May 18, 2008

The Sanba Movement and Roots/Rasin Music & Drumming

Marguerite "Ezili Danto" Laurent, April, 2008

zilibuttonEzili Dantò live in Miami with Sanba Yatande, Ti Rouj & Manno

When Haiti Was Free - Video evidence of media lies
Watch Video Clip: When Haiti Was Free

HLLN's FreeHaitiMovement Demands, May 18, 2009

(Update - see 2011 FreeHaitiDemands)

HLLN Links to: US Free trade Fraud promoting famine in Haiti


Media Lies: The two most common neocolonial storylines about Haiti - May 14, 2008 & August 27, 2007

Sponsor Teach-Ins to educate about Haiti's revolutionary legacy, culture and Haitians as pioneers in the human rights struggle despite the debt, dependency and foreign domination cycles which foments social chaos and led to Haiti's 33 Coup D'etats.


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


Ezili Danto's note on the two most common neocolonial storylines about Haiti: (D. Allen Kerr & Reuters, Guadian.co.uk), Haitian Perspectives, May 11, 2008

Veil of Blood: Ignorance is No Defense
May 9, 2008

Ezili Dantò translates and analyzes the Vodun song -Going Back to Root - Lasous O M Pwale - I'm Returning to the Beginning/Source/Root

To subscribe, write to erzilidanto@yahoo.com
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

to Self

Update on
Site Soley

RBM Video Reel

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


Ezili Dantò translates and analyzes the Vodun song -Going Back to Root - Lasous O M Pwale - I'm Returning to the Beginning/Source/Root


*****************in this post*************

Content of this Ezili Dantò's Note:

The Sanba Movement and Roots/Rasin Sound
1. Haitian Dance and Drumming Pioneers - a Primer
2. Haitian Roots - Rasin - Music
- The Rhythm cannot be separated from sacred Dancing
3.The Original Sanbas - Boukman Eksperyans,
Sanba Yo and Group Sa (Foula Jazz)
- Boukman Eksperyans – The First Incarnation
- Neg Kafou at Professor Denis Emile's artist collective
- The Sanba Movement
4. Group Sa (Foula Jazz)
5. The Original Members of Sanba Yo
- Sanba Yo Recordings
- Learning to Write down the Vodun Rhythms
6. Art that Teaches Haitian Culture and Values
7. What is Roots Music and Styles of Roots Music?

Zakafest - May 1 to May 4, 2008

The Sanba Movement and Haitian Roots/Rasin Music

Ezili Danto's Note:

What do you know about the pioneers, the elders of Haitian dance? The pioneers of Haitian roots ("rasin") music?

Do you know who Viviane Gauthier is, Jean Leon Destine? Jolicoeur? Herve Maxi? Edwige Duverger? Yvrose Green? Louines Louinis? Gaston "Bonga" Jean-Baptiste? Frisner Augustin? Fanfan Damas? These folks have played significant roles in putting Haitian dance and drumming on the world map.

Do you know how long Haiti's most famous dance troupe, Ballet Bacoulou d’Haiti has been in existence? Where the radiant and accomplished, Yvrose Green is taking Ballet Bacoulou today, 48 years since Ballet Bacoulou d’Haiti was first created? Or, that Ballet Bacoulou d'Haiti is one of the only Haitian institutions to have survived Haiti’s instabilities since 1959 and is still thriving and expanding?

And you say you love Haiti. So why don’t you know these extraordinary artists or their work?

Ok, maybe you know and even understand who Odette L. Wiener and Adrien Ciceron were and the contributions they made to Haitian dance and theater. Or, that the iconic Jean Leon Destine, who used to dance in Katherine Dunham’s troupe way back in the 1930s, is still with us, teaching selected workshops in the traditional and sacred Haitian dances and rhythms in New York and California?

If you know that, then you know the master dancer/choreographer Peniel Guerrier is taking over the US reigns where Jean Leon Destine left off and that Peniel is also following in the New York footsteps of master Haitian dance teachers like Lionel St. Surin, Julio Jean and Nadia Dieudonnee.

Peniel Guerrier is hands down the hottest and most tireless of the currently practicing master Haitian dance teachers, performers and choreographers on the Haitian dance scene. Having not too long ago left Haiti, he is single-handedly holding down the fort for Haitian dance in New York, teaching both at Alvin Ailey and The Djoniba Dance and Drum Center, as well as being the executive director of the dance troupe, Tamboula D’Haiti.

The lexicon of authentic Haitian Vodun dance, drumming, rasin music and song, provide critical tools for gathering together parts of that Haitian self, erased by ecclesiastic and Western (“Pèpè) education. Or, drowned in the everlasting search for asylum, amnesty and justice singularly denied non-assimilated Haitians by the rage of the New World rulers. By appropriating Vodun imagery, psychology and vocabulary, these Haitian artists struggle on and triumph - "alternating between suffering and expanding." This is the Haitian cultural frame by which Haiti’s Roots - Rasin - artists, like Foula Jazz and Sanba Yo, extend their uniqueness into the world and decipher their own signs (vèvès), visions and sources of life.

But don’t worry if you know little about Haitian dance, the drumming elders and the current players, I will soon publish, for the Ezili's Network, in some detail, text and video interviews we’ve done with some of these artists; their own words about Haitian dance, its history. And as well, endeavor a brief exploration of Ezili’s stage performances. Noting its organic application of elements of Vodun/roots music, Vodun metaphysics, poetic dreamscape and the basic components of Haitian dance movements, sacred rhythms, its cultural context, modern metamorphoses and transformational intent.


But today, I am moved to write, not on Haitian dance, but Haitian Roots - “Rasin” - music. Why? Because if you are in Haiti right now, and put on the radio, it's virtually all rap and yes, much in English or a mix. But, then again, strangers occupy Haiti right now.

Where are the elders of liberation music in Haiti? What’s are the names of the top three Haitian racine/roots groups of the 1980’s and early 1990’s and what are they doing with the pain and breath of the people in terms of music, right now. Do you know?

Where, pray tell, is Sanba Yo, Foula Jazz and Boukman Eksperyans?

These bands came onto the scene around 1978, 1979. Are the members still alive, or has the perennial Haitian struggle for life and freedom eaten and swallowed them whole, and made them as unproductive as the anti-Duvalier politicians of their days are today?

This brief introduction to Haiti’s modern Roots music and some of its pioneering musicians focus on the history and styles of racine music, and answers the question as to where, in the pantheon of Haiti's great racine musicians, would the work of Foula Jazz and Sanba Yo be placed.

The Rhythm cannot be separated from sacred Dancing

But the sound cannot be set apart from the Haitian dances of the Gods, nor the dance separated from the call and response of the drums. Dance and music is entwined in the African cultures, Haiti is no exception. One cannot be separated from the other.

The indigenous Haitian or Vodun way, is participatory. The artists of Group Sa, Foula Jazz and Sanba Yo were not Haitian artists who made music simply for people to listen to. The music is for dancing. The music is for healing. The traditional Haitian dances are connected to sacred drumming rhythms and patterns. Dancing them is a sacred task to slough off bad energies and purify the body to host the healing and sacred energies of Vodun. The sacred Haitian dances and rhythms are calls, the hieroglyphics in sound to give life to the Haitian Gods.

"Vodun music is not made for observing, watching or listening to. That is the difference between Haitian culture and other cultures," says Chico Boyer of Foula Jazz. “Our traditional rhythms come from Ginen, its participatory. You can’t be a bystander, you must be in it. I think at some point, that’s how American Jazz was. Before it was taken over by others. It was meant for dancing, not just for listening.”


There is, of course, some controversy as to who started the modern Rasin music movement in Haiti. And, I hear some discussion, it was Sanba Zao (aka, Louis Lesly Marcelin) of the group Sanba Yo. Or, it was Lòlò Beaubrun of Boukman Eksperyans.

Boukman Eksperyans - The First Incarnation, the Sanba Movement, Neg Kafou at Professor Denis Emile's artist collective

Boukman Eksperyans - The First Incarnation

Perhaps history will record that the nucleus of modern Haitian Roots/Rasin Music came out of a group of musicians who got together around the year 1979 and formed a band known as Boukman Eksperyans. Perhaps not. It’s fairly known there’s some competition for this sought-after kudos. Which is a reason to learn more about the groups known as “Sanba Yo” and “Foula Jazz” since they never reached the commercial heights of Boukman Eksperyans (the second incarnation) and thus are not as well known outside of Haiti’s Root music aficionado circles as Boukman Eksperyans (the second incarnation).

The men who made up that nucleus of this first incarnation of Boukman Eksperyans, around 1979 were: Fanfan Alexi, Chico Boyer, Jean Marie Claude* ( "Ti Krab") and Theodore Beaubrun, Jr. ("Lòlò"). Apparently, in their first incarnation they did not perform.

(Sanba Zao and Mimerose Beaubrun: Conversations with Chico Boyer of Foula and Sanba Zao reveal that Sanba Zao was there when the first Boukman Eksperyans musicians where jamming and practicing at Languichat's (Theodore Beaubrun, Sr.) house back in 1979. Sanba Zao, folks say, was then a good friend of Lòlò Beaubrun from Boukman Eksperyans and Mimerose was then Lòlò’s girlfriend. So, though back then they were not official members of the group, they were always there with the group jamming. At the time Sanba Zao was one of the chief founders of the Sanba Movement.

