Tuesday, January 15, 2019

International Justice Mission: Release the Oppressed


John Perkins who later trained the Haitian Jean Thomas how to do CCD in Haiti trained me in Christian Community Development.  CCD is a good and effective way to rebuild poor communities.

But it is not the only way to release the oppressed.  So in this blog I would like to tell the story of International Justice Mission.  Twenty years ago the founder of IJM, Gary Haugen, was sitting in his car crying because he was afraid he couldn’t make payroll for his young organization.  Two decades later IJM has a 74 million dollar organization.  Today it is the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization. 

IJM began in the Philippines wrestling with sex trafficking and violence.  Two decades later, “We have about one hundred staff in the Philippines and the country has been transformed.  When the government is working on anything having to do with violence against children, they turn to IJM.  Today we have more than five thousand churches involved in fifty-one countries raising awareness of the need to end every day violence.”

IJM is a non-governmental organization so in that sense it is not a church organization but they have kept their church ties as a priority so IJM is a creation of the church.  Five thousand churches, but dozens of corporations as well.  “We are involved with the World Economic Forum and an alliance of companies called the Global Battery Alliance, a group trying to deal with issues of violence and slavery.” 

IJM has tried hard to build a network of partners. 

“So in the next ten years of IJM, we are tackling the issue, Can we transform this broken justice system?  So we have found out what is broken in the system.  It was also a way to build bridges with the authorities.  And as we partnered with authorities the systems began to work immeasurably in more effective ways.  We found anywhere from 75-85 percent reduction in the level of violence, and these reductions are happening in three to five years.”

To summarize: IJM brings legal expertise, financial resources and partners together to tackle a specific problem such as child slavery in depth.  They have expertise and commitment.  They are producing results.  So there are different ways to release the oppressed.  Another way is pushing a living wage. For the head of a family of four working at minimum wage is essentially slave labor so cities and states are now pushing for living wages not just minimum wages. 

For a scriptural inspiration read Isaiah 58:6 and following in The Message. 


For the full story on IJM, read the article, Abolitionism at the Tipping Point in Christianity Today, January/February 2019 issue.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Isaiah on Oppression and Justice



The message of Isaiah is relevant not only for Isaiah’s time, but also to NT times, also to all of U.S. history and it is very relevant to America in January, 2019.

We begin looking at Isaiah 10:1-2 which describes an oppressive status quo during Isaiah’s time.  Here is how The Message translates these two verses:

“Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims---Laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, exploit defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children.”

Isaiah is not only blunt in his analysis of the problem, but he is also specific on the solution to oppression.  He lists six messianic passages predicting Jesus coming as the Messiah, as the king of the NT kingdom of God.  Here are these six different passages:

Isaiah 9:7
Isaiah 11:2(a):
“The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding.”
Isaiah 11:4(a):
“He’ll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth’s poor with justice.”

Isaiah 16:5
Isaiah 28:16-17
Isaiah 42:1-4:
“I bathed him [the Messiah] with my Spirit.  He’ll set everything right among the nations . . . . He won’t brush aside the bruised and hurt . . . . He’ll steadily and firmly set things right.”

The last of the Messianic Passages is 61:1-4

Now we fast-forward to the NT times.  This is Jesus’ description how oppressive the status quo was then.  Jesus said, “Woe to the rich.” 
Jesus described the Pharisees as greedy; as neglecting justice.  Jesus described the sacred Temple as a den of robbers.  And Jesus also described the kingdom of God as a Jubilee Justice that would release the oppressed.

Fast-forward to U.S. history.  The early British colonists and the Anglo-Saxon founding fathers engaged in Indian genocide and land theft.  They also engaged in African enslavement.  So Isaiah 10:1-2 perfectly describes the oppressive nature of U.S. history.  It also perfectly describes 400 years of U.S. history.  And describes American society in January 2019 where we have the mass incarceration of young black and Hispanic males; where we have a massive income and wealth gap between rich and poor.

