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Black is the
Color of Liberty

An Interview with Haitian Attorney Ezili Dantò

by Wanda Sabir, San Francisco Bayview, June 3, 2004


Marguerite "Ezili Dantò" Laurent
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Haiti is 3rd largest Dominican export over US $147 million in 2006
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The Western vs Real Narrative on Haiti

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Does the Western economic model and calculation of economic wealth fit Haiti, fit Dessalines' idea of wealth? No!
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No other national group anywhere in the world sends more money home than Haitians living abroad

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Note from Yves to the Network on UN operations in Site Soley:

Site Soley is prime waterfront real estate. Under pretext of killing bandits and apprehending kidnappers, the coup d'etat UN forces are depopulating Site Soley in order to steal the land for the elite sectors without compensating the impoverished occupants

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90% of the Agricultural Workers in the DR are Haitians (Haiti's most valuable asset: Its people)

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Dessalines Is Rising!!
Ayisyen: You Are Not Alone!


 



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Ezili Danto Witness Project
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Little Girl
in the Yellow
Sunday Dress

zilibutton
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Most Requested Performance
Pieces of
Ezili Dantò



So Much Like Here

(Jazzoetry audio clip and text)


Red, Black & Moonlight
08 RBM Video, 04Video and text)

Breaking Sea Chains


Litte Girl in the
Yellow Sunday Dress ack & Moonlight
(Text and Public comments)


Capsized
(live performance audio recording
and text)

The Red Sea
(live performance audio recording and text)

Ezili Danto's Art-With-The Ancestors' Workshops

Master, Teenage and Children's Haitian Dance Workshops
(video clips)

 

 

To subscribe, write to erzilidanto@yahoo.com
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zilibuttonCarnegie Hall
Video Clip
No other national
group in the world
sends more money
than Haitians living
in the Diaspora
Red Sea- audio

The Red Sea


Ezili Dantò's master Haitian dance class (Video clip)

zilibuttonEzili's Dantò's
Haitian & West African Dance Troop
Clip one - Clip two


So Much Like Here- Jazzoetry CD audio clip

Ezili Danto's

Witnessing
to Self

zilibutton
Update on
Site Soley

RBM Video Reel

Haitian
immigrants
Angry with
Boat sinking
A group of Haitian migrants arrive in a bus after being repatriated from the nearby Turks and Caicos Islands, in Cap-Haitien, northern Haiti, Thursday, May 10, 2007. They were part of the survivors of a sailing vessel crowded with Haitian migrants that overturned Friday, May 4 in moonlit waters a half-mile from shore in shark-infested waters. Haitian migrants claim a Turks and Caicos naval vessel rammed their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Dessalines' Law
and Ideals

Breaking Sea Chains


Little Girl
in the Yellow
Sunday Dress

Anba Dlo, Nan Ginen
Ezili Danto's Art-With-The-Ancestors Workshops - See, Red, Black & Moonlight series or Haitian-West African

Clip one -Clip two
ance performance
zilibutton In a series of articles written for the October 17, 2006 bicentennial commemoration of the life and works of Dessalines, I wrote for HLLN that: "Haiti's liberator and founding father, General Jean Jacques Dessalines, said, "I Want the Assets of the Country to be Equitably Divided" and for that he was assassinated by the Mullato sons of France. That was the first coup d'etat, the Haitian holocaust - organized exclusion of the masses, misery, poverty and the impunity of the economic elite - continues (with Feb. 29, 2004 marking the 33rd coup d'etat). Haiti's peoples continue to resist the return of despots, tyrants and enslavers who wage war on the poor majority and Black, contain-them-in poverty through neocolonialism' debts, "free trade" and foreign "investments." These neocolonial tyrants refuse to allow an equitable division of wealth, excluding the majority in Haiti from sharing in the country's wealth and assets." (See also, Kanga Mundele: Our mission to live free or die trying, Another Haitian Independence Day under occupation; The Legacy of Impunity of One Sector-Who killed Dessalines?; The Legacy of Impunity:The Neoconlonialist inciting political instability is the problem. Haiti is underdeveloped in crime, corruption, violence, compared to other nations, all, by Marguerite 'Ezili Dantò' Laurent
     
No other national group in the world sends more money than Haitians living in the Diaspora
 
 
 
 
 







 

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Haiti's most valuable asset: Its people - Their land, Gods, Culture and Dessalines' legacy

The Haitian Gods, the Gods of immemorial Africa, cannot be embodied without Haitian corporeal existence. The Gods are part of the land and depend on human devotees for their embodiment on earth. (The Revolutionary Potential of Haiti, its creeds, values and struggle)
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Breaking Sea Chains - RBM Video Reel


Black is the color of Liberty
An interview with Haitian attorney Ezili Dantò (colonially and formerly named Marguerite Laurent, Esq,) by Wanda Sabir, San Francisco Bayview, June 3, 2004


Marguerite Laurent/Ezili Dantò has a visual presence that is just as striking as her written one, which is how I met her initially. Born in Haiti, her family moved to New York in 1968 when her dad couldn't keep steady employment under the Duvalier regime. Proud of her heritage, more specifically a cultural and religious legacy vilified by colonists and their henchmen in her homeland, the fiery sister has taken on the task of rectifying this slander through her poetry, dance and legal advocacy.