The research indicates that Lòlò Beaubrun had returned to Haiti in 1978 from residing in the U.S. But, according to Chico Boyer, because they soon could not use the Languichat house, they had no place to practice and Boukman Eksperyans (the first incarnation) wound up breaking up. Soon afterwards, Chico Boyer started frequenting an artist enclave in Kafou, home of a Haitian guitar player name Denis Emile. There, these Haitian musicians had jamming sessions and music studies that went on all day and all night.

Neg Kafou at Professor Denis Emile's artist collective

At some point in this chronology, Fanfan Alexi immigrated to the U.S. and Chico Boyer says that it is, in Kafou, at Denis Emile’s artist collective, that he met Wilfrid "Tido" Lavaud, Doudou Chancy, and the other members who would form Group Sa, which eventually regrouped under the name "Foula Jazz".

What becomes clear is that the versatile bass player, Chico Boyer and Sanba Zao were at both centers where the musicians, who later form bands that would pioneer the Rasin sound, congregated in music jamming and study sessions. But, says Azouke of Sanba Yo fame, "These guys were not using the traditional drums. When I met them, we (Sanba Yo) brought our Vodun drums to them. Neg Kafou yo te lan Jaz, Bosanova, Brazilian styles - the Haitians at Kafou (Denis Emile's house) were into Jazz, Bosanova, Brazilian styles. Neg kay Languichat yo te lan Jimmy Hendrix and Santana - The musicians who gathered at Theodore Beaubrun, Sr's house, were into Jimmy Hendrix and Santana. Fanfan Alexi was playing Jimmy Hendrix."

It must be noted here that sometime after the founding of Group Sa in 1981, Lòlò Beaubrun, who had resided in the US until 1978, founded a group to study Vodun music, called Moun Ife ("People from the place of the Deities"). Boyer tell us that "Moun Ife" came after the Kafou gatherings had begun and after the founding of Group Sa.

The Sanba Movement was already in existence before the founding of Group Sa. However, the band, Sanba Yo, didn't officially come together until after Group Sa broke up. The collective that gathered together at Denis Emile’s place to study Haitian music existed and played the music in sessions with others like Wilfrid "Tido" Lavaud, Sanba Zao, Chico Boyer and the other Sanbas’, who were living Haiti's realities and had imbibed - in an unbroken strand - elements of Vodun ways, their whole life.

Also, according to those who were there, this music movement, was not called Rasin or Roots music at this point. But Sanba Zao and his homeboys - flannè zòn kafou fey yo - were called "Sanba," even back then.

In the Haitian tradition a "Sanba" is the artist-farmer, the revered storyteller, healer/therapist or griot, whose job is to lead the singing, chanting, call and response of the traditional work songs and playing of the drums that keeps the rhythm of the work going at a Haitian Konbit. Another word for the same function is “Simidò.” A Konbit is when all the Lakou and farmers of an area join together, as an extended family, to help one another get done whatever work that needs to be done, whether it's planting, bringing in the harvest, fixing a fence or re-building a home after a storm or unforeseen occurrence. The Haitian Sanba's job is to do all that's required, improvising whatever is necessary as the community's acknowledge atis (artist) and poet/philosopher. The Sanba knows his people, can recite their stories and can keep the rhythm of the work going with the traditional songs as well as being able to use the community's life and story to keep everyone entertained, making up whatever poetry, music is necessary, choosing which of the Vodun drum rhythms (Petwo, Rada) is most appropriate to tell the village their story. To keep up their spirits and encourage them as they work.

The Sanba Movement


The thoughtful poet and incredible Sanba Ayizan of the disbanded Sanba Yo, says that the musicians in his group in particular, saw themselves then and even now, not as part of a Rasin music movement, but a SANBA MOVEMENT. The label “Roots - Rasin- music” came to identify their music, says Sanba Ayizan, when a radio show that played Vodun music hosted by Jean Francillon, on Haitian national radio, called it “Roots music” after playing a Sanba Yo demo for the listeners. The label stuck and caught fire. And groups who played Vodun music and drumming, with modern instrumentations, soon became widely known as Rasin – Roots - musicians.

Sanba Yo only played at the universities and only for revolution, education and healing. These artists called each other “Sanba” in the Haitian tradition of a Sanba - the African artist/philosopher or poet/griot chronicler of the life and heart of their people. The Sanbas’ lived in cooperative ways - sharing ownership of everything they had, living to enjoy the simple things in life - to extend a community collective; to promote and elevate the whole Haitian community, not just the individual, not Western religions, foreign languages or traditions. But Kreyol, Haitian history, culture, Ginen values, Haitian herbal cures and the healing and cooperative Vodun ways of living and being. Their means, their sickle and machete, leaves and herbs, was music - sacred songs, Vodun rhythms and the traditional Vodun instruments.

Here is how the organizers of Zakafest, a festival celebrating the spirit of Agriculture and Labor with Haitian Culture, describe the Sanba Movement: “Starting in the late 1970s, youth from Port-au-Prince began experimenting with new types of life. To question the notion of "the Haitian nation", several men led by Louis Lesly Marcelin, also known as Sanba Zao began trying a new way of living, embodied in the Sanba Movement. They drew upon global trends in black power, Bob Marley, "Hippie"-dom, as well as prominently from rural life in Haiti. They dressed in the traditional blue denim (karoko) of peasants, eschewed the commercialized and processed life offered by global capitalism, and celebrated the values in communal living.”

4. GROUP SA (Foula Jazz)
Creating Vodun Jazz: 1981- 1991

There is some dispute, but the first PERFORMING Roots music group who actually did public gigs, was not Boukman Eksperyans but a band called Group Sa. According to Haitian Roots music pioneer, Chico Boyer, Group Sa was the very first ever Roots PERFORMING band in Haiti, at around 1980, 1981.

So, the group that started Roots music performances in Haiti was called "Group Sa" and was made up of: Tido Lavaud, Chico Boyer, Doudou Chancy, Jean Robert Bernadotte and Nazaire Jean Baptiste.

Before them, there were lots of “Rara” sorts of Roots bands that used no electronic instruments. One of the more well known of these bands like "Vaksin" came together after Group Sa, but Vaksin used no electronic instruments. They played traditional Haitian bamboo and tin wind instruments. (For an example listen to some of Tiga's music).

After Group Sa, came the dynamic Foula Jazz in the late 1980s, founded by Tido Lavaud (lead vocal/guitar) and Chico Boyer (bass), and included Turgo Theodat (saxophone), Bonga Jean-Baptiste (drums) and Jean Raymond Giglio (drums). Then Boukman Eksperyans (the second incarnation), then Vaksin.

Meanwhile, all the original members of the Sanba Yo band where around Group Sa. Sanba Zao (Louis Lesly Marcelin), Sanba Gregory “Azouke” Sanon, and Sanba Harry “Ayizan” Sanon officially created the band “Sanba Yo” when Group Sa broke off, split and changed names and musicians and regrouped as Foula Jazz. At some point they all played together and for a time Sanba Azouke and Sanba Ayizan had actually joined Foula. (Watch, Foula songs: Neg Kap Pote and Sove.)

Sanba Azouke and Sanba Ayizan count amongst the original pioneering Sanbas who started Roots music in Haiti with the legendary, Sanba Zao. (See also the Carnegie Hall clip - http://www.margueritelaurent.com/media/QT6_400_Streaming_NTSC.mov
where Ezili Dantò performs on stage, in 2004 with Sanba Azouke, Sanba Ayizan their younger brother, Sanba Jude “Yatande” Sanon.)

In our interview from Haiti, Sanba Zao confirmed that after he left "Group Sa and Foula Jazz," that's when he formed Sanba Yo. He said the Sanba Movement started around 1978. Boukman Eksperyans [the second incarnation] wasn't in existence then. It was an idea then...When Fanfan Alexi left Haiti, Boukman Eksperyans was not yet formed. Boukman was formed in 1990. Before then they were into Carlo Santana, not Racine Lyrics ....Boukman Eksperyans didn't make it big until they entered an American Airlines contest and then the carnival...We didn't do carnival. Would not play for murderer like Prosper Avril and Frank Romain....It was Dadie Beaubrun who put Boukman's sound on the map, made the music techno – with the drum machine….he made the arrangements.."


The three founding members of Sanba Yo where Zao, Azouke and Ayizan, all from the area of (zòn) Kafou Fey. Soon came Aboudja, Zilibo, Sanba G., Sanba Guy and Yangòdò. These eight guys were the Original Sanbas of Haiti. At a later point when Zilibo left the band, Matisou replaced him.

In terms of liberation and Vodun Racine/Roots music, the group, Sanba Yo, was it. In the words of one musician form Foula “Sanba Yo were the pure traditionalists, whose music was solely about elevating, empowerment and revolution.”

So, what happened to the group Sanba Yo? To Azouke, Ayizan, Aboudja, Zao, Zilibo, Matisou, Sanba G., Sanba Guy and Yangòbò - the Racine/Roots music band that is credited as the pioneers of pure Haitian Roots music? The 1991 coup d'etat against President Aristide's first government happened and they all scattered to survive - abroad or as internal refugees marooned in Haiti. So did the members of Foula Jazz. Many have chosen to form Rasin bands with Haitian artists in the Diaspora. Sanba Zao, however, stayed in Haiti during the coup d'etat years.

