“Three open doors wait for us to enter for making a truly progressive and just New World in the 21st century: all of Haiti as a World Heritage Site that’s not for sale in a Western Hemisphere with one passport and one minimum wage. Why not?”– Èzili Dantò, human rights lawyer
The Metamorphosis: How I Reached One and One to Make Three
These were written nearly twenty years ago.
It kicks out my gut that they’re still so relevant:
Flashback to Autumnal Equinox,
Breaking Sea Chains,
The Red Sea,
Little Girl in the Yellow Sunday Dress,
Journeys of the Serpent and the Moon,
Rolling On Rhythmically,
I’m the Music, the Unchainable Fragmentation, Ayiti, and other such Ézili Dantò performance poetry pieces.
Today, after living through bloodier betrayals and inching along to survive the whips of neocolonialism as a human rights lawyer defending the most exploited nation in the Western Hemisphere, I’m layered in deeper scars and laughter rhythms than when I first wrote those pieces.
Then too, I am still a dancer with a pretty good pirouette. Tears trickle in my laughter sifting across long ago lost innocence. But, Granmoun yo – the Gran-grans – kept me healthy enough to plant three seeds towards a different reality. Put them in the ground for that bloodied Afrikan red sea, knowing Black surrounds the red, protects it, grows it.
Autumnal Equinox was the tipping point that fueled beginning the trickster cycle I’m carried along. Questions I had gestating in me crumbled. A different rhythm rolled in. Tightly coiled and recoiled in its flashbacks, storms, vibrations, and the self-defense. The noises that call to me, rent and anchors me, screeching loudly.
I see now the cold winters I endured. And though what’s beneath my skull cap still can’t hold on to certainty for long, I see too how that great serpentine fire path traveled down the Zodiac’s harvest lines to inevitably curve up to spring and unleash a summer harvest I’d recognize. But only in hindsight.
The Red Sea (c) 1997 Ézili Dantò – A live recording from the theatrical presentation
I first made the U-turn to Haiti in 1994.
I went as a young lawyer without a clue. Writing later about how it felt, I said in the Red Sea, I didn’t know:
“…the ways I can be co-opted by working with those more schooled in the patterns of privilege and domination than I could ever be. I didn’t measure-up to ambitions I haul around with me every day but can’t articulate. To visions I have but can only really see in hindsight. To whatever function I’m here for.”
The first democratically elected Haiti president hired me as his legal advisor but the U.S. ambassador to Haiti effectively fired me. And during that long-ago U-turn, I couldn’t fit the image I have of my gran-grans’ Dantò-Ogou with the Haiti I crashed into.
Cut to 20 years later.
It’s Autumn 2015.
I am preparing for a presentation of the Red, Black and Moonlight Vodun Jazzoetry series I wrote about the journey of a Vodun woman in Haiti. Me. Relearning my lines to perform School’s Out, Autumnal Equinox, Breaking Sea Chains, Capsized, the Red Sea and other Ézili pieces for a scheduled performance.
I am reliving that raw written life in the distance. That young human rights lawyer, is now, the grown-ass Black woman, decades later. The first ten years beginning this journey is recorded in the Red, Black & Moonlight series and mostly all the last twenty years as the head of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network is somewhere online. The overlapping ten years, since 2004, I helped lead the Free Haiti Movement…I am the red sea. At the end of Between Falling and Hitting the Ground, onstage in 2001, I prayed and plaintively asked the Ancestors: “Do I get time and talent too… Time to participate in creating a different history…DO I GET TIME?”
Twenty-years. Never froze. Graced and rented apart with time, in time, out of time, a scattered seed. I looked everywhere for solid ground in those years.
Breaking sea chains, I alternated between suffering and expanding. But I also never got any smarter than “wanting to set them to the fires they lay my Black babies in, eternally.”
I still hit my head against Satan’s Iron Will so other little Haitian girls won’t have to. Blessedly, no matter how deep the sorrow, I always know I’m original Woman Black – the divine Red Sea protected in Black to give form. (It’s Desalin season right now at the Free Haiti Movement just to give you a glimpse – poukisa Ogou lan tèt mwen kounyela.)
