- Books for Understanding: Haiti
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- Pat Robertson says Haiti paying for 'pact to the devil'
Books for Understanding: Haiti
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Yet no declaration of independence, whether spoken in French or Haitian Creole, could sever the bonds between the former colony and its "Mother Country. We should not underrate the horror of this ventriloquy: the implications of a liberation that cannot be glorified except in the language of the former master. Even as Boisrond-Tonnerre warned of the dangers not of the "French armies," but "the canting eloquence of their agents' proclamations," he perpetuated the rhetoric he condemned.
Dessalines's proclamation of April 8 drafted by his mulatto secretary-general, Juste Chanlatte is also a highly stylized, Jacobin document.
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By avenging himself on the "true cannibals," the Haitian, no longer vile, earned his right to "regeneration" and understood at last what it meant to breathe "the air of liberty, pure, honorable, and triumphant. For whom does Dessalines speak? The majority of the revolutionaries did not know French it is claimed that Toussaint Louverture knew how to read and write, but Dessalines, like Henry Christophe, was illiterate and could barely sign his name.
Yet historians, both Haitian and foreign, present them, with some exceptions, as able to speak French. When Boisrond-Tonnerre declared independence in the name of Dessalines on January 1, , he recognized this linguistic colonialism with lyric prescience: "The French name still darkens our plains.
During the revolution, Creole was imposed as the national language by the Creole Haitian-born leaders Toussaint, Dessalines, and Christophe. This emerging language, initially used as a means of communication between slaves and masters, was an amalgam of French vocabulary and syntactic contributions from West Africa, as well as Taino, English, and Spanish.
The African-born former slaves, who spoke one of at least two or three African languages, were silenced and subjugated to the Creole linguistic monopoly, a creolization that made for a linguistic accord conducive to political control by Creoles. What strikes a reader of the various French proclamations during and after the revolution is the astonishing homogeneity of what was said, no matter who speaks or for what purpose.
- Haiti, History, and the Gods by Joan Dayan - tervisisvoi.ml.
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Debates in the revolutionary assemblies in Paris, the words of Georges-Jacques Danton and Robespierre especially, once printed in newspapers in Saint-Domingue, were recycled as formulas or favored shibboleths by those who took on the burden of politics and the prerogative of French in the new republic. Called variously "Black France" by one nineteenth-century observer Jules Michelet , this "France with frizzy hair" by another Maxime Raybaud , and merely a "tropical dog-kennel and pestiferous jungle" by Thomas Carlyle, Haiti forced imagination high and low: expression moved uneasily between the extremes of idealization and debasement.
In the background of this textualized and cursedly mimetic Haiti, however, remained certain legends, blurred but persistent oral traditions that resisted such coercive dichotomies as genteel and brute, master and slave, precious language and common voice.
Though Haiti's "Africanness," like its "Frenchness," would be used by writers for differing purposes, the business of being Haitian was more complex—and the slippages and uneasy alliances between contradictions more pronounced—than most writerly representations of Haiti ever allowed. Written by the black Martiniquan, Victor Cochinat, the columns reported on everything from vodou to the military, calling attention to the Haitians' love of artifice, their propensity to exaggerate and mime, and their apparent indifference to the continuing and bloody revolutions that followed independence in Cochinat also turned to vodou and to tales of cannibalism and magic in order to prove to his French audience that Haiti remained unregenerate.
Louis-Joseph Janvier published his alternately strident and elegiac response to Cochinat in Paris in Janvier, born in Port-au-Prince, descended from peasants, was the first in his family to be educated. In , when he was twenty-two, he received a scholarship from the Haitian government to study in France.
Pat Robertson says Haiti paying for 'pact to the devil'
There he remained, for twenty-eight years, until Janvier claimed that Haitians were on the road to civilization, arguing that the bloodiest political crimes in his country simply proved that "Haiti always imitates Europe. Recall—I am citing at random, unconcerned about chronology—recall the Sicilian Vespers, the holy Inquisition Haiti, History, and the Gods. Joan Dayan , Colin Dayan.
In Haiti, History, and the Gods, Joan Dayan charts the cultural imagination of Haiti not only by reconstructing the island's history but by highlighting ambiguities and complexities that have been ignored.