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6914: Re: 6876: Re:Vodou, democracy, civil rights (fwd)
I will try to answer you post point by point, in the most explicit manner
since I believe we do not quite understand one another.
In your first paragraph, you recognized the fact that Vodou "has not achieved
the practical status of religion", then you tell me that "some progress seems
to have been made on these fronts" (the second point was about Vodouisants
being discriminated against). Personally, I don't see any progress but if you
could cite the ones you have observed, I might recognize that I have been
Now I will try to answer the second paragraph:
"But how to do this? You tell me.
"Where are the crucial issues?"
I thought I was clear in stating that the basic and crucial issue was the one
of recognition of Vodou as a religion.
"How active are Vodouisants defining them and struggling for them"?
My stating that two organizations were formed to define Vodou as a whole,
answered that question.
"How active are Bode and Zantray?"
I already told you that I wasn't aware of Zantray's activities but that Bode
was still active.
"Can they be said to represent Vodou or the aspirations of millions of
Probably not, first, you should tell me how you define a Vodouisant. Do you
consider a passer-by who enters a hounfo to buy a wanga, a Vodouisant? Do you
consider a member of society a Vodouisant? Or would you only consider
initiates as Vodouisant? Yet, I can say that those two organizations
represented a good amount of Vodouisants from all over the country.
In the third paragraph, you tell me that I didn't know what was asked for at
the meeting of Vodouisants at the National Palace. I wrote in reality that I
didn't know what was said, I should have written what was answered. I knew
what the demands were since it was discussed in several Bode meetings. When I
stated it was demagoguery, I expressed the feelings of very many that were
present, when words remains words and do not go into action, we call that;
I wonder how you could understand that I "blamed the lack of progress on the
death of Herard Simon or the self exile of Max Beauvoir?" I never said such
things. I was only answering your questions about the activities of their
organizations. I will repeat that I don't know about Zantray, since I haven't
been in Gonaives since a long time; but I have never asserted the death of
Herard Simon may have, in anyway, disrupted the activities of his
organization. Then you tell me about the self exile of Max Beauvoir? How can
one speak of self exile of anybody who spends one fourth of the year in Haiti
and keeps working with Bode, has appointed several members as representative
during his absence, etc.? and finally, where did I ever advance such an idea
as "You mean to tell me without these two men Vodouisants cannot organize?
In reality, I blamed the government for not having initiated any kind of
You write: "I hear rather frequently on the radio (-the PNH-) reports and
have yet to hear someone listed for being Ougan, Manbo, Lougarou whatever".
If you really hear the reports, you should notice that no names are given.
The list that is read goes something like this:
So many (have been arrested) for theft,
So many for such or such others offences,
and the last one: So many for superstitious practices.
May I suggest that you see Dady Simeon at the PNH headquarters, he is a quite
personable guy and he will probably be able to let you see those lists.
As far as the dechoucage, which took place in 1986, is concerned, you say
that it is "the least understood piece of modern Haitian history and
incredibly complicated." I think it is not researched and that it is not
complicated at all. Saint Martial library has copies of all newspaper of the
time and some articles are quite explicit. The tapes of the broadcast of
Radio Soleil must be available somewhere and it should be easy to listen to
Papi Djo exhortations to clean the country and get rid of Vodou, to hear or
read the speeches of the reunion of Gonaives giving the signal to start the
big time dechoucage, etc. The OAS had also published an intersting report
about it. I understand that some people have put together some documentation
but I don't think they are willing to make them public at this time for
personal security reasons. But why can't anyone interested in human right
make his or her own investigation?
Finally, I would like to be able to agree with you on your assertion that
"one of the crucial tests of this government is going to be its willingness
to grapple with the historic marginalization and the discrimination of Vodou
and Vodouisants." To the best of my knowledge, up to this day, there are no
" avant-coureurs " signs of such a significant political move.
I presume that the government still thinks that "millions" of Vodouisants
have no clue on what to do to demand their rights that they don't even know
how to define.
At this point, your suggestions might help. Who could represent them since
you don't seem to fancy organizations? Where should they go? Well, what do
you really think Vodouisants could do?