But, to get back to the music. Some folks will tell you that Boukman Eksperyans fused Vodun music with rock 'n roll and blues. That Foula fused their Vodun sounds with Jazz influences. But that the Sanba Yo musicians fused themselves to a Haitian sound born of the struggle to get rid of Duvalier’s dictatorship, a Haitian sound tethered only to Haiti’s freedom and unadulterated Vodun drumming and songs.

According to the celebrated Sanba Zao, "the vision I had for the music was that it would be the definitive Haitian sound, gaining respect as Haiti's indigenous creation, like Reggae gets respect for Jamaica. The Sanbas were looking for a sound that gave us a doctrine to use, like the Rastas' used Reggae. It would not be primarily derivative with foreign flavors like what the trained Haitian musicians in Haiti were playing. They were into Santana, Jimmy Hendrix, Brazilian, Jazz, French, Cuban and Latin sounds. I wanted a form of music that was not imitative. Ki soti Lakay nou - That originated from us. The Sanba Movement

Sanba Zao

Photo: Zakafest flyer

would teach Haiti's culture through art....The music that comes from the soul of Haiti's Vodun temples - Lakou-yo - needed to be respected. It is a pure Haitian creation. Using Vodun lyrics. I wanted what is ours, elevated. That's the rawness Sanba Yo brought to the Rasin Movement. And then, the trained musicians like Chico Boyer and the artists at professor Denis Emile's enclave and the others who were elsewhere in the mix at that time, saw something new.... Put that rawness I and the other street Sanbas brought to music. The music that is now called Rasin."

Sanba Yo Recordings

Sanba Zao further explains that they "were recorded at studio Audio Tech at Delma 48, by someone named Paul of Island Records in 1986 or 1987. The song 'Vaksinen,' was released in a compilation album called Konbit (with others like Skacha, Tabou Combo, Frè Payan, et al)."

"I wrote the Vaksinen song," says Sanba Azouke, the multi-talented and deeply soulful singer of Sanba Yo, "and it was arranged by the band. Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers played the zax on the song. Jonathan Demme was involved in the Vaksinen song and Jean Fabeus made the video clips for Sanba Yo's Vaksinen song, which was for a UNICEF vaccination campaign."

However, although Sanba Yo recorded many songs. They did not get a chance to make or release an official album. Sanba Zao explains that "The Sanbas were always being thrown in jail by the military authorities. The police didn't understand us. Our attire was different. We wore the attire of the Haitian rural, agricultural peasant, like Kouzen Zaka. We wore rubber sandals (pantouf), the peasant's blue pants (pantalon abako ble) - denim (karabel) clothing, a flat sack (ralfò, a djakout) or pouch hanging down across our bodies, big Afro hair under a hat (Cheve kankou yon gwo mesh, Cheve Simbi, or Cheve Louten), and a red handkerchief ( mouchwa rouj) tucked in our back pocket. We were different. We talked about different things. We scared the authorities. We were Vodun walking around in public...The only reason I have a collection of our earlier recordings is that I later worked at a radio station and found archived copies of our songs they used to play on the radio and made copies for my personal files. That's why I have the recordings of our songs that use to play on Haitian radio all the time."

Sanba Zao and Azouke say Movement Sanba started around 1978, 1979. Their demos, recordings [Give Up Cocaine, Vaksinen, Yo Lage Neg Yo, Ayiti Kad Anfòm, Neg Yo Kite Dola a Pran Men Yo Mennen Yo Ale, Legba Louvri Barye, O Lemiso...], recordings of performances at the Universities made the rounds at the various Haitian radio station. "The recordings and video clips of their performances from those days, still exists and are being shown in places as far away as Japan," says Chico Boyer. Sanba Zao says they came first in the Rasin music field, before Boukman Eksperyans. "The proof is that we still have the recordings."

Learning to Write Down the Vodun Rhythms

It seems one cannot embrace Haiti without embracing Vodun. But also embracing Jazz and Rock 'n Roll gave Foula Jazz and Boukman Eksperyans access to the U.S. market. That's not to be dismissed. But the Sanba Movement, presumably was not looking to the U.S. market. So perhaps that is also why Sanba Yo did not add Jazz, Rock and Roll or foreign influences as the other two racine music pioneering bands of Boukman Eksperyans and Foula. Some even say the Sanbas were too raw! “Te gen twop tet cho.” One insider comments, "They were good artists, the best. But the drama factor was also high – yo te ap toujou pran lwa.”

I ask the remarkably talented Chico Boyer, who is now also the premier and much sought-after producer/composer of Haitian music and talent in New York, if he agrees, as Sanba Azouke does, that you can't play the Vodun rhythms unless you are using the traditional drums?

"I disagree," say Chico Boyer, a bass player and the co-founder of Foula Jazz. "You can't say that Vodun music can only be played with the Vodun drums. Besides, you know we didn't learn Jazz to be imitative. We learned Jazz to figure out how to play the Vodun rhythms. There was no school in Haiti teaching us how to do that..."

"We wanted to read and write the Vodun music, didn't know how to do it. Jazz is the only African music. Learning it allowed us to write down the Vodun rhythms. Learning how to read and write music, this is the only way we could write our own.....Jazz is African. Their form is our form of music. We wanted to learn to teach music and chords. To mark music. It was the only African music we could use as a reference. We didn't want to learn how to compose music by studying classical music as everyone else in Haiti were doing..."

"...I learned from (Professor) Denis how to read and write music. I didn't know how to read music before I got there. And we chose to learn Jazz because it was an African music. Once we learned to read and write Jazz music. Then we could listen to the oral musicians play - Sanba Yo and the people at the Vodun Temples - and write down their notes." says Chico Boyer.

Chico explained that the musician of Foula gave the scientific part of creating the music more emphasis. They focused on writing "harmonically, melodically, rhythmically."

Apparently, thirty years ago in Haiti (circa, 1979), there was no specific music programs to teach young Haitians to read and write music, except within the church schools. "Unless you could pay for a private teacher, the main place that was teaching music was Saint Trinity" says Chico. "Sa a se te travay etranje -...but, it was just classic. We didn't want to leave an oral tradition. We learned how to read and write and play Jazz music so that we could put down the Vodun rhythms, melodies and harmonies. So that what we created, we wrote it. We don't want some white person writing our rhythms and getting it wrong. I've seen some of their books on the Vodun rhythms, and it's a travesty...The Vodun rhythms are very sophisticated. Very, very complicated. We wanted to put it on paper for the next generation."

This may not apply to everyone, but from what I've gathered in conversation with the Sanbas, it seems many of the street Sanbas who had grown up playing the Vodun rhythms by ear were the stars who played what was being written down, so other instrumentalists at Professor Denis, could learn the Vodun rhythms, join in and create new sounds. It could be that these very young Haitian Sanbas had then neither the school training nor the patience to stop and learn to write Jazz so they could know how to read and write their own music as well as teach it to the others. Especially if they were raised with the music and it was a visceral part of them. Breaking it down could be difficult, and feel like they were reducing it.

Sanba Zao, the main founder of the Sanba Movement and Sanba Yo band tells it like this: "...Mwen te fè lekti ak Pwofesè Denis. Li t ap montre nou armoni. Lòt yo te Sanba yo te ye. Yo vini ak rechèch pou moun yo.... - I studied music, learned harmony with Professor Denis. But the others were Sanbas. They came with the knowledge of the people that the folks were glad to learn about."


According to one well respected and knowledgeable Rasin musician not in the Sanba Yo band, who wishes to remain anonymous, of the three original bands, Sanba Yo was viscerally "the Roots band closest to the Haitian culture. More so than any other pioneering Roots bands because their sound came from their environment. Their lyrics and melodies came from the sound of the streets. They had a spontaneity not shared by the more musically orientated Foula and Boukman Eksperyans bands. Sanba Yo put the Haitian people’s life into a new musical vocabulary. They’re stage performances and delivery captured and expressed the feelings of the small vendors in the streets of Haiti, the noise and texture of it, the rhythm of the tap taps. In their songs, you can feel the heat of the hot Haitian sun beating into the earth. Even if their lyrics where not literally expressing this, you felt the market women selling their wares, the temperature of the moving sun, the chewing of the vendors’ "fritay" - fast foods - on the streets, the heart and soul of the peristyle (Vodun temple), the sound of a bottle falling on the ground. You could feel and hear the drip and splash on baked earth of a down-turned libation bottle calling up the Vodun ancestors.”

The musicians of Sanba Yo, were playing for a purpose, to tell of the people’s struggles and needs for freedom, to give a voice for their call for health care, for schools, jobs, inclusion. They played from the heart of Haiti. They played for Revolution. Sanba Yo were not commercial musicians. They did not play carnival. "Nou te vle kreye yon lòt mòd de vi, says Sanba Azouke. Go back to our roots."

Listening to these artists express their defiance like this, throughout our talks, brought to my mind something one of Haiti's founding fathers, Henry Christophe, once said. It was after General Toussaint Louverture had defeated the French and Napoleon Bonaparte sent Leclerc's 50,000-strong expedition to re-enslave the African warriors. Toussaint Louverture gave orders to all his generals that the expedition was not to be allowed to land on Haitian soil. So when French General Leclerc got to Cap Haitian and sent a landing party to hype up Henri Christophe, offering him fame and fortune, General Henry Christophe of Cap Haitian sent a messengers to tell them they were not welcome and could not be received. And that if they landed, at the sight of the first white man on Haitian land, the great Henri Christophe promised he would give orders to burn down Cap Haitian, starting with his own mansion first. And, "on these ashes I will kick your butts out of Haiti." The French landed. Henri Christophe burnt his own house down first and on the ashes kicked France out of Haiti to liberate all the Africans and help create, the nation of Haiti.