A founding member of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership (1994), Laurent, who studied law at the University of Connecticut and also has a graduate degree in dance from the Hartford Conservatory, was all ready to spend her time touring with her dance-theatre company in celebration of Haiti's bicentennial - this included a kickoff at Carnegie Hall in January, [to be] followed by a gig on the Bwa Kayiman History tour this August - when the coup foiled all of her plans.



Back in riot gear, Laurent is armed with her literary tools, shooting off multiple articles a week as she keeps her index finger of the pulse of her homeland. In town for the recent Haiti forum at Pro Arts Gallery Sunday, May 2,

Anba Dlo, Nan Ginen (Video clips)

sponsored by PEN Oakland and the Haiti Action Committee, I was able to speak to the busy woman the following morning at length about Haitian history, her work with the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) and the spirit of Ezili Dantò, her patron goddess. Quite dramatic even on the phone, the sister held me spellbound as she shared her life story, which is the story of an African nation, the first pan-African nation, Ayiti or Haiti. Laurent credits her parents for her consciousness.

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent: "My father always had a saying - he was a Maroon, his lineage are all 'Neg Mawon,' those runaway captives who were never slaves. There's a very strong pride in [claiming] 'm se neg mawon.' It's like Dessalines said, that 'if that's a civilized nation (referring to the Europeans), I'll gladly be a savage African.' My father said, 'we'll always be Neg Mawon,' which meant the same thing as Dessalines' - 'if the blood of the European tribe is how they get their sort of civilization, then I'd rather be a savage African.'" Here was a father whose father was a Vodun priest.

I'm kind of blown away … for a moment.

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent: "Really, every Haitian has this history, but they don't want to talk about it because they've been colonized by the priests and the captors who tell them that what they're representing is satanic. Meanwhile, (the Europeans) are out there studying it and getting Ph.D.s in it, while Black people say it's not important. The suppression of [the Vodun] religion in Haiti is one of the crimes of the European powers, while they advocate freedom of religion in their own countries."

May 2008 Video Reel - (PhotoGallery)

Marguerite 'Zili Dantò' Laurent, lawyer, performance poet, writer and founder and President of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN), performs selections from her award-winning Red, Black & Moonlight monologues, May 3, 2008, celebrating Haitian heritage month

Wanda Sabir: Your poem that you read Sunday at Pro Arts spoke to the colonial influence on Haitian culture.

Ezili Dantò/ Marguerite Laurent: "This is how I became who I am. If you go to windows
onhaiti.com, go under contributors and click on that, you'll see Red, Black and Moonlight [Memoir of a Poet (Special Edition), A Burnt Offering to the Ancestors] - this is an older version of this.[from the Red, Black & Moonlight series.] It's a piece I wrote when I went to Haiti in 1995. One of the U.S. ambassadors to Haiti and USAID, when they saw a group of Haitian American lawyers [not working for the State Department or any of USAID's approved NGOs] who wanted to help Haiti, they saw depleted funding sources, and their obsolescence if HLLN succeeded in breaking US/USAID’s impoverishment cycle, helped Haiti become self-reliant. They saw us as a threat. And so they spent a lot of time trying to throw us out of Haiti, and eventually they did."

Wanda Sabir: You're not welcome in Haiti?

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent: "HLLN is diametrically opposed to USAID's ideals. We want to develop Haiti; they want to keep it dependent. That's the fight that we fight. That's the struggle that we try to expose to the world, that Haitians for years and decades and centuries have tried to become independent and that it is, of course, the imperialist drama to keep you dependent.

(Video clips)

"If you're educated in your own liberty and in self-reliance, self-reliance begins with understanding your own heritage and your own culture. But if you're dependent on their god, their sort of democracy, their military to take you out of chaos into order - their sort of order - then you are dependent, and that is the colonial blueprint for debt, dependency and foreign domination.

"That's the cycle that we try to break, and Haitians have been trying to break that cycle for 200 years. Our commitment, as Dessalines said, is to live free (and) independent or die. And many of us have been dying, but because of our culture and what we believe about death: the corporal body, the spirit never dies because spirit triumphs over temporality.

