This must be stopped and it must be done sooner rather than later. We must keep the integrity of the Haitian Pumpkin Soup, better known as Soup Joumou or Haitian Independence soup. Let me be direct, Haitian Soup Joumou must be made with beef and not chicken. The rich beef and bone marrow, was missing. Call a soup made with Chicken anything you want, but please don't call it Soup Joumou.
I have noticed a recent trend to move to a Soup Joumou made of Chicken and not beef as it is supposed to be. You might say that "Roland Mache Frite Anpil Kay Moun" or " Roland go out a lot to eat in people's houses". I don't care. However, last January, I was invited to eat my Soup Joumou in 5 homes, mainly Haitian friends and family members. I have got to tell you I was disappointed. Three of those houses served me the Soup Joumou made with chicken and not beef. I was so disappointed to the point I almost left without eating the Soup. Reasoning finally wan and I decided to take it home so that I could eat them during the week.
August 23 of each year, is the day of observance for International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
The day has been designated by UNESCO to memorialize the 'transatlantic slave trade' which took place across the Atlantic Ocean from the 15th through 19th centuries. Transatlantic slave trade is one of the darkest chapters in human history. For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of this tragic practice. The commemoration of this observance recalls that the slave trade is not just a thing of the past-- with the changes of time, it has taken different shapes in the modern society. The day has a significant importance to Haiti, because during the night of August 22 to August 23, 1791, on the island of Saint Domingue (now known as Haiti), an uprising began which later became a major factor in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
When a singular group of brave, pioneering Haitian men and women took part in a fight for their freedom in Haiti August 14 and 15 of 1791, they sparked a movement that would ignite in other Caribbean countries a fervor to do what they did, liberate their people from the shackles of bondage and slavery.
At that time in history, the enslaved African, kidnapped and deposited on foreign land, set to work in tobacco, cotton and sugar plantations, was an accepted staple of life. Since the original reaping initiated by the Portuguese in the 1400's, monarchs, the aristocracy and plantation owners dealt in the business of owning, trading and bequeathing slaves. The practice was so ingrained, and apparently sanctioned by The Bible, in Leviticus 25, that the flagrant kidnapping, disenfranchisement and genocide was allowed by states and backed by state finances, and also written and talked about in well-regarded literary tomes and in religious forums heard by millions around the world.
It is said that human trafficking is the modern form of slavery, and with Haiti and Mauritania to judge by, emancipation may be an outdated term that no longer holds up in water today. With the statistics stating that some nearly 30 million people are living under varying kinds of involuntary servitude, slavery is still a scourge on humanity today. The problem is that it has taken on new names. But, does this rose smell any less like slavery?
Debt bondage, sexual exploitation and forced marriages are some of the new euphemisms used to make modern day slavery more inconspicuous and in the two mentioned countries the trick seems to be working. While Mauritania and Haiti hold the highest proportions of people considered to be slaves, China, India and Pakistan hold the highest absolute numbers. The transgressors in these countries operate against the mandate of the international treaty, the 1926 Slavery Convention as well as the UN Trafficking Protocol.
Saint Domingue on island of Hispaniola was once the most lucrative part of French colony on the Caribbean island from 1659 to 1809. But a slave revolt in which the battle of Vertierre or Vertieres was pivotal ended the colonization. With support of British government ended the French rule in Saint Domingue and the French were forced to withdraw themselves from this European colony in 1803.
The decisive encounter between General Rochambeau of the French army and the separatist British supported leader General Jean-Jacques Dessalines is known as 'War of Vertières'. General Dessalines who was born as a slave led the struggle against the French. The British weakened the French by naval blockades and supplied weapons and ammunitions to General Dessalines. Sensing danger, Rochambeau shifted French headquarters from Port-au-Prince to Cap Français. Dessalines went on capturing places one after another like Jacmel, Cayes, Jérémie and Léogane. When the French Commander surrendered himself on October 3 at Port-au-Prince, stage for physical attack was set on Le Cap Français.
A United Nations international panel of five judges picked Haitian-American Rodney Leon's modernistic and abstract sculpture as the winning art piece that will be installed near the United Nations Plaza in Manhattan in fall of 2014. Titled "The Ark of Return", it is a stunning representation of a slave ship, which will be hewn in immaculate white marble.
Len, a gifted designer and architect, also has another sculpture piece on display in lower Manhattan, the African Burial Ground National Monument. Leon, during his project presentation, educated the judges on the symbolic intent of the ark. In essence, he said the piece invites the viewer to explore it interiorly and exteriorly, a place of meditative thought and reflection, as part of an educational and transformative experience. It is meant to be a conduit to remembering the past without the shackles of shame attached to it.
Casal is a small Haitian city located in the North American region and has a very small population. Port-au-Prince, Carrefour and Guantanamo are the major cities that can be found close to Casal. Casal has a significant Polish influence and many people are baffled by the fact that Poland and Casal are not close to each other and yet, Casal has a huge Polish influence. This revolution can however be traced back to the era of Haitian Revolution.
It was during 1802 when Napoleon arrived with his army at Saint Domingue to take care of the slave rebellion. The army consisted of Polish legion. Napoleon dispatched 5200 Polish soldiers for Saint Domingue to suppress the revolt. Upon arrival, these Polish soldiers found that it was not the rebellion mentioned by Napoleon but was actually a slave revolt in which the slaves were fighting for their freedom.
Frederick Douglass, born into slavery in 1818, escaped his slave master and became a writer, speaker, and public servant. He was beaten from child- into early adulthood by his slave master. After one beating too many, he decided he was never going to tolerate another. When the slave owner tried to beat him, Frederick ferociously fought back.
By 1893, he was the leading black intellectual of his era, having penned many autobiographies detailing his life as a former slave. He put the lie to the argument slaves did not possess intelligence to lead their own lives with all the rights accorded to white citizens.
Toussaint L'Ouverture, born circa 1741, began life on a plantation in Saint-Domingue. In 1776 he became a freed slave. Once released from servitude, he acquired properties and became a rich man.
In 1791, he assumed a role as one of the military leaders of the Haitian slave revolt. He sought support from the Spanish in Santo Domingo, which sent provisions for his battles against the French. In a ruse, L'Ouverture co-opted the philosophy of the French Revolution, ingratiating himself with the government, influencing them to abolish slavery. By then the Spanish had become alarmed about L'Ouverture's assimilation of large tracts of land that threatened their sovereignty. These two events led L'Ouverture to switch alliances from the Spanish to the French.
Haiti is today standing at the crossroads. One path leads to complete humiliation and dependence on foreign countries and the other is of economic independence and sustainable growth. Several factors will together determine the fate of Haiti in the long run. Let us take a quick look at the aspects that can lead to development of Haitian economy.
• Haiti requires entrepreneurial revolution and for that the first step will be to build roads, improve electrical grids and develop other national infrastructure. Simultaneously, Haitians should be trained to maintain these new developments. Once the infrastructure is developed, the path for private investment opens up. This basic framework development is possible only with foreign aid. Haitian government on the other hand has to work closely with foreign investors and accept strict foreign vigilance at initial stages and prove that it is capable of managing FDI with minimum impact of corruption. The strict vigilance will gradually decrease and the government will have more flexibility to manage FDI that suits Haiti's needs.
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