Haitian Flag Day
by Jacob François
www.dissidentvoice.org/, May 18th,
In 1803, our ancestors declared Haiti
free and independent; they adopted the flag of freedom-blue and
red with the inscription: In Union is strength! For the heroes
of the war of the Haitian independence, "In Union lays our
Strength," reflected the unification of blacks and mulattos
against the slave owners as a strategic tool in order to obtain
our freedom and independence.
These valiant black slaves, although tired
from the painful yoke of slavery, quickly understood that if "Divide
and Conquer" succeeded so well for the slave owners, it became
imperative for the revolted slaves to unite, blacks and mulattos,
poor and rich in order to win the battle for independence. "Union
is Strength" enabled them to win the fight against slavery
- as Haiti became the first black independent republic in the
Tribute to Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who
after two hundred years of independence, no one has been able
to match his vision of cohesion for the daughters and sons of
Haiti, irrespective of their social status or clan. He envisioned
a Haiti fair for all. After two hundred years of structural ills,
we have no choice but to educate our people to the concept of
the Haitian nation, citizenship and patriotism.
The Dessalinienne - written by the famous
Justin Lhérisson - contains exactly the words we needed
to trigger national awareness that is necessary for a better Haiti.
One which respects the right of its people, a strong and fair
justice system, and an economy linked to the needs of the poor
for inclusion, ensuring their economic security for a Haiti free,
happy, and prosperous in the 21st century, capable of sprinting
feverishly towards a modern economy capable of taking care of
For the country and for our fathers, train
our sons, train our daughters. Free, strong and prosperous, we
are our brothers' and sisters' keeper. Train our sons, train our
daughters for the country and for our father's legacy. Train,
train, train our sons, for the country and for our fathers legacy.
Being Haitian, free Negroes on Haitian
soil are sacred rights bequeathed to us by our parents. Under
no circumstances should we put these privileges to compromise,
because our ancestor's souls will revolt in their graves.
Helping Haitians find and understand the
country's history and its legacy are key issues for the renewal
of the Haitian nation. Very often, the intelligentsia believe
that to be a patriot or a nationalist coincide with the notion
of hatred for other people in order to promote your own ideals,
however, the notion that we're promoting today on May 18, 2008
has nothing to do with this definition of patriotism or nationalism.
The concept for us is to put the interest
of our country Haiti above personal interests in order to achieve
a Haiti as it was meant to be based on its history. Our ancestors
did not have so many opportunities that are offered to us today
in the era of globalization, our responsibility is to advocate
and promote our ideals in order to enhance the understanding and
shed light on our struggle. Having for a compass-freedom and human
rights as sacred instruments for the renewal of the country and
At the dawn of the celebration of the
Centennial of our independence, a mental giant like Lhérisson
was able to highlight our duty as citizens in the national anthem
for us to analyze or think about our duty towards our motherland.
But our disbelief and lack of vision we have stopped us from having
a common vision for our people, which resulted in a U.S. invasion.
That is the result of our lack of vision and cohesiveness: the
return of France on the Haitian political scene by demanding and
collecting a ransom from Haiti for over a hundred years, the American
occupation, the occupation of the United Nations and its members
from the third world that we had helped gain their own independence.
The Préval government has the responsibility to declare
its national plan for regaining our sovereignty specifying the
date of departure for Minustha from our territory.
Haitian Priorities Project calls upon
all Haitians and the French government, to think about the possibility
for France to prove that it is really an ally for its former colony,
which despite its setbacks and calamities, still remains an example
of bravery and endurance.
The annual budget of Haiti stood at 77.6
billion gourdes/38.56gdes, or about $2,012,448,133.00. If we capitalize
the amount of the ransom of independence that France forced the
Haitian government to pay, we end up with a sum of $21,685,136,000.00
capitalized for fiscal year end 2003. If you take this value divided
by the current annual budget of Haiti ($21,685,136,000.00 / $2,012,448,133.00),
we get a value equal to the total financing of the program of
René Préval's government for a period of 11 years.
The most important step that France could
make would be to demonstrate its humanitarianism and its respect
for human rights and settle the debt that France owed to Haiti,
accepted by former President Jacques Chirac and the French parliament.
While celebrating the creation of the Haitian flag, it would be
a great gesture on the part of the French Government to repay
all of this unjustified ransom collected by the French Government,
which would allow the Haitian government to equip the country
with the infrastructure needed, in addition, this will allow the
Haitian government from reaching out to the rest of the world
in order to complete its annual budget for at least a period of
11 years. This would certainly bring economic stability in the
country; a prerequisite condition for revitalizing the economy
and sustainable development for the reconstruction of the Haitian
On this day while we celebrate the creation
of the Haitian flag, let us unite friends of Haiti, let's re-light
the torch of bravery which motivated the warriors for the independence
of Haiti and give value to their slogan "Union is Strength"
Haitian Priorities Project calls upon
all Haitians and friends of Haiti to unite in order to demand
from France the handing over of the ransom of independence extorted
from Haiti. More than ever, we need the support of 8.5 million
Haitians to demonstrate to France and the world that we are united
in a single voice fighting for Restitution of over 23 billion
dollars and the time has come for France to return to Haiti this
ransom collected unfairly.
Jacob François founded Project
2000 International, a non-profit organization that provides assistance
to Haitian children. Read other articles by Jacob, or visit Jacob's