[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

6876: Re:Vodou, democracy, civil rights (fwd)

From: Ninaclara@aol.com

Dear Bebe,

My point was not that Vodou has achieved the practical status of religion in 
the eyes of the state or that Vodouisants are not discriminated against in 
many ways. This is clearly not the case. I wanted to point out that some 
progress seems to have been made on these fronts over the last fifteen years 
and to open up a discussion of what needs to be done to further the struggle 
for democracy and equitable development in Haiti. I believe that Vodou is at 
the heart of this struggle and that anyone interested in democracy and 
economic development should be interested in advancing the cause of Vodou and 

But how to do this? Where are the crucial issues? How are Vodouisants 
defining them and struggling for them? How active are Bode and ZANTRAY? Can 
they be said to 'represent' Vodou or the aspirations of millions of 
Vodouisants? I think these are crucial questions. I also think they are more 
fundamental issues for democracy in Haiti than how many people voted or 
didn't in the presidential elections or a number of other banalities that 
pass for discussion of politics on and off this list. I have had many 
conversations and interviews both with Vodouisants and government 
representatives over the last five years about these issues. But I have 
rarely seen them discussed in the Haitian or foreign media. What's up? 

You say you are a member of Bode. You have access to the internet and the 
Corbett list. You say you are concerned about the rights of Vodouisants. 
Educate us! But don't just tell me that the conference between Vodouisants 
and the government was demagoguery because nothing came out of it. How can 
you say nothing came out of it if you weren't there and weren't aware of what 
was being asked for? I also think it is foolish to blame the lack of progress 
on the death of Herard Simon or the self imposed exile of Max Beauvoir. You 
mean to tell me without these two men Vodouisants cannot organize? If that's 
the case things are in a sorry state. 

You mention cases of persecution of Vodou. Concerning the PNH reports. I hear 
them rather frequently on the radio and have yet to hear someone listed for 
being an Oungan, Manbo, loupgarou whatever. Do you know specific cases of 
Vodouisants unfairly arrested or detained? If you had such a list, these 
cases would concern human rights organizations and people could be mobilized 
to defend these people. You also speak of persecution that went on during the 
dechoukaj. This is probably one of the least understood pieces of modern 
Haitian history and incredibly complicated. Has anyone thought of compiling a 
written report compiling oral histories, radio lumiere broadcasts etc.? At 
least then we would have something solid to work from.

I happen to think that one of the crucial tests of this new government is 
going to be its willingness to grapple with the historic marginalization and 
discrimination of Vodou and Vodouisants. What are Vodouisants going to do to 
demand their rights? And how are they defining those anyway?