The young men of Sanba Yo were following in Henry Christophe's footsteps, when they refused the commercial hypes. In effect, like Henri Christophe, they had nothing that was worth losing their freedom for. They wanted to burn down what was holding Haiti back and create something new from the ashes. They were raw, unschooled artists. Soldiers, who like Henry Christophe and Jean Jacques Dessalines, would not speak Chinese to someone who only understood Spanish. They played straight up traditional Haitian music, to create a new day.

In 1991, the Bush administration of George the Senior, let loose General Cedras' junta and the Stanley Lucas/Apaid/Boulos neo-Duvalieriests onto these young Haitian men, on all of Haiti's Rasin musicians and the defenseless people of Haiti, deposing Aristide, returning dictatorship.

But, many who went abroad used their art, fundraising and working in collaboration with artists in the Diaspora, to help end the US-supported Cedras military rule. Tido of Foula Jazz, for instance, met and worked with So Ann in New york.

The 1991 Coup d'etat retarded much cultural work that was being done in many areas in Haiti, including obstructing the Kreyol literacy campaign explosion set loose after the 1986 ouster of the Duvaliers. But the achievements of the first three pioneering Haitian Rasin bands are still amazing. After the works of these three bands, other Rasin bands, in Haiti and abroad, took the baton and put in other musical influences.

Following Group Sa, you had Foula, which is a regrouping of the Group Sa musicians when that group disbanded, and then the performing Boukman Eksperyans (in its second incarnation, started around 1987) and, of course, Sanba Yo as the original three, each translating Vodun music in their own ways. Each had three different styles. Styles that are now being copied and re-translated by all those who have come after.

Edy Francois: Let’s note here that when the great, Edy Francois, left Boukman Eksperyans (the second incarnation), you then had, another soon-to-be-famous, roots band - Boukan Ginen.


So, what is Haitian Roots (Racine or Rasin) music? It is music that uses the elements of Vodun as its vocabulary. The group “Sanba Yo” are the pure Vodun Roots music traditionalists. They were solely about revolution like the original Bwa Kayiman Vodun adherents of the people of Haiti.

"Foula is grounded in Vodun roots but with elements of Jazz infused," says Chico Boyer, one of the founding members of Foula, who is also a founding member of Group Sa and even played as a sideman at some Boukman Eksperyans and Boukan Ginen gigs.

Some of the folks who helped to orientate the Sanba Yo musicians, who at the beginning where just lost young men with great talent and vision, searching to express their pains, dreams and passions, where Harry Thisfil, a Haitian guitar player who had immigrated to Germany and returned to Haiti. Others they credit with orienting their Sanba Movement and connecting them to the Haitian universities (around 1979, 1980) to perform and expose their music, are Rachel Beauvoir (writer/sociologist), Didier Dominique (an engineer/architect by trade) and Tommy Day (pharmacist/massage therapist).

Exposure to these street Sanbas and their Vodun music, in turn influenced Haiti's university student to take notice of Vodun, their own history, Ginen values and start frequenting the Vodun temples (peristyles). This is what gave Haiti's Racine music its political maturity and momentum and what made it a target of the powerful economic elites who feed on exclusion and inequity in Haiti.

So, you had Foula, Sanba Yo, and Boukman Eksperyans. All three are originals with their own different flavors.

Vodun Jazz was born with Foula. Vodun Rock and Roll comes out of Boukman Eksperyans and the Sanba Yo created Vodun Roots ("Rasin").

Boukman Eksperyans (the second incarnation in 1987, with Daniel Beaubrun, Mimerose Beaubrun and Lolo Beaubrun) started a musical movement that combined the elements of traditional Haitian Vodun ceremonial and folkloric music with rock and roll. They are the most well known of the original three Rasin bands and are credited with popularizing this style of modern Haitian music reaching back to the roots of the Vodun tradition.

All three musical groups are founders of one of the styles of Haiti’s Roots ("Rasin") music.



This conversation with some of the original members of Foula and Sanba Yo has been instructive. These are some amazing artists with gripping tales to tell that go beyond the parameters of this introduction. A whole book couldn't do justice to their story, much less this tiny article. Next week (May 1 to May 4, 2008), I will be on-stage in Miami performing along side these Racine musicians and Sanbas for the Zakafest. Foula's long awaited reunion is highly anticipated. And the original Sanba Yo founders will be there. (zilibuttonEzili Dantò live in Miami with Sanba Yatande, Ti Rouj & Manno).

But as I finish this piece for now. I end with three Ezili Dantò points.

Ezili Dantò's Point Number One:

I note and underline the positive roles played by certain educated Haitians, who love their culture and people, in bringing Sanba Yo's talents to university students. This role Haitians with means can play in uplifting, connecting, and empowering the disenfranchised and excluded bearers of our heritage, at home and abroad, for re-educating those in Haiti's universities cannot be overstated.

Secondly, earlier in my legal career, I worked as an entertainment lawyer. Back then, when I saw what was happening in Hip Hop with the East-West Coast rivalry, I thought it a good idea to re-introduce the grandfathers of rap, like the Last Poets, back onto the scene. To be an anchor to those who came afterwards. It didn't work. Those musicians were themselves still fighting over turf. So, in this Haitian version of who came first, who is the "baddest", the pioneer, etc. I decline to participate. For, it's as meaningless to our liberation as a people, as the turf battles of the rappers.

But, here's the point: when what starts out as a liberation movement, as freedom music, soon becomes about the individual artist, the concept of promoting the African collectivity is lost.

You can have the outer trappings, the Ginen clothes, the Kreyòl words, the Ginen drums, the dred, Afro-mesh hair, but that doesn't mean you've attained a wholly Ginen consciousness. If, at some point in the journey, you leave your brother or sister behind, and don't even look back to see if he/she needs a hand up from where he/she's fallen, you're not Ginen.

Ezili Dantò's Second Point:
The second point adds to the first. Just because these three bands were instrumental in bringing the indigenous, native Haitian music to the world, that does not mean all their individual participants were Ginen, or Fran Ginen, all the time, or, for some, even part of the time. The ones I've interviewed are still in the struggle. Much wiser, they own battle scars from the falls, have renewed self many times, knowing that Vodun is indestructible. There are others, though, who were there, it seems to play a new music, perhaps were enamored with the camaraderie, accolades. But, by their actions, seem to have used the Movement as a means for personal advancement and pleasures. But arms are open in Vodun. What the journey takes, can be restored and healed by going back to the source. And those who are healed amongst these artists can heal the others, so all may move forward, together - as in the beginning. That's Ginen.

Fran Ginen is someone who is totally committed to the Haitian people and culture with no compromise. A Haitian like Henry Christophe, who, when promised fame and fortune by the whites who want to land on what is his - would not hesitate to say "there is nothing you've got, worth losing my freedom for." Fran Ginen live what they preach. Fran Ginen is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. That's Fran Ginen.

It is only when we are rooted in our own "Vodun psychology and cosmology, in our own history and legacy to the world" that the Haitian people will be uplifted and set upon the right track. And that is what those of us interested in paradigm shifts must come away with from these interviews. (See also,
Ezili Dantò translates and analyzes the Vodun song -Going Back to Root - Lasous O M Pwale - I'm Returning to the Beginning/Source/Root).

The crux of Haiti's problem is that: when your own government, your own people don't invest or care for their own culture, then you are susceptible to the first foreigner who comes along with a bible to pacify you and a dollar to put food in your stomach. You find yourself unwittingly disrespecting what's yours or what you're preaching.

For instance, I talked to Sanba Zao about this Vaksinen song, a song that promoted toxic Western drugs when in traditional history the Haitian Sanbas were endowed with God (Lwa) Zaka's gifts for healing with herbs and leaves.

He said, "It was the epoch."

"Back then the Haitian Ministry of Health was pushing health care and advertisement and vaccines against AIDs. I don't like to take their medicines either and prefer our herbal cures. But that was the epoch."

"But," I say, "what about the commitment to Vodun, to the Sanba Movement of self-reliance." Zao responds, "you don't understand. In Haiti everything is religious, Protestant, Catholic... Everything. Really religious. Even the musicians running around claiming Rasin music...are not too keen with saying the word 'Vodun' too loud in Haiti, for fear of the religious folks and elite establishment. They will say its 'Rasin', but not 'Vodun' music."

I think as long as this goes on. As long as these foreigners hold the reigns of education in Haiti, and Haiti is forced into denying its own culture, its own self, its own interests. Then, no sustainable change will take root. In the end, you'll look up and find that those "more schooled in the patterns and privileges of domination" have won again, and you are simply part of the sub-contracted Haitians. Using Black to sell Western "medicine" - whether it's their vaccines, free trade, globalization or various "privatization" schemes. Sa a se pa Ginen ditou - That's not Ginen at all.

