Category Archives: Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Haiti, Aristide, Fanmi Lavalass: Being a call to reclaim history, humanity, Africa, the commons

Haiti, Aristide, Fanmi Lavalass:
Being a call to reclaim history, humanity, Africa, the commons.

A call to foes
who plug their ears hoping
not to hear their conscience’s call
for fidelity
with Haiti

A call to friends
Wringing their hands
Waiting to follow the brave
Sufficiently outraged
To risk everything
To make humanity
in Haiti

A call to those
In between, soooo
Comfortable on the fence
Looking at suffering
Enjoying the spectacle
Of a family seeking
to reconnect with
all of its members
from South Africa
to Haiti

Is it not time to stop the 200 years and more of suffering of the people of Haiti? Isn’t more than 200 years of solitary confinement enough punishment for doing what humanity was in greatest need of: Equality, Freedom, Justice, Dignity? Is it not time to stop and think about how best for humanity to become one again? Is it not time to end –select your words— the solitary confinement , exile, résidence surveillée, relégation, of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a country freed from apartheid?

Following the earthquake on January 12, 2010, emergency alarm bells went off in the military/political power centers of the world. In the minds of the most powerful governments, i.e. those who got together to make sure that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide be taken out of Haiti, the first order of business was to secure/maintain their order on the island. Securing an order that for more than two centuries has been framed by constant punishment of those (and their descendants) who managed to break free from the rule imposed by the Code Noir issued in 1685 by the French Monarchy. That Code rationalized the Africans to be movable property (biens meubles), i.e. not human beings. It was a way of legalizing the beginning of a never ending crime against humanity which can also be seen as a splitting of humanity which, to this day, has not ceased.

Between 1792 and 1794, the Convention declared the end of slavery. Then, came Napoléon Bonaparte and the vengeful restoration of slavery everywhere. How virulent that process was, has been described in many books, among them CLR James’s Black Jacobins and, more recently Claude Ribbe, Le Crime de Napoléon. Following the failure to reinstate slavery in the place which had gotten rid of it without permission, France and its allies forced Haiti to pay compensation for the lost of property (the slaves and the sugar plantations).

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, his team and supporters, mostly the poorest of the poorest –Fanmi Lavalass—insisted that there be restitution, i.e. the compensation which had been paid from 1825-1826 through 1947 had to be given back to Haiti.

The case of Aristide’s kidnapping (in April 2004) and subsequent imprisonment in South Africa, and the latter’s shameless opposition to his return to Haiti following the earthquake on January 12, 2010 is one of the most heartless crimes ever conscientiously and consciously committed by the so-called Western community on people in danger. It is like the collective raping of a people in the process of healing. It is like a repetition of the splitting apart that wrenched the Africans from their land, their families in order to feed the insatiable predatory monster in the process of being born across the Atlantic.

How wrenching the history of Haiti has been cannot be imagined by those who see themselves as the descendants of those who asked for compensation. The violators managed to pass themselves as the victims of what has, since May 10 2001, been recognized by the French National Assembly (Loi Taubira) as a Crime Against Humanity. Pierre Nora, a famous historian, protested the passing of that law. Pierre Nora’s logic is not unlike the professor who, in graduate school, reminded me that historians could not apply the morality of 20th century to what happened in the 19th century. At the time, I could not think of the obvious answer, i.e. the Africans, back then, did not consider themselves as objects, but as human beings, as fully part of humanity, but since the Code Noir was the instrument for reducing them to objects, historians are supposed to submit to that legal document as if that document superseded what the Africans considered themselves to be.

For the past five centuries, the mindset which has grown hand in hand with capitalism has blinded humanity to one of its fundamental tenets, namely that it is one and that its splitting apart must stop. What is at stake in Haiti is much bigger than how the jailers of Aristide and their allies would like to frame the issue.

But before calling on them to correct their ways, one should attempt to explain to ourselves and to them what has been happening to the commons, history and Africa. This is crucial for the simple reason that the so-called political and military leaders of the world have always looked at Africa, and its history as an extension of the commons, i.e. to be enclosed at will for the purposes of benefiting the specialists of enclosing. Keeping in mind that the enclosure movement has moved far beyond land and see to assault what was once considered sacred: humanity’s conscience.

