Is there no end to US ignominy? Will the name “America” go down in history, in real history, as one of the worst plagues to have visited our uncultured humanity? It would seem so, especially if, like me, you have been keeping abreast of Haitian history for say, the last two hundred years. But perhaps you do not even need to “go back” that far. Perhaps only ten years, perhaps only this year will do.
As was reported in the June 8, 2011 issue of The Nation and by Chip Bruce in the August 2011 issue of the Public i, documents released by WikiLeaks have exposed, to the entire planet, the extent of the shameful conspiracy against “Haiti,” against a “democratic” or “popular” Haiti, by our very own “America.” If I put “democratic” under quotes it is because one really begins to wonder what “democracy” really is or means when it can be used with such vicious effect, and for such pernicious reasons. One begins to wonder if “democracy,” that so-called “instrument of freedom,” should not henceforth be spelled “deMOCKracy,” so as to perennially remind our future generations of the devastating consequences of naively believing oneself to be the “savior” of the world, it’s so-called “leader.”
As The Nation report informs us, “The revelations published so far includes evidence that the US endorsed Haiti’s recent elections despite strong evidence that the results had been falsified; that the US Embassy aided Levi’s and Hanes contractors in their fight against the minimum wage and that the US tried -and failed- to scuttle a Venezuelan oil deal even though it would bring huge benefits to Haiti’s impoverished people” (emphases added). And yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg. For it is what the report does not tell us, or what it perhaps cannot tell us, that is most important.
Why? Why should such a repressive charge, such an awesome amount of violence (political, economic, historical, cultural, social, ideological, sexual) be exercised upon the Haitian people? Why should such enormous energies be spent in repressing, sometimes brutally, our neighbors.
The answer, believe it or not, is quite glaring, even though it lies almost hidden in the very surface of the report itself. Like a purloined letter in Edgar Allen Poe’s hand, the answer will surface only after we step back and consider the report itself. Only then will you be able to recognize the answer to the riddle: it is the Haitian Revolution. Marx would have called it a specter; but I have seen it first hand, and I know it is real.
The Haitian Revolution could be dated to before 1791, or even before 1752, when the slaves of St. Domingue, led by doctors, cooks, and even Imams, organized devastating assaults against the colonial regime, eventually defeating it and establishing “Haiti” for the first time as a Republic. The conspiracy against Haiti, perhaps even “demockracy” itself, can be dated back to this period.
But the Haitian Revolution can probably also be dated to roughly 1985, when Jean Bertrand Aristide, and the Lavalas movement finally toppled the US-backed dictatorial regime of the Duvaliers. One can only marvel at the enormous vitality and wisdom of a movement capable of displacing a power such as ours, especially when you consider its origins in one of the smallest and “poorest” countries in the hemisphere. And as the recent return of Aristide to his native soil after two US-led coup d’etats, and even after Bill Clinton, one of the principal architects of “demockracy” in our recent times, attempted to block it demonstrate, the Haitian Revolution, now dating back more than two hundred years, remains vibrant and well.
But do not just take my word for it. Go now to your nearest “youtube” station and watch for yourself the images of Haitians celebrating wildly in the streets the nearly unanimous victory of “Tet Kale” (or “Bald Head,” as Michel Martelly is popularly called) over the forces of corruption and political manipulation. Listen, listen to the people as they tirelessly chant “It is not money; it is our will.” Witness for yourself the face of the Haitian Revolution, so long suppressed, so long feared.
Make no mistake, however; the Haitian Revolution is not merely, or not simply, political, but it is also cultural, philosophical, moral, and scientific, in a word, “total.” In this, I believe, resides the secret of its constancy.
Even from its inceptions, the Haitian Revolution, led as it was/is by men and women who were learned in one art or the other, was always a revolution in knowledge. Not surprisingly, given their “origins” in non-Western philosophical systems, or their uselessness for hierarchical colonization and conquest (as opposed to mutual enrichment), such knowledges were not only ignored, they were actively suppressed. Such was the case of voodoo or voudoun, an advanced spiritual philosophy that, like few others, profoundly and radically challenges even our most basic interpretations of “reality.” It is literally inconceivable that the advancement of philosophy in the years to come will not be marked, and marked heavily, by the Haitian Revolution.
Being a revolution in thought, the Haitian Revolution is also a revolution in culture, in world culture.
There is no doubt that “demockracy” will continue to do everything in its power to silence the Haitian Revolution. Even upon the heels of the democratic victory of Martelly and of the Haitian people, “demockacy” was actively scheming to re-institute political corruption and to regain political control illegally by falsifying elections results, as the report alludes. But now that the WikiLeaks reports have finally exposed the shamelessness and brutally of the conspiracy against Haiti, we stand poised to enter the Haitian Revolution, and to enter along with it, into a new era in world history, world culture.
An exhibit of photographs from Haiti titled “Haiti Mon Amour” is on display at the IMC until Sept. 22.