The white American church could have and should have been practicing the justice of the Messianic passages in Isaiah.  Instead the church  has participated in or tolerated the oppressive status quo.


Unfortunately, I’m afraid that both American history and Haitian history have been plagued by an oppressive status quo.  The church in neither country preaches or practices the kingdom of God justice that releases the oppressed.

Monday, December 17, 2018

JUSTICE, JUSTICE, JUSTICE!



Peter Beinart is my favorite political scientist who happens to be a Jew, an Orthodox Jew, who believes in the Hebrew concept of justice.  Most American Jews and Israeli Jews are secular, many of whom are justice ---lite.  Beinart can be very hard on his fellow Jews who, as the NT Pharisees did, neglected justice.

1.    In the December 2018 The Atlantic, Peter Beinart wrote this article, “How Far Left will the Democrats Go?”   

The very last sentence in the article reads, “The true cause of radicalism [revolution] is injustice, and the best guarantee of social peace is a more equitable country.” 

My paraphrase to this sentence would read, “Oppression leads to revolution; justice leads to peace.” 

A quotation from Beinart: “Disorder fueled a backlash in the mid-60s, too.  Five days after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, riots broke out in Los Angeles.  In the following three years, riots led to 225 deaths and more than $100 billion in property damage.  From 1964 to 1966, the percentage of Americans who told pollsters that the move toward racial equality was happening “too fast” jumped from 34 to 85 percent.  In 1966, Republicans---stressing law and order won 47 seats in the House.”

2.    In the January 2019 The Atlantic, Peter Beinart wrote, “The Global Backlash Against Women”.  Near the end of the article, Beinart writes:

“The personal is political.  Foster women’s equality in the home, and you may save democracy itself.”

Noble paraphrase: “Justice [gender equality] in the home usually leads to greater gender equality in the government.” 

Beinart’s quote: “There is a striking correlation between countries where women and men behave more equally in the home and countries where women are more equally represented in government.  Take Sweden, 44 percent of whose parliamentarians are women.  There, the gap between the amount of housework done by men and that done by women is less than an hour a day.  In the U.S., where women will soon make up roughly 23 percent of Congress, the housework gender gap is an hour and a half.  In Hungary, where women account for 10 percent of parliament, it is well over two hours.”

3.    The Christian Reformed Church/Nicholas Wolterstorff on justice

The Christian Reformed Church appointed a committee to study restorative justice; they issued a 41-page report.  The following excerpts are from that report, some of which was written by Nicholas Wolterstorff.  The first quotation is from a section entitled, “The Deep Grammar of Justice”:

 “What do we mean when we use the word, ‘justice’?  For all the differences among people in judging the justice of specific situations and the differences in culture in their expressions of justice, there seems to be a strong, nearly universal, notion of what justice is . . . . The word justice names a deep human impulse, or, better, a deep human need---the need for fairness, and reciprocity.  This impulse is so deep that we find it in children who have just begun to acquire language.  One of the first things they learn to say is: “That’s not fair.”  . . . . For most people the concept needs no justification.  It is as real as the grass on which we walk and the air that we breathe.  Justice, in this sense, just is . . . .  The root of our sense of justice is from our creator.  Our sense of justice reflects the character of our God.” 

“The vocabulary of this section includes several of the key OT words for justice, including yashar [“right, straight”], ‘emunah [“faithful, true”], tsedeqah [“righteous, just”], mishpat [“just decisions, the practice of justice”], chesed [“covenant loyalty, love”].  These words for justice describe “the word of the Lord.”  The psalm then goes on to say, “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made . . . .,” and describes the creating process as, “[The LORD] spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm”.  The word of the LORD that establishes justice is the word that created the universe.  Justice is built in.”

“Let us call this primary justice.  When the Bible says that the Lord loves justice, it is to this primary sense of justice that it refers.  The outcome of justice in this sense is shalom, not simply peace but right relationships, where each person, indeed, each part of creation, receives its due and lives in right relationship with every other part of creation.  The restoration of this glorious justice is the great theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.”

