Toussaint, Black and proud. He and his forces cut down Napoleon’s army. Cover Penguin edition of The Black Jacobins
First reports that billions of dollars intended for victims of the deadly earthquake that killed more than 200,000 Haitians in 2010 was diverted. Then the outbreak of cholera in Haiti, an epidemic which the U.N. acknowledged responsibility for introducing and spreading through negligence of peace keeping troops; but then the world body rejected liability for. Now comes the reports that senior Oxfam employees engaged in sex orgies with vulnerable Haitian minors.
How much abuse and exploitation is one country supposed to accept?
Meanwhile the American president on January 11, heaped insults on Haiti, together with El Salvador and African countries — referring them as “shithole” countries whose citizens –unlike Norwegians– are not suitable human beings worthy of immigration to the United States.
In comments reported in The New York Times, Trump said Haitians were even more undesirable because they all “have AIDS.”
We as the African collective –continental Africans, African American sisters and brothers, other Caribbeans, South Americans, and Africans allover Diaspora– must stand up in defense of Haiti.
Africans have always been inspired by Haitians, including by the memory of the great Toussaint Louverture. When Haitian President Aristide was ousted at the behest of the U.S. it was South Africa that gave him sanctuary for years.
We invite our Haitian sisters and brothers to join us February 15, for the #ProudAfricans Rally to Repudiate Donald Trump’s racism. The rally starts at noon outside the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza park on 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.
The #ProudAfricans Rally is organized by African, African American and Caribbean organizations in New York City. (For more information call 212-340-1975) Everyone opposed to Trump’s racism and anti-immigrants agenda should attend this rally. Bring a banner to show your repudiation of the Trump slur.
Trump launched his attack against Haiti and Africa the day before the eight anniversary of the 2010 earthquake.
Even by his renowned racism towards people of African descent — as demonstrated by his refusal to rent apartments to African Americans, his purchase of about $100,000 in newspaper advertisement calling for the execution of the Central Park 5, his insistence on their guilt long after they had been exonerated by DNA evidence and compensated $44 million by New York City– the timing of Trump’s slur represented a new low point.
In reality, Haiti has been demonized for centuries. It was never allowed to enjoy its independence after its great victory over Imperial France and Napoleon’s Grand Army — the 1804 Haitian Revolution. It was the first and only time in the history of the world when enslaved Africans fought and defeated their so-called “masters” and established an independent state. This remarkable story whose impact reverberated around the world inspired subjugated Africans in the United States and elsewhere. C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins tells that story.
What was good for the formerly enslaved Africans wasn’t good for imperialism, White supremacy and colonialism. The example of the Haitian Revolution was never supposed to spread beyond the shores of the island. For their victory, the people of Haiti were punished with an economic embargo and imposition of sanctions by France. France didn’t want the lessons of the Haitian Revolution to spread to Africa in the latter part of the 19th Century when it seized colonies there.
In the 20th Century, the U.S. took over meddling into Haiti’s affairs, leading to the 1915 – 1934 military occupation. Haiti’s independence was usurped and sovereignty undermined. Subsequently, the U.S. acted as puppet master, supporting corrupt dictatorships including Papa Doc Duvalier. Even after Duvalier’s demise, years of instability under military junta’s continued.
Nominally under civilian rule today, Haiti’s independence –as is the case with most African countries– is only on paper. It has no control over its political and economic destiny.
It’s no coincidence that the countries referred to by Trump as “shitholes” remain providers of raw materials to create wealth and prosperity in the industrialized countries and regions — primarily, the United States and Europe.
That’s why it’s critical that Trump’s slur –which will legitimize more attacks and abuses against Africans and descendants of Africa, including Haitians– be loudly repudiated on February 15. The gathering and the organizations that have organized the rally should also use the opportunity to broaden and deepen their alliances. A united Diaspora translates into Black Empowerment.
Indeed, the Feb. 15 march is intended as a prelude to an even larger march on Washington, D.C., on May 25, African Liberation Day — so that Donald Trump can hear African people collectively say: No, we won’t take your racist abuse!
Allimadi publishes The Black Star News and he’s an adjunct professor of African History at John Jay College.