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25727: Saint-Vil (pub) John Maxwell reviews Hutton's Roots of Haitian Freedom (fwd)
From: Jean Saint-Vil <email@example.com>
Terror and Justice
by John Maxwell
Many people believe that writing a column is duck soup. You just think of
something that intrigues, concerns or provokes you in some way, sit down and
blast off. It isn't that simple; and it can be a horribly frustrating job.
For instance, I had this week intended to review a new book by the Caribbean
scholar, Clinton Hutton entitled "The Cosmological Roots of Haitian Freedom:
the logic and historical significance of the Haitian revolution".
Dr Hutton's book is no less than a bold and in my opinion, entirely successful
guerrilla attack on the premises of modern historiography, an overwhelmingly
racist enterprise whose major purpose has been to relegate Africa and all its
children to an enclosure of historical curiosae, a kind of intellectual zoo.
Hutton, quotes Toussaint's reply to Napoleon Bonaparte who had attempted to
impose conditions on Haiti's sense of self, after the Haitians had already
thrown out one Napoleonic army and were on the point of defeating a second.
"It is not a circumstantial liberty conceded to us that we wish, but the
unequivocal adoption of the principle that no man, whether he be born red,
black or white, can become the property of his fellowmen."
As Hutton says: "Toussaint's incisive reply to Bonaparte must be counted
philosophically and politically as one of the most radical, most important
epistemological and ontological statements on justice in human intercourse, not
only of the modern age, but of any age....Soon the revolution would combine
abolition with self-determination, thereby transforming it from an anti-slavery
revolution to a national liberation/anticolonial revolution: the first such
revolution in the modern world."
The Haitians spoke of and demanded the recognition of universal human rights,
and insisted that civilisation demanded justice for all, no matter the color of
the skin or any other characteristic. It is a principle not recognised by the
world until 1948 after the Second war to entrench Freedom in the world.
Hutton points out that while there has never been mainstream recognition of
these key tenets of political philosophy as Haitian cum universal, they have,
however, been colonised by and or subsumed in the western philosophical
tradition, reinforcing the epistemology of silence on the one hand, and
perpetuating the myth of the West as the cognitive basis for defining, knowing
and certifying things on the other hand.
Hutton argues persuasively that the voudou religion - misinterpreted, libeled
and denigrated - by western scholars was the magma in which was syncretised the
whole "thinking and knowing of the enslaved,the cosmological bases and context
of the meanings they created , inherited, recreated, adopted, adapted, weaved
and quilted to explain the nature of their being, their existential reality,
their hopes and aspirations, and to guide their action to mediate, manipulate,
neutralise and overcome the encumbrances imposed on their lives" by the
Hutton concludes by noting that the Haitian elites, in the process of their own
identity construction, were purposeful agents in the "silencing and
marginalisation of the centrality of Africa and the African Diaspora in the
making of the Haitian revolution" so that "the retracing of Haitian freedom,
identity and certitude to French knowing and being became a modus operandi of
elite agency in the social, political, cultural and economic development of
The Haitian elite are once again riding high, backed by the United States,
France, Canada and the United Nations itself in what must surely be the
greatest betrayal of human rights in history. Last week Mr Straw apologised to
the Bosnian Muslims for the neglect which caused the deaths of 3,000 in
Srebenicza. The forces of evil have already killed more than that in Haiti.
And, last week the United Nations troops in Haiti, under the command of a
Brazilian general, massacred uncounted numbers of Haitians in a successful
attempt to assassinate the leader of the poor people of the Cite Soleil, a slum
as big as Kingston, and the natural product of American and French interference
and exploitation of Haiti over two centuries.
American spokesmen are still as vulgar and stupid as William Jennings Bryan,
American Secretary of State who, in 1915, was dumbstruck at the idea of
'Niggers speaking French!' Mr Bush must be scandalised.
Bryan's modern day equivalent, Luigi Einaudi, the (American) Assistant
Secretary General of the Organisation of American States retired last week, to
the hypocritical encomiums of such as the black Caribbean's spokesperson for
the occasion, a lady named Mrs Sonia Johnny, from St Lucia. She said Einaudi
was a "facilitator in the ongoing quest for consensus".
She, poor soul, was probably not aware of Mr Einaudi's real claim to fame, his
statement in Haiti, a year ago, that the only thing wrong with Haiti was that
it was being run by Haitians.
And the OAS and UN speak of the inalienable right to self-determination.
But these days, vulgar racist ignoramuses like Einaudi are thick on the ground.
It must have something to do with global warming which allows lower forms of
life to flourish.
Thank you for telling it loud and clear brotherman !
«Depi nan Ginen bon nèg ap ede nèg!»
(Brotherhood is as ancient as Mother Africa - L'entraide fraternel date du
temps où, tous, nous fûmes encore dans les antrailles de l'Afrique-mère)