"That's why Haitians were able to walk into European canons -
men, women and children. The song that they sang while they were doing it was 'Bullets are dust. Bullets are dust.' The spirit overcomes. The irreducible essence will live on forever.

"Even as we deal today with the occupiers - the two greatest Western [Hemispheric] superpowers are on our land - Canada and the United States, and they brought with them our old colonizer, France, something our founding fathers said would never happen - and they're there in 2004 to say 'Yes, we can.'

"But they always come through the economic route, through Black opportunists. They always come through them because they hate being African and so they project that hate upon (the masses) … they do the work of the colonizers, people like André Apaid and the Mafia families in Haiti who have exploited the Haitian people.

"What people don't understand is that there is a certain level of propaganda in trying to create certain realities to project this reality. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. What they don't tell you is not only do we have (poverty, but we also have riches and) the most millionaires in the entire Caribbean. They won't advertise that. Naturally people would wonder, well, why aren't [the super wealthy] developing the country? They prefer to project all that on Aristide and say, why is he a millionaire? [He's not allowed resources if he's defending the poor, not elite interests.]"

Marguerite says that her point is, if "the American Dream is to 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps,' to rise from humble beginnings, why is it that the first time it's done by a poor Haitian that for some reason, he's corrupt?" This was in response to a question raised by Ishmael Reed the previous day at the Haiti Forum, a question he had received via email.

May 2008 Video Reel - (PhotoGallery)

Zili Dantò performs selections from her award-winning Red, Black & Moonlight monologues, May 3, 2008

Why is the U.S. so interested in Haiti, is a question many people ask. One answer is unskilled and cheap labor. Another reason is that when there is no democracy and people are being oppressed, there is no time off, overtime, or benefits … then poverty is systemic.

Ezili Dantò/ Marguerite Laurent: "At the height of the [1991-1994] coup..., Disney made (according to the National Labor Committee) $1.1 billion in profit in
Haiti. This is when you had 70,000 fleeing Haiti. [Tens of thousands incarcerated in horrible detention at various points of time from 1991-1994 at the US base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.]

People do not leave Haiti because they are poor; they leave because their lives are in danger. If one looks at the period when Lavalas was governing Haiti, the people were not trying to escape."

I ask Marguerite about Disney's divestment.

"I can't speak to that, but one way [US and other foreign] corporations keep from paying taxes [and being accountable to the Haitian worker] is they get a Haitian organization, such as Apaid, whose sweatshop is a subcontractor. It's a Haitian business front, which means, as a Haitian business, it's not subject to certain laws," she said.

"Apaid and the (economic) elite in Haiti are so used to exploiting and robbing people blind, they don't want to lose that, which is why they want to be in control of the government in Haiti. When they're not in control, you have the people in control for the first time in 200 years in Parliament asking the local representatives, 'Listen, I worked 70 hours and they only paid me for 20.' Now there's no one to go to."

"There's another thing I have to say. Wal-Mart made $2.8 billion in profit in 1994. When they try to give you this idea that Haiti is poor, that Haiti has nothing to give, they don't let you know that those in the know have been leeching that country dry. This is what they're defending in Haiti now, the right to greed and profit and exploitation and labor, almost slave-like."

Zili Dantò performs the Yanvalou for
So Much Like Here (See text and RBM 2004 Video Reel)

"There's no safety. Apaid had a factory where they were making some product that had chemicals in it that ate people's skin off. The people - there's so many Haitians - and people are trying to find jobs, so they'll work under the coldest circumstances. And that's why the Haitian Lawyers Leadership is here. One of our campaigns is to confront these companies. HLLN wants to tell Americans what their companies are doing abroad."

"They're always asking," says Marguerite, "why are you complaining when all of these people are coming to America? If Haitians in America work, at least there are laws that protect them. They will get paid every week in the United States, but in Haiti they could decide that 'the local situation is too bad, so I'm not paying you.' I always say Haitians would stay in Haiti if American companies down there would treat them the way they treat American (workers) in America.

2008 RBM Video Reel - PhotoGallery

Ezili Dantò performs selections from her award-winning Red, Black & Moonlight monologues, May 3, 2008, celebrating Haitian heritage month

"But they don't. If you look at the statistics, Haitians do not leave Haiti for poverty. They don't leave just because they're poor, (which is) one of the reasons the United States gives, that they are 'economic refugees not political refugees.' Our (American) laws provide refugee status for political refugees.

"It's only when the government is killing them (as it is now) and they have no choice and they are trying to save their lives that they run away from Haiti. For instance, during the 10 years that you had Lavalas leading Haiti from 1990 to 2004, the only time you had Haitians leaving in droves was during the 32nd coup d'état, 1991-94. There was no one leaving in droves from 1995 to 2004. But there are people leaving Haiti in droves right now even though the U.S. has circled Haiti and is turning back those who are making it through. It's survival.

