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7424: Re: 7410: Re: 7383: and 7409: (fwd)

From: Sean Harvey <seanharvey@juno.com>

I would also point out that debate over the existence of zombis as a
physical reality entirely misses out on what I think is their profound
cultural importance as a story, i.e. how they capture magnificently the
tragic and heartbreaking experience of Haitian ancestors (as well as
African-Americans from all over the Americas) who were transported to the
"New World" as slaves. The parallels are so striking at each stage of the
story that I can't help but think that this is their true significance. 

Like the Africans that were sold into slavery, the zonbi is torn from
his/her family and is essentially dead to them. The zonbi spends a time
within a casket, just as these Africans were forced to lie prone within
the belly of the slaver ships. The zonbi is then resurrected, beaten and
forced to work as a slave on a plantation for his master. 

The poignant plight of a zonbi as expressed in folklore is then a
graphic, terrifying memory of the horrific life that St Domingue's
enormous slave population was subjected to. As long as the legend of the
zonbi exists within Haitian culture, their story will never die. We
therefore need look no further to find a "real" zonbi -- they are none
other than the ancestors of African-Panamericans. 

This holds for other Haitian figures as well, such as papa makout, who
carries off small children in satchels, and other figures that carry off
children. During the colonial era, both Spanish and French mercenaries
would regularly steal free Africans (notably children) from the Spanish
and unclaimed sections of the island and sell them into slavery in St

> Corbett replies:  I think the question of the existence of zombies, 
> and
> especially the status of the powders is not as clear as Caroline and 
> Sarah suggest.

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