Throughout world history great men and women have been at risk for being notedly different and non-traditional. Their ideas, language, vision, comportment, although favoring a majority in an established society, are reasons not only for normal oppositions, but virulent antagonistic attitudes and extreme actions.
Too often in our Judeo-Christian years these individuals have been marked by hatred, envy, bitterness, regardless their messages and aspirations. They will be accused of audacity, heresy, pretention, rebellion, and even treason for the good they want to do, but that would disturb the advantageous routine of certain groups.
From Jesus Christ to Abe Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Anwar Sadat, Malcolm X, Yitzhak Rabin, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, all of them, and others, were assassinated because of their values. It seems that only ordinary human beings can be assured of survival.
Next Friday, October 17, whatever they do in Haiti to honor the memory of the hero of the country’s independence, it will not be commensurate enough to bring to the attention of the present generations of Haitians the enormity of the crime committed on that date in 1806 at Pont-Rouge near Port-a-Prince. Here is a version of the sad historic event as reported by Col. Robert D. Heinl in “Written in Blood”:
“Outside St Marc, Delpeche, an officer who had escaped from the Petit-Goave, spurred his horse to warn the emperor. Dessalines would not listen … As the guard approach Port-au-Prince, the soldiers quickly learned what was afoot. When Petion and Guerin met them at Pont Rouge, they surrendered and turned coat … Every cultivator on the Cul-de-Sac by now knew or suspected that the trap had been set. Not a single voice warned Dessalines as he rode south.
“Not until the emperor was a few yards away did colonel Leger, a mulâtre, recognize that the troops ahead were not those of Dessalines … His warning came too late: the drums beat the long roll, and the officers commended, “Fire! Fire!” The bayonets closed in, but no man dare pull trigger. In fury, Dessalines lashed out with his cocomacac. Finally a young soldier named Garat fired his musket at the emperor’s horse. As the charger pitched down, Dessalines was pinned to the ground. Then the generals swarmed forward. With fierce chops, Yayou stabbed him thrice, Vaval, a minor general, loosed his horse pistol into the writhing body. When Charlotin Marcadieux, a loyal mulâtre officer, tried to shield Dessalines, his head was blown away by a blast of musket shots. No other staff officer was as imprudent. Most of the suite took to the heels. ”
Hopefully, Haitian teachers at all class levels will comment for their students this version of Dessalines’s cruel assassination, and call their attention to the fact that was not primarily because Dessalines was considered a tyrant, but because Petion’s political ambition. These teachers should explain how this first contentious and criminal act followed by fraudulent political intervention to prevent Henri Christophe’s ascendency to the presidency of the Republic have caused Haiti to be the third world country it is still today.
Those of us who have adopted these United States as our second country, less do what ever we can to prevent any kind of Machiavellian action that could prevent the ascendency to the presidency of a man, some say he is not like them. However, a 106-year-old American nun living in a convent in Rome could well be one of the oldest voters to cast a ballot in the 2008 US Presidential election. Sister Cecilia Gaudette, who still read the newspapers and watch TV, last voted for President Eisenhower in 1952, “who won”, she said. She has registered to vote and says she will vote for Democrat Barack Obama. “I’m encouraged by Senator Obama … I’ve never met him, but he seems to be a good man with a good private life. That’s the first thing. Then he must be able to govern,” she said.
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