Dreams Buried in Freedoms Coffin

Dreams Buried in Freedoms Coffin


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes




Latortue and his retinue, dressed casually in open-necked shirts and slacks, arrived [in Gonaives] in two

United States Army Black Hawk helicopters and a Chinook transport helicopter flown by American troops. . . .

greeted by a rebel army commander in a suit and tie

Guy Phillipe                                                                                                                                                          Louis Jodel Chamblain



Books on the Caribbean

Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.

C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938)

Edourad Gissant. Caribbean Doscourse (2004)  /  Barbara Harlow. Resistance Literature (1987)

Josaphat B. Kubayanda. The Poet’s Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire (1990)


Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.  Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001)

David P. Geggus, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.  University of South Carolina Press, 2001.

Jean-Bertand Aristide. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization

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Dreams Buried in Freedom’s Coffin

An Editorial By Rudolph Lewis


Today, the light of justice and democracy is slowly being extinguished under the present occupation by soldiers of three respected international democracies, namely, the United States, France, and Canada. Two of these countries certainly have not had the best interest of the Haitian people at heart, namely, the United States and France.


From 1802-1804, the French wasted nearly 40,000 French soldiers to restore the enslavement of the Haitian people, and from 1825-1885 France kept the liberated Haiti in financial chains (90 million gold francs) demanding that poor Haitian peasants purchase their freedom. France has resisted the demands of $21 billion reparations for nearly a decade. And we all know that the U.S. government, despite its crocodile tears for the freedom of the Iraqi people, ignores and disregards black freedom whenever it is not under the camera’s eye.

While the Aristides languish at a residence of Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, Haiti’s new U.S.-backed leader, interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the so-called “rebel commanders” (NYTimes, March 21, 2004).  Mr. Latortue was flown in from Florida by the US State Department to replace Mr. Aristide’s democratic leadership.

According to reporter Kirk Semple, “Latortue and his retinue, dressed casually in open-necked shirts and slacks, arrived [in Gonaives] in two United States Army Black Hawk helicopters and a Chinook transport helicopter flown by American troops. He was greeted by a rebel army commander in a suit and tie who presented him a carved wooden key to the city” (NYTimes, March 21, 2004).

Despite claims that Haiti will be ruled by a team of “technocrats,” Haiti will resume its rule under former Duvalierists, indicted and convicted torturers and rapists (Read DeNeen L. Brown’s article on “political rapes,” Washington Post, March 21, 2004). Rebel leaders, members of the former The Cannibal Army, “plan to keep their weapons” and the “personable” Guy Philippe said “he would put his forces under the prime minister’s orders.” (NYTimes, March 21, 2004).

So Gerard Latortue and his new army commanders – Guy Philippe, a onetime member of the army who has previously been charged with plotting against the government, and Louis Jodel Chamblain, another former leader of FRAPH, convicted of murder and human rights abuses – have become the new powerbrokers in occupied Haiti. 

There is a scream for Justice from black holes in Titanyen, a mass burial site.

Clear as the sun rising in the east, the “authoritarian Aristide” (with anti-imperialist policies) was the popular and legitimately elected President of Haiti deposed by Guy Philippe and Louis Jodel Chamblain and other indicted and convicted criminals with the assistance of the US State Department and US Marines. The “democratic opposition” are self-and-American appointed murderers and thugs who care little about the massive poverty and powerlessness of the poor and especially the poor and oppressed women in Haiti. (Read DeNeen L. Brown’s article cited above.)


What then is there to be done about this “regime change” – this outrageous undermining of an elected President and the burial of dreams in “freedom’s coffin”?


One, CARICOM and other nations should refuse presently to recognize the present Haitian government and should do so only after all the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution 1529 (2004) of 29 February 2004 have been fully implemented and new free open elections have taken place, which would include the Lavalas Party.


Two, like Amnesty International, we “urgently calls on the international community, through its Multinational Interim Force, to guarantee that notorious human rights offenders with pending sentences for human rights convictions, and those against whom there are outstanding charges, are taken into custody and brought before the Haitian justice system. Escapees must be returned to prison; those perpetrators convicted in absentia have the opportunity for a retrial, under Haitian law, and should be held in custody until the retrial occurs.” These violators include Guy Phillipe and Louis Jodel Chamblain.


Three, all funds funneled through NGOs to FRAPH and other Haitian paramilitary groups should be curtailed immediately.


Four, the Haitian justice system should be fully defended, supported, and reformed in defense of the rights of Haitian women (Read DeNeen L. Brown’s article on “political rapes,” Washington Post, March 21, 2004).


