On December 4, 2002, the President of the Republic of Haiti realizing the ineffectiveness of his efforts to appease the foreign powers (U.S., Canada, France, the European Union) that were already showing their resolve to unseat him, delivered a speech in the southern city of Cayes. Agents of these countries and their Haitian associates quickly invaded cyberspace to offer interpretations of that speech aiming to paint President Aristide as a paranoid racist black despot. The following is an excerpt of archived December 2002 exchanges from the Corbett list where the matter was being discussed.
For ease of reading, the government-issued transcript of President Aristide’s original Kreyol speech is in black, my amateur English translation of it appears in red and some of my editorial comments on the Corbettlist in blue.
President Aristide speaking…
Si ou nan konplo a anba anba jan sa te fèt lè Kou Deta 1991 lan, nou konnen se pa Lame d Ayiti sèlman k te fè Kou Deta a, Lame d Ayiti te genyen gwo konplis ki te mete avè l pou fè Kou Deta a. jodi a tou gen konplis ki dèyè konplo Kou Deta a.
(if you are hypocritically involved in the plot as happened during the 1991 coup, we all know that it wasn’t the FadH (Haitian Army) alone that conducted the coup, it had BIG accomplices who helped it realize the coup. Today also, there are accomplices behind the coup plot)
[Nope! no mention of race there. But some people do have greater than 20/20 vision]
A 2 zan pandan nou pral Selebre 200 zan Endepandans, maladi Kou Deta a fò l soti nan san politisyen Ayisyen ! (APLODISMAN FOUL LA)
(2 years ahead of our 200th year of independence celebrations, this Coup d’Etat virus must exit itself from the blood of Haitian politicians – CROWD APPLAUSE)
Maladi Kou Deta a fò l soti nan san kèk moun ki abitye konplis ! lè yo bay kòb ou byen lè yo kore moun k ap fè konplo pou pa respekte volonte Pèp.
(This coup d’Etat virus must exit itself from the blood of some people who have the habit of being accomplices [in coups d’etat]! When they give money or when they endorse those who are plotting to disrespect [undo] the people’s will)
Lè yo pa respekte volonte pèp la, se paske yo gen anpil prejije pou ou, se paske yo gen anpil mepri pou ou, Sa k ap fèt la a se pa yon Konplo Kont Prezidan Aristide non ! S on konplo kont Pèp Ayisyen ! Se pa Prezidan Aristide yo pa renmen, Se Pèp Ayisyen yo pa renmen !
(when they do not respect the people’s will, it is because they have plenty of prejudices against you, it is because they despise you, what is happening here is not a plot against president Aristide but a plot against the Haitian people. It is not President Aristide whom they do not like, but the Haitian people.)
[Glad to realize that you’ve realised it and have finally decided to express it so Mr. President! Now whatyougonnadoabout it brother president?]
Ou se peyizan, Yo pa renmen w, Ou se malere, Yo pa renmen w, Ou gen menm koulè avè mwen, Yo pa renmen w, Cheve w grenn menm jan avè m, Yo pa renmen w, Pitit ou pa pitit gwo zotobre, Yo pa renmen w, Donk lè konsa ou pa moun pou yo.
(You are a peasant, they do not like you. You are poor, they do not like you, You share the same tone of skin as I, they do not like you. Your hair is kinky as mine, they do not like you. Your child is not that of a rich person, they do not like you. Therefore, in this case, you are not human in their view)
Lè konsa si yo pa bouche nen yo pou yo pase pre w paske yo gen prejije a nan kè yo, Lè w vote, yo refize respekte dwa w ! (MOUN YO APLODI)
(Then, if they do not cover their noses when they pass you by because of the prejudice they arbhor in their hearts against you; when you go out to vote, they refuse to respect your rights)
[ who dat? why is Aristide still speaking about black voters in Florida? Hasn’t he heard that Gore conceded long ago? and in fact Trent Lott is now majority leader after a second left-wing Senator died in a plane crash. The U.S. is a multi (well actually two) party demokkkracy where Republicans control both their parliament and their palais nasyonal – as Lavalas does in Haiti and Chavez in Venezuela – same difference but different reality!]
Dessalines te di : tout moun se moun ! Libète pou tout moun ! Prezidan an di : fòk li respekte dwa Opozisyon an, fò l respekte dwa moun ki pa dakò avè l. Men l pa ka dakò pou moun ki pa dakò ak Pèp la vle retire nan yon Manda 5 kan Pèp la chwazi bay Prezidan an ! (MOUN YO BAT BRAVO)
(Dessalines said: all humans are human! Freedom for all ! The president says: he must respect the opposition, he must respect the rights of those not in agreement with him. However, he cannot agree that people who are not in agreement with the People want to take away from a 5 year mandate which the People chose to give to the president – THE PEOPLE APPLAUD)
[ Funny how in this speech Aristide keeps on repeating 5 years not ten, 5 years not ten. I wish G.W. Bush could be pushed to promise us the same. Oh, how I wish!!]
