Usually, I am not the type to speak my mind. But I thought this time, I had to talk on a subject that touches more than the country where I come from, but a whole culture.
Yesterday was January 12th. While this day was to mark a moment of retirement and compassion in memory of the victims of the earthquake of January 12, 2010, what made the front page was the statement of the President of the United States, in which he had treated some countries, among others, Haiti : “shithole country”.
I don’t agree with this and neither should you. Matter fact, I shouldn’t even have to explain to you why I don’t agree. But, now that I got your attention, let me talk to you about Haiti.
I’m not here to tell you that Haiti was the first black Republic to gain it’s independence. Nor that we won the biggest army at the time. No. It goes deeper than that.
People like Donald Trump take it as a game to use Haiti as an example to remind their people that we are poor, that we came with HIV, that we are bad immigrants and now the latest that our country is a shithole. He’s not the first one to use Haiti as an example to remind the world why black people should stay mentally, economically and physically enslaved. France has been doing it for years while trying to sit its hegemony on Martinique and Guadeloupe.
But there’s something that people all around the world should understand, whether you’re black, white, wherever you come from and most importantly if you’re Haitian.
We, Haitian, as a nation, we are never to be defeated.
Because, Haiti, the beautiful piece of island, in the south of Florida is the real land of Freedom. When Haiti was discovered in 1492, the original inhabitants of the island believed in freedom and equity for all. We have been trying not to drown ever since western civilisations had laid eyes on us and ever since they have been fighting to control us.
We are never to be defeated. Before we had Henry Christophe, we already had Caonabo. He stood up against the spaniards when they first tried to enslave the inhabitants of Quisqueya. Before we had Dessalines, we had Henri the cacique who escaped to the mountains with a few Indians and fought for liberty until their last breath. He welcomed whoever was brave and lucky enough to escape and fight next to him. This was way before the Africans came. That was way before we got to learn from them. Way before they would bring their thousands years knowledge to us.
Haiti is the land of Freedom. The first country to ever recognize black people as equal to white. You need to understand that Toussaint Louverture was already talking about all humans being entitled to freedom and the right to live a decent life, while Victor Hugo (the defensor of the poor and freedom), years after, was still a racist.
Don’t disrespect the country of my ancestors. We May be poor, but we deserve respect, honor and dignity. The same pride they’ve been trying to take away from us for the past 214 years. We never accepted oppression from anybody: Not from the Spanish, not from the French, not from the Americans, not from the germans, not even from our own brothers.
When Haiti was a free independent Republic, put in quarantine in a world where trade was only allowed between white supremacist countries, the United-States were still enslaving black people. It’s funny that 200 years later, they are still among the two countries in the world that haven’t signed the Convention of children right. And since 1990, more than half of the children executions in the world were made by The United-States of America.
Now, I’m not here to judge. But, don’t disrespect the country of my ancestors. The value of a country doesn’t depend on how heavy your pocket is, but rather to your contribution to make this world a better place and to what you’re bringing to this world’s heritage. And Haiti deserves her seat at the table.
We showed to the world that another way was possible when dozen of countries had lost hope. We made Haiti a welcoming land of freedom for whomever’s liberty was threaten.
Now, you are not the one to tell us where to go and what to do. The freedom to choose who can move around this planet don’t belong to anyone. If Americans “expats” are allowed to move wherever they want, so does everybody else.
In Haiti we say <no job is worthless> We value hard working for a living. We value waking early in the morning and sleeping late at night. We value doing something, whatever, whether than nothing. We value grit. Trying over and over again. Most of Haitians go to the United-States because they have a vision. Some of us, travel because we feel like, we are citizens of the world and we can conquer it. Some are looking for better opportunities. In all cases, we bring knowledge, hope and culture to wherever we go.
Hegemony and power go by cycle. Don’t forget, that 200 years ago, France was the most powerful country of its era. We Haitian, as a nation, can never be defeated. Because Haiti is the real land of Freedom.