Five, the US Congressional Black Caucus along with TransAfrica should establish a permanent  watchdog committee to assure the implementation of justice for the Haitian people.


Since the deposing of the Aristides and the Lavalas Party, British and American cameras have left Haiti. We cannot depend on the right-wing owned media in Haiti to defend human rights in Haiti. All those who truly love black freedom should not forget the present right-wing attacks on Aristide and the Haitian people. 


Nothing should stop us from speaking out against the present repression of Haitian freedom and democracy by the United States, France, and Canada. The Haitian poor cry out for Justice Now!


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Note: The title of this editorial “Dreams Buried in Freedom’s Coffin” is the last line of a poem of Patrick Silven. The last stanza of that poem “Refugees” reads: “At nightfall, before dropping / their bodies on bare mattresses / inside pigeon cells, they stare / at their dreams buried in freedom’s coffin.” from Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001) by Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman 



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The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World 

Reviewed by Mimi Sheller

The slave revolution that two hundred years ago created the state of Haiti alarmed and excited public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. Its repercussions ranged from the world commodity markets to the imagination of poets, from the council chambers of the great powers to slave quarters in Virginia and Brazil and most points in between. Sharing attention with such tumultuous events as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War, Haiti’s fifteen-year struggle for racial equality, slave emancipation, and colonial independence challenged notions about racial hierarchy that were gaining legitimacy in an Atlantic world dominated by Europeans and the slave trade. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World explores the multifarious influence—from economic to ideological to psychological—that a revolt on a small Caribbean island had on the continents surrounding it.

Fifteen international scholars, including eminent historians David Brion Davis, Seymour Drescher, and Robin Blackburn, explicate such diverse ramifications as the spawning of slave resistance and the stimulation of slavery’s expansion, the opening of economic frontiers, and the formation of black and white diasporas. Seeking to disentangle the effects of the Haitian Revolutionfrom those of the French Revolution, they demonstrate that its impact was ambiguous, complex, and contradictory.—Publisher, University of South Carolina Press

David P. Geggus is a professor of history at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a former Guggenheim and National Humanities Center fellow. He has published extensively on the history of slavery and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on the Haitian Revolution. He is the author of Slavery, War and Revolution: The British Occupation of Saint Domingue, 1793–1798 and an editor of A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean. Geggus lives in Gainesville.

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Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804

A Brief History with Documents

By Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus

This is the most succinct, convenient and accurate history of the Haitian Revolution currently available. It fills a significant gap in the historiography between monographs and general histories on one side and novels and creative literature on the other. The authors have produced an intelligent and highly useful collection of documents, many virtually inaccessible, and conveniently translated them for the English-speaking audience. Their ability to contextualize the events of the revolution briefly is simply exemplary.’ – Franklin Knight, Johns Hopkins University, USA ‘This is the most amazing document collection I have ever read. It is emotionally gripping, intellectually stimulating, morally provocative, action-packed and full of points of comparison to histories of slavery and freedom everywhere. It has a terrific narrative flow and inherent pathos. . . .This is a wonderful achievement for which all sorts of teachers will be most grateful.—Evan Haefeli, Tufts University

This volume details the first slave rebellion to have a successful outcome, leading to the establishment of Haiti as a free black republic and paving the way for the emancipation of slaves in the rest of the French Empire and the world. Incited by the French Revolution, the enslaved inhabitants of the French Caribbean began a series of revolts, and in 1791 plantation workers in Haiti, then known as Saint-Domingue, overwhelmed their planter owners and began to take control of the island. They achieved emancipation in 1794, and after successfully opposing Napoleonic forces eight years later, emerged as part of an independent nation in 1804. A broad selection of documents, all newly translated by the authors, is contextualized by a thorough introduction considering the very latest scholarship. Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus clarify for students the complex political, economic, and racial issues surrounding the revolution and its reverberations worldwide. Useful pedagogical tools include maps, illustrations, a chronology, and a selected bibliography.—Publisher, Bedford/St. Martin’s


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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 6 May 2010




Home Toussaint Table 

Related files: Amnesty International on Haiti  Why They Had to Crush Aristide  Washington and Paris overthrow Aristide  Haiti’s Murderous Army Reborn 


Dialogue between Two   Haitians  In Defense of Aristide  Aristide Under Lock and Key   Freed rights abusers back in the streets  Dreams Buried in Freedom’s Coffin 

Maxine Waters to Colin Powell

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