africaness and its Vodun spirituality and way
The subclass to the slavery system - the Affranchi (the black/mulatto
freemen overseer for absentee French planter, or Bafyòti as they
were referred to at Bwa Kayiman), now ascended, consolidated and known
as the bourgeoisie/mulatto in Haiti, continue, post-independence to
maintain colonialism in Haiti because of their French and Francophone
religious education, its genocide of the mind that pushes love for Haiti’s
former colonizer and enslaver, through the French language which excludes
and divides the schooled Haitian from the African masses, through Eurocentricity
and its attendant dependency/domination paradigm and hatred for all
things African, Kreyol and Vodouist.
I've been asked many times by Haitians who know our work to point them
in the right direction. To point to books that are reliable in telling
the Haitian story. I’ve been asked by young Haitians all over
the world, how to learn Haitian epistemology.
There is no single answer to the question. But I always begin my answers
by pointing out that the root of all things Haitian is Kreyol, African
THE GINEN ROOT -
HAITIAN INDENTITY: THE UNITY
THAT'S NEVER WAVERED
The Haitian identity was forged on August 14, 1791 when the amalgamated
African tribes forcibly imported into the Island of Ayiti, the land
of the Tainos, looked to their own source to find the strength to launch
the Great Haitian Revolution that annihilated European chattel slavery
in Haiti and colonialism. But there is scant material that may be trusted
in reference to Haitian history. I say categorically and without any
hesitation that you may toss out and be cautious of any book that claims
it was the ideas of the European, so-called "enlightenment"
that influenced our enslaved African ancestors to revolt and defeat
300 years of European orchestrated African genocide/holocaust in Haiti.
No, it was not. Maybe the "enlightenment" helped the Haitian
Mulatto freemen who were trying so hard to be accepted into Paris salons
and French intellectual society as equals. Maybe it gave these mulattos
and the US/Jefferson bourgeoisie
freedom fighters some helpful and very coded talking points
to replace Monarchy and the Papacy with the broader transnational economic
elites’ bourgeoisie freedom. But not the suffering enslaved Haitian
masses. The African masses in Haiti found their ideas for the successful
Haitian revolution not through the "enlightenment's" hypocritical
tenets, but by going back to SOURCE – African Vodun spiritual
and moral values. By going back to their Ginen root and Ginen philosophy.
(See Ezili Dantò's - Bwa Kayiman
Video reel and note the real "linyon
fè la fòs" coalition that's NEVER wavered. Chèn
Sa Pap Janm Kase! - The three powers lifted up at Bwa Kayiman: Fòs,
Pouvwa, Linyon, See also, Ezili's
counter-colonial narrative on Vodun).
In the Bwa Kayiman play our Ezili Dantò company performs every
August to commemorate the greatest feat ever accomplished by the most
disarmed and outgunned human beings on earth, here is how I describe
the life of the African on the Island of Haiti, on the eve of the Haitian
Revolution: "It's night. August 14, 1791. Slavery is everywhere.
Whites are killing Africans. Whites are killing Africans. Whites are
This is how they entertain themselves: they bury us alive in the hot
sun, so the ants will slowly devour our heads. Either they beat us until
we're red in blood or until we faint. They have the habit of driving
the knife of their bayonet into the belly of a pregnant Haitian woman
disemboweling her – killing both mother and child. These, are
their pleasures, ordained by their God, they say."
It is extreme colonial, patriarchal and US/Euro arrogance and ignorance
to assert that these suffering African human beings in Haiti would need
to hear white folks in the big house discussing the John Locke/Thomas
Jefferson duplicitous, patriarchal and non-inclusive ideas of human
freedom before they would get the initiative to reject, rebel against
their brutal treatment or to fight for their own liberty. Extreme.
I refer all to Boukman's Prayer for further evidence. Bwa Kayiman is
one of the earliest examples of liberation theology at work. Boukman's
Prayer, his Vodun words inaugurated the concept of liberation theology
in Haiti. The African warriors, inspired by this Vodun prayer, became
"Haitian” in the land of the Taino/Arawaks, leaving an indelible
mark on Haiti and the entire world.
"Boukman's Prayer – Lapriyè
The God who created the earth, who created the sun that gives us light.
The God who holds up the ocean, who makes the thunder roar. Our God
who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds, who watch us
from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The
white man's god asks him to commit crimes. But the God within us wants
to do good. Our God, who is so good, so just, He orders us to avenge
our wrongs. It's He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory.
It's He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the
white man's god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty
that speaks in all our hearts."
At the August 14, 1791 Bwa Kayiman gathering, led by the powerful Haitian
mother/warrior spirit of Ezili Dantò, Cecile Fatiman, the Haitian
Manbo - Vodun priestess - crowned the African warrior, Boukman, with
her royal red Petwo scepter, ushering in the Haitian war which forever
slashed the chains of European slavery in Haiti to create Africa's sacred
trust, Manman Ayiti – the first Black nation in the Western Hemisphere
in modern times.