If the song is not promoting your ideology, if the religion is making you hate yourself and your whole entire African lineage, if the "free trade" is destroying your national production, it should immediately be too bitter a taste to swallow. And the Maroon, the Ginen within must get you to say: "No. There's nothing you can promised me to get me to lose my freedom and be dependent on you. Moreover, I will never use my connection to Ginen, my connection to the people of Haiti to sell your Western "medicines" to them. So, if you want to land, don't expect me to go out and use my Ginen connections to calm the masses down for you. For the Ginen in me requires I burn down my own mansion first and on the ashes, kick your butt out of Haiti. Get you out of my head with your various opiums - religion, gangster rap, sex, power, drugs, guns, et al. No fame or celebrity recognition you offer, will turn my head."

Ezili Dantò's Third Point:
Lastly, the artists interviewed talked about their different styles of Haitian Rasin music. That Sanba Yo did not add Jazz, Rock and Roll or foreign influences as the other two racine music pioneering bands of Boukman Eksperyans and Foula. The thought that comes to my mind here is how absolutely critical it is for Haitians to be re-educated, and to recapture their own history.

The ecclesiastical school systems in Haiti are centers, not for education, but for brainwashing the African with views promoting the agenda, beauty, history, values, literature, economics, greed and power of the Euro-American. They're about division and pacification, and if that doesn't work, they're about creating chaos and impasse that leads to coup d'etats in Haiti, all with the same aim - to better rob Haitians blind and keep Haiti contained-in-povety for their own glee.

And so, it's came to past, that around the year 1979, at two centers of Haitianist study, Haitian musicians with good intentions, added Rock and Roll and Jazz to Haitian native music and created, what? ah yeah - Rasin music!!!

It's hilarious really. The circle we've allowed ourselves to keep threading is viciously sad.

If Haitians were taught their world accomplishments in these schools in Haiti, they would know who they are. Know that Jazz, the only indigenous music of the United States, originated out of the Vodun drums and traditional wood and wind instruments of Haiti and was imported to New Orleans by the African slaves whose masters' fled the Haitian Revolution. They would know American Rock 'n Roll came out of Jazz and the Blues. (Ayiti's sounds are drawn in Jazz's very pores "... Adrift, like the pain and pathos of Johnny Coltrane and Miles Davis's jazz horns...").

But, when your history has been lost. You're lost.

You will sell your current life force, your soul and talents to buy what's been yours, from the beginning, and not even know you just got robbed. Again.

Sanba Yo had it right. Ayibobo. Haiti still needs a grassroots Sanba Movement. My hope is that folks like Sanba Zao, Ayizan, Azouke, Chico, Daniel Beaubrun, Fanfan Damas, Rozna Zila, Gaston "Bonga" Jean-Baptiste and his son, James "Tiga" Jean-Baptiste, will join with the young Dreds, the young Pitha Dred, Nati Dred; Haiti's young Ginens in Haiti, the young Yatandes' of today and help lead it. Foula Jazz also had it right, only Ginen can write Ginen without putting in discordant notes. Ayibobo. There's work to be done in Haitian music and the use of Haitianist art to teach Ginen culture. Beloved, make more room for the women Sanbas and musicians and give the new generation the benefit of your education and experiences. Let them not have to spin around on the same treadmill. But be able to build upon your new works to come.

Marguerite Laurent/Ezili Dantò, Esq.
Founder and Chair, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (“HLLN”)
April 27, 2008


Sponsor Teach-Ins to educate about Haiti's revolutionary legacy, culture and Haitians as pioneers in the human rights struggle despite the debt, dependency and foreign domination cycles which foments social chaos and led to Haiti's 33 Coup D'etats.


Marguerite 'Ezili Dantò' Laurent, Lawyer, Performance Poet, Founder and Chair of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (Photo Gallery/ Carnegie Hall)





WHERE CAN YOU SEE FOULA and the original members of the disbanded, Sanba Yo (Azouke, Ayizan and Sanba Zao)?

If you're in Miami and can attend, from May 1 to May 4, 2008, the Zakafest ( “Celebrating The Spirit of Agriculture and Labor with Haitian Culture”) you will get to see and hear the original members of Foula and Sanba Zao is expected, coming in from Haiti and Azouke and Ayizan will be coming down from New York with their new band, Azaka, to play at the Zakafest.

The Zakafest will honor Haitian Roots - Rasin- music, culture and those who attend will get to meet some of the original and legendary Sanba Yo and Foula Jazz musicians. So, if you’re interested, go to this website for more information:
http://www.thebackyardshow.net/main/zaka.html and http://www.thebackyardshow.net/main/zakafest/ (From May 1 to May 4, 2008).


This is what Zakafest organizers, Nathalie Guillaume and Richard Pierre-Louis, write about Zakafest:

"Mimicking what usually happens in Port-au-Prince on May 1st, better known as “Work and Agriculture Day”, Zakafest™ celebrates the people of Haiti, of whom most are farmers, hence the name of this event, which is dedicated to the spirit of Agriculture: ZAKA.

In Haitian culture, the spirit of Zaka is associated with a gentle simple farmer, and greatly respected by the peasants since he is, like them, a hard worker. He is usually barefoot, carries a “makout” sak and wears a straw hat. He is addressed as "kouzen" and by nature is suspicious, out for profit, fond of quibbling, and has a fear and hatred of town folk. His vocal stylization consists of the almost unintelligible sounds of a goat. He is known for the gossip he spreads and for his girl chasing. He is young and likes to play when not working.
About Zakafest ™

The Academia Aspect.-
Emerging and established artists embrace a history of appropriating imagery and incorporating found objects into art, a practice born from necessity and great invention. Haitian art absorbs and interprets visual culture so masterfully because of its strong foundation. As artists embrace new artistic movements, methods and media within the Haitian art, their work grows increasingly vital in the contemporary art world. In Haiti and the Diaspora, artwork spans from artist collectives who reclaim urban spaces to create monumental sculpture to established artists who innovate traditional genres like the colorful flags to illustrate contemporary issues.

To celebrate the “Work and Agriculture Day”, a month long art exhibit is scheduled to kick off on the evening of Thursday May 1st at the North Miami Public Library featuring both local and foreign curators putting a moving display of mixed media, assemblages, sculptures, crafts, costumes, textiles, acrylics, oils, pastels, photographs, instillations and videos celebrating the goodness of the land and the beauty of Haitian art. The pieces will be showing in sync with talented High School students sharing similar positive visions of Haitian life.

Lectures, workshops, symposiums and conferences led by well-published scholars will also be scheduled for the remainder of the month to assure the long-term educational value of this event within students, amateurs or professionals who want to participate in the philosophical expansion of Haiti.

The Entertainment Aspect.-

Starting in the late 1970s, youth from Port-au-Prince began experimenting with new types of life. To question the notion of "the Haitian nation", several men led by Louis Lesly Marcelin, also known as Sanba Zao began trying a new way of living, embodied in the Sanba Movement. They drew upon global trends in black power, Bob Marley, "Hippie"-dom, as well as prominently from rural life in Haiti. They dressed in the traditional blue denim (karoko) of peasants, eschewed the commercialized and processed life offered by global capitalism, and celebrated the values in communal living.

An outdoor family event with this similar collective approach, Zakafest ™ will be held on Sunday May 4th 2007, starting at 2pm and ending at 10pm. Since we are aiming to have guests of all age, celebrating the actual holiday on the nearest Sunday is the most effective way to guarantee the highest attendance by our target population.

The program will consist of an open market of agricultural products with the main intention of passing on helpful tips to maintain a greener environment. Haiti employs an unusual form of farming called arboriculture. Combinations of fruit trees and various roots, particularly the manioc plant, the traditional Haitian bread staple, replace the grain culture of the usual subsistence-economy farming. Crops are cultivated with simple hand tools; the plow or animal power is only rarely employed, except on sugarcane plantations. With these facts in hand, it is our duty as a community to teach the children the importance of trees in our daily lives from the oxygen and food they bring us to the shade and safety net they create for us.

Other vendors will be selling books, CDs, DVDs, jewels, clothing, oils, incenses, arts, crafts and many more amazing products, suiting all our attendees’ needs and tastes, as they indulge in this exclusive Haitian experience.

Local performers will be entertaining the crowd throughout the day as we will feature incredible new musical talent, high school marching bands and step teems, poets, dancers, theatre troops and more. Artists will be doing flower baskets, face paint, beaded necklaces and masques with kids to ensure that they will nurture the memories of attending this fun filled day. Featuring musical legend Sanba Zao, other special invited musicians from New-York, Canada and Haiti will wrap up the evening with exotic sounds of rhythm and harmony as they perform traditional Haitian songs.

For Additional information.-
For a more comprehensive idea of The Backyard Movement, Inc. and how we empower the Haitian community through educational programs and community events such as the project described above, please visit our website at www.thebackyardshow.net.

We are highly committed to bringing a positive outlook to the Haitian Culture through a display of its multidimensional aspects. For years we have been depicted as a negative people, practicing black magic and unconcerned of our youth’s education. This is a chance to make a difference and bring a bright future to the Haitian Diaspora generations to come. Your immeasurable support proves that we stand united as a people able to bring the best out of this flamboyant immigrant population.

