Ezili Danto

Ezili Danto
August 01
Ezili Dantò is an award winning playwright, a performance poet, author and human rights attorney. She was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in the USA. She holds a BA from Boston College, a JD from the University of Connecticut School of law. She is a human rights lawyer, cultural and political activist and the founder and president of the Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN). She runs the Haitian Perspectives on-line journal and the Ezili Dantò Newsletter. Ezili’s HLLN is the recognized leading and most trustworthy international voice in Haiti advocacy, human rights work, Haiti news and Haiti news analysis. HLLN’s work is central to those concerned with the welfare of the people of Haiti, Haiti capacity building, sovereignty, institutionalization of the rule of law, and justice and peace without occupation or militarization. Ezili Dantò is also an educator who specializes in teaching about the light and beauty of Haitian culture; the Symbolic and Archetypal Nature of Haitian Vodun; the illegality and immorality of forcing neoliberal policies on Haiti and the developing world... Since the UN-imported cholera outbreak on October 2010, Ezili' HLLN has insisted that environmental clean-up, clean water and sanitation are the only permanent solution to stop the UN cholera spread. Zili Dlo is a humanitarian project that provides free clean water. For more go to the Ezili Danto/HLLN websites at http://www.ezilidanto.com/ and http://www.ezilidanto.com/zili

JANUARY 27, 2010 8:43PM

We are the Haitians:From womb to tomb our lives are struggle

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We are the Haitians: From the womb to the tomb our lives are about struggle


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked Israel to send a police contingent to Haiti "to fight the growing anarchy on the streets. The plea comes amid reports that the city is being transformed into a battle zone between various gangs and looting is escalating. " Israel decided to send 100 police officers to Haiti in response to the UN request. (100 Israeli Police heading for Haiti.) But most of our folks on the ground in Haiti, don't see this growing anarchy, only people writhing in pain, hungry, thirsty and coping with unspeakable grief. (Ezili Dantò Witness Project)

Independence or death!
Pito Ayiti kraze pase pou li ta tonbe lan men blan ankò

Haitians are poor because they exist in a hostile American mediterranean and won't reconcile with Bourgeoisie Freedom.

Bourgeoisie Freedom is "how liberty, brotherhood, equality and democracy exist alongside or even in virtually the same space as slavery, genocide, exclusion, exploitation, intolerance and tyranny - notably Black enslavement, exploitation and disenfranchisement in the Americas. (See, Haiti the Rebel.)

Bourgeoisie Freedom describe, for instance, the organized violence at the top which makes invisible the homeless man sleeping on a bench with a cardboard box over his head in the same block with penthouses, chauffeured limousines and billion-dollar wealth. In essence, it's the invisibility of Prissy's enslavement, Dilcey pains and Mammy's hut at Tara in Dixieland during Scarlett O'Hara's balls, while all cry for what's Gone with the Wind. This is what Ezili's HLLN calls 'Bourgeoisie Freedom.' And, from Bwa Kayiman to now, Haitians have rejected this structure of human interaction, governance and communication. Haitians, as a people, struggle to transform this below, knowing no matter the misery, loss and suffering in time, that out of time, Nan Ginen, our safety lies - lives- wholly unformed by any storylines, (even our own*), since before this 'New World's' time began." (Excerpted from Bwa Kayiman 2007 and the case of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine ; and for *“even our own” - See, The African Trickster.)

Contrary to the media, State Department, NGO and USAID/US Embassy spins, it's the Haitian Diaspora’s $2 billion dollars per year remittances, not foreign aid that upholds Haiti. No other national group in the world sends more money to their homeland than Haitians living in the Diaspora . (Does the Western economic calculation of wealth fit Haiti - fit Dessalines idea of wealth distribution? No. ; The Western vs. the Real Narrative on Haiti ; Haiti govt gets only 1 cent of every US aid dollar; Support Conscious Emergency Relief with Human Rights and Dignity and, )

"The Haitian government has not seen one cent of that money that has been raised for Haiti. I presume that that means the money is going to NGOs," he said, referring to non-governmental aid groups. He said a Puerto Rican group had presented him with a shipping receipt showing it donated $3.5 million of food aid to feed Haitians. Preval said he asked, "Where is the food?" and was told it had already been given to aid groups. (Coordination needed for Haiti aid: Aid flows to charities, but Preval 'hasn't seen a cent'; and, Humanitarian relief in Haiti: Some shocking facts.)



