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#841: Taino and Ginen Questions :Bell comments

From: madison bell <mbell@goucher.edu>

I sure would be curious to know what Kathy Grey has to say to Wiley's Ginen 
question.  Mambo RSB n'ap mande avis'ou....

My impression has been that there is or was a renascence of Ginen spirit 
underwriting both the misik rasin flowering and coincident populist 
political movements.  Boukman Eksperyans, RAM and other groups spoke for 
this idea.  I think that it is the religious foundation beneath the 
political message of that music that gave it its extraordinarily durable 
power, as in the case of Bob Marley. (for more on this them, try 
http://faculty.goucher.edu/mbell/miroir.htm) lespri Ginen as I understand 
it is thoroughly compatible with the spirit of charismatic Christianity, so 
there is certainly a theoretical comparison with the religious basis of 
Lavalas in its beginnings, and probably quite a good deal of actual overlap 
too.  It makes sense for servite Ginen to have social goals simlar to those 
of liberation theology.  This sort of idea was expressed in organizations 
like Zantrey as well as in the music.  But it seems to me that although the 
cellular structure of Vodou is very good at producing nationwide phenomena, 
no one has ever succeeded in making it into a stable nationwide 

...except maybe Duvalier, to the extent that he did succeed in subverting 
the secret societies, e.g. Bizango, to the purposes of state terrorism, 
makoutism &c-- my impression is that he did have a considerable success 
along those lines, as much as no one seems to want to talk about it.  Thus 
the actions taken against various hounfo, houngans, and (especially?) 
bokors, during dechoukage.  Undoubtedly, mistakes were made during that 
period also.

To some extent it appears that the resurgence of lespri Ginen is/was a 
reform movement in the religion itself... a reaction against the work of 
the left hand and its cooperation with political terror.  But one must not 
criticize Bizango and the societies carelessly.  I am a long way from 
understanding them well enough to do that... a very long way.  I have seen, 
though, that there is a place for the societies within many hounfo which 
are otherwise Ginen.  Anatomically speaking, the right hand is connected to 
the left hand (whether or not it always knows what the left hand is 
doing).  In this sense, Western style Good vs. Evil dualism may not be a 
very good model for understanding Vodou.