It is important to draw the attention of these masters of the enclosing process to how those who are being enclosed have seen, felt the process. Long before the splitting of the atom, humanity began to be split apart and became one of the most enduring roots of capitalism, a predatory system that is unaware of how predatory it is.

Africans from Africa (Kimpa Vita and the Antonins), on the way to the ships, on the ships themselves (Ayi Kwei Armah’s Two Thousand Seasons), in the Caribbean, in the Americas, refused to enter the equation being prepared for them to be fodder for something which is now called globalization. The knowledge of how that history has unfolded is still embryonic, at best.

Questions ariselive streaming movie online

Why the vindictiveness against Haiti, against Aristide, against Fanmi Lavalass? What is it in the contemporary history of Haiti that frightens the ever modernizing enslavers?

What happened between 1791-1804 in Saint Domingue was not supposed to happen. The dominant mindset was certain that slaves could not think outside of what they were expected to be: slaves. However, a good half of them, at the time, had been born in Africa: free. They did not need to learn about freedom from the philosophers of the Enlightenment. Therefore, when the Africans resolved to free themselves and organized themselves accordingly, they achieved the unthinkable, the improbable, the forbidden.

For more than two hundred years, the descendants of the revolution which went beyond the French Revolution have never forgotten what had been achieved through commitment, organization, determination, emancipatory politics. At the same time, for more than two hundred years, the descendants of those who were defeated have vowed to crush any person, and/or group of persons who might appear like carrying on in fidelity with the spirit of 1791-1804. The descendants of the ones who committed crimes against humanity have vowed to keep Haiti as a source of the cheapest possible labor available to the US. Poverty must be maintained at all costs so that people would be willing to work at any price that might be offered.

In order to demonstrate that the action of 1791-1804 was wrongheaded, the current leaders of the most powerful nations are determined to keep hammering away at the following lesson: Challenging power shall always be punished with the greatest severity. In cases where victory was achieved (as in 1804) the punishment shall be incalculably harsher.

According to such a view, Haiti shall get poorer and poorer and the richest nation on earth (for now) shall get richer and richer. The shameful inequality based on an even more shameful history of repeated crimes against humanity will continue smashing (as in the linear accelerators) the small matter we call humanity’s conscience. One day what is left of it shall be pulverized just in the same way that human beings were pulverized in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This experiment has been under way for the past 5 centuries. Now and then carriers of humanity’s conscience rise up. Like Aristide, like Fanmi Lavalass, like Pierre-Antoine Lovinski, the rule is “smash them”.

If the final act being programmed, i.e. the annihilation of humanity, is going to be stopped, then allowing Humanity to be one in Haiti could help suspend the looming fatal end of humanity.

Following the earthquake, if common sense and solidarity had prevailed, Jean-Bertrand Aristide would have come back because at times like these, one would have expected those who had engineered his kidnapping and subsequent incarceration in South Africa might have relented and allowed the Haitian people to be one again.

It is never too late for common sense and solidarity to re-emerge, but, for that to happen, there will have to be the kind of worldwide mobilization that brought about the formal end of apartheid. The cancer of apartheid without a formal capital has continued to spread. This is the only conclusion one can reach if one is going to explain how the South African government accepted to be the post apartheid Robben Island for Aristide, with the apparent silent acceptance of all the African leaders.

Surely, in fidelity to those who did say enough is enough back in 1791-1804, one can do better than just watching and/or wringing our hands hoping for a happy ending.


13 Jan 2010

To all those who have lost loved ones, please accept our most sincere condolences. Our deepest sympathies to the entire Haitian population and in particular to those who, prior to the earthquake were already suffering too much, simply because they were continuing a struggle started more than two centuries ago. To those who departed, we wish them eternal peace and the most warm welcome by the Creator and the ancestors.

We would like to express our solidarity for Haiti a country where, from 1791 to 1804, Africans unchained themselves in the name of fidelity to humanity. Africans, ahead of their time, had then given a lesson to those who usually assigned themselves that role, self-proclaimed revolutionaries of a revolution, we are told, prepared by the philosophers of the Enlightenment. But as Louis Sala-Molins amply demonstrated in Le Code Noir, not a single philosopher ever uttered a word on the Black Code, launched in 1685 and terminated in 1848.

