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9545: posting #9532 Written In Blood (fwd)
From: Dr Allen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
RE: posting # 9532
This is in response to Mr. jean St-Vil's posting regarding WRITTEN IN BLOOD.
Jean St-Vil: "I also found puzzling the author's generally positive
portrayal of the foreign Catholic clergy. If Professor Heinl mentions the
«rejeté» campaign in the 900 pages of his book, somehow I managed to have
Mr. St-Vil you have indeed missed it. It was not called "rejete", but
was there: Written in Blood p 537 first edition (1978) and p 507 second
edition (1996) " During summer 1941, a heavy-handed campaign was mounted
against Voodoo. Houmforts were raided and smashed, as were drums and other
sacred objects. Since Lescot blamed the Catholic clergy (and they blamed
him) for these excesses , it is hard to tell how they began-- ..Not without
reason, he considered the french clergy political..."
Although you may have liked a full accounting of these
"rejete"crimes, you should remember that this 760 page book (fisrt Edition)
was a very ambitious
project covering the history of Haiti from 1492-1971. The true respect the
authors pay to the place of Vodou in haitian history is evident when they
devote 20 pages (appendices) in an attempt to introduce it to the reader.
Mr. St-Vil; "Am I alone in perceiving this particular kind of bent in
professor Heinl's account of Haitian history?"
Please remember who wrote the book: Colonel Robert Debs Heinl (US
Marines), whose son Michael is a member of the list and is an author in the
second edition, was the chief of the US Naval Mission in Haiti from 1959 to
1963. This is clearly stated in both editions.
This book is considered by many credible Haitian historians as one of
the most important history books on Haiti and happens to have been written
by Americans with their own perspectives. This in no way diminishes the
honesty of the document.
Eric Hobsbawm in his ON HISTORY notes" I strongly defend the view
that what historians investigate is real. The point which historians must
however far from it they may end, is the fundamental, and for them,
absolutely central distinction between establishable fact and fiction,
between historical statements based on evidence and subject to evidence and
those which are not." WRITEN IN BLOOD easily clears the bar with room to
Every historian brings his/her own biases to a document, the honesty
of the document is what counts. Two of our important early historians,
Thomas Madiou and Beaubrun Ardouin also had their preferences and Ardouin
was known for his "ecarts" when it came to that.
When I need a Haitian perspective and Haitian sensitivities, I read
Joseph A. Allen DDS