Recently, my younger brother, Mike Delices provided me with some critical feedback regarding my article, “Hurricane and Crisis in Haiti: Where Deadly Diplomacy Meets Harmful Humanitarinism” that was featured on October 13, 2016 in the “Black Star News.” Although he enjoyed my article and found it very informative and insightful; he was somewhat disheartened as to why Haitians can’t solve their problems. Thus, in his estimation, the problems of Haiti require solutions from Haitians at home and abroad.
Both my brother and I (who are Haitians of African descent) seek solutions to Haiti’s problems. As a soldier who participated (fought) in what the U.S. press and political pundits deceptively dubbed as “Operation Enduring Freedom,” but it is actually the U.S. War in Afghanistan, my younger brother seeks solutions in the form of selfless service and sacrifice.
However, as a scholar, who continuously fights in Intellectual Warfare (Afrocentricism versus Eurocentricism and decolonialization versus colonialization) at the colleges and in the communities, I too seek solutions, but in the form of study and scientific research.
Although my brother and I seek solutions to the problems of Haiti, we have different approaches. Scholars tend to be thinkers instead of doers; whereas, soldiers tend to be doers rather than thinkers.
The synthesis therefore between scholars and soldiers can be found in Governor-General Toussaint Louverture, who was more than a soldier and a scholar. Toussaint Louverture was a military and intellectual strategist who was skilled in developing ideas into actions and transforming those actions into policies in both war and politics. Henceforth, Toussaint Louverture is the apotheosis of Black public intellectuals as well as the tradition of scholarship and service ascribe to Black intellectuals.
Toussaint Louverture successfully solved Haiti’s problems (slavery, colonialism, and white supremacy) by electing to use both the sword and the script. The sword symbolizes weapons and armed struggle to liberate one’s nation, land, and people; whereas, the script symbolizes literary scholarship, the transmission of the written text in the intellectual struggle to free the enslaved and colonized African mind.
Born on June 6, 1776, Haitian soldier and scholar, Louis Félix Mathurin Boisrond-Tonnerre followed in the intellectual footsteps of Toussaint Louverture. Boisrond-Tonnerre, who served as General JanJak Desalin’s secretary, was responsible for using the sword and the script to pen Haiti’s Declaration of Independence in 1804. According to historian David Nicholls, in “From Dessalines to Duvalier,” Boisrond-Tonnerre in scripting Haiti’s Declaration of Independence declared,
“All that which has been formulated is not in accordance with our true feelings; to draw up the Act of Independence, we need the skin of a white man for parchment, his skull for a writing desk, his blood for ink, and a bayonet for pen.”
Therefore, in the Haitian Revolution, the sword and the script were used effectively to make Haiti better by empowering the people of Haiti, where they not only controlled their own land and resources, but they also controlled their own lives which mattered to them while establishing the first sovereign Black republic in the Americas as they became the first enslaved people to eradicate slavery and colonialism in the Western Hemisphere.
To that degree, in warfare (militarily and intellectually) it is not only about “Black Lives Matter;” it is more about making “Blacks Lives Better.” Moreover, in war, it is not only about “Speaking Truth To Power;” it is about “Speaking Truth To Empower.”
Despite the fact that my brother and I have different approaches to solving Haiti’s problems, both the sword and the script should not be overlooked in solving the problems of Haiti. However, for now, the weapon of choice should be the pen, but only time will tell if it is indeed mightier than the sword. And if the pen is not mightier than the sword, perhaps, it will be the soldiers not the scholars, who will write in blood with a bayonet the new script to solving the pernicious problems of Haiti.
Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy” in the Journal of International Affairs. Patrick Delices has taught the History of Haiti, Black Politics, Afro-Caribbean Politics I & II, and Afro-Caribbean International Relations at Hunter College and served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University. Patrick Delices can be contacted at [email protected]. Please visit his website at www.patrickdelices.com.