Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Haitians Celebrated, not without pain, Day of Independence

By: Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com

The dream of the heroic liberators is still - in many ways - far from becoming a reality - the dream that every Haitian without distinction should live comfortably and without any fear; a dream in which the father of the country, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, declared that no foreign soldier violate the soil of Haiti.

After defeating the largest and most powerful army at the time, the army of Napoleon, on November 18, 1803 in Cap-Haitien, Haiti became the first Independent Republic of black people and the second country in the Americas to declare its Independence. However, the powerful countries branded Haiti an outlaw nation and France extorted a payment of 90 million francs in "compensation" for its lost "property" which included 600,000 slaves.

Haitian artist and political activist Farah Juste ("La Reine Soleil") organized a concert in the Haitian community in Miami to honour those who fought to liberate the Haitians of slavery. This year (2009) marks the twentieth year of the great traditional concert.

"My brothers and sisters you represent the second largest ethnic community in Florida, you represent a force both socially and politically. We must unite" said Farah Juste. This year's concert was dedicated to the famous Haitian singer Martha Jean-Claude. Martha Jean-Claude fled from Haiti to Cuba in 1952. She incurred the wrath of Haitian president Paul Eugene Magloire for publishing a journal entitled "Avrinette".

Her son, Richard Mirabal Jean-Claude, was in attendance at the celebration. Also in attendance were various Haitian artists, politicians the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste of Saint Claire's parish of Ti Plas Kazo, well-known as the father of the Haitian community in Florida-as well as a famous political prisoner after the coup that ousted Haiti's democratically elected government in 2004 and, it is widely hoped, a future candidate in Haiti's next presidential election.

Amidst the distinctive Haitian Creole one could sometimes hear "Happy New Year" uttered happily. It seems that this date is celebrated by not only Haitians, but also by many other peoples on this earth. The great day of Haitian Independence provides just further inspiration.

"A year 2009 for a new Haiti," said Father Gérard Jean-Juste.