CHRISTIAN INTOLERANCE AND PERSECUTION
Almost every year these days one hears of some Christian pastor or priest
trying to go to the Bwa Kayiman location in Haiti to somehow undo that
1791 gathering with their own replacement Christian
rituals. It seems the US/Euros' and their schooled Haitians
who demonized and belittle Ezili Dantò's divine decree to Boukman
at Bwa Kayiman also are displaying their racist, colonial, patriarchic
and Christian biases. For, if Jesus could somehow get to Utah to talk
directly to the Mormons and is reputed to have been in Europe and had
descendants protected by the Templars and there are Books of the Mormons
everywhere at the Marriot Hotels and books and movies on the Templars’
living "holy grail" in Europe, why is it so hard for these
schooled folks to accept that God, through Ezili Dantò, also
commanded Boukman to free his people?
Why aren't these same Christian pastors and priests demonizing and taking
down either the Mormons or the Templar adherents, authors, publishers
and movie producers? Why is it we Haitians get so much Christian repression
about our narrative, our legends, our African Ancestral spirits, archetypes,
irreducible essences, about Vodun? All of Japan and China worship their
ancestral spirits and numerous saints and divinities. Why is it Haitians
and Africans are pressured to reject Vodun's liberation theology? Are
we to understand that Jesus, as the emissary of God, can go to Utah
and hang out there in North America. But because we Haitians are Black,
we are outside the direct grace of God? So then a Haitian, a Black man
and woman, so then Boukman and Cecile Fatiman cannot be the vehicles
for God through the emissary of the spirit of Ezili Danto? All the nationalities
may speak their own narratives and have their own archetypes. But is
it absolutely impossible for the Master of Breath - Gran Mèt
la - to have worked through Boukman to save the Haitian people from
the Euro/US enslavers? Why is one narrative, one legend, more credible
or even more historical than the other?
Moreover, Haitian history must be placed in context to world history,
otherwise the miracle of Haiti, Kreyol, Haiti as Africa's sacred trust
and Vodun's role in maintaining the Haitian psyche cannot be duly appreciated.
Our challenge, as a Haitian people is to reclaim our own perspective,
narrative, archetypes and historical truth, not that of the colonizer
NEOCOLONIALISM AND THE FALSE
HAITIAN UNITY PROPAGATED BY SELF-SERVING HAITIAN COLLABORATORS AND COLONIAL
Neocolonialism in Haiti started with the assassination of Haiti’s
founding father, Jean Jacques Dessalines in 1806 and the treacherous
Petion/Boyer reigns. The free mulatto Affranchis, educated in military
schools in France, would forbid the name of Haiti’s founding father
to be spoken for 42-years during their reign where French ecclesiastic
colonialism took hold. As the Black generals and Haiti’s indigenous
army were destroying Leclerc’s French army, the capricious Alexander
Petion, for survival reasons, (notably after Dessalines’ victory
against Leclerc’s French army at Crête-à-Pierrot
in March 1802, et al) secretly came together, on October 12, 1802, with
Dessalines at Arcahaie to support Haiti’s Black indigenous army’s
cause. But this was only after Leclerc’s betrayal and capture
of General Toussaint Louverture and Toussaint’s forcible deportation
(to die at Fort de Joux in France’s Jura mountains in 1803).
Arguably, except for this brief UNITY (Linyon fè la fòs?)
in Haitian history, starting from the October 12, 1802 secret Petion
meeting with Dessalines to the triumphant Battle
of Vertieres a year later on November 18, 1803 where Dessalines’
forces attacked and beat down the French army led now by Rochambeau
and through to both the mulatto and Black generals’ choosing Dessalines
to lead the newly independent Haitian nation in 1804, up until the mulatto
generals had him assassinated on October 17, 1806; except for this October
12, 1802 (Linyon fè la fòs?) alliance to its
October 17, 1806 dissolution upon Dessalines assassination, except for
this brief four-year time period, there has been little truce in the
warfare of the colonial, Christian and foreign and/or French educated
mulatto and/or schooled Haitians against the liberty and economic democracy
of the indigenous Black/African masses of Haiti.
For, both General Petion and Boyer fought in the failed effort with
the mulatto, Rigaud, AGAINST General Toussaint Louverture to restore
Black slavery and rule for France. Both of these collaborators returned
afterwards from forced exile in France in 1802 with the Charles Leclerc’s
50,000-strong genocidal French army, intent on annihilating Black independence
and returning slavery to Haiti. And, Boyer (who would end up in exile
after his rule of Haiti, dying in France) agreed to France’s financial
colonialism in Haiti through payment of the Independence
Debt (estimated at over $21 billion by 2004). This mulatto
Affranchi collaboration with Haiti’s enslavers and selling off
of Haiti and excluding the African masses from enjoying the triumph
of 1804 is going on to this day and is still enforced by the modern
as evidenced by the return of the US/Euros during the bi-centennial
year of 2004.
Haiti's history reveals that the bourgeoisie
- economic elite - will not throw their lot in with the African masses
unless they are already on the way OUT. That's the lesson of the Petion/Dessalines
short compromise. Power doesn't concede ANYTHING if it doesn't HAVE
to. The Mulatto Affranchi define freedom differently than the African
masses in Haiti. Their struggle was for acceptance into French or colonial
society, not for universal freedom for all dis-enfranchised peoples.
