HLLN – 2/1/08 Blan Mannan by Feliks Moriso Lewa | What’s in a name? Some names,(the name Jean Jacques Dessalines!) horrify enslavers, tyrants and despots,everywhere | Jan. 1, 1804 – Jan. 1, 2008 Recalling Dessalines’ Law…
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Three ideals of Dessalines
In this post
What’s in a name?
Blan Mannan by Feliks Moriso Lewa | Translated to English by members of HLLN
Dessalines’ Law for Haiti
What’s in a name?
Some names horrify enslavers, tyrants and despots, everywhere…..
Jean Jacques Dessalines, Haitian Act of Independence, January 1, 1804
(Translation by Ezili Dantò for HLLN’s FreeHaitiMovement – Dessalines is
Rising, Oct. 17th commemorations
English Translation by Frantz Jerome in collaboration with other members of the
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, for the FreeHaitiMovement – Dessalines Is
Rising, October 17th events
Any defects or limitation in the final translation and chosen English equivalents of this Moriso Lewa unofficial translation is the sole responsibility of Ezili Dantò as head of HLLN.
Jean Jacques Dessalines’ Law for Haiti
On January 1, 2008, the 2004 anniversary of Haitii’s initial independence, as HLLN continues to promote and encourage dialogue and writings to celebrate the life, triumphs and ideals of Jean Jacques Dessalines, today we ask again, “what was Desalin’s law?” For he said:
Desalin’s Law is in Desalin’s 1805 constitution; it’s certainly in the Haitian
Act of Independence. (See, Proclamation Pour Abjuration De La Nation Française– Liberte Ou La Mort! Du Général en chef du Peuple de Hayti
Desalin’s Law is most recognized by Haitians as follows:
“…Never again shall colonist or European set foot on this soil as master or landowner. This shall henceforward be the foundation of our constitution.”
“…No whiteman of whatever nation he may be, shall put his foot on this territory with the title of master or proprietor, neither shall he in future acquire any property therein…”
Dessalines’ ideals established Haiti as a Black nation. Dessalines’ Law dealt with the question of land ownership; the question of equitable wealth distribution in Haiti; how to keep Haitian sovereignty and uphold the well-being of the Black masses whose fathers were in Africa. (See, Three Ideals of Dessalines, www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/dessalines.html#3
After Haiti’s independence in 1804, when the mulattoes in Haiti sought to replace their defeated French fathers as masters, through the claiming of the hated enslavers plantation properties. Dessalines spoke up for the disinherited, nationalized the plantations, declaring all land the property of the state. Like today, the economic elites weren’t having it. In general, the few rich affranchis and still fewer powerful blacks claimed the plantations as their rightful inheritance and this battle split the nation in two with the defeated foreigners/colonists encouraging the Haitian dissension and fratricide as much as possible. Dessalines, is said to have responded, “How does it come to pass that since we have chased away the colonists, their children are claiming their property? The Blacks whose fathers are in Africa will then have nothing? Be careful of yourselves, Negroes and Mulattoes … the property we have conquered in spilling our blood belongs to all of us; I insist that it be shared with equity.”
Eventually, land was divvied up in Haiti, not according to blood, inheritance or economic class, but primarily because of merit and brave actions that had assisted the coming of independence and common good, and then also for political reasons of maintaining power. In general, land, in Haiti, was parceled out to the people. Thus, as compared to the economic elites elsewhere in Latin America, in Haiti, the economic elites’ wealth would, for the vast majority, (with some exceptions) initially NOT be based on the land the African warriors had liberated.
But alas, the Haitian Constitution was unilaterally amended by the US, in 1918, during their first occupation of Haiti to allow foreigners to own property in Dessalines’ land. The 1987 Constitution reasserted some of Dessalines’ Law. The 1991 and 2004 US-sponsored and orchestrated coup d’etats, very much like the Dessalines’ assassination and the first Haitian coup d’etat in 1806, have, similar aims: the reversals of Dessalines’ law in Haiti.
This epic struggle, of the US/Euro tribes’ goliath determination to dominate the materially poor Black masses in Haiti, continues….
Everyone knows at Ezili Dantò’s HLLN, “se Desalin ki pwofesè istwa nou” and thus, we share today how, through poetry (Blan Mannan) one of our greatest Haitian thinker/poets, Feliks Moriso Lewa, taught and extended Desalin’s Law and ideals for the empowerment of this generation of Haitian freedom fighters:
Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
January 1, 2008 – Another Independence day Under Occupation