Two hundred and eight years ago, brave Haitians declared an end to slavery, giving birth to a new nation where each person was a human being. Tout moun se moun. This move advanced the notion of human rights for the first time in modern history, and was a vast departure from the values that were held in high regard during French colonial rule.
While at its inception, the revolutionary ideals of the newly formed nation called Haiti held great promise, the reality as understood today detracts from this plesant image. Still, our rituals and their symbolic associations mirror these revolutionary ideals. For example, soup joummou, the New Year’s and Independence Day celebratory pumpkin soup, signifies the communion of equals through the consumption of the once forbidden delicacy reserved for the colonial masters. Today, as family and friends gather around the dinner table, we are clearly proud of our freedom and accomplishments, yet know that there are countless Haitians who are hungry, sleeping under tents. Two hundred and eight years after independence, many Haitians live in abject poverty and have no rights as humans.Read more