"If the world would stop and let Haiti live, this migration would stop. It would also stop if Haitians were able to develop Haiti. If (only) these greedy corporations could see Haitian workers in the same manner they see American workers with the same human rights. We have a minimum wage - it's the lowest minimum wage in the Western Hemisphere, perhaps the world, okay? - yet the corporations feel deprived that they have to pay that money.

The minimum wage is $1.60 a day. Before, it was 60 cents. But people like Apaid feel it's highway robbery, that people don't deserve to get paid that much, Marguerite says. The workers have absolutely no benefits, and if they work overtime, they have no compensation.

"Of course the unions get help. Just recently in the free trade zone (visit haitisupportgroup.com or her site for favorite links), the workers had unionized, (but) the Guy Philippe people sent death squads to come in and beat up the workers so that they would renounce the union. This is the work of the mercenaries the United States are paying."

Wanda Sabir: Is this recent?

May 2008 Video Reel (PhotoGallery)

Zili Dantò performs selections from her award-winning Red, Black & Moonlight monologues, May 3, 2008

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent: "Yes. In Ouanaminthe, a border town to the Dominican Republic, is a corporation (Groupo M) out of the Dominican Republic that subcontracts for Wal-Mart, Tommy Hilfiger, to these indigenous corporations who are doing the work. These workers had unionized."

The HLLN formed when Aristide was in exile to help get back Constitutional rule. Then, once he returned, they wanted to "institutionalize the rule of law. At that time, earlier that year or the end of 1993, the Haitian Minister of Justice Guy Malary was killed by one of the FRAPH people, the same people running Haiti now."

"Malary was killed because he was President Aristide's justice minister and he was working to bring back democracy to Haiti, obviously, as a lawyer, and as someone who worked very hard all his life to create democracy for Haiti defending the 1987 Constitution. We took up, we wanted to honor Malary, so we wanted to pick up his work and not let it to have been in vain. One of his primary things was the Constitution rewritten by the occupiers, like Roosevelt in 1915."

She laughs at my bafflement. I hadn't realized that the Haitian Constitution had been rewritten by this government. It was of course to benefit those white men who wanted to own land, something Dessalines disallowed when Haiti was liberated in 1804.

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent: "One of the things Dessalines and the Haitian revolutionaries put in the Constitution was that if you were not Haitian, you could not own land. And of course that was something to protect (the people) because we had nothing. We had that little territory, and we bled for it for 300 years. There were a lot of ways Europeans tried to own land - they married Haitian women, all sorts of things. But up to (the time of) the illegal Constitution, there was a prohibition against it. You had to become a Haitian citizen and there were certain rules to protect Haitians. It was the only place in the entire Caribbean and in the world, because the rest of the world was colonized, where all you had to do was step on it and, if you were a captive, you became free.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines paid ship captains $40 per head who commandeered slave ships going to the Carolinas or anywhere in the Caribbean and brought the enslaved person to Haitian soil. Any enslaved person in the world who could reach Haiti automatically became a free person upon setting foot on Haitian soil. In this way tiny, war-torn and besieged Haiti extended the fruits of its revolution to other Blacks and even whites, securing the emancipation of countless enslaved and oppressed human beings on planet earth.

"Haiti is the only place, I'm glad to say as a lawyer, where a Black man could testify against a white man. Up until the Civil Rights Movement, it had hardly happened in America. For all of those reasons the HLLN wanted the people to know our legal heritage as well as our revolutionary heritage."

Wanda Sabir: Which Constitution is Haiti operating under now?

Ezili Dantò/ Marguerite Laurent: "They are trying to destroy the 1987 Constitution, which is the Constitution that was written, and a lot of blood was spilled for Haiti to have that Constitution. One of the things that happened before that Constitution, every time a military government would come into power they would amend the Constitution to extend the length of their tenure. One of the things the people who wrote the 1987 Constitution (did) was to [make it harder to] amend the Constitution. You had to have two different parliaments. One parliament could do the amendment, the another would have to ratify it."

That's what happened with regards to getting rid of the military. It was (being) amended, and this parliament, prior to Aristide's "
coup-napping," would have had the opportunity to ratify it.

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent: "The same thing happened with dual citizenship. As lawyers, we saw that 1%-2% percent of the Haitian population in Haiti were millionaires, and they refused to pay taxes and they refused to have any social responsibility, and we felt that all those Haitians who left Haiti from 1957 to now, they have a right to participate in Haitian development."

"One of the things we stood for and still
* stand for is to try to have dual citizenship so Haitians living abroad could participate. So we were working towards that (before the 2004 coup d'etat), and we did get (laws) that passed - (giving Haitians abroad, more rights similar to) the dual citizenship law. We needed to have the new parliament ratify (Constitutional changes). We're talking about 10 years of work here.