The destructions caused by nature are little compared by those created, inflicted, calculated, distilled by the godfathers of a system which has become today so predatory that the biological and ideological descendants (of the enslavers), as if on automatic pilot, can do no better than react through charitable gestures orchestrated by a deformed conscience dominated by a mindset sharpened by the constant search of ways to rape humanity, while giving it the impression of loving it.

In the coming days, the suffering from the consequences of the destruction caused by nature will bury even deeper those caused by the predators and their admirers. But the fidelity to the truth that tout le monde est monde shall always be stronger than forgetfulness. That kind of fidelity does not satiate its thirst from the crocodile tears poured by media correspondents who rehash statistical tables accumulated by humanitarian organizations whose task is to cover up the outcomes of a crime against humanity by empathizing on the fate of “the poorest country of the planet”. That fidelity has resisted, is resisting and shall resist against the most brutal and softest forms of torture, imagined by those who in the name of capital’s liberty, are programming the slow liquidation of humanity.

The same press correspondents, with tears in their eyes, point out Haiti’s “political instability” while refusing to get into the root causes, direct and indirect, for if they were to dig further into such causes, they would have to recognize that, in Haiti, despite the reverses, fidelity to the values of liberty, equality, fraternity continues as vibrant as ever.

In the face of such immeasurable tragedy, Haiti can best heal by being whole again. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide must be allowed to go back among his compatriots. For it is in the face of such a tragedy that one must call for solidarity to rise above political and ideological divisions and cleavages. Haiti has suffered more than its share. It deserves to be whole again and it deserves the most generous gestures of solidarity as a Nation. Let all of its members get back together to rebuild their lives. How far shall one let Haiti bleed?

It is difficult, in the forthcoming days and weeks, not to ask those organizations which wrap themselves in humanitarian clothes in order to avoid fidelity to humanity, to let us know of the fate of Pierre-Antoine Lovinsky who had been kidnapped for calling with persistence for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Remembering Ota Benga and his spirit

Remembering Ota Benga and his spirit
Started during the Copenhagen meeting
Spurred on by the earthquake in Haiti
From December 2009 through January 2010 to July 31st
It is never too late to re-member

Where are you when we most needed you?
Had you been in Copenhagen?
You might have been able to remind those present that there once had been there, in Copenhagen, one of those forests like the one in which you were born.

You would have told them how great it felt growing in the forest living
in harmony with nature that despite all the bad talking
about romanticizing the past golden ages,
you were not a fan of a return to the Stone Age.

You might have been able to point out to the Copenhagen gang
Determined to silence humanity’s last breath
Stone Age is the destination of their gangsterism
Introduced by what they branded the Nuclear Age
A modernized way of enslaving humanity
Under the guise of modernity
Moving toward insanity

Knowing you and your allied spirits
I am sure you tried to invade their dreams
Make them see, hear, feel the daily nightmare
Leading humanity to its agonal breath
Make them remember the beauty of oxygen
A substance the gang thinks will
No longer be necessary in a world
Where death will be called life

Thinking of you is also about thinking of those who have been swallowed by a system which thrives on erasing humanity and its memory. Remember those Inuit you were sitting next to in Saint Louis in 1904? Well, their forest is the snow and ice of the Arctic Circle. It is melting so fast that the polar bears have lost their bearings and are dying fast. Yes, in those months were you felt too cold, for them it was quite warm, but you both had to suffer because the event was about demonstrating the superiority of the ones who sent for you, the same ones who tried to re-instate slavery in Santo Domingo, the same ones who were celebrating 100 years of the Louisiana Purchase.

Remembering you is to remember all of those who have tried as hard as they could to make the believers and fundamentalists of western superiority that they are not better or worse than any other member of humanity. For trying so hard, many of them have been punished in all kinds of ways: say, like Mumia Abu Jamal, one of your admirers.

Mumia Abu Jamal

There are lots of Abu Jamal, but there is only one Mumia Abu Jamal. They have been jailed because they could not keep quiet about what was wrong in how Europeans kept terrorizing blacks and native Americans into “staying in their place”. Like many others whose names we do not even remember because their particular cause has been painted with taboo colors, they asserted a truth too loudly, too unflinchingly. A truth so simple that most children of the terrorizing white-race-superiority-fundamentalists would understand it and repeat it to their frowning parents. So simple is the truth that left on their own these children played without any problems with their black friends and their native American friends, and love to hear each other stories.