So, as soon as they could they
assassinated Haiti's founding father, Jean Jacques Dessalines
and edged towards their natural comfort zone - the colonial status quo
they occupied pre-independence.
This, a group of Christian, colonial
and dependent Haitians (now known in Haiti generally as the bourgeosie)
were initially created by the BLACK CODE (1685 to 1791) to be a sub-class
to the white colonists' slavery system. They act for empire, still collaborate
and still adopt the mores of empire in the Caribbean, Africa, Latin
America, et al. But the amalgamated African tribes who became Haitian
did not take on the enslavers' mores and values. For instance, in the
time before independence, according to the ruling colonial law, the Black
Code in Haiti, if a free white married an African woman that
woman and her mulatto children were automatically free. If a white (female)
had a child with an African that child was free.
So, even to this day that's how the Haitian bourgeoisie seem to define
freedom. They will generally do anything to secure whiter bloodlines
(DNA) and be FREE OF AFRICANISM. The freedom of the Africans is different.
It's not based on how much white there is in them. It's not their skin
color but the Vodun - sacred energies - they extend.
This bourgoisie class of 'black'
peoples own a different imperative, that's about profit margins and
getting the neo-colonialists' approval. And it's the African they've
put up for sale and trade.
Recall the command of Ezili Dantò spoken through Boukman and
Cecil Fatiman at Bwa Kayiman: to free Africans from bondage we must
stop the Bafyòti - the Black traitor/collaborator, stop the Mundele
- the White settler/enslaver/imperialist and stop the Ndòki -
all their evil forces. “E, e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga bafyòti.
Kanga Mundele. Kanga Ndòki. Kanga yo!"
The heart of Haitian epistemology may
be found in the Vodun chants, sacred Ginen prayers, drum rhythms, vèvès,
Gods and Goddesses, their associated myths, colors, psychology and the
values, principles and archetypes extended. Things the Christian, French
and colonial mindset have still failed to tamper with. Recently, I wrote
a piece, translating a traditional Haitian Vodun song. Those who wish
to understand Haitian epistemology may begin there - Going Back to root
may assist in the decolonizing process for the mentally colonized Haitian.
Go back to the root, to the Ginen Fran root. You may also wish to join
our Ezili Dantò Listserve,
the FreeHaitiMovement, and go to the website,
from time to time to read some of the pieces at Haitian
Within the misery and chaos of neocolonial existence in Haiti,
Vodun and its secular mores, anchors the Haitian and keeps the people
grounded and focused towards extending sacred energies, universal values.
Vodun in the Fon language means sacred energies. The infrastructure/order
and moral core of Vodun as a spirituality and, secularly as a way of
life is central, critical and counters the disorder of Western impositions,
oppression and containment in poverty. For instance, a Vodun initiate
who has died is refered to as a Hounsi Desounen and the oral storyteller
of that Lakou - society - or temple can recite the story of the Vodun
initiates and the initiates' family; can tell you of the preceding Manbo,
Hougan, - priestess, priest -, Hounsi Kanzo, Housi Desounen, the temple's
sacred drummer (tanbouyè), cantor (Hounjènikon), Hounsi
Bosal (a non-initiate, an assistant or temple fan/groupy), et al, who
worshiped at that temple going back countless generations. Some Haitian
living libraries have memories that go back to even before INDEPENDENCE!
Vodun is expressed orally and passed on one generation to the other.
This is where one will find the untold history of the people of Haiti.
Not in the colonial books purporting to tell Haiti's history, but, which
books always sound like a litany of a big city's police blotter of crimes
and crisis passing off as the Haitian people's history.
When you understand the depth of organizationn and participatory nature
of Vodun and Haitian communal identity and mores, you know more of the
Haitian people's genius. That's when you can actually see the unity
that's NEVER wavered. That's when you can ignore what you've been told
by the history books and replace the myth about the Mulatto generals'
sincerity in coming together with Dessalines and the Black masses to
make the Haitian revolution with the AUTHENTIC VODUN UNITY AND SPIRITUAL
FORCE - linyon fè la
fòs - that brought together the differing enslaved African
nations and peoples to become ONE people, create one unique African-Haitian
spitituality, language (Kreyol) and culture. This, after three hundred
years of being treated as sub-human. (See Ezili's Danto - Bwa Kayiman
Video reel and note the real "linyon
fè la fòs" coalition that's NEVER wavered, Chèn
Sa Pap Janm Kase! - The three powers lifted up at Bwa Kayiman: Fòs,
Pouvwa, Linyon, See also, Ezili's
counter-colonial narrative on Vodun).
The Ginen root - Haitian identity - forged at Bwa Kayiman is THE UNITY
that's never wavered in Haiti.
August 1, 2008
For the HLLN's FreeHaitiMovement
Bwa Kayiman events for August 14, 2008
Larouze fè banda toutan soley pa leve
(last revised August 5, 2008)