Haiti: The Breached Citadel - 2nd revised edition by Patrick Bellegarde Smith

By Patrick Bellegarde Smith

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A fledgling Haitian women’s movement of the 1930s and 1940s coincided with a severe economic depression that forced many middleand upper-class Haitian women to work outside the home for the frrst tirne, u n k e peasant women, who have always worked. As more elite women began to seek secondary and postsecondary education in the mid-l93Os, the University of Haiti opened its doors to women, and the first woman to pursue a high school education in Haiti received her diploma in 1933. The frrst feminist organization in Haiti, the Feminine League for Social Action @gue Fihinine d’Action Sociale) was launched in March THE NATURE OF HAITI 39 Image not available The Ligue Feminine d’Action Sociale, the founding mothers of the Haitian women’s movement (c.

Although such a recitation would be useful in certain contexts, it would add little to an overall interpretation of Vodou and could actually hamper it. For the purposes of this book, the narnes and roles of the various lwas are best expressed in a table (see Appendix). The Vodou Iwm are archetypes: they represent the cosmic forces that are integral to the Haitian experience and yet transcend it. They represent powertheirs and humans’-as individuals and as a community. To the extent that the Haitian people are converted en masse away from their national religion of Vodou to Chnstianity or other foreign religions, their power and self-identity are forfeited.

Does the United States want to impose Protestantism [on the Haitian people] by force? Senator: The Washington government wdl never attack Haiti’s [Catholic] faith. Can you provide information on Vodun, its practices, and status? Has it diminished since the occupation? 34 HAITI: THE BREACHED CITADEL Bishop: It has increased .... S. occupation that Vodou was orchestrating among the Haitian people. ” Senator: Education is missing [in Haiti]. What if we [Americans] gave it to the Church? Bishop: The day [the Haitian people] find out that we received schools from you, we would suffer the dsfavor attached to the occupation ....

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