"Those who we struggle against definitely do not want anyone except their puppets to lead Haiti. For them it was horrible to think that with one more [non-putchist] parliament Haitians (abroad) would have had dual citizenship in Haiti.

"There are almost 3 million Haitians outside of Haiti, 8.5 million (inside), definitely more. Our detractors know - she references the Ottawa Initiative - at the end of it, it says that by 2019 if nothing is done, there will be 20 million Haitians.
Zili Dantò performs performs the Nago for
Breaking Sea Chain (See also Intro to Breaking Sea Chains)

That is scary to those
who are authors of the Initiative. Tend the herd, put them in prison - there's no reproduction. Look at America's population control."

Look at Palestine, Rwanda, I add.

Ezili Dantò/ Marguerite Laurent: "Look at how the repackaged-Duvaliers and the U.S., (along with other) ex-Lavalas people (more recently) who for one reason or another didn't get the job they wanted or were disappointed with Aristide, who made certain deals with the devil, such as agreeing to privatize certain state-owned assets - all of those things we had to do to have a voice to see the light of day.

"A lot of people who live in the United States, or who are very well off, blame President Aristide, as they sit in front of their TVs and think that 200 years of corruption and exploitation, somehow this one man (Aristide) is going to change it in the term he didn't have the first time (because of the coup in 1991), and now the second time."

When one adds the U.S. embargo against the people that prevented humanitarian aid, fresh water, food, and much needed services to reach them, it's amazing that Aristide was able to accomplish as much as he did - all this while a media campaign of disinformation and the (phony) civil society (front), or Group 184 (funded in part by the U.S.), did everything to stop him.

zilibutton Ezili Dantò performs the Ibo for
Red, Black & Moonlight (See Carnegie Hall and RBM 2004 Video Reel)

"Haiti was paying interest on this loan it didn't get, while the International Monetary Fund was making the Haitian government pay $30 million on loans Duvalier took out. Those are the abuses and the crimes the Haitian people have had to face in the last three to four years. But those are not the things you hear about on CNN.

"The Haitian Lawyers Leadership in the last 10 years is pushing for dual
citizenship*. We are also trying to put together (the ability) for Haitians who live abroad who maintain their Haitian citizenship to vote. Most major countries allow their citizens living abroad to have a procedure to vote. We've been pushing for that also.

"Our work was to enfranchise, build-up Haitian capacity, empower the people, allow them to participate in the process. Part of our work was also to study, promote and educate the people about our culture - how beautiful the Haitian language is, how colorful, and how it has these wonderful adages and life wisdom embedded in it. Just the proverbs alone are a rich resource of wisdom.

zilibutton Zili Dantò performs the Yanvalou for
So Much Like Here (See text and RBM 2004 Video Reel)

"Haitian Kreyol is a language of proverbs as ancient, more ancient than Hebrew. It's a language made out of an amalgamation of the (languages of the Africans who settled in Haiti). It's a language that teaches. Our language is like our value. Kreyòl reflects the values of an ancient people.

"My father spoke in proverbs. Every time we did something wrong, he recited a proverb. Even in the Bible, a lesson is not taught directly. The details can always bury you.

"Pierre Labossiere and I were talking about certain things. While I was in Jamaica, for the first time in 200 years the Foreign Minister from France went to Haiti and I saw a picture of her with this interim person, Latortue, in the Jamaican papers. I hope someone from the Leadership, I hope someone from the Aristide community is responding to this. Part of our Campaign No. 7 is to continue to pursue the $21.8 billion (and counting) France owes Haiti, for them using our grand-grands as property. After the meeting with the French Foreign Minister, Latortue came out and denounced the request for that money back.

"I said to Pierre Labossiere, 'What gives him the legal competence to denounce the people's right to justice? He quoted the proverb, 'The dew's going to go wild until the sun rises. They will do everything until the sun of truth comes out.' (La rouze fè banda toutan soley pa leve.) In one little proverb, we have (multiple) meanings. That's what Haitian Kreyòl is about."

She speaks of Boukman and Cecil Fatiman, a sister who is one of the biggest Vodun priestesses and a champion for human rights. The two met in a secret place in a wood clearing called Bwa Kayiman, Aug. 14, 1791, along with 200 delegations from various plantations who agreed to begin the Haitian revolution.

Ezili Dantò's vèvè

They called on Ezili Dantò, the goddess whose vèvè (cosmogram) is a heart with a dagger through it. Because Vodun was outlawed, the African people had to meet in secret, Marguerite said.

