Trouble With The Past Of Haiti And The Future Of Africa

Travels of trouble by Kole OmotoshoIN 1804 Haiti became independent after years of fighting the French who desperately wanted to keep the Haitians as slave. They cursed the French and forbade them from ever entering Haiti.

Those Polish soldiers who deserted the French and fought with the Haitians were made honorary Blacks, nwa, Creole for Noir. They tore out the white of the French flag and adopted it as the flag of their new country Haiti.

Their leaders sent for Parisian tailors to come and sew the best Parisian fashions for them and their ladies.

The French had made fortunes generation after generation after generation from the fertile soil of Haiti, combined with the raw muscles of the Haitians and the arms of the French. It was the arms that the Haitians defeated and freed themselves and their land forever from slavery.

Even over 200 years ago, a country is a country because of other countries. Haiti wanted to be recognised as a country by other countries.

The United States of America, a slave holding country could not recognise a country that had come into existence by destroying slavery and slave trade. But the United States of America will not say anything. Let the French handle it.

France said yes Haiti can be a country if it pays compensation for the loss of its slaves, the loss of its plantations in Haiti, the loss of the irrigation works it left behind when it was driven from Haiti.

The leaders of Haiti went back to Haitians and told that if Haiti was to be a country, the French wanted compensation for the Freedom of Haiti.

The Haitians said they owed only themselves and their Gods for their Freedom and would not buy from the French what they already had. Dutifully, the Haitians leaders went back to tell the French what the people of Haiti said.

France said to the leaders, do not worry; we will lend you the money that you will use to pay us compensation for your Freedom.

France winked at the leaders of Haiti to say don’t mention this to the people of Haiti o, enhem! This is how Haiti acquired its first foreign debt. A few years into the freedom of Haiti, the leaders wanted to drive them back to the sugar cane plantations.

After all, they had worked for the French. Now can they please work for themselves? The Haitians refused. They demanded a piece of land for themselves to cultivate and to own.

The plantations were cut up into two square metre plots worked until the soil died. And the trees on the land were cut and made into charcoal for cooking until there were few trees left in the country.

Food were imported and water and pink champagne and fancy furniture and air-conditioning. More foreign borrowing and more foreign debt.

In 1915, the Marines of the United States of America occupied Haiti so as to better manage the finances of the country.

They stayed until 1934 when they left behind Dr. Duvalier Papa Doc who placed his son Baby Doc there after him until that one was driven out of the country in 1986 on a United States of America Air Force craft. To earn money, the government of Haiti accepts the chemical and nuclear wastes of other friendly western countries.

Every year tons and tons of these wastes are strewn across the dried up land of Haiti. Over the years, rain does not fall and the art of dew gathering has not been learnt in Haiti.

Natural disasters began small, a landslide here, a sinking ground there. Then in 2010 a disastrous earthquake of a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale (defines the magnitude of the seismic waves of and earthquake) struck Haiti.

It left 220,000 dead, 300,000 injured and the country a pile of rubble. The earthquake raised $13.5 billion in humanitarian charity to rebuild the country.

Not much has been rebuilt. If the origins of the modern African, Asian and Latin American state is rooted in a war of independence, the achievement of freedom should not be a simple assumption of victory.

Freedom is definitely not enough. Power to do to others what the colonisers and enslavers and exploiters have done to their colonies, to their slaves and to the exploited must be the ultimate finality for a war of independence.

Between 869 AD and 883 AD there was the first ever Black Slave Revolt near the city of Basra in what is southern Iraq today.

A population of about half a million souls fought the Abbasid authorities for their freedom from slaves working in the sugar cane plantations in the Mesopotamia Marshes between the Rivers Euphrates and Tigris. The leader of the revolt Ali ibn Muhammad claimed descent from Ali the Fourth Caliph and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad.

He then promised all the slaves who joined in the revolt would own slaves in their turn. Former oppressed people must also learn to oppress or else their future will be the past of Haiti.

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1 Comment
  • princegab

    I think the writer is saying that to be free, you have to be a predator. But really? The predators are not free and that is what made them predators. The Haitians may have refused to enslave themselves when they were called to do so, I doubt if that is the reason for their misery. African dictators were predators where their subjects were the slaves in what is called self enslavement but never resulted in advancement of the continent either.
    Now where is the Ali ibn and co between rivers in today world? From the look of things, the black descendace of prophet mohammed did not make it either.
    Should we now say good nigjt to Hiati? NO.
    Something more foundermental is at play. A weighty subject matter.
    Thanks for the story though.

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