Looking back, I see Dantò and Ogou were always there even through the terrifying 2004 bicentennial Bush regime change in Haiti; the 2010 apocalyptic earthquake. What came after. UN-imported cholera and the pedophilia cases we took against Christian white men molesting homeless Black Haiti boys to make them eunuchs like the ol’ Arab enslavers. I once stood in a New Haven courtroom. Took back the Haitian charitable icon, the venerable Pierre Toussaint. Erased bloody betrayals done by Society’s white saints. That was the highlight before the overprocessed White-“light” blindsided us, pouring from past to present, giving underhanded access to cut us out. Pilfered the civil cases to make the millions we needed. But we carried cholera. Used sun-gazing to survive treacherous vampires’ teeth and claws. The convulsions to began the unheard-off cholera case wrapped in a Haiti-led narrative indicting the respondeat superior. Wrote to the brain-dead ’bout hidden fracking mines on quake fault lines and plans for the old Caracol North. Freestyled and reformatted seismic shifts to kill Tarzan, Jane and their Uncle Toms-Sambos. Sent four Black mothers to India even when cavemen muscles rushed forward to callously amputate Zili Dlo. Mere detours. Because Manbo Zili, Manbo Inan and Ogou Feray were always there. Petwo. Kongo. Nago. Rada. Eternal seeds know each other. Gran’s grace grants this early Autumn 2015 day, for planting outloud, three new seeds for a better New World for all.
Three Simple Èzili Dantò Principles For A More Just New World
US imperialism/white supremacy is built on a faulty foundation – a hootin’ jig of fear and favor.
That sixteen-year old High School student described in Autumnal Equinox is still in me. But I’m no longer trapped in Silence’s Crap. Its onslaughts. No longer drowning. Kept “leashed and kenneled, flattened and reduced by poverty pimps masturbating on Black pain in the name of nationhood.” No longer plaintively asking: “why the hostility towards me?” No. I did what the Ancestors commanded and became their words out-loud. The hunted secretly became the hunter. I search out and use our Ézili platforms to lift up the voices that tell the inconvenient truth. I like to get “of the ghetto” when necessary. I am an expert now at challenging authority and the status quo.
Massah’s fake remorse rolls on. He survives by wholesale genocide. Without a colonial parent, the welfare of racism-white supremacy and the European concept of its own superiority in all things renders Haiti a facsimile of a nation-state, bullied interminably by the more powerful, might-make-right scumbag mindsets.
Obviously the thinking of new 21st century Thought Leaders, without the racism and assimilation, is necessary. There’s a myriad of racist institutionalized violences in the American Mediterranean, including the highest mass incarceration rates on the planet; the big business of unfair sentencing of Blacks; and, the feudal economic system where public wealth is privatized by the One-Percenters. The charitable industrial complex and caveman economics globally destroys equitable social and economic development. The most ludicrous part to me is that the nations of the world with the most mineral wealth and fertile lands have the lowest currency values, while the Imperialists, who bring next to nothing to the table in those areas, keep themselves above the financial fray, feeding at the trough of global trade inequities, blurring and bombarding reality with the white superiority fantasy and mostly fake Western aid. Washington and its ambassadors preach justice for all in their Constitution, but are too high tech to live love. Preach trade liberalization in their foreign policy bulletins and laws, but don’t practice it.
This daughter of Haiti proposes three simple, democratic and just actions to solve some of the Western Hemisphere’s institutionalized violences. To eradicate the hypocrisy entwined in its immigration problem, poverty reduction problem, economic racism problem, health care problem, police brutality problem, military industrial complex problem, the general bourgeois democracy and disenfranchisement problem outside of the European metropolises. For Haiti, the grief can stop, be mitigated, if Haiti’s unique place in the world is institutionalized and the Haiti Diaspora’s nearly $3billion in remittances are not diluted by US imperial policies; not blocked from funding local infrastructure and local Haiti growth.
The UN alliance doesn’t help Black nations. The current US occupation of Haiti – outsourced to United Nation guns – gives stark evidence of UN criminality from Patrice Lumumba to Jean Bertrand Aristide. A powerful United Humans’ movement is necessary to take down the unfeeling and undemocratic, corporatized United Nations that’s a handmaiden to the World War II powers and their continuing imperialism. A new world without the imperial boundaries but that’s organized by a people-to-people movement to usher a world where there’s more economic democracy, where globalism is not about corporations privatizing all labor, resources and public wealth but about valuing people-before-profit. The three simple Ézili Dantò principles for an immediate more just and economically viable New World:
One Western Hemispheric Passport.
One Western Hemispheric Minimum Wage.
Haiti Is Recognized As A World Heritage Site.
It’s clear that the corporate entity has more human rights these days, more tax breaks and government welfare subsidies than humans. The Hemispheric passport and minimum wage (adjsusted for inflation) would help level the playing field for the ordinary person. Bring value and dignity to a vast underclass of peoples. It would increase access to opportunity for all, in a manner that the odious Western charitable industrial complex and its fake aid, could never provide. It would set human rights a bit more on par with the artificial legal entity otherwise known as “the corporation.”