Forwarded by Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

May 18, 2009 (Update - see 2011 FreeHaitiDemands)

Answer the call - Join the list of sponsors supporting the Free Haiti Movement - Endorse the FreeHaitiMovement Demands:
Send an e-mail with your organization's name and address to:

Join HLLN work:

May 18: The FreeHaitiMovement Demands:

1. A stop to the killings, rapes, arbitrary arrests and political persecutions in Haiti - Justice for the Coup D'etat and UN victims! Down with Impunity;

2. Respect for the Feb. 7, 2006 vote, Constitutional rule, Haitian sovereignty, right to self-determination and the Haitian people's self-ownership. (Down with marginalizing the Haitian vote and majority, puppetizing the Haitian presidency. Down with privatization, militarization of Haiti for the benefit of foreigners and the tiny undemocratic monopolizing/mercenary ruling Haiti Oligarchs. Long Live a free and sovereign Haiti. Long live Haiti's State Enterprises. Down with IMF, World Bank and IFI's endless debts. Down with financial colonialism. Respect for Haitian culture, dignity, human rights, resources and riches, freedom of religion, for Kreyol, for Haitianist-designed reforms. Support Haitian literacy, Non-Pèpè education and Haitian domestic economic development!);

3. Release of all political prisoners - Many Haitians from poor neighborhoods were summarily rounded up into preventive or indefinite detention during the 2004 Bush/Bicentennial coup d'etat without ever being charged, tried or convicted of any crime. As of 2008, it is reported that there are 8,204 prisoners in Haiti and of this only 1,764 have been convicted of a crime. Before the 2004 coup d'etat, Haiti barely had 3,000 prisoners throughout the country. Today in UN-occupied Haiti, more than 6,440 still await trial, remain in jail, some going on for five years of prolonged detention, without ever having been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. These prison population statistics come from the 2008 US State Department Human Rights Report on Haiti and do "not include the large number of persons held in police stations around the country in 'preventive detention' (without a hearing or filed charges)." Also, many Haitians were summarily disappeared post the 2004 coup d'etat. There must be a complete investigation of such disappearances and political kidnappings, including the disappearance of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine.

Release Haiti's children -
At end of 2008, approximately 88 percent of the country’s 316 incarcerated minors were in prolonged detention, not charged, seen a judge or been tried or convicted on any crime, some "since 2005." This figure does not account for children confined with adults or held in indefinite detention at police stations around the country. (See, State Department 2008 Human Rights Report: Haiti).

4. Tractors not tanks!- Demand the demilitarization of the Haitian police and UN peacekeepers, promoting not any army on Haitian soil, foreign or domestic, but community-based policing; community-focused UN and Haitian police work and training and the banning of UN tanks, heavy weapons, equipments and all small arms exports to Haiti.

5. End the UN and foreign occupation of Haiti;

6. Stop indefinite detentions and/or automatic repatriation of Haitian refugees and grant temporary protected status to Haitian refugees. Justice and equal application of laws towards Haitian immigrants and refugees;

7. Support calls for investigations into foreign powers' role in the 2004 coup d'etat and forcible removal of the democratically elected government of Haiti; and

If you're in the US, support HLLN action and mobilizing for the legislative and international support for Haitian and Haitian-American foreign policy concerns as enumerated in "Haiti Policy Statement for the Obama Team" and further detailed in "What Haitian-Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President." Distribute these Haitian-designed policy statements widely, to your networks and particularly to your local legislative representatives, international and local media.

Join HLLN - Endorse the FreeHaitiMovement Demands/Action Plans, May 18 2009 (Update - see 2011 FreeHaitiDemands)

- Down with occupation;
- Down with privatization;
- Down with endless debt;
- Fair trade not fraudulent free trade;
- Long live a free and sovereign Haiti;
- Long live Haiti's State enterprises;
- Release the political prisoners;
- Support a living wage;
- Justice for the Coup D'etat and UN victims;
- Down with the militarization of Haiti for the benefit of foreigners and the tiny undemocratic monopolizing/mercenary ruling Haiti Oligarchs;
- France & US must return the original Independence Debt and the independence debt they are forcing Haiti to pay even to this day through endless IFI debts, Financial Colonialism, Coup Detat and Occupation!
- Respect for Haitian culture, dignity, human rights, resources and riches, freedom of religion, for Kreyol, for Haitianist-designed reforms. Support Haitian literacy, Non-Pèpè education and Haitian domestic economic development!
- Justice and equal application of laws towards Haitian immigrants and refugees.
- Down with Impunity!
- Down with mainstream media lies and simplistic reporting about Haiti
(See, When Haiti Was Free - Video evidence of media lies and Media Campaign and Ezili Dantò's counter-narrative to the media spins and self-serving colonial negatives promoted about Haiti and Creating New Paradigms for Haiti - Answering Lionel's questions. Update - see 2011 FreeHaitiDemands).

Also, click on:

HLLN's FreeHaitiMovement is mobilizing legislative and international support for Haitian-American foreign policy concerns


- What Haitians and Haitian-Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President

- HLLN on oversight needed on USAID

-Haiti Policy Statement for the Obama Team

- The causes of Haiti's poverty and deforestation

- Obama's offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery

- Ezili's counter-colonial narrative on Vodun

- Down with impunity for the mercenary familes, their agents, US/Euro collaborators and the media lies and simplistic reporting! Haiti’s poverty is the result of the theft and exploitation of Haiti by the world’s wealthy countries, their corporations and subcontracting, non-tax-paying Haitian mercenary families.

(See, Ezili Dantò/HLLN's counter-colonial narrative on Haiti's deforestation; The Western vs the Real Narrative on Haiti ;Haitian Riches, Economic proposals that make sense for the reality of Haiti - The Western economic model doesn't fit an independent Black nation; Pointing Guns at Starving Haitians: Violent Haiti is a myth; Comparing crime, poverty and violence in the rest of the Hemisphere to Haiti ;When Haiti Was Free - Video evidence of media lies, Media Lies and the Real Haiti News and Examples of Neocolonial Journalism).



Celebrate Haitian Artists and culture - the richest of cultures in the Western Hemisphere

Support Haitian Artists -Art with soul



Ezili Danto’s Note:
When Haiti Was Free - Video Evidence of Media Lies
(A Proposed HLLN Documentary) for Haitian Perspectives and the FreeHaitiMovement, May 14, 2008

Click: Download Video Clip - "When Haiti Was Free" or stream at Youtube

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
Martin Luther King Jr.

This excerpt is from a documentary that the Ezili Danto Witness Project has been working on since the 2004 wholesale exclusion of the people of Haiti from ruling their own country brought on by the Bush Bicentennial Coup D’etat/rendition against Haiti and its peoples.

In this video, shot by Jafrikayiti, on January 20 and 25, 2004, the people of Haiti stood alone fighting the destabilization efforts of the world’s superpowers, their Christian NGOs, IRI/NED/USAID democracy enhancement projects and mainstream medias. While these entities were busy demonizing President Aristide, calling all his supporters “gangsters,” “warlords,” “chimeres,” and making the case of the Haitian elites, the masses in Haiti were on the streets PEACEFULLY demonstrating, asking that the schools the Haitian economic elites had forced to be closed be reopened, that the Mulatto elite, represented by Andre Apaid, Boulos, Baker and their black sycophants such as Stanley Lucas, Guy Phillip and Louis Jodel Chamblain, et al, stop trying to ouster Aristide and let the voices of the majority in Haiti be heard.

The first young man who speaks on camera (he’s in a white T-shirt in front of the marching mothers in white dress and blue scarves), says: “We’re demanding for schools (to re-open.). When a man knows he can’t sign his own name it’s really an ugly thing. In comparison, they (the Haitian bourgeoisie/the tiny opposition asking for coup d’etat) send their kids to school s far away (overseas). . We’re poor – nou se malere. Our mothers carry loads on their heads. My mother is signing (working hard/paying/enduring hardship) for this. My mother signs for me. That’s what we are working for is to go to school.. To get an education. The President (Aristide) is signing for us. (i.e. fighting for us). He put the schools…. We want schools to open today. Here, I’ll give you an example. Look at this. Here it is. They sent it so I can go to school. The school is too expensive. … It’s ugly when a man can’t sign his own name. It’s an ugly thing….

The masses in Haiti shouted: "Senk an, senk an, senk an - five years, five years, five years" - supporting President Aristide's five year Constitutional term and saying NO to Bush coup d'etat/rendition regime change! And, just in case foreign cameras were there and didn't understand Kreyol, they lifted one hand and spread their five fingers to make it clear they supported President Aristide's mandate. But the media would not report this majority support and ignored these people of Haiti. (See: New York Times should apologize to Haitians for untruths - Ezili Danto examines "Democracy Undone | Back Channels vs. Democracy Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos" the article where the New York Times, two years too late, reluctantly points to US complicity in Haiti's instability but conveniently puts all the blame on IRI's Haitian agent, Stanley Lucas, and none on his bosses, US Ambassador James Foley who, along with IRI head honcho, Senator John McCain, financed, orchestrated and presided over tilting Haiti into chaos. See also Feb. 3, 2006 New York Times Editorial: No Help to Democracy in Haiti and Prime Minister Yvon Neptune's explosive and condemning August 23, 2004 letter from Prison to US Ambassador James Foley).