Ezili Dantò/Marguerite Laurent: "What's so great about Haiti is the women, in terms of their spiritual powers, sometimes are even greater in their connection to the universe than men. It was a woman who led that secret ceremony that started the Haitian revolution. And it was a woman's spirit that inhabited that woman - and that woman's spirit was Ezili Dantò, the Haitian love and warrior goddess. Her symbol is a heart with the dagger going through it."

"She is the irreducible spirit, irreducible essence of the mother/goddess. She is a warrior. She chose Boukman. She told Boukman through Cecil Fatiman. I don't know if you've ever seen possession? The body is the only mechanism to communicate with the Ancestors. The body is the sacred temple.

Ezili and Isisizilibutton
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Isis/Ezili Dantò – Symbols of the Great warrior mother and goddess
| Vodun is as old as creation and it's the Light and Beauty of Haiti

*
The story of Isis, Osiris and Horus also parallels and pre-dates the Christian mysteries of the virgin birth and the resurrection. After Osiris’ murder Isis recovered the scattered parts of his body and restored them to life. Osiris then became king of the dead and his son Horus became king of the living.

Moon (crown) in back of Madonna and Child parallels Isis wearing her traditional moon headdress

"Which is why (our enslaved African parents) could never understand how the Europeans could defile the body [enslave, rape and torture] and make it work to produce profit, because the body is sacred. It's the realm of the spirit, where the irreducible element will push out all of this small personality, so the small personality of Cecil Fatiman was pushed out and the great goddess came through. But you have to have some sort of discipline for that to happen. You can't be just anybody.

"That's why in my lineage, my grandfather was the Vodun priest of that era or that arena [in our Lakou's house of spirit - powerful demanbreman, or sacred plot of land.] Most Haitians have that in their families - a place where the family portal is. In my family, it's the place where that first original African went. A lot of the Africans, after they fought in the revolution, wanted to go back to Africa. There is a lot of folklore about these Africans. A lot of them didn't want to live in the Western Hemisphere.

"The African warrior general within our family found a place in Fond Des Blancs (Southern Haiti) where he placed a clay pot filled with water. That portal connects us to our 'line going back to the beginning of time.' [Family legend has it that after Haiti had won against the enslavers, this patriarch of our family disappeared, some say he entered our Lakou’s demanbre - sacred portal - to reach back to Africa or Anba Dlo Lan Ginen, others say he vanished by simply walking straight into the ocean to go home.]"

"In Haitian cosmology we are descendants of God [Lè Marasa, lè mò, e lè mistè ]. We have everlasting life [through lè mistè.] As human beings we are sacred vessels of living spirit."

zilibutton Video excerpt of
Bwa Kayiman Ceremony

-A Vodun Theater Dance Show Celebrating the gathering that started the Haitian Revolution

She compared this to the Christian notion of kinship with Jesus the son of God.

"Today you go where my parents are from, where my [great, great, great] grandfather is from, you'll find that little house of spirits - generations upon generations of Haitians have gone to touch or draw through sounds or vèvè (cosmogram) those Gods or universal spirits, whomever one wanted to call. So if you wanted to call on the spirit of love Ezili Dantò, or the creative spirit Danbala/Ayida Dan Wedo.

"In Haitian cosmology, you have to have male and female to create [Rada and Petwo; Lè Marasa; or, one plus one equals three is a cosmological Haitian parable and allegory illustrating the irony, mystery and harmony of our paradoxical nature and unity. We are both
bound in our physical form and boundless even in our bodies.] Out of Adam's rib came creation? That doesn't make sense to African-Haitians."

Ezili Dantò's master Haitian dance class (Video clip)

zilibuttonEzili's Dantò's
Haitian & West African Dance Troop
Clip one - Clip two

Marguerite says in answer to a question about Vodun that "Haitians are 80 percent Catholic and 100 percent Vodun." So even though her parents, once they came to America, didn't practice the religion, all the stories and songs she learned from her mother and her father were a wealth of information too.

"I'll ask her, Mom, what happened at this ceremony? And she'll respond, 'I only went to eat the food.' We're been trained not to take it seriously. But if a child got sick she would go to a Vodun priest, when she was in Haiti, that is. For most Haitians, Vodun is a way of life. It isn't just spirituality. It's about bad vibe makeovers. It's a part of my play. Hold on, I'll read you a piece... I talk about my parents and where they were from - 'Red, Black and Moonlight.' Visit the website.

"Vodun is metaphysical and practical. It's also healing. [It's herbal medicine.] It has a mythological aspect. I have a degree in [modern, jazz, ballet] dance from the Hartford Conservatory. [But] I learned [Haitian dances from my father and] those [Vodun] songs from my mother, who said she didn't know any of this," Marguerite says.

Clearly proud of Haitian history, Marguerite is a great storyteller, the time we have all too short.