We are the Haitians - from the womb to the tomb our lives is about struggle – n ap lite – against Western oppression and re-colonization. Nou La! – We are here! Still. After two centuries of struggle. No force has taken us down, none shall. There are 4.5 million Haitians abroad, more than 9 million at home. We beat back 19-years of US occupation before; we’ve beat back neocolonialism so as not to be DEVELOPED like the rest of the Caribbean where the Black majority deny their African-roots, are pushed into ghettos, own no property and are essentially, servants to Western corporatocracy - maids, butlers, housekeepers, and sexual playthings for visiting tourist. Not going to happen. Not on Dessalines’ land. (See, Does the Western economic calculation of wealth fit Haiti - fit Dessalines idea of wealth distribution? No!)


Before the horrific Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, Ezili’s HLLN was basically the sole international voice mobilizing against charity aid workers, non-for-profit pedophiles and UN soldiers, sexually molesting, abusing and raping, Haiti's children and people behind the facade of foreign benevolence, Christian charity, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. The earthquake has exponentially exacerbated the problem of foreigners feeding off of Haiti's poverty and man-made and natural disasters. But, Ezili' s HLLN, is NOT in shock. The direct US occupation - the stealing of Haiti's resources, murder of those who objected, enslavement through the imposition of the global elite's interests, started on February 29, 2004 for Haiti's majority when US Special forces flew democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide, out of Haiti as "cargo," back to Africa, on a plane used for renditions. The US occupation did not start on January 14, 2010, two days after the earthquake. No. We've never been seduced by the traditional Western savoir narrative, not in 2004 nor now in 2010. That was the first flight taking, kidnapping, a Haitian out of Haiti without the consent of the people of Haiti and at a time of crisis. We are here - Nou La! And there are today thousands of small, Haiti eathquake orphans - children who are unaccompanied, orphaned or lost one parent. (See, Claims of a million earthquake orphans are clearly false and those making them are being irresponsible ; Haiti earthquake — by the numbers.) Some are homeless children separated from their families due to the earthquake.

Many good-hearted people from abroad want to open up their arms to real Haiti orphans and that is all good. But the traffickers and predators who prey on tragedy and misfortunes of the weak, folks like accused American pedophile Douglas Perlitz, or Canadian ex-priest John Duarte, or the deported 114 Sri-Lankan UN soldiers who turned Haiti into a nightmare trafficking and sexually abusing Haiti’s children and peoples have counterparts still in Haiti. (Editorial: Fairfield should have helped Haiti months ago ; Douglas Perlitz indicted for abusing homeless boys in Haiti for a decade ; John Duarte - another accused Canadian pedophile of Haitian children ; and, UN Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Aid Workers raping, molesting and abusing Haitian children .)

Human trafficking is on the rise after the earthquake. The displaced Haitian children are not up for sale for either the organ traders, laboratory experiments, sexual predators or to wealthier Northerners in need of a child to raise willing to ignore the trauma experienced by these earthquake children, forcing them to assimilate to meet the expectations of others at such a confusing time. (No wholesale evacuation and adoption; Claims of a million earthquake orphans are clearly false and those making them are being irresponsible.)

These displaced children or eathquake orphans need immediate shelter, food, medical treatment, security, sanitation. Their parents may have been separated from them and if not, now is not the time to also abruptly deny them cultural sovereignty and the right to mourn and heal with the support of their community. Family in Haiti is more than the nucleus mom/dad/children in the Euro/American way. It's extended further. (See, Statement on Haiti adoptions from the international community of adoptees of color.) There could be some intermediate measure taken besides flying them off with strangers, no matter how well meaning. Those truly interested in the best interests of the child may help make sure that immediate emergency relief reach these children. Don't just take the child away leaving the community to spend a lifetime wondering whatever happened to each child.