As I wrote sometime ago when the UN Security Council went to Haiti to support its imposed Boca Raton regime change: 'Haitians are the most politicized people on earth and they well understand the subterfuges of diplomacy and the function of politics and propaganda. It is a mistake to believe that illiterate means unintelligent. Or, for that matter, that schooling means one is intelligent.....HAITIAN STREET DEMONSTRATOR: "The Whites are shouting elections, elections, ELECTIONS for Haiti! Elections have become the new chain the former slave-owners and their black overseers want to encircle around black feet in Haiti. Where was the U.N. Security Council when Caricom called for assistance, when President Aristide called for assistance that would have shored up the elected Haitian government? Now that the people's voting rights have been trashed, their voices silenced, their freedom taken away, their country occupied, now the Whites and the bourgeoisie can't stop calling for elections in Haiti....' The demonstrators on the streets of Haiti are saying that Haiti's slide into complete lawlessness started with the bi-centennial coup and continues today..." (U.N. Security Council Goes To Haiti to Stop Calls for Resignation of the Latortue Regime, April 16, 2005)

You’ll see in this video, what AP, Reuters, New York Times, Miami Herald, et al, did not report and blatantly misrepresented. Notice how clean their clothes are. Remember, these Black people live in what AP, Reuters, New York Times cannot stop calling "slums" while always failing to mention it was US economic thuggery that created Site Soley in Haiti. They have no clean water, no showers, laundry facilities or an extensive wardrobe. Imagine the preparation, what discipline it took, how early they had to wake up to present themselves for this public, African-based gathering, and walk out into the streets looking so beautifully attired to display this strategic SHOW OF FORCE, representing the PEOPLE's WILL.

What the foreigners don't want to understand is that these rallies to show force, some with erected road blocks, et al..., is the community's educated democracy, it's the heart of the African collective's rule in Haiti and serves the additional purpose of controlling, minimizing and preventing individual violent acts in response to the "good peoples'" wanton tyranny. When truly massive and participatory, these seemingly spontaneous, but definitely visceral gatherings, reflect a Haitian coping and survival mechanism. And, any foreign or Haitian "pundit" who underestimates, ignores or forgets this African peoples' ability to rise up - in a disciplined matter - without any prompting from either legit leaders or the so-called "gang leaders," knows nada, absolutely NOTHING about the Haitian center.

In this video clip, many of the Haitians you see walking so tall, are severely malnourished, some having had nothing, absolutely nothing to eat for days and days and days. But, within this communal embrace they manage to function and still push on, putting on their best face, best clothes, best behaviors and, even for some, their best talents on public display. These Haitian peoples' show-of-force rallies serve many community and creative functions for a people with so little. All take to the streets knowing, from past experience with Haiti's hierarchy of neocolonial oppression, some may die. But that's more reason to put on your very best clothes and Kapwa-Lamò-courage forward. (See:Three Unarmed Haitians Died from Bullets on Haiti's Flag Day and ; At least 9 demonstrators killed during huge march on Haiti's Flag )

But totally blind to any of this Haitian sub-text when demonstrators take to the streets, raised to fear large Black crowds and to see barbarism, primitivism when looking at the Black Haitian populous, the international mainstream media reporters, both black and white, prove in their articles they understand zilch about the psychology and essential cathartic and social nature of the Haitian/African traditional gatherings, cooperative and communal work (konbit) ethic. These African gatherings, what you see in the video are their examples, what they simplistically, laciviously and summarily always label a "mob." (For another comparison, recall the thousands upon thousands of Haitians who took over the luxury Hotel Montana where the 2006 election results and press center was housed, they swam in the pool, but nothing was damaged. There was no rape and no pillage. But the ugly and salivating foreign media, who always feel ripped off when there's no violence they can point to and photograph in Haiti to feed to their trained homeland consumers, would call the peoples' act of restraint in light of glaring provocation -their stolen, burnt ballots found in garbage dumps- and the inhuman coup d'etat oppressions: "election mayhem" as if it's these Haitians who are the ones bringing wholesale chaos to Haiti and not the "beautiful people" trying so hard to eviscerate them, uhmm to "pacify" them. (See: UN Forces in Haiti Kill More Civilians in Attempt to 'Pacify' Cite Soleil, Nov. 20, 2005)).

But in this video clip, open to a different perspective, horizon and you'll see, with your own eyes, the tens of thousands of ordinary Haitians - boisterous? yes, but peaceful and orderly- who took to the streets to support President Aristide and try to STOP the 2004 Bush-orchestrated coup d’etat/rendition. Shouting, shouting, "down with coup d'etat! - Aba kou deta. And, Lekok, lekol, lekol pa p fèmen - School, school, school will not close...Let our children go to school...lekol, lekol, lekol, nou mande!!!." Invoking the rules of law, decency and democracy. Pleading in vain to a callous, racist and unfeeling world, that would not submit but ignored all International laws as it applied to Haitian rights.

AP, Reuters, New York times, Miami Herald et al, downplayed and minimized these calls for schooling, help and law and order in January 2004. New York Times called these sorts of public gatherings “small crowds” and with the others blanketly referred to all supporters of Haiti's Constitutional government, all the demonstrators you see in this video as gangsters, slum bandits and warlords. (The Two Most Common Storylines about Haiti, August, 2005; Media Lies and Real Haiti News
, U.S. Patterns in Haiti) And incontrovertible racism sold the idea that the violent “mobs” in Haiti needed to be controlled by the US Marines sent in, at first, as usual, under the pretext of protecting the US Embassy. They've never left. The US Embassy, of course, was never under any threat from the Haitian people you see in this video. Au contraire. The Haitian people though, have always been under threat by the US-Euro former enslavers when Haitian leaders try the include the voice of the masses in the affairs of their own nation. See how the people marching who are captured in this video keep raising their hand and spreading five fingers in front of the camera, to mark that Aristide should be allowed to serve his entire five-year term. This is what was hidden behind the headlines in 2004.

Sold lies and brainwashed by accepted but untrue thoughts of the international legitimacy of the UN, the world's citizenry would conveniently look the other way as both the Bush Administration and the UN Security Council would invoked international law but fail to submit to it vis-a-vis Haiti and Haitians. Unbeknownst to many, the UN, since its inception has been used to maintain the post-colonial empires of the Western colonialist (United Kingdom, US, France) and, to lesser extents for the uses of China and Russia. This undemocratic Security Council's complicity starts from the UN's role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba to the complicity of Kofi Annan in decapitating Haiti's democracy in 2004 and is sustained with the present oppressive and abusive UN occupation of Haiti acting as military proxies for the post-World War II world powers. But the world was too readily fooled, as the pandering Kofi Annan, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell used their skin and token "minority legitimacy" to lend a black face to Haiti's re-occupation - to the empires' endless economic thuggery, IMF/World Bank debts, neoliberal death plans, indefinite incarcerations, UN rapes and sexual abuses, children prisons and making Haitians refugees in their own lands. - in the sacred year of the African Ancestor's bicentennial.

(See: Condoleezza Rice Threatens Jamaica Over Aristide, Haiti Colin Powell's Crime in Progress - "...Through prodigious acts of treachery, trickery, kidnap and mass murder, Powell has attempted to reverse Haiti’s glorious revolution in the year of its 200th anniversary..."; Kofi Annan's Haiti; and, Aiding Oppression in Haiti: Kofi Annan and General Heleno's Complicity in Latortue's Jackal Regime.)

One well-spoken, young Haitian man wearing a checkered shirt and driving by, in a dark red jeep with the Haitian flag wrapped, bandanna-like around his dreads, tells us why he and the others took to the streets in 2004 to stop the coup d'etat, dictatorship and occupation of Haiti. He represent the people Reuters, AP and other mainstream press have labeled “warlords,” “bandits,” “gangsters," "chimeres." This is their faces. They are the ones rotting in Haiti’s jails today.

In 2004, after the deed was done and the Constitutional Haitian government oustered, the US Marines, UN and restructured-with-the-old-bloody-Haitian-army “police,” went on a witch-hunt for these Haitian sons. Many you’ll see in this video, were slaughtered, summarily executed (or, as Reuters’ Tom Brown will euphemistically tell you “pacified”) after they had all been first dehumanized and demonized by the mainstream press and the Bush State Department. There was a particular effort made to slaughter all Haitian males who wore their heads in dreadlocks because that signaled to the Eurocentric- Francophony Haitian and US/UN “peacemakers” they were too African, too Lavalas, to Black. This young Haitian man, in January, 2004, when Haiti was still free, boils the matter down, for us, thus:

The young Haitian man in the checkered shirt, starts by proudly introducing himself, with “M’ se ratpakaka, senk an! - Rats are not shit, I say five years." When asked why is he demonstrating. He says, “I am here today to demand that Aristide be allowed to finish his five-year Constitutional mandate. The mandate given to him by the people of Haiti.” (What he means when he introduces himself like this -"M’ se ratpakaka - I'm a rat but rats are not shit" - is that the tiny undemocratic financial elite in Haiti along with the Bush Administration and their Western media and diplomats, may label Haitians like him with ugly and derogatory names like "gangsters," "chimeres," or "shitty rats" living in ghetto "slums." That's fine. But, he's no shit. He'll be a proud, fearless and FREE rat. "FIVE YEARS," he says. And that's NO shit! Aristide's mandate is grounded in law, given by the People of Haiti! Aristide must complete his constitutional term this time around.)

Our Jafrikayiti, the interviewer, then ask, “I see there are some folks here asking for schools to be re-opened also?” The young Haitian in the red jeep, answers, in sum: “…Yes, it’s this tiny group of folks who want to continue monopolizing everything in Haiti. Because for 200 years everything has been in their hands. They sell us our food, what we drink, all that we must have to live. They are the ones selling it to us. You must understand, that today there’s a balance that’s being made. Today, President Aristide who comes from the people, he knows our pains and he is trying to change the balance of power. They are doing everything to block him. Today we are in the streets to show them, it’s us that voted, it’s us that can decide (whether he goes or stays). We are the people (Se nou k pèp!). And we say he must stay for his entire five-year term!...We say five years. It's five years - Nou di senk an, se senk an.”