Now and then one hears about “American Values”. But the problems with MAJ is that his spelling of these values is precisely about the unity of humanity and not the superiority of one group or the other. Long before it became a political fashion, they were calling for a multi polar world. If serious that could have been a good way to remember that polar bears are part of humanity, rush to their rescue, and not just wring fingers and lament about their fate.

What MAJ did was trespassing over the invisible line which says that certain truths can only be articulated by those with financial and political power, and/or approved by them. The line is guarded by a police force that does not even have to be visible. Centuries of predation without limit have led its high priests to make predators of those who were not made to become so. No wonder it is easier to submit, lie down than stand up and be eaten up.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Pierre-Antoine Lovinsky

Like Makandal, most people seem to have forgotten who was Pierre-Antoine. Makandal fought in Santo Domingo in the 1750s. He was renown for killing (through poison) the slave and plantation owners. In particular those, one may surmise, who violated one of the articles of the Black Code prohibiting the torture of slaves. Eventually, he was caught and killed with the kind of vengeance one has learned to expect from those whose truths are contradicted by the simple affirmation of the dignity of humanity. He was tortured to death. Something that was specifically forbidden by article 42 of Le Code Noir.

A Royal Ordinance of October 1786 stipulated that the masters who would mutilate their slaves to the point of death would be punish with death. Yet in March 1788, one so-called Lejeune famously known for his cruelty, decided to put to death slaves who were accused of having poisoned other slaves. With the help of a surgeon by the name of Magre he put 4 of them to death by burning with pine tree torches the feet, then the legs and finally the thighs. Then he seized upon two women and began to torture them. A group of slaves denounced him, but nothing was done to him despite article 42.

Pierre-Antoine Lovinsky’s problem was to keep calling for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti. He kept at it until those who could not longer hear his calling, decided to silence him, kidnapped him and put him away. That was in August 2007. No one seems to know for sure whether he is alive or not. One would have thought that the International Red Cross might have been moved to request to see him, but those who did the kidnapping do not operate according to the rules of International Law, since they are convinced that they are a law on to themselves. To the ears of those who wanted Aristide out of their hair, Lovinsky’s relentlessness must have been felt like poison. Could it be that these silencers of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine belong to the same species that would love to see humanity disappear forever, seeking quietness at all cost even if it means smothering the little baby crying for her mother’s breast. Armed to the teeth, this species will not let go. One day, though, it will be afraid of its own shadow. Will it then look for other Lovinskys, to calm its nerves?

We must never forget those they keep pressuring to forget. Never.

Never let go,
always, against all odds,
keep going so goes the lessons,
and they keep coming
from all corners of the Planet,
but often times history gets filtered
and/or refined to the point of losing
all its most crucial nutrients.
As goes with the food processing industry,
so goes with the industrialization of history.
The history gets so refined as to lose
all the ingredients which keep it alive.
So with humanity
means respecting every tiny
every baby

In Copenhagen, there was the possibility
of remembering all of those who fought wars meant to save humanity,
meant to make humanity one,
meant to heal from competitiveness,
starting with the violence against Mother Earth.
Therein seems to lie the difficulty,
it is not just about the violence against Mother Earth,
it is about violence against all the mothers, mothers to be,
from the most tender age.

Copenhagen brought members of humanity from all corners of the Planet, but the Planet does not have corners in which those without shame could hide and present their arrogance under the cloak of
Piety, humility.

Copenhagen sounds like a bad dream.
Could it be that the battle was not won precisely
because humanity
has been so fragmented by all kinds of weaponry
that it has the greatest of difficulty
re-membering its dis-membered parts.

Recovering from learning to split the atom
Looks more and more
Like an impossibility
Because from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Survivors never included
the pulverized or their ashes
just an occasional imprint on a wall
the remaining shadow left
by the power of a thousand suns.

Let Re-membering the dis-membered
Become the mantra never to be forgotten.

J.Depelchin 5-Jan-2010 revised 31-Jul-2010