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Haiti - History : 265th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines
"Dear fellow citizens and friends everywhere,
I appreciate the privilege of being with you, again this year, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the very illustrious founding father of our Nation. Son of slaves, this great man came into the world in complete obscurity. We therefore know very little about his childhood, and nothing at all about the identity of his father. Even when one is called to change the course of human history, being born into slavery still means being the property of a master or mistress who is free to dispose of their property as they see fit. There is no document relating to the birth of this man with a destiny that was both glorious and tragic. On the other hand, we know the date of his assassination well, even if there is more than one version of the circumstances in which he was executed. In any case, it is always better to talk about the life and prowess of the founding father of our Nation. With great pride, let's celebrate the birth of one of the most extraordinary beings who have ever seen the light of day.
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.
It must be said that nature always arranges things well when we are predestined. Jean-Jacques Dessalines really did not know his mother because she died when he was still young. Before dying, however, she had the presence of mind to entrust her son to a lady, also a slave, whom we know under the name of Aunt Toya. It was a wise decision because Aunt Toya, a former amazon of the famous army of Dahomey, took charge of all aspects of the training of young Jean-François. It made him a man of strong character, a formidable soldier and a skillful tactician.
Having been born in the dehumanizing conditions of slavery, and overcoming pitfalls of all kinds to become the supreme leader of an army of rebellious slaves who routed the impeccably equipped slave forces of France, Jean-Jacques Dessalines demonstrated a courage, resilience and sagacity that put him in a league far above that of those much-revered European conquistadors. The father of the Haitian Nation is a true liberator whose courage and vision inspired other liberators. It is to be hoped that one day freedom will triumph and that the whole world will celebrate with us the birth of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, father of the Haitian Nation.
Our country, the Homeland of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, is currently experiencing its darkest moments. It is as if this independence acquired by our ancestors at the cost of such admirable sacrifices was never anything other than a curse. To our great misfortune, generation after generation, we have deviated from the recommendations of our ancestors concerning the slave world in which our Haiti was born. It’s a world that hasn’t changed much. We must therefore, like our ancestors, unite beyond our differences in the name of our precious freedom which is, more than ever, threatened."
Reflection messages from Lesly Condé 2023 :
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