Zili Dantò performs the Djouba for
Haitian Nights

"Not only did Haiti do away with slavery, winning in combat against the greatest army of that time, Napoleon Bonaparte, they also freed five Latin American countries: Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, (she can't recall the other ...)

"Bolivar was the founder of Bolivia. We gave him sanctuary. We are the first Pan-Americans and the first Pan-Africans. We kept our mother (Africa's) culture. That's revolutionary, (especially) at a point in time when you had the Arabs conquering North Africa.

"Haiti is the first African country that didn't take its conqueror’s religion or culture. It's the mother of African mother cultures. It's something that is not analyzed enough. We are fighting a spiritual fight with the sky god, whom we need to bring back to the earth again.

"We want to work to fulfill our revolutionary legacy - a Pan African task for Haitians to live freely and work in the Americas. That's our ultimate goal. We have freed many, many nations, and it's because we started freeing many nations that the world stands as it does and chattel slavery is gone. Yet, we have been isolated and we can't get asylum anywhere in the world, and we can't come out of Haiti, which is one of the reasons why we are contained in poverty.

"In Haiti, Black is de-racialized in terms of skin color giving the person superior substance but racialized as a people bound together because of their shared experience, distinct moral conscience vis-a-vis those they defeated, unique Kreyòl language and African-based culture. This paradox is the amazing genius of Dessalines' Haiti. He simultaneously empowered the Black "race" to both be proud of self and their lineage under the socia-politically constructed race paradigm and to transcend it. First, Haiti is racialized because in creating Haiti in combat against the US/Euro enslavement tribes, Jean Jacques Dessalines empowered the Black "race" to carry the mantle of the African struggle for justice against racism, colonialism, economic tyranny and imperialism. Second, Haiti is de-racialized because by naming and defining, in Haiti's first Constitution, the white settlers who fought on the side of the liberty, awarding them the appellation "Black," Dessalines showed his profound understanding that human nature goes deeper than skin color...Dessalines' 1805 Constitution stated that all Haitians "shall hence forward be known only by the generic appellation of Blacks. And Blacks included even the Polish and Germans who fought with the African warriors on the side of liberty and equality, not slavery, plunder and profit. Black people in Dessalines' Haiti are lovers-of-liberty who are willing to live free or die…there is no modern philosophy or ideal that has so directly provided the world with an an ALTERNATIVE to the manufactured race game based on skin color as this Dessalines ideal." Black is the color of liberty. [See Dessalines' ideal #1.

The Ottawa Initiative on Haiti 2009

Getting back to the Haitian Lawyers Leadership, Marguerite says, "As someone who has passports, I believe that it's (incumbent) upon me to fight for all Haitians (and articulate legally) the reasons why they should have passports to be in the Americas, just like the European Union has it so that if you're from France you can go work in Italy. They have a universal (Euro) passport. You don't lose your French citizenship.

"I think that (for) Haitians, our fulfillment of a revolutionary legacy would be for Haitians to have a Pan-American passport. That is why the U.S. ambassador kicked us (the Haitian Lawyers Leadership) out of Haiti because of our revolutionary ideas. We weren't looking for [US-style] democracy. We were looking for justice, universal, primary justice for all of Latin America. The entire region has a history of suppression by death squads supported by the United States."

"France is back, and with this deliberate affront, Haitians are geared for a fight that reaches back hundreds of years to Boukman and Fatiman and that meeting on the mountaintop. The courage, under-fire Haitians live with daily, is dauntless - the rallying cry, "bullets are dust" revived, if the incidents on Flag Day last week, May 18, are any indicator.

Zili Dantò

However, the world should not stand by and watch innocent people murdered for demanding justice and liberty and their right to unimpeded leadership of their democratically elected (government and ) president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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Wanda Sabir: "Black is the color of liberty: An interview with Haitian attorney Marguerite Laurent" for The San Francisco Bayview, June 3, 2004
Email Wanda at wsab1@aol.com.

http://www.sfbayview.com/052604/colorofliberty052604.shtml


*Note HLLN altered position on dual citicenship at: Ezili's HLLN on Dual Citizenship: No, Not a Priority

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Performance poet, Zili Dantò (in RBM) onstage as Ezili Dantò:

Marguerite Laurent as Ezili Dantò onstage performing "Journey of the Serpent and the Moon" in Red, Black & Moonlight: Between Falling and Hitting the Ground (Buy the 90-performance DVD) - RBM Video Reel



























 

zilibuttonEzili Dantò

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“Be true to the highest within your soul and then allow yourself to be governed by no customs or conventionalities or arbitrary man-made rules that are not founded on principle.”
Ralph Waldo Trine

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HLLN's Work
from the HLLN pamplet

"...HLLN dreams of a world based on principles, values, mutual respect, equal application of laws, equitable distribution, cooperation instead of competition and on peaceful co-existence and acts on it. We put forth these ideas, on behalf of voiceless Haitians, through a unique and unprecedented combination of art and activism, networking, sharing info on radio and cable interviews, our Ezili Dantò listserves and by circulating our news and political analysis and original "Haitian Perspective" writings. We make presentations at congressional briefings and at international events, such as An Evening of Solidarity with Bolivarian Venezuela, run campaigns to counter the colonial narrative, urge equal rights for Haitian nationals and advocate Haitian-led capacity building in order to break foreign domination, Haitian dependency and perpetual crisis mode.

