Haitians will defend their sovereignty , Ronald Charles

Haitians will defend their sovereignty


From slavery to Sarkozy in Haiti


From slavery to Sarkozy in Haiti

Editor’s note: Peniel E. Joseph, a Haitian-American, teaches history at Tufts University. His latest book is “Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama.” Patrick Sylvain is a Haitian language and culture instructor at Brown University and a language coach at Harvard. His latest bilingual poetry collection is “Love, Lust & Loss.”

(CNN) — Haiti’s emergence as the first free black republic, forged against the backdrop of Caribbean and North American slavery, is pivotal to today’s discussions of citizenship, democracy, and freedom.

Now, 206 years after its declaration of independence, Haiti’s dire poverty, the earthquake and its massive death toll have triggered yet another global “first,” one with potentially major geopolitical consequences.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently visited Haiti, the first French president to set foot on Haitian soil. His historic trip recalled long-standing colonial wounds, even as he graciously offered much-needed economic assistance to a ravaged Port-au-Prince. The visit also offered a glimpse of the Caribbean republic’s paradoxical relationship with its former colonial master.

A country once known as the “Pearl of the Antilles,” Haiti ‘s downfall was not of its own making. Its tragic poverty stems from a brutal history of colonial subjugation, one that caused an unexpected and globally shattering revolution that toppled the colonial rule of France, an imperial power that Alexander Hamilton had dreamed of dismantling in the Americas.

Haiti’s war of independence, from 1791 to 1803, was won through a combination of bravado and a political self-determination embodied in the bracing personality and ingenuity of Toussaint L’Ouverture. Toussaint was helped by U.S. President John Adams, who saw in him a temporary ally in the quasi-war against France, from 1798 to 1801.

The young United States sought to muster its strength through naval expansion and indirectly curtail France’s power in the Caribbean. In 1799, the United States lifted the embargo against Haiti (Saint-Domingue) by providing it with arms, food supplies and naval intelligence that aided Toussaint’s war against the pro-French elites.

But positive U.S. policies toward Haiti and the political gains orchestrated by Toussaint L’Ouverture under the Adams administration were dramatically reversed under Thomas Jefferson. He supported the punishing French blockade of Haiti and allowed the French naval power to rise under the leadership of Napoleon, which culminated in the arrest and deportation of Toussaint to France.

The French blockage and closing of U.S. ports to Haiti stunted the embryonic republic’s economic growth. France demanded reparations from Haiti of 150 million francs — about $21 billion in today’s money. This forced debt crippled Haiti’s economy and took 122 years to repay.

So, on the one hand, President Sarkozy’s visit to Haiti initiated a new chapter between that country and France. Indeed, according to Sarkozy, “Haiti must set the conditions for a national consensus on which to base a national project. Haiti for the Haitians.”

In a very real sense, Sarkozy’s visit offered a glimpse of a more promising future for Haiti, one marked by cooperation with former colonial rulers, in which prosperity replaces endemic poverty.

Haiti’s proud and resilient citizens, who have endured a seemingly endless series of setbacks since independence in 1804, remain hopeful that Sarkozy’s visit ushers in a long-overdue political alliance with France. But they are also aware that the nations’ contentious history cannot be repaired by a single visit from a French president.

Although global observers may interpret French promises of economic aid to Haiti as a gesture of goodwill to the earthquake-stricken nation, Haitians will take a more complex view.

Some observers may also interpret France’s assistance as just another in a long line of handouts, but students of Haitian history know better. That assistance has been paid for many times over in the blood of countless unknown Haitians who toiled and died under French rule.”


Égalité for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution

Joseph Ademola Adeyemo – The Last Days of Toussaint L’Ouverture – Scene

General Authority, Haitian Novel

General Authority


The Author
Lahiny Pierre was born in Jacmel, south of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her first public presentations date back to pre-school years at Kindergarten Marie Carline. At the age of fourteen she reunited with her parents in Brooklyn, New York and finished her academic studies. She now resides in Georgia where she is a full time Writer and grassroots community organizer. Her literary works include poetry, literary criticism, screen plays, and two novels, addressing the struggle of migration, loss, and coming to terms with one’s story, which she believes, affects the present in multiple ways.

The Book
Struggles of migration, loss, and coming to terms with one’s history affects one’s present life. When Denis decides to run from Port-au-Prince, he is not sure the fake passport will take him to New York City. For eleven years he has been the leader of the Engagés, a secret society fighting the Militia for the return of the city and a stop to the “Cut Heads Burn Homes” societal renegades. Days before Denis and his troops launch a key attack, one of their top men is assassinated. The Militia commands local thugs after Denis who must flee to save his skin. Denis bounds for the U.S. to escape death and maybe stumble into the American Dream. The problem of adapting to this dizzying new world fades as he suddenly finds himself in the middle of an interracial marital meltdown that could send him straight into the arms of his enemies back in Haiti.

This book illustrates themes of the struggle of migration, loss, and coming to terms with one’s history; exile by choice because of economic circumstances; assimilation – cause and effect; the myth of the American dream, an idea held by people worldwide; cultural alienation; socialization of the immigrant; leaving home; learning new experiences; adapting to a new life; speaking a new language; the reuniting of old friends; friendship; male bonding; spirituality; African Deities; Haitian Culture; Voodoo; facing the past; nationalism; community building; cultural awareness; music and dance in the Haitian culture; political unrest; murder; vengeance; and civic duties.

This book is available on:

There’s a link on Youtube

Making it all New

” We will perhaps be the ones to teach others a new poetic and, leaving behind the poetics of not-knowing, will initiate others into a new chapter in the history of mankind” (Edouard Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays, 1989:169)

Edouard Glissant

Important works

La Lézarde. (1958)  Nouvelle édition, Paris: Gallimard, 1997; Port-au-Prince: Presses Nationales d’Haïti, 2007

Monsieur Toussaint. (1961) Nouvelle édition: Paris: Gallimard, 1998.

L’Intention poétique. (1969)  (Poétique II) Nouvelle édition, Paris: Gallimard, 1997.

 Discours antillais. (1981)  Paris: Gallimard, 1997.

SOS Haiti: A compilation for Haiti | Une compilation pour Haïti

A group of haitian musicians put together a collection of fine lyrics in honor of their country and the Haitian experience.  The artists include the following:

  Michael Benjamin – Intro (Haïti) 01mn 28s  
  02 – Ti Coca & Wanga-Nègès – A lanvè (St Valenten) 05mn 50s  
  03 – Adjabel – Cousin Zaka (feat. Ifé) 03mn 56s  
  04 – Maromet de Balan – Cérémonie vaudou mandingue (extrait) 01mn 17s  
  05 – Belo – Ayiti leve 04mn 27s  
  06 – Toto Bissainthe – Papa Danmbalah 04mn 39s  
  07 – Eugénie Thermidor – Erzulie 02mn 18s  
  08 – Melissa Laveaux – Interlude Haiti 00mn 14s  
  09 – Melissa Laveaux – Koudlo 04mn 10s  
  10 – Carlton Rara – Choukoun 04mn 41s  
  11 – Michael Benjamin – Si m’ te gen zèl (Vole) 04mn 28s  
  12 – Ti Coca & Wanga-Nègès – An tan mango 03mn 28s  
  13 – Adjabel – Paren legba 04mn 05s  
  14 – Carimi – Ayiti (bang bang)

SOS Haiti: A compilation for Haiti | Une compilation pour Haïti


Click on the link below to listen to album tracks

SOS Haiti: A compilation for Haiti