Ezili's HLLN supports, reiterates and agrees wholeheartedly with the Adoptees of Color Statement on Haiti, written from the perspective of a group of adoptees of color opposed to international adoption of Haitian children that maintains: "All adoptions from Haiti must be stopped and all efforts to help children be refocused on giving aid to organizations working toward family reunification and caring for children in their own communities. We urge you to join us in supporting Haitian children's rights to life, survival, and development within their own families and communities."

Church group arrested in Haiti taking children across border

American citizens pose for a photo at police headquarters in the international airport of Port-au-Prince

(Ramon Espinosa/AP)

Members of the American church group who were detained in Haiti. The group's leader, Laura Silsby, is in the centre of the front row. (Source: Times Online, Jan 31, 2010)

Although UNICEF warns people to avoid adopting Haiti orphans for fear of encouraging child trafficking, there are plane loads of Haiti's children being taken out of Haiti right now when the people are in crisis - this is ill advised and dangerous. (Anti-Trafficking Efforts in Haiti .)
33 Haitian children were kidnapped by Americans alleging they were rescuing orphans. One 8-year-old girl, told workers, “I am not an orphan” she believed her mother had arranged a short vacation for her. (10 Americans Arrested in Haiti Await Charges.)

...After the admission of the children (to SOS Children's Village), three persons came to the village claiming been the fathers and old brother of five children, they said the woman who took the children to DR said she organised summer camps for the children, and that now, because of the Haitian situation, she offered them to take care of their children in DR but they had not intended it to be permanent. ( See- Americans arrested: children brought to SOS, traumaticised state of trafficked children.)

Haitian mothers bleed for their children just as all mothers - parents- do. There should be no wholesale evacuation and adoption. Haitian families abroad with earthquake orphan children or relatives may be given expedited immigration provisions along with financial and social service support for family reunification and caring for these children in their own communities. All international adoptions or evacuations of "disaster orphans" must stop. Let us step back and take a moment to consider the best long term interests of these earthquake orphans as well as getting them the immediate protection from predators and short term life-saving relief - food, water, medical treatment, shelter and love, children need. Both must be done. We are too tired of the opportunistic use of either man-made or natural disasters in Haiti, to permanently exile Haitians, without consent, from the reach of their relatives, homeland, its resources, ancestral legacy and culture. The myth that Haitians do not CARE for their children is just that, a myth. As HLLN has proven over and over again in our work to expose the foreign predators hiding behind white privilege, NGO legitimacy and the victorious US/UN occupation of Haiti since 2004. (See, Statement on Haiti adoptions from the international community of adoptees of color.)

Unlike many “helping” Haiti, HLLN has been doing this work for two decades now and yet the only fundraising HLLN has ever done is to ask people who read our writings and get our post to consider subscribing at $12dollars a month. But that can no longer be the case. Good-hearted citizens from all over the world are donating money to "help" Haiti but they don't have the slightest clue of the corporate predators out there that will feed off their generosity, no clue.

When I first was the legal advisor to President Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti in 1994, I had another title at the Ministry of Justice, it was Coordinator of Haiti Donors – Coordinateur Des Bailleurs des Fond. In that position, working in the Ministry of Justice as the Haitian minister’s legal advisor and as liaison between the Haitian justice ministry and the international donors, I got first hand experience on how Haiti’s friends, Haiti donors, the International community pledge funds to secure their country’s interests, to corrupt and buy Haiti officials to that end. Foreign aid is NOT about empowering Haitians, or securing Haitian interests. We Haitians know it, I lived it, HLLN lawyers who wanted to secure Haiti’s interest, were forced out of Haiti by the USAID and the then US ambassador to Haiti because as they said clearly and loudly we had a “conflict of interest.”

