iciHaiti - Social : 264th birthday of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines
"Dear fellow citizens everywhere,
I make it my duty to remind you that September 20 of each year is the date on which our nation proudly celebrates the birth of Jean-Jacques Dessalines. As the founder of the Haitian nation was born into slavery, he was born in complete obscurity. History reveals nothing about the identity of his father. To be born into slavery always means to be the property of a master or mistress who is free to dispose of his property as he pleases. For this reason, there are no documents relating to the birth of this man whose destiny was both glorious and tragic. We know the date of his assassination well; although there is more than one version of the circumstances under which he was executed. Rather than just saluting the memory of this extraordinary man each year on the anniversary of his death, we are always proud, on this day, to celebrate the coming into the world of one of the most extraordinary beings that this planet has ever known.
It is an anniversary that all Haitians must celebrate with the greatest pride because this father of the Haitian nation is the very definition of the kind of man that the whole world should welcome as a model of heroism.
It must be said that nature always arranges things well when one is predestined. Jean-Jacques Dessalines really did not know his mother because the latter died when he was still very young. Before dying, however, she had the presence of mind to entrust her son to a lady, also a slave, whom we know as Aunt Toya. It was a wise decision because Aunt Toya, a former amazon of the famous army of Dahomey, took charge of all aspects of training young Jean-Jacques. She made him a strong man of character, a formidable soldier and a skilful tactician.
For having been born in the dehumanizing conditions of slavery, and breaking all the barriers to become General-in-Chief of an indigenous army which routed the slave forces of France, Jean-Jacques Dessalines demonstrated extraordinary qualities which place him in a league far above that of much admired conquerors. He is a true liberator whose vision has inspired other liberators. Today we celebrate the birth of the father of our nation; a hero like no other.
Our country, the homeland of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, is currently experiencing its darkest moments. It is to believe that this independence acquired by our ancestors at the cost of such admirable sacrifices, has never been anything but a curse. To our great misfortune, generation after generation, we have deviated from the recommendations of our ancestors concerning the slave world in which our Haiti was born. It is a world that has hardly changed. We must therefore, like our ancestors, unite beyond our differences in the name of our precious freedom which is, more than ever, threatened."
Reflection messages by Lesly Condé in 2022 :
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