[Blackstudies-l] Haiti: Caribbean dignity unbowed

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Sun Jan 14 12:16:06 EST 2018

ivetteromero posted: " Barbados’ Nation News recently published a statement
by Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of The University of the
West Indies, who provides a highly dignified and moving response to the
U.S. president’s demeaning and damaging words. [Many thanks to M"
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<http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/> Haiti: Caribbean dignity
<http://repeatingislands.com/2018/01/14/haiti-caribbean-dignity-unbowed/> by
ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>

*[image: hilary_beckles]*

*Barbados’ Nation News recently published a statement by Sir Hilary
Beckles, Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, who provides
a highly dignified and moving response to the U.S. president’s demeaning
and damaging words. [Many thanks to Michael O’Neal for sharing this item.]*

The democratic, nation-building debt the American nation owes the
Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular that resides at its core,
is not expected to be repaid but must be respected. Any nation without a
nominal notion of its own making can never comprehend the forces that
fashion it origins.

Haiti’s Caribbean vision illuminated America’s way out of its colonial
darkness. This is the debt President Trump’s America owes Toussaint
L’Ouverture’s Haiti. It’s a debt of philosophical clarity and political
maturity. It’s a debt of how to rise to its best human potential. It’s a
debt of exposure to higher standards. Haiti is really America’s Statue of

The President’s truth making troops might not know, and probably care
little for the fact that Haitian people were first in this modern world to
build a nation completely free of the human scourge of slavery and native
genocide. It might be worthless in their world view that Haiti’s leadership
made the Caribbean the first civilisation in modernity to criminalise and
constitutionally uproot such crimes against humanity and to proceed with
sustainability to build a nation upon the basis of universal freedom.

The tale of their two constitutions tells this truth. The American
Independence Declaration of 2nd July, 1776, reinforced slavery as the
national development model for the future. The Haitian Independence
Declaration, 1st January, 1804, defined slavery a crime and banished it
from its borders. Haiti, then, became the first nation in the world to
enforce a provision of personal democratic freedom for all, and did so at a
time when America was deepening its slavery roots.

The USA, therefore should daily bow before Haiti and thank it for the
lessons it taught in how to conceptualise and create a democratic political
and social order. Having built their nation on the pillars of property
rights in humans, and realising a century later that slavery and freedom
could not coexist in the same nation, Americans returned to the battlefield
to litigate the century’s bloodiest defining and deciding civil war.

Haiti was and will remain this hemisphere’s mother of modern democracy; and
the Caribbean, the cradle of the first ethical civilisation. For President
Trump, therefore, to define the Caribbean’s noble heroes of human freedom,
whose sacrifice empowered and enlightened his nation in its darkest days,
as a site of human degradation is beyond comprehension. It is a brutal
bashing of basic truths that are in need, not of violation, but celebration.

Haiti, then, is mankind’s monument to its triumphant rise from the demonic
descent into despair to the forging of its first democratic dispensation.
It is home to humanity’s most resilient people who are the persistent proof
of the unrelenting intent of the species to let freedom rain and reign.

Thankfully, many fine souls dedicated to social justice have risen to
“write this wrong” into the public record. Let’s take comfort in recalling
one such line drawn on the highway of history. In this 2018 White House
attempt to diminish Caribbean Civilisation let’s read aloud a part of
William Wordsworth’s 1802 celebratory sonnet to Toussaint L’Ouverture of
Haiti, the greatest democracy mind of modernity:

“. . . though fallen thyself, never to rise again,

Live and take comfort. Thou have left behind

Powers that will work for thee,

Air, earth, and skies;

There’s not a breathing of the common wind

that will forget thee; thou have great allies;

thy friends are exultation, agonies, and love,

and man’s unconquerable mind.”

Source: http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/119767/haiti-
*ivetteromero <http://repeatingislands.com/author/ivetteromero/>* | January
14, 2018 at 11:52 am | Categories: News
<http://repeatingislands.com/category/news/> | URL: https://wp.me/psnTa-zhN

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