Haiti - Social : 263rd anniversary of the birth of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines
"Dear fellow citizens everywhere,
This year we are celebrating the two hundred and sixty-third anniversary of the birth of an extraordinary man who was called to change the course of the history of humanity in general, and of the black race in particular. If there is a man in the entire course of our species who deserves to be placed at the top of the class of true heroes, this man is indeed Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the founding father of the Haitian Nation. The man we speak of so proudly today is still not one of the most celebrated liberators on the planet. The world may one day find the courage to celebrate the birth of this authentic hero.
It is an anniversary that all Haitians must mark with the greatest pride because this father of the Haitian Nation is the very definition of the kind of man that the whole world should welcome as a model of heroism.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was indeed born into slavery on September 20, 1758. For perfectly understandable reasons, we know nothing of his childhood and young age. It must be said that our historians of a certain period have never presented Dessalines in a clearly laudatory manner. It is therefore not surprising that generations of Haitians have seen the father of our Nation as an ordinary soldier rather than a hero of planetary dimensions.
For having been born in the dehumanizing conditions of slavery, and breaking all barriers to become General-in-Chief of an indigenous army which routed the slave forces of France, Jean-Jacques Dessalines demonstrated extraordinary qualities which place him in a league far above that of the much admired conquerors. He is a true liberator whose vision has served as an inspiration to other liberators. Today we celebrate the birth of the father of our nation; a hero like no other.
Our country, the homeland of Jean-Jacques Dessalines is currently experiencing its darkest moments. It is impossible to observe the slightest trace of the bravery and integrity of the father of our nation and of his contemporaries in the behavior of many of our compatriots today. Yet the life of Jean-Jacques Dessalines can still serve as inspiration. If we can come to an understanding to place our freedom above all else, we will become worthy of our ancestors, worthy of Emperor James the First.
Former Consul General of Haiti in Chicago
(August 26, 2004 - May 25, 2018)
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