Statement from Prison of Sò  Anne

Statement from Prison of Sò  Anne


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



The real truth is that it is the American government who violently invaded my home

and arrested me, and it is only they who hold the keys to my jail cell. They are

pretending to use the Haitian judicial system to cover this fact



Statement from Prison of Sò Anne

Annette Auguste, Haitian folksinger and champion of the poor


Annette Auguste, the revered Haitian folksinger known professionally as So Anne (Sister Anne), made this statement from the Petionville Penitentiary, Haiti, on Sunday, May 23, 2004.

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I speak to the world today as a prisoner of conscience in Haiti, held in detention for my political beliefs and convictions.

I was arrested on May 10 in Delmas, a suburb of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, by U.S. Marines, who brutally assaulted my home in the middle of the night with explosives and large arms, terrorizing all within, especially the small children of my family. The only security we had was our two small dogs, which they killed immediately upon entering the premises, after using explosives to blast open the front door of our home.

I can never forget nor forgive the trauma these men have caused the youngest and most vulnerable of our household. Of the three teenagers and young adults who escaped arrest that night by jumping over the balcony, one suffered serious wounds that required urgent medical treatment. I think none of us will ever be able to forget the inhuman treatment we were subjected to in the course of this violent action undertaken in the name of the Bush government for what he calls “building democracy” in my homeland.

The real truth is that it is the American government who violently invaded my home and arrested me, and it is only they who hold the keys to my jail cell. They are pretending to use the Haitian judicial system to cover this fact. Yet it was only American soldiers who invaded my home, without an arrest warrant, and forcibly took me away in chains while the Haitian police sat passively in their cars outside.

The Bush government’s Marines said that they undertook this violent action against me and my family because I was planning to attack their forces and undermine security and stability in my homeland.

How can they be so cynical when they know quite well it was they, along with the French government, who undermined Haiti’s stability by forcibly removing our constitutional president on Feb. 29, 2004? How can they be so cynical when they know it is they who undermined our security by training and unleashing the forces of the former military and death squads in order to assist them in overthrowing our constitutional government?

It was only afterwards that the U.S. government manipulated their puppet Latortue, the de facto prime minister, and the Haitian judicial system to charge me falsely with organizing an attack against the so-called “student opposition” on Dec. 5, 2003, during their “demonstration” against the constitutional government of Aristide and Lavalas. I was never involved nor had any knowledge of the events till after they took place on that date. It is clear to me that such an accusation is only a small act in this shameful theater. 

The fact remains that it was the Bush administration and his military forces in Haiti that arrested me and, once again, it is only they who hold the keys to my jail cell and can give the order to free me. Even if paying an unjust bribe to some corrupt Haitian official or paying a fine ordered by the Haitian judicial system could secure my release, it would still have to be approved at the highest political levels of the Bush administration.

Throughout my imprisonment, the ceaseless campaign of repression and assassination against the base of the Lavalas political party has continued.

Militants of our movement who are credible and well recognized leaders in their neighborhoods are being assassinated by the new militarized police force under the control and direction of the so-called MIF, which is in reality being directed by the U.S. Marines. Leaders of our movement are still being arrested and others forced into hiding in a concerted effort to break the back of the Lavalas movement, which still sees Jean-Bertrand Aristide as the only legitimate and constitutionally elected president of Haiti.

While I have been forced to sit in this jail cell, I have also seen the cynicism of some within our party, brought about by this campaign of repression, intimidation and assassination. I understand their fear as I am myself a victim of this campaign whose purpose is to destroy our hope and aspirations for building a Haiti where the poor are not simple tools upon which to build dreams of personal empire and wealth.

I would remind all those who still consider themselves to represent Lavalas and the poor majority of Haiti to remember the lesson of the first occupation of our homeland by the Americans and our great martyr Charlemagne Peralte.

Peralte made his peace with the Americans in good faith and disbanded his armed resistance against the occupation only to fall victim to their lies and ill intentions: he was kidnapped and assassinated. A similar fate threatens many Haitians today in Lavalas who believe in our national sovereignty and justice. 

From my cell, I am given hope by the many voices being raised against the injustice the people of Haiti are being forced to suffer today. I am grateful to Congresswoman Maxine Waters and countless others who have stood up in solidarity with the Haitian people in order to stop the bloodletting and help the outside world to know the truth and reality we are faced with today.

I send you all my love and gratitude for remaining strong in separating the lies from the truth in Haiti’s current situation. I send you all my blessings as a free Haitian woman fighting for the rights of the impoverished majority in my homeland.

They may imprison my body, but they will never imprison the truth I know in my soul. I will continue to fight for justice and truth in Haiti until I draw my last breath.

Annette Auguste

˜Lock Sister Anne up in prison and she will feed the prisoners”

Port-au-Prince – While on the outside the U.S. Marines are trying to turn Haiti into a prison, Lavalas leader So Anne is using her time to organize inside the Penitentiary.

Annette Auguste has been imprisoned for her political beliefs since her home was violently invaded by U.S. Marines on May 10. The U.S. government has done everything it can to insure she remains a prisoner of conscience, including accusing her of having contact with Haitian Muslims and planning to attack U.S. Marines.

This unilateral invasion of a respected peaceful activist for Lavalas was so outrageous that U.S. Congesswoman Maxine Waters wrote two letters to Secretary Colin Powell protesting the arrest of So Anne.

It is hard to understand why the U.S. government considers Auguste so dangerous when you see her sitting in her jail cell receiving visits from the poor who have come to revere her. They come in droves and just want to spend a little time talking with her to make sure she is all right and bring small gifts of food. It is perhaps easier to understand why the Bush administration considers her to be a “risk to stability and security in Haiti” when you see the assistance and help she gives to other prisoners who are not so fortunate as to have her popularity and reputation.

It is reported that she was transferred from the National Penitentiary a week ago because her jailers were concerned with her growing influence because of her helping to give small amounts of money to free some wrongfully incarcerated while generously sharing her gifts of food from admirers and family with other less fortunate prisoners. Since then, they have transferred her to a smaller prison in Petionville, but, to the angst of the U.S. and their puppets in the judicial system, she continues to gain in popularity as she refuses to stop organizing and helping others from within her concrete and bare jail cell. 

This is a salute to Auguste, who is an indomitable prisoner of conscience who will never stop her work on behalf of the poor even from behind prison bars.

San Francisco Bay View / National Black Newspaper / 4917 Third Street /  San Francisco California 94124 /  Phone: (415) 671-0789 / Fax: (415) 671-0316 /

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What Color is Haitian Jesus?—17 October 2011—When it comes to Jesus, however, it seems everyone else is Black, leaving Jesus to standout more than what would be normally expected in a religious painting.  My favorite example of this in the gallery is a depiction of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus. The scene contains onlookers in the foreground, all Black, as well as John the Baptist, also Black, baptizing Jesus, white. The message is uncanny, but the true gravity of the piece takes a moment to sink in. Finally, it hits: you mean even in a Black country where the people and important figures in religious history are depicted as Black, Jesus still has to be white? For any Christian painting, I imagine the image of Jesus would figure prominently. Yet, this painting has added an extra layer of “heavenliness, ” by depicting Jesus as white amidst a sea of Black followers and a Black baptist.

In another painting, depicting the miraculous catch of fish from the book of Luke, Jesus and the disciples are painted white, though admittedly the fish are a variety of colors. And, after further scrutiny, perhaps Jesus isn’t white exactly? After all, Haiti does boast a sizable and influential Libyan population. Perhaps the images in this painting bear homage to middle eastern influence?—SakpaseDiplomacy

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

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I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

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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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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 /

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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 16 June 2008 




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