Jafrikayiti, the interviewer, then asks, “But they say you demonstrators are always about violence?” The young man smiles widely, then shrugs off this amazing reply that only Ezili' HLLN will bring to you, never the mainstream media.

As his car, that is smack in the middle of the crowd of peaceful and jubilant demonstrators, following slowly, comes to a near standstill, he leans out his window and answers casually, quickly but with obvious intelligence, care and passion.

He says: “But if you want to understand well, you just have to look. It’s the PEOPLE who are saying five years, five years, five years. You can see that. Everyone can see that. You can identify that with your own eyes. It’s exactly the opposite when they ("they" refers to the US-supported tiny economic elite - the "opposition") are in the streets, there’s not many of them. They use violence to bring attention to themselves because they don’t have power. See here these folks are not about violence. Look at them. We are not the ones bringing violence. Look at this demonstration, the numbers of people we have out here. The power is in our hands. It is those who don’t have power who need to resort to violence. It’s those without power, who try to hide their powerlessness, behind the violence they bring to us. It's those who have to buy power who are into violence. We don't have to resort to violence. We have power. You look closely at things, at these last weeks, you’ll see it’s us, not them who are being slaughtered. But have we ever sought revenge? No. But the day is there for when we will have to answer them (with violence too.)...God forbid if they don’t listen to our voice, our choice as the people. God forbid they don't do what we say. What we want. What we've decided together as a nation (a people). That day will come….For, (and now he points to his skin) it's our skin (Blackness, African-ess) we are defending. Our skin stays ours. That's what we're defending....“

On February 29, 2004 that day arrived. The coup d'etat/rendition was carried out by US soldiers with the back-up of French and Canadian soldiers. And beautiful, articulate young Haitian men, like the ones you see here, talking in this video, whom the international mainstream media had vilified, dehumanized and mislabeled as just common criminals, stood alone, against those who came to slaughter them in their own homes. They held on in Site Soley, fighting the greatest armies, most powerful weapons, on earth.

It is testament to their courage and strength that it took these Western armies, from the US, Canada, France, and all the UN surrogate proxy soldiers and all the Haitian Chalabis, over two unremitting years of slaughter to “pacify” them with their guns, including their embedded media's hate-filled, hurtful words, and labels. Now the UN, US, their Christian NGO's are packing the planes to Haiti to give us emergency hand-outs because of the instability their own governments brought in 2004 (so they'd have a job in Haiti?).

This is the second Bush Dynasty coup d'etat in Haiti (1991, 2004). And, if you combine this with the unequal treatment of Haitian migrants and refugees abroad and the US/Euros' international financial institutions' 30-years of neoliberal economic death policies forced down Haiti's throat, you'll see why there is instability and Clorox hunger in Haiti.

Instability, hunger and poverty they blame on the people you see here on this video, not on the global economic elites and their rapacious, unquenchable and racist greed for power, privilege and domination. Now the US, UN, Canada, France and their Reuters, AP and New York times are busy penning articles and making pronouncements of success amounting to nothing less than them dancing on these young Haitians' graves and, for those who survived the fury of empire, gleefully patting themselves on their "civilized" backs for these men's indefinite incarceration in Haiti's prisons or as refugees in UN occupied Haiti or abroad somewhere hiding in hostile foreign lands. (See "Graveyard quiet of huge Haiti slum signals progress" By Tom Brown, Reuters, May 11, 2008 " and Haiti's violent image is an outdated myth, insist UN peacekeepers By Reed Lindsay in Port-au-Prince, Guardian.co.uk | The Observer, Sunday May 11 2008).

As you can see, with your very own eyes, in this "When Haiti Was Free" video, Haiti's violent image was outdated even before the "peacekeepers" got there.

Ezili Danto’s Network stood with this maligned Haiti and will continue to do so, until Haiti is free again, or they shut us up as they’ve done to Aristide and generations upon generations of Haitians who cannot be either enslaved or re-colonized. The Haitian mothers, all wearing white dresses with blue scarves on their heads, demonstrating at the beginning of the video, also tried to STOP the Bush regime change. One mother says, "I am demonstrating so the schools closed by the elites will reopen and my child can get back to school. They close the schools so the children of the poor won’t learn to read (won't get educated). These big eaters (the “fat-cats”) ....Apaid...don't care about whether school is closed. Their children are all sent to schools overseas. It's the Poor's children who are suffering (from their boycotts and closures intended to destabilize the Constitutional government), not theirs..."

Today most of these Haitian mothers you see in this video, who were lucky enough to have survived the 2004-2006 Lavalas witch-hunt and US/UN guns, are suffering unbearable, some from grief, humiliation, Clorox hunger, or worst, some on top of all this, from traumatic rape and sexual abuse by the "peacekeepers," US/NGO/IFI "saviors," and their Haitian mercenary arms, or as a direct result of the opportunistic anarchy that landed in Haiti after this video was taken. Most, have lost all their families, are without their sons, daughters, uncles and partners. It's difficult to sit through all their various video appeals for justice... The US/UN transformed the schools in their neighborhoods into military barracks. From the time of this video until today, (2004 to May, 2008) most of the poor's children in Haiti have still been unable to attend school. Haiti now, thanks to Western "benevolence," has its first juvenile centers. Hundreds of children, including six (6) and eight (8) year old African boys and girls, who use to be free, are beginning life in the prison complexes the "peacekeepers" have brought to Haiti...(Children's prison reflects Haiti's woes, Haitian Nights, Again: Haiti's Children Suffer More under the Bushes' policies and Colonial Regime changes by Ezili Dantò).

Stay tune for the finish product, when Ezili’s Network has enough operational resources to hire the professional help needed to put it all together and also translate and transcribe all the hours upon hours of direct-from-Haiti-footages we’ve gathered, or have been given for HLLN's Ezili Danto Witness Project, since the 2004 coup d’etat until the present.

Come join in our work.

Begin by subscribing to the Ezili Listserve. Get your organization to endorse Ezili/HLLN's FreeHaitiMovement. Teach others by circulating our emails and website information, far and wide. Use your voice to help those who have no voice in the power-citadels.

To subscribe and/or add your organization as a sponsor of the FreeHaitiMovement, write to erzilidanto@yahoo.com. The FreeHaitiMovement sponsors International Solidarity with the people of Haiti through Four Yearly Events (Oct. 17, May 18, July 6, Aug. 14). This post, along with our posts on Media lies, Zakafest/Haitian culture commemorations and the May 3rd Ezili Danto Miami presentation, are all part of our on-line efforts to-tell-the-truth-about-Haiti for our May 18, 2008 marking of Haitian heritage month and flag day.

I leave, at the end of the video, a little piece of Rara music to note and further illustrate, for those who read our essay on Haitian Racine/Roots music, the Haitian/Vodun roots of Jazz music and New Orleans madi-gras culture. (Go to: Sanba Yo, The Sanba Movement and Roots/Rasin Music by Ezili Danto| HLLN's Campaign Four; HLLN's FreeHaitiMovement Demands, May 18.)

Please, if you’d like to see this work continued; if you are learning from our work; if you'd like to help Ezili's HLLN finish this documentary presentation of "When Haiti Was Free," kindly donate whatever you can to support Ezili Danto’s Work.

Thank you.

Down with occupation;
Down with privatization;
Down with endless debt;
Fair trade not fraudulent free trade;
Long live a free and sovereign Haiti;
Long live Haiti's State enterprises;
Release the political prisoners;
Support a living wage;
Justice for the Coup D'etat and UN victims;
Down with the militarization of Haiti for the benefit of foreigners and the tiny undemocratic monopolizing/mercenary ruling Haiti Oligarchs;
France & US must return the original Independence Debt and the independence debt they are forcing Haiti to pay even to this day through endless IFI debts, Financial Colonialism, Coup Detat and Occupation!
Respect for Haitian culture, dignity, human rights, resources and riches, freedom of religion, for Kreyol, for Haitianist-designed reforms. Support Haitian literacy, Non-Pèpè education and for Haitian domestic economic development!
Justice and equal application of laws towards Haitian migrants and refugees.
Down with impunity for the mercenary familes, their agents, US/Euro collaborators and the media lies! (See also:What Haitian Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President; Haiti Policy Statement for the Obama Team, and Ezili Dantò's counter-narrative to the media spins and self-serving colonial negatives promoted about Haiti).

Ezili Dantò
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network ("HLLN)
May 16, 2008
Update - see 2011 FreeHaitiDemands

Click: Watch Video Clip - "When Haiti Was Free"
(Update - see 2011 FreeHaitiDemands)
To Donate, please support HLLN's work: go to zilibutton

"Transformation is only valid if it is carried out with the people, not for them. Liberation is like a childbirth, and a painful one. The person who emerges is a new person: no longer either oppressor or oppressed, but a person in the process of achieving freedom. It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors."

- Paulo Freire, from Pedagogy of the Oppressed (learn more)


Thirst For Justice:A Decade of Impunity in Haiti

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

Ezilidanto | Writings | Performances | Bio | Workshops | Contact Us | Guests | Law | Merchandise