The pain that comes with living makes the journey seem almost impossible at times, and as we witness the devastation inflicted upon the country of Haiti is unimaginable. This tragedy makes it very clear that life is a fragile state of existence that most can’t fathom in its totality. In our daily lives we often take for granted how fortunate we are with the many blessings and comfort that we enjoy. The emotions I feel, not unlike yours, watching people who look like me in such misery and helplessness from this natural disaster that was unexpected and beyond their control is heart-retching.
I have always believed unless and until you suffer enough pain, then and only then, will you reach deep inside and feel the breath that God has breathed into your soul coming eye to eye with your destiny. This may or not prove to be true in this instance but I understand the meaning of faith, which is believing what is not seen and knowing it to be true. Many times I’ve pondered that remark along with many other reflections of those valuable lessons taught to me during my early Sunday school days. Therefore, I will begin this post with something I have not done via this blog – a scripture.
Colossians (3:12-15) comes to mind, “as God’s chosen people, hold and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called …” It is this call that each of us must answer for the benefit of others.
I know you have been watching the network news, listening to radio, and reading newspapers where today all eyes are on Haiti – but the question is “for how long”. It will take years and maybe generations to restore some semblance of life the Haitians once knew, which was far from wonderful to start with. We must remember that this is the place that the celebrated criminal Columbus landed in 1492 and historical records tell us from that day to this Haiti has suffered. I want to rebuke and say regardless of what that old senile pastor said, they did not make a deal with the devil. (VIEW THIS CLIP)
Haiti has a long storied history and therefore retains a very rich culture. Haitian culture is a mixture of primarily French, African elements, and native Taino, with some lesser influence of Spanish culture. The country’s customs essentially are a blend of cultural beliefs derived from the various ethnic groups that inhabited the island of what was once know as Hispaniola. In nearly all aspects of modern Haitian society European and African elements dominate.
Haiti is a largely Christian country, with Roman Catholicism professed by 80% and Protestants make up about 16% of the population. Haitian Vodou, a New World Afro-American Diasporic faith is unique to the country and practiced by roughly half the population. Religious practice often spans Haiti and its Diaspora as those who have migrated interact through religion with family. Haiti’s regional, historical and ethno-linguistic position is unique for several reasons.
Under French rule they enacted the Code Noir (Black Code) ratified by Louis XIV established rigid rules on slave treatment and permissible freedom. After years of brutality, Haiti became the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion – the first of its kind. The success of the slave rebellion caused the newly elected Legislative Assembly in France to realize it was facing an ominous situation. In order to protect France’s economic interests, the Legislative Assembly needed to grant civil and political rights to free men of color in the colonies. The decision was confirmed and extended by the National Convention in 1794 when they formally abolished slavery granting civil and political rights to all black men in the colonies.
The Haitian Slave revolt model then spread throughout the hemisphere bringing about liberation to people in New Granada (now Colombia), Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. America also benefited GRATELY as a result because it was the Haitian defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte that he sold most of France’s land holding in the central United States known as the Louisiana Purchase for penny’s an acre. So in spite of the country’s sorted and often difficult history that followed these events, this is a country largely forgotten by most world powers while these events changed the face of the world.
Yes, this country has had many brutal dictators, disasters, and strife. It is near the top of the world’s poorest nations but in spite of its problems over time nothing compares to what Haiti faces today. Therefore, with all good conscience and anyone who has any compassion for humanity? “HELP THE HAITIAN PEOPLE”.
If you are not able to or in your mind you think you cannot do anything to help I would suggest something very simple – PRAY!!! I believe prayer saves.
www.yele.org to make a donation.