HLLN did not let that stop our work to change Haiti’s paradigm. We’ve used our own limited resources, continued since 1994 to this day, to try and expose the corrupting USAID/US embassy presence in Haiti and their NGOs that deny Haitian sovereignty. Entrap Haitian leaders, like President Aristide and President Preval. HLLN has experience with the colony narrative, the two most common neocolonial storylines about Haiti and false charity, false orphanages, false benevolence, and false donor aid. That is why, the minute the extent of the earthquake became known, we could SEE -through these predator's eyes - the money they KNOW they will make from Haiti's misfortune: over 200,000 dead; maybe 400,000 bodies yet to be recovered from under the rubble, over a million Haitians displaced, 236,000 Haitians have fled to the Haitian outback, between 700,000 to 800,000 are living in makeshift camps. Untold numbers are suffering injuries and wounds without any pain medication or medical treatment; the number of injured is estimated at 194,000. 70 percent of the buildings in Port au Prince collapsed on their occupants and in Kafou and other towns closer to the epicenter of the quake 90 percent of the buildings flattened their inhabitants. Leogane, Les Cayes, Petit Goave and other points South, destroyed. This colossal tragedy is so unfathomable, so unfathomable.

But we can see how the proponents of disaster capitalism, of profit-over-people values are looking at this and USAID is nothing if not the arm of the US State Department/Pentagon for pursuing the interests of the corporatocracy, of Wall Street, not Main Street. That is indisputable in Haiti and has been so for 50-years. The vultures are circling the mounds of Haitian corpse and earthquake injured and envisioning dollar signs. Their industrial military complex, private security companies and mercenary “police” enforcers like Dick Chenney's Halliburton and Blackwater-types, Brown and Root (mentioned over 4 decades ago in referenced to constructing an oil transfer facility and pipelines in Haiti), DYNCORPS, etc.. are about to make some dough off this Haiti earthquake for some time to come.

I know for those who don’t understand, who live in suburban amnesia, that
this reality is unfathomable and too ugly to contemplate. I know because once upon a time, I too was also so blissfully ignorant. I know those Americans and others who are raised and bred on "we do not use our power to subjugate others, we use it to lift them up!!!" as Barack Obama said just recently in reference to Haiti, will think we Haitians at HLLN are “ungrateful morons.” I know it because I’ve gotten the defensive mail to prove it. Here’s one example that summarizes them all:

“Please - get over yourself!!! Stop blaming the US and Bush for all the
worlds problems!! Earthquakes happen!! If the US wanted to take over Haiti we would already own it!!! We come to someone’s aid and people cry takeover!! If our coming to a country's aid is so dangerous perhaps we should stop helping, then where would the world be and how many would die?? Get a life & go bash someone else for a bit!!! I'm PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!!!” (http://bit.ly/74Klj3 )

But as difficult as it is for proud Haitians and proud Haitian-Americans, who have a long history with US/Euro false benevolence and inequalities to articulate such injustices and depravities, we also CANNOT take on the
imposition of hurt feelings from defensive folks, programmed to see “the land of the free and the brave with justice and liberty for all.” It’s that yes,
and also a predatory empire that conducts under-the-radar resource wars all over the planet. Both are true. That’s the meaning of Bourgeoisie Freedom, which the African warriors who liberated Haiti from Euro enslavement and colonialism, rejected. The US is the land of great freedom, dignity and decency AND the land of profit-over-people values that enslaves the poor, fleeces Main Street. Haiti is the FIRST place where the Europeans brought the Africans in chains to work their gold mines and plantations. First place where the curse of Euro-inflicted genocide and organized racial exclusion of the Black masses begun in the Western Hemisphere. Haitians were born, became Haitian in the land of the Tainos, as an anecdote to that curse.

The Haitian struggle is the greatest David vs. Goliath battle being played out on this planet . Neither Vodun nor Haitians have ever gone out to dominate any one or any country. We’ve fought in self-defense only to live free, helped to free many other countries that were enslaved. Would have freed or inspired more, as Harriet Tubman said, if they knew they were enslaved.

USAID MUST GO – Let Our People Go!

The first error is that Obama has refused to understand HLLN’s concerns in this and that USAID is part of the problem and so can NEVER be part of the solution in Haiti. And yet, their agency are the ones assigned to run the US earthquake relief effort and working to REBUILD Haiti! What a TRAVESTY! (See, Travesty in Haiti - False aid, false charity, false orphanages, false benevolence ; The Slavery in Haiti the Media Won't Expose . See also - Haitian-Americans ask the Obama team to end the UN/US occupation, stop USAID and the NGOs, support sustainable development... and HLLN on oversight needed on USAID, 2008.)

