Thursday, October 25, 2012

#69- HIStory: Is it not enough?

It would not be fair to say that everyone who knows the history of Haiti will become an atheist.  However, I don't understand how people who know the history of that nation can look at Christianity in a favorable way.

A few years ago I stumbled upon Bartholomew De Las Casas' book called "A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies".  It is an awesome read and I highly recommend it.  It described the behavior and the deeds of the Europeans he traveled with to the New World.  But even before that as a child in Haiti, we learned about Christopher Columbus landing in the Caribbean.  The history books acknowledged that he met people and really didn't discover anything but his own ignorance.  Columbus is still lauded as some sort of a hero in the West.

If you think this is disturbing read the Bible.  Example 1 Samuel 15:3
Subsequently, many of the European power nations of the day visited, pillaged, and terrorized many of the local islands.  Wherever they landed the natives suffered via disease, heartache, or destruction.  As the stock of free labor died off from slavery and foreign plagues the squatters decided to look for more people to exploit and subjugated.  Off course back then many of the Europeans did not recognize the Indigenous people as humans and certainly not equals.  They had an even lower opinion of the people from Africa that they took, bought, captured, and enslaved. 

While the motives of slavery and exploration where tauted as having a financial motivation, religion was certainly used as an excuse, a conduit, or a lubricant to the raping of the dignity of the New World.  The religion that most of the colonial powers shared was a very pagan and malleable version of the Jewish myths called Christianity.  The dominant form of which was Roman Catholicism. 

This mental virus was used liberal as a ready excuse to make fodder of men, women, and children.  The Europeans reasoned that the natives were but brutes who were lucky to have contact with them.  They saw them as unwashed savages that monks like De Las Casas could try to convert and thus save from eternal damnation.

The Africans who were brought over to work the fields of Hispaniola are the predecessors of today's Haitians.  They came from various groups with various languages, traditions, and religions.  They all suffered the trauma of harsh treatment and brainwashing.  The effects of these things are still noticeable in the Haitian culture today.  Some Haitians have taken to do their best to mimic Europeans.  Those who look like their former owners tend to do better in Haitian society.  French is still the official language of the nation.  Roman Catholicism is also the premier recognized religion of Haiti.

De Las Casas telling you to "talk to the hand".

I don't think it is too far of a statement to say that the colonizers of Haiti instructed the Haitians to hate themselves and each other.  In regards to religion this is made readily apparent.  The most popular of native spiritual traditions, Vodou, is treated with ire and the most vile contempt.  It has been blamed for everything from the nations poor economic standing to the 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people and left an untold amount maimed for life.  All this while even the enemies of Vodou acknowledge its role in the seminal moment of Haitian independence the meeting at "Bois Caïman".

That revolution is still celebrated by Haitians and non-Haitians alike.  Unfortunately it has not surpassed the popularity of Christopher Columbus.  In the same vein, I argue that the evils and treachery of the colonizers that were specifically motivated by their Christian religion has yet to be fully brought to trial.  Vodou  is still framed as villainous while the other religions get a carte blanche.  Even during the 2010 year people where attributing a very natural and understood phenomenon to gods, ghouls, and devils.

It is for this very reason that I felt compelled to shed some light in the insanity.  There is no reason why this should persist.  Many of the other nations of the world have pulled themselves out of the depressive and vacuous world of superstition.  Ironically, the so-called age of "Enlightenment" found fertile ground in the nation that suffered the wrath of the Haitian Revolution, France.  It is my dream and passion to share that narrative with as many people as possible; especially Haitians.

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