With the Ezili Danto Witness Project, HLLN documents eyewitness testimonies of the common men and women in Haiti suffering, under this US-installed UN-occupation, documenting since 2004 the greatest forms of terror and exclusion visited on Haitians since the days of slavery; conducts learning forums on Haiti (The "To-Tell-The-Truth-About-Haiti" Forums), and , in general, brings the voices against occupation, endless poverty and exclusion in Haiti directly to concerned peoples worldwide - people-to-people and then to governments officials, international policymakers, human rights organizations, journalists, the corporate and alternative media, schools and universities, solidarity networks. We are often quoted in major alternative and even the corporate papers and press influencing the current thinking of readers today."
HLLN
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See, The Nescafé machine, Common Sense, John Maxwell Sunday, November 06, 2005 , quoting HLLN's chairperson, Marguerite Laurent, Esq.
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The slavery in Haiti the Media Won't expose
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Ezili Dantò's Note: Bwa Kayiman 2007 and the case of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine Pierre by Ezili Dantò, For Haitian Perspective, and The FreeHaitiMovement, August 23, 2007
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The Two Most Common Storylines about Haiti and Haitians ********************
Media Lies and Real Haiti News
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U.S. Patterns in Haiti
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Dessalines' Law
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DENOUNCE Category Zero
Who are some of the subcontracted Haitians?: the wealthy families in Haiti, most former asylum seekers from generations back, (Arab, Lebanese, Syrian, Germans running from religious persecutions, economic deprivations or political oppression) who found SANCTUARY, ASYLUM and a SAFE-HAVEN in Haiti, but who thank the Haitian nation and peoples' hospitality with a bloody history of hiring paramilitaries, private security/attaches and military to promote their own personal wealth; morally repugnant economic opportunist who thank the Black Haitian nation by using their skin privileges, monies and international passports and connections to work with foreign agents, imperialists and Neocons to bring coup d'etat and neoliberalism, death projects that benefit their personal wealth and greed at the expense of the exploitation and containment-in-poverty of the Haitian majority: Acra, Merv, Brandt, Nadal, Coles, Baussan, Vital, Vorbes, Madsen, Boulos, Bigio, and others...pulling the instability strings in the shadows.
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Category One: "...Go after the Respondeat Superior...Category One, the imperialist...*Besides Castrated Category Zero (the black middlemen) would not be human if they didn't resent their humiliating servility, dependency and castration; didn't resent being the public face of all the repugnancy of their white imperialist bosses but never having these bosses touched or revealed for what they are because racism, and its various levels of oppression and exploitation, assures that it is only black folk and the economic black elites not their white brethens who are "barbaric," "rapacious" and "morally repugnant"; didn't resent the role of preserving the economic power of the whites by trading their souls, identities, their own country, heritage and peoples only for personal gain that, in the larger picture, is mere menial world economic power and only symbolic political power." (See, The Revolutionary Potential of Haiti, its creeds, values and struggle;
La Bourgeoisie Haitienne: Une Bourgeoisie Mediocre (Photos); The slavery in Haiti the Media Won't expose.)
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Une Bourgeoisie déracinée!
"...Au fil des ans le profil de la société haitienne s’est modelé avec l’arrivée des immigrants d’origine libanaise, syrienne, allemande , italienne etc..Ils arrivent toujours avec les mains vides trainant leurs étals de galerie en galerie. En un temps record ils maitrisent le secteur commercial et industriel et s’intègrent rapidement dans la classe bourgeoise traditionnelle sans aucun lien avec le monde rural..." (Une bourgeoisie déracinée! par Jean Erich René, Feb. 20, 2008; Category Zero: The Subcontracted Haitians; The Seven Mercenaries - The Families: Lekòl Lage.)
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Vodun: The Light and Beauty of Haiti
http://www.margueritelaurent.com/ezilidanto_bio.html

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Photo Gallery
Dessalines Is Rising!!
Ayisyen: You Are Not Alone!


"When you make a choice, you mobilize vast human energies and resources which otherwise go untapped...........If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want and all that is left is a compromise." Robert Fritz

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