HLLN's mission has NOT changed. If the Obama State Department wants a different paradigm, a change in US-Haiti relationship, then this earthquake relief effort should not be militarized and must NOT be led by USAID nor, for that matter its counterparts in France/Canada, et al and their racist NGO subcontractors who are busy telling all and sundry how there are “zones of security instability” in Haiti and to view the Haitian people as violent animals about to pounce on charity workers and US military. It’s this self-serving myth that allowed for the UN/US/France/Canada occupation of Haiti since 2004 in the first place. (See, Expose the lies: Violent Haiti is a myth - There's MORE violence in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, even in the United States than there is in Haiti .)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked Israel to send a police contingent to Haiti "to fight the growing anarchy on the streets. The plea comes amid reports that the city is being transformed into a battle zone between various gangs and looting is escalating. " Israel decided to send 100 police officers to Haiti in response to the UN request. (100 Israeli Police heading for Haiti.)

But most of our folks on the ground in Haiti, don't see this "growing anarchy," only flesh and blood people writhing in pain, hungry, thirsty and coping with unspeakable grief. (Ezili Dantò Witness Project)

This unsubstantiated and racist fear mongering of USAID, Robert Gates and the State Department and their counterparts in France and Canada was transmitted and continues to be transmitted to both the incoming militaries and all the NGOs in post-earthquake Haiti as before. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy to keep Haiti in perennial bondage and in need of “rescue.” Their media sycophants took on the refrain and, as usual, it has cost HAITIAN lives! (See, Security concerns cause doctors to leave hospital, quake victims .)


HLLN has launched the HLLN - Nou La/We are here! - relief fund to help the earthquake victims and to use this crisis limelight on Haiti to SHOW that it’s USAID and its NGOs and US policy in Haiti that’s violent. Haitians are a peaceful people. USAID and its Haitian Oligarchy and NGO subcontractors, masturbating on Black pain, for over 50-years with zero development achievement, have been trumpeting the “Haitians-are-criminals-bandits-corrupt-and-violent-line” to mostly keep
itself in a job. Because of this Western narrative about Haiti, because the
powers-that-be traditionally support dictatorship against the people’s
choice, Haitians are the most persecuted human beings in the entire Western Hemisphere, (See, The Western vs. the Real Narrative on Haiti.) With the earthquake, the militarization of aid, the drilling for oil, mining for uranium, gold, copper, iridium, marble, etc., the exclusion and exploitation on top of horrific physical and psychic pain shall be broader and more massive unless decent people, of all the races, lift up their blinders and stop denying the historical and current reality in Haiti. Together we must keep the poor alive with dignity and help heal both the oppressor and the oppressed. Together, we must raise money to meet these newly arriving and embolden predators who are FEEDING off this earthquake tragedy - all of them.

Please support this work. Donate to HLLN' Circulate these posts. Support Haitian-led,s earthquake relief fund. Haiti-capacity building relief efforts. We can be the change we’re looking for on this planet. Yes, we can! Thank you very much.

Men anpil chay pa lou – Many hands make light a heavy load.

Ezili Dantò of HLLN
Si kriye te leve lamò, manman nou tout t ap la - If crying could raise the dead, every mother would still be alive.”



- "From the viewpoint of the discoverers, terror is only terror when it
terrorises them, their descendants or their friends..."
-- Jacques Depelchin (Africa: In Solidarity with Site Soley)

- "It is organized violence on top which creates individual violence at the
bottom. It is the accumulated indignation against organized wrong, organized crime, organized injustice which drives the political offender to his act." --Emma Goldman

- "If you have come here to help me then you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together." -- Lila Watson

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I'll be back to read closer -- but thank you for this post!
I'm not surprised that they are still pulling out people from the quake in Haiti, two weeks later--because Haiti's people's lives are a life of struggle. You want to see suffering, look closely at the face of a poor paysan from Haiti.
independence or dead....it`s a great words but the reallity are very hard.