M konnen l pa fasil, m konnen lè ou wè ou an kòlè, gen defwa w bezwen yon moun ki pou vide dlo sou tèt ou. Se sa m vin fè jodi a.
(I know it is not easy, I know when you are angry, sometimes you need someone to drop some water over your head. That’s what I came to do today)
[Now, this is an interesting piece of RACE history that should have helped calm some overly exited folks down].
Lè Toussaint louverture rive isit la, li te vin chèche yon sè l ki te rele GENEVIÈVE, lè l jwenn ak sè a GENEVIÈVE, li rann li kont GENEVIÈVE te plase nan fason pa l avèk yon kolon e l te fè 10 pitit avè l. Toussaint anbrase ti neve l, ti nyès li, li anbrase sè l. Paske li menm menm si se pa nan zantray li timoun sa yo te soti, men se ti san l, se ti sè l, se ti frè l, se neve l. Se menm lespri sa a ki pou gide tout moun nan Depatman Sid la, e tout Ayisyen nan tout peyi a. Sa vle di yon lespri de fratènite kote grangou lòt la tounen grangou pa w, pwobl èm pa l tounen pwoblèm pa w pou w pa janm pran direksyon ki pa bon pou frè w. Men pou w toujou chèche sa ki bon pou frè w. Se sa k fè nou pa nan rayisans.
(When Toussaint Loverture arrived here, he came to seek for a sister of his named Geneviève, When he found her, he realized that Geneviève was living with (so to speak) a “colon” and had 10 children by him. Toussaint embraced his nephews, his nieces, his sister. Although these children did not come from his bosom, they were his “little bloods”, his little sisters, his little brothers, his nephews. It is this same spirit that should guide all the people in the South Department and all Haitians all over the country. Meaning a spirit of brotherhood where the brethren’s hunger, his problem becomes yours in such a way that you never take a direction which is detrimental to your brethren. But that you always seek that which is beneficial to your brother. This is why we reject hatred.)
[Realizing, he has taken this Toussaint Louverture thing much too far now, President Aristide admits….]
Mmwen pa Toussaint louverture, men m chwazi suiv Toussaint Louverture, imite li, respekte l e kite lespri l la gide m.
(I am not Toussaint Louverture, but I choose to follow and imitate him, respecting him and letting his spirit guide me)
Ou wè ki jan s on gran pèp, li di sa l ap viv san l pa mande vyolans. Fòk moun k ap fè vyolans yo ta mande pèp Ayisyen padon pou jan Pèp Ayisyen bon.
(See how this is a great people, expressing her sorrows without resorting to violence. Indeed, those using violence should ask forgiveness of the Haitian people for she is such a good people)
[So, by then you are probably saying to yourself man this was muchado about nothing ! But wait, don’t be so quick to dismiss the speech and its promoters. Here is one of the reasons why they would rather you see what is imagined to be in it instead of what in fact is]
Nou sot mete 100 000 000 goud apa pou pati politik ki di yo te viktim jou 17 desanm ane pase a lè yo te fè koudeta rate a.
(We have put aside 100 milion HG [$2.7M U.S] to give to political parties that say they were victimised december 17th of last year when there was this failed coup d’etat)
Nou lonje 50 000 000 goud bay pati politik OPL li di li twò piti se 100 000 000 pou yo ba li… Eske nou ban m otorizasyon pou m al reziyen m pou al chèche plis toujou pou m bay pati politik yo ? (FOUL LA TRÈ FACHE LÈ LI TANDE PAWÒL SA A)
(We presented 50 milion HG [$1.4M U.S.] to the OPL political party and it said this is not enough they must have 100 milion HG… [$2.7 M U.S.]…Do you authorise me to make even more sacrifices and go look for more to give to the political parties? – THE CROWD WAS VERY UNHAPPY WHEN IT HEARD THIS)
See full Corbett archives here:
Mwen sèmante kòm Prezidan peyi d Ayiti, Pou m toujou mache nan lapè Pou m toujou gide pèp la sou wout lapè a Pou nou toujou mache nan wout eleksyon Pou nou pa janm tounen nan koudeta Pou nou pa janm rete nan ig ang Men okontrè pou lapè sa a Tounen yon limyè sivilizasyon Ki kontinye klere lemond antye Pou lè li rankontre menm sivilizasyon an nan lòt peyi Pou l fè limyè sivilizasyon an vin pi djanm Paske se sèl sivilizasyon lapè a Ki kapab fè lemond grandi, grandi, grandi Pou moun pa viv nan grangou. Mèsi !
( I sware as president of Haiti to always walk in peace, to always guide the people on the path of peace, so that we always walk on the road of elections, so that we never return to Coups d’Etat, so that we never stall with discord but instead for this peace to become a civilizing light that continues to brighten up the whole world, so that when it meets the same level of civilization in other countries, the civilizing light gets reinforced even further. Because, only the civilization of peace can help the world grow to [a point where] people shall live and hunger no more. Thank you!).