It’s unlikely, if they were paid the same wages at home in the American South that could be found in the American North, that there would be massive illegal immigration of Mexicans, Haitians, South Americans or others from the global South. If the natural human curiosity for mobility, to learn new cultures and interact with different people wasn’t governed and stifled by white supremacy and their draconian trade laws, there would be a less compelling need for families to separate, to leave their warmer climates to find life in the cold North.
Setting Haiti as a World Heritage Site, to be protected, is a model to consider instead of the relentless resource/labor exploitation, dog-eat-dog, feed-the-ultra-rich, corporate nation-state model.
In the world we live in, a Black nation like Haiti cannot ward off the brutal Eurasian predator nations and their militarized white settlers, alone. The Haiti warriors changed moral history.
The Afrikan warriors at Bwa Kayiman did what Spartacus could not do. What the Biblical Jesus Christ never even tried to do. The Haitian warriors at Bwa Kayiman led a revolution that abolished slavery after 1200 years of Arab enslavement on the Afrikan continent and 300 years of European slavery in Haiti.”– Ézili Dantò, Celebrating Bwa Kayiman 2015
Haiti is small but its historical impact on the world is enormous. The constant military and economic aggression, invasions and occupations of Haiti are mirrors reflecting the enslaving powers’ racism and unwillingness to nix bourgeois democracy, bourgeois freedom , where slavery and freedom inhabits the same space. The Haiti warriors fought for a universal freedom never before attained in world history by the enslaved and have been paying an Independence Debt for this achievement ever since.
The profit-over-people nations, are still mercilessly beating up Haitians to a pulp, to this day, in the vain hopes of eradicating the accomplishments of the Bwa Kayiman warriors and Haiti Revolution.” — Ézili Dantò, Bwa Kayiman 2015 and Barack Obama installed Dictatorship in Haiti
Haiti should be recognized and valued as a sacred world trust like Vatican City. But for the Afrikans who first took down slavery, colonialism, forced assimilation, slave making and slave trading. Haiti was the first modern nation to put liberty into application in the Western Hemisphere. No part of Haiti can be sold. Nor should Haitian peasants be expelled from their homes so that the armed and powerful may turn Haiti into a Free Zone for modern day feudal plantations. Haiti lands have been paid for, over and over again, a thousand times by the Haitians. (The Haitian struggle – the greatest David vs. Goliath battle being played out on this planet.)
Neither Haiti offshore islands, its deep water ports or inland territories are freebies for the monopolizing Eurasian Messrs-lets-hoard-it-all. It’s the land of Desalin’s descendants like Monaco belongs to its royal family and the super-rich, but with Haitians having the more moral right to Haiti. Haiti is a place of resident freedom for all Afrikans in need and a temporary sanctuary for anyone fleeing persecution from anywhere in the world. (1805 Haiti Constitution.)
Capsized 1997 – A live performance recording from the theatrical presentation (Text)
It’s hard to watch that bullet come without flinching. Can you walk that Sanit Bèlè walk, Ayisyen? Advocate the three Ézili Dantò principles for a New World in the Western Hemisphere? Say no to the foul occupiers of Haiti and tell the embedded media, “you cannot put the blindfold on me?”
Ézili Dantò’s work is a tool for self defense. Worn and buttress in years advocating for justice for frontline Haiti warriors who were killed resisting or as a consequence of the daily Western tyranny in Haiti. That faulty foundation sold as normal. If you check, Ezili’s Three Haiti questions all Haitians and world citizens should have an answer for. Or, watch the March 2010 “To-Tell-The-Truth-About-Haiti-Forum” after the earthquake, you’ll get a better starting point for understanding why the Haiti resistance voices are marginalized.
Standing on truth, living without fear, Haiti thinkers knew the powerful and privileged foreigners would raise billions for their own pockets and children trust funds on Haiti suffering after the quake and promote the export economy model, the natural resource exporting economy model that’s a failure for local Haiti growth since the time of slavery.
Three open doors wait for us to enter for making a truly progressive and just New World in the 21st century: 1) all of Haiti as a World Heritage Site that’s not for sale in a Western Hemisphere with 2) one passport and 3) one minimum wage that’s a living wage.
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” — Lilla Watson, the Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s, Haiti: A time bomb which must be defused immediately
Ézili Dantò, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) and Free Haiti Movement, September 22, 2015
“The West has two faces. One evil.”
