Hissons le drapeau blanc (French Edition)
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John M. Hereafter cited as Allison, Thiers. Colin Forbes Brown, Jr. Louis Madelin, Talleyrand Paris:Flammarion, , pp. Louis de Viel-Castel, Histoire de la Restauration 20 vols. Hereafter cited as Viel-Castel, Histoire. Guillaume Prosper de Barante, Souvenirs 4 vols. Hereafter cited as Barante, Souvenirs. Vaulabelle, Histoire , VII, See, Charles Sainte-Beuve, Causeries de lundi 15 vols. But the monumentalization that turned October 17 from a day that heralded liberation from a dictator to a day of mourning for his death was devised by literate Haitians in the cities.
Repressive governments, such as that of Louis Borno under the U. Called by the literate elite "the Great One," "the Savior," "the Lover of Justice," and "the Liberator," the Dessalines remembered by vodou initiates is far less comforting or instrumental. They know how unheroic the hero-turned-god could be.
The image of Dessalines in the cult of the people remains equivocal and corruptible: a trace of what is absorbed by the mind and animated in the gut. How inevitable are the oscillations from hero to detritus, from power to vulnerability, from awe to ridicule: a convertibility that vodou would keep working, viable, and necessary. Not simply master or tyrant, but also slave and supplicant, Dessalines and the religious rituals associated with him keep the ambiguities of power intact.
Unlike the spectacles of sanctification endorsed by the urban literati and the politicians, the history reconstructed by the gods and their devotees is not always one of revolt and.
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Gods held in the mind and embodied in ceremony reenact what historians often forget: the compulsion to serve, the potency and virtue of atrocity. The very suppressions, inarticulateness, and ruptures in ritual might say something about the ambivalences of the revolution: it was not so liberating as mythologizers or ideologues make it out to be, and the dispossessed, who continue to suffer and remember, know this. The story is retold by nearly every historian, especially those outsiders who enjoyed linking the first successful slave revolt to a gothic scene of blood drinking and abandon.
Madiou, though given to much melodramatic detail, did not include the ceremony in his history. But vodou, once displaced, reared its head a few pages following his descriptions of the uprising in the North. When blown to pieces, they knew they would be reborn in Africa. The naturalist Descourtilz his life was saved during the retaliatory slaughter of whites by Dessalines's wife, Claire Heureuse, who hid him under her bed remembered how "the Congo Negroes and other Guineans were so superstitiously affected by the utterances of Dessalines that they even let him persuade them that to die fighting the French was only a blessing since it meant that they were immediately conveyed to Guinea, where, once again, they saw Papa Toussaint who was waiting for them to complete the army with which he proposed to reconquer Saint-Domingue.
The colonized are not necessarily, as Albert Memmi has written, "outside of the game" of history. Gods were born in the memories of those who served and rebelled, and they not only took on the traits or dispositions of their servitors but also those of the former masters. While de-idealizing, by reenacting to the extreme, a conceit of power, the figure of Dessalines became a proof of memory: something gained by those who were thought to have no story worth the telling.
To reconstruct a history of the spirits in Haiti is no easy matter. How does our thought about a glorified, if ambiguous, past become palpable? How do we get from now to then, to a history beyond the reach of written history? As Ogou Desalin he walks with the African Ogou, the gods of war and politics that remain in Haiti in their multiple aspects.
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Duverneau Trouillot warned that after the revolution, African beliefs and rituals would continue to degenerate. But the old traditions and gods remained powerful, embracing new events and leaders like Dessalines. With independence, the underground opposition to the now defeated white oppressor did not disappear, for the spirits, and the people's need for them, was not contingent on being suppressed.
Rather, vodou came, to some extent, out into the open to thrive. But haltingly so, as though the people were keeping some of the old secrets hidden, ready to serve in other repressive situations that did not fail to occur. In transcribing a popular song addressed to Dessalines, a student of oral history faces nearly insurmountable problems of translation and retrieval.
According to Mennesson-Rigaud, this song was sung by Haitian soldiers during the revolution and is preserved in the militant Petwo ceremonies. Talking with practitioners in Port-au-Prince in , I heard another form of the word, which might be transcribed as denambre. So, Dessalines denambre either has his spirit taken away, or, since he was feared to be a sorcerer, he has the power to de-soul, to steal someone's spirit.
The history told by these traditions defies our notions of identity and contradiction. A person or thing can be two or more things simultaneously. A word can be double, two-sided, and duplicitous. In this broadening and multiplying of a word's meaning, repeated in rituals of devotion and vengeance, we begin to see that what becomes more and more vague also becomes more distinct: it may mean this, but that too. In spite of this instability, or what some argue to be the capriciousness of spirits and terminologies, something incontrovertible remains: the heritage of Guinea maintained in Haiti by serving the gods.
The gods are not only in your blood but in the land. In parts of contemporary Haiti the demanbre, or sacred plot of land, marks the "spiritual heritage of the group. Serving Dessalines thus reinspirits what many believe to have been his legacy: the indivisible land of Haiti consecrated by the revolution and projected in his Constitution of as uncontaminated by foreign proprietors or masters. Dessalines demanbre, the dismembered but potent Dessalines of the song, intimates this promise of indivisibility and proof of devotion.
Having lost his personal identity, he becomes the place. The dismembered hero is resurrected as sacred locale. Service for Dessalines records an often grueling attachment to a recalcitrant land, as well as bearing witness to a cruel and demanding intimacy. The song about Dessalines demanbre joins the hero to a powerful "she-devil" or "sorceress," known as Kita demanbre.
