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Haiti - Vertières 217th : Traditional message by Lesly Condé
Message from Lesly Condé :
"Dear compatriots everywhere,
This November 18, 2020 brings us to the 217th anniversary of a historic event that shattered a powerful existing world order, and exposed the hypocrisy of those who found their happiness in the dehumanization of an entire race.
Today we celebrate the invincibility of all people who are attached to their ancestral traditions and to their humanity. I tell you that even if slavery continued to exist after this defeat of the French colonial forces at Vertières, it was, in reality, the victory of our ancestors that sounded the death knell for this odious but lucrative exploitation of humans by human.
The sparkling victory that the native army of Jean-Jacques Dessalines won over Napoleon's colonial forces on November 18, 1803 at Vertières, gave rise to the birth of the first black sovereign State of the New World. Even today, one wonders why a historic event of such magnitude is not taught in all schools of the 'free world'. Do we not live in a world that claims to be enamored with the ideals of justice and freedom ?
Indeed, November 18 of each year should be celebrated by all nations as the day when, in the year 1803 at Vertières, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, at the head of an army of rebellious slaves, inflicted a clear and humiliating defeat to the slave troops of France commanded by General Rochambeau. There are still many who even today find it difficult to digest this eloquent lesson in humility and this triumph of human dignity. Many are those who, even today, resent the illustrious Jean-Jacques Dessalines to the point of being unable to pronounce his name...
We Haitians have real heroes to honor with great pride. It was in Vertières that the door to freedom opened for the whole world. Our ancestors have nothing to envy the heroes of Europeans who are, for the most part, revered for having been invaders, conquerors, slave masters. Let’s not wait for the rest of the world to say it. It is up to us to be proud of our precious identity, and to remind the world that freedom was born in Vertières on November 18, 1803.
We know our country is not having its best times. We are sure that our ancestors, the heroes of Vertières, cannot be satisfied with our present reality. But when we remember those we have as ancestors, we know that if there is a Nation capable of getting out of this mess, that Nation is called HAITI."