To help sustain this work become a paid monthly subscriber at $12 per month. Your support is much appreciated. Thank you.
Subscribe to our Ezili youtube channel
“Keep your innocence little Haitian girl.
Be smarter than me. Don’t let them see. Smile.
Be who you are without wanting to set them to the fires they lay you in, eternally. Don’t hit your head against Satan’s iron will little Haitian girl.
Let me.” — Open Letter To The Little Girl in The Yellow Sunday Dress (c) 2002 by Ézili Dantò
An HLLN FreeHaitiMovement post honoring Haiti’s founding father
– Janjak Desalin (Jean Jacques Dessalines). Born, September 20, 1758, assassinated Oct. 17, 1806
“I only want the brave to stay with me. Those who wish to become once again French slaves can make their way out of this fort. Those on the contrary who wish to die as free men may take their place around me” — Jean Jacques Dessalines, Haiti’s founding father, speaking at Cr ête-Ã -Pierrot, March 11, 1802
““We must, with one last act of national authority, forever assure the empire of liberty in the country of our birth; we must take any hope of re-enslaving us away from the inhuman government that for so long kept us in the most humiliating torpor. In the end we must live independent or die.” –Janjak Desalin (Jean-Jacques Dessalines – September 20, 1758- Oct. 17, 1806)- HLLN FreeHaitiMovement links re-MEMBERing Haiti’s founding father, Janjak Desalin
Women of the Haiti Revolution: Do Not Put the Blindfold Me
– A Two Hour HLLN Haiti Teach-in, Florida, March, 2010
Watch the “Don’t Put The Blindfold on Me” – A two hour HLLN Haiti Teach-in, conducted in Fort-Lauderdale Florida, March 13, 2010, sponsored by Frantz Delva, M.D. President of Latin Americans United Inc., Margaret Michell Armand, Yves Jodesty, M.D. and Francelot Moise, M.D. after the earthquake with featured guest the honorable Judge Jean Sénat Fleury. Introduction of Ezili done by the acclaimed novelist and famous author, Edwidge Danticat.
The Three Ideals of Janjak Desalin (Jean Jacques Dessalines), Haiti’s founding father
Share, circulate, re-post- Each one teach one.
A Free Haiti Movement Desalin Sept 20 to Oct 17th posting- ”ª#”FreeHaitiMovement”¬
1. Dessalines ideal #1 -All Haitians shall be known only by the generic appellation of Blacks (1805 Constitution); -Black is the color of liberty, self-defense is a human right. Live free or die fighting for freedom.- http://bit.ly/1kvyiYV Ideal 2=What Ayiti calls forth? http://bit.ly/1rZqIJC
2. Dessalines ideal #2 – What’s in a name?
“Ayiti” is the Taino name for the Island freed by Jean Jacques Dessalines’ people. The word Ayi in the Fon Afrikan language means “earth.” The word Ayiti is both Amerindian and Afrikan and means old sacred highland or sacred homeland. Besides “Ayiti”, the Taino Ayisyen also referred to the island as Kiskeya (“mother of the earth”) and Bohio (“home”). But Ayiti was the more widely used name, meaning an ancient and sacred soil/land/earth, a sacred highland or hallowed ground. The amalgamated Afrikan tribes became “Ayisyen” in Ayiti, thereby honoring Afrika’s strengths and the spirit of the fallen Taino Ayisyen.”
3. Dessalines ideal #3 – Haiti shall be a Black ruled Independent nation NOT a Black rule Euro or US colony. Dessalines v. Toussaint (Black ruled Independent Nation vs. Black ruled French Colony, with Black overseers/feudal lords governing for the colonist/imperialist.) Compare, Dessalines’ 1805 Independence Constitution and Toussaint’s 1801 Colonial, Catholic and Eurocentric Constitution.
Toussaint’s paradigm reigns supreme in occupied Haiti, the colonized Caribbean, Afrika and colonized Asia, et al. Haiti freedom fighters continue to battle to bring Desalin’s ideal #3 into application. ”ª#”StoptheHumanitarians”¬!
Bourgeois Democracy – Corporate Welfare and Tax Breaks based on the myth of “job creation”
“There is something profoundly wrong when we have a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires at the same time as we have the highest childhood poverty rate of any developed country on earth. This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: “you can”t have it all.” You can”t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry.”– Bernie Sanders (emphasis added) Source: Facebook -Bernie Sanders
Fatou Diome on Western Hypocrisy
The entire debate is on youtube at: DEBAT: FATOU DIOME s’exprime sur l’hypocrisie des europeens envers les migrants Africains