Served with kerosene, pimiento, and fire, she is the lwa who put. These rituals of memory could be seen as deposits of history. Shreds of bodies come back, remembered in ritual, and seeking. The lwa most often invoked by today's vodou practitioners do not go back to Africa; rather, they were responses to the institution of slavery, to its peculiar brand of sensuous domination. A historical streak in these spirits, entirely this side of metaphysics, reconstitutes the shadowy and powerful magical gods of Africa as everyday responses to the white master's arbitrary power. Driven underground, they survived and constituted a counterworld to white suppression.
It is hardly surprising that when black deeds and national heroic action contested this mastery, something new would be added to the older traditions. The dispossession accomplished by slavery became the model for possession in vodou: for making a man not into a thing but into a spirit. In , during Dessalines's massacre of the whites, Jean Zombi, a mulatto of Port-au-Prince, earned a reputation for brutality.
Known to be one of the fiercest slaughterers, Madiou described his "vile face," "red hair," and "wild eyes. In Madiou's words, he "led him then to the steps of the government palace and thrust a dagger in his chest.
This gesture horrified all the spectators, including Dessalines. Variously reconstituted and adaptable to varying events, Zombi crystallizes the crossing not only of spirit and man in vodou practices but the intertwining of black and yellow, African and Creole in the struggle for independence. He was one of those who, on Dessalines's order, massacred the most whites during the liberation of Haiti from the French yoke.
Jean Zombi is actually one of the most influential mysteries of the vodou pantheon: as lwa, he belongs to the Petwo rite. Names, gods, and heroes from an oppressive colonial past remained in order to infuse ordinary citizens and devotees with a stubborn sense of independence and survival. The undead zombi, recalled in the name of Jean Zombi, thus became a terrible composite power: slave turned rebel ancestor turned lwa, an incongruous, demonic spirit recognized through dreams, divination, or possession. In contemporary Haiti, however, the zombi calls up the most macabre figure in folk belief.
No fate is more feared.
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The zombi, understood either as an evil spirit caught by a sorcerer or the dead-alive zombi in "flesh and bones," haunts Haitians as the most powerful emblem of apathy, anonymity, and loss. Maya Deren locates the terror incited by the zombi not in its malevolent appearance but in the threat of conversion projected by this overwhelming figure of brute matter: "While the Haitian does not welcome any encounter with a zombie, his real dread is that of being made into one himself.
In Guadeloupe and Martinique, zombi simply means evil spirit, but in Haiti the zombi undergoes a double incarnation, meaning both spirit and, more specifically, the animated dead, a body without mind or, as the Jamaican novelist Erna Brodber, in her recent Myal, has so aptly put it, "flesh that takes directions from someone. In Haiti, memories of servitude are transposed into a new idiom that both reproduces and dismantles a twentieth-century history of forced labor and denigration that became particularly acute during the American occupation of Haiti.
As Haitians were forced to build roads, and thousands of peasants were brutalized and massacred, tales of zombis proliferated in the United States. This reimagined zombi has now been absorbed into the texture of previous oral traditions, structurally reproducing the idea of slavery in a new context. As lwa, then, Jean Zombi embodies dead whites and blacks, staging again for those who serve him the sacrificial scene: the ritual of consecration that makes him god.
In this marvel of ambivalence, the zombi is also consumed by the dead who continue to undergo zombification. Let us return to Dessalines's Constitution of , and to the logic of the remnant turned god. Freedom of religion would not again be allowed, in the many constitutions of Haiti, until Both Toussaint and Christophe had recognized only Catholicism "La religion Catholique, apostolique et romaine" as the religion of the state. Dessalines remained close to the practices of the Haitian majority.
But Dessalines betrayed the gods he served in Arcahaie, in the West of Haiti. According to Milo Rigaud, who does not give sources for his unique details of Dessalines possessed and punished, Dessalines suffered the vengeance of the spirits for ignoring their warnings not to go to Pont-Rouge. Rigaud concludes, "The case of Dessalines recalls an axiom well known by all those who serve the gods in Africa: 'You must never make a god lose face.
web.enduropls.com/xys-cmrp-gua-de.php But what Ardouin called the "misfortunes" of popular vengeance on Dessalines could be a record of something less verifiable and more disturbing. The mutilation of Dessalines not only records a collective frenzy visited on the once-powerful body but reinvests the corpse with the possibility of transfiguration. Such a hankering after resurrection, repeated and theatrical, still plagues Haiti, with each new hero, with each new government, with every dispensation. General Yayou, when he saw the body of Dessalines, proclaimed: "Who would have said that this little wretch, only twenty minutes ago, made all of Haiti tremble!
The "horse" in the idiom of spirit possession, the god "mounts" his horse remains him- or herself even when ridden, but is stripped bare, as was Dessalines, of habitual characteristics, the lineaments of the everyday. In this transformative articulation, the essential residue, gist, or spirit, the nam remains. What emerges after the first moments of disequilibrium and convulsive movements is the ferocity commonly associated with Dessalines. It is as if the self is not so much annihilated as rendered piecemeal. Out of these remnants comes the image of the god or mystery who overtakes what remains.
In Divine Horsemen, Maya Deren writes, "The self must leave if the loa is to enter, " alerting us to the risky dependency of the god on the human vessel.
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Deification is never simply a spiritualization of matter. Spirit and matter, defilement and exaltation do not dwell unperturbed in harmony. The wrinkle or hitch in the business of divinity is what makes vodou resistant to annihilation, whether by the constant persecutions of the Church or, more recently, by "Papa Doc" Duvalier's use of it for political ends.
A woman marched with Dessalines's troops, peddling provisions to the soldiers.