Noble comment: “Justice is in the DNA of the universe.”

. . . . “We need a concept of justice that corrects and restores what is broken . . . . Confusion sometime occurs because the single word justice is both used for justice in the sense of being right and justice in the sense of setting right.  The Bible is concerned, for the most part, with setting right.  Justice words such as tsedeqah in Hebrew and dikaiosune in Greek refer to not only to the concept of right, but also thus setting right of what is broken.
This, of course, is God setting right, but there is also in Scripture a call for a human setting right.”

The Community of Christ is Called to a Prophetic Role:

“What of the community of Christ---the church in the large sense?  Does the church have a role to play in advocating and supporting certain criminal justice practices rather than others?  The role of the Christian community with regard to this part of justice is probably best expressed in the Sermon on the Mount.  This role involves a creative and prophetic appeal for justice.  In the sermon, Jesus uses the metaphors of salt and light for the church’s role in society.  Both of these can be thought of as metaphors of enhancement.  Salt, once it dissolves into the food, cannot be seen, but it can be tasted; light makes visible what otherwise would be in the darkness.”

“The Bible tells us that systems of justice tend to go wrong over time.  We need periodic readjustments---Year of Jubilee---in which old debts are cancelled, prisoners are freed, and the poor allowed to go back to their ancestral homes---in short, the whole program of Isaiah 61:1-3 and a program claimed by Jesus for his own ministry.”  [Luke 4:18-19 & Isaiah 58:6] [The Message]

4.    To conclude this blog on justice I would like to quote
Amos 5:24:

“I want justice---oceans of it.  I want fairness—rivers of it.”

 [The Message]

Thursday, December 13, 2018

L.B.J.: Sense of JUSTICE or Fear of REVOLUTION


I have heard several times American presidents [FDR may have been one of those presidents] say something like the following: "I would gladly sign your proposed legislation, but you will have to force me to do so."  They meant you and your friends will have to create the social and political pressure to force Congress and me, usually rich white males, to create and sign your legislation.

My favorite political scientist, Peter Bienart [December 2018, The Atlantic] recently showed me that the threat of disorder/revolution forced LBJ to act on civil rights legislation and social justice legislation more than a sense of justice did.

The following quotation is from Peter Bienart:

"After Kennedy's death, the promise of further disorder prodded Lyndon B. Johnson to pressure a recalcitrant Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act.  To overcome a filibuster, he needed the support of the Senate minority leader, the Republican Everett Dirksen.  He got it not long after the Congress of Racial Equality threatened to picket Dirksens's house.  After the passage of the civil-rights bill, King pressured Johnson on voting rights, warning him that if he stalled, "you'll see demonstrations on a level you have never seen before."  Fear of unrest also influenced Johnson's decision to launch the Great Society, which included federal aid for education, food stamps, job training, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, and a domestic analogue to the Peace Corps.  As Johnson said after riots in Harlem in 1964, "They've got no jobs.  They can't do anything.  They're just raising hell."



1960's Civil Rights Movement [Revolution]

  1. Righteous rage of oppressed blacks.
  2. Fear of oppressor whites--REVOLUTION.
  3. REVOLUTION would damage/destroy the empire of the oppresser.
  4. To avoid our destruction we need to do some justice to appease blacks.
  5. LBJ and Congress passed civil rights laws, voting rights laws, and Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc. 1964-1965. 
  6. LBJ appointed the Kerner Commission to study the cause of black ghettos and riots.  The Kerner Commission concluded that white racism was the cause. The Kerner Commission got it right, but nobody was listening. 1968.
  7. LBJ rejected the white racism cause of his own commission.
  8. Thus began the white backlash to the Civil Rights Movement; this led to the election of first Nixon, then Ronald Reagan.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

President Obama and Rich, White Males


The greed of rich, white males [the Wall Street/Big Bank types] caused the 2008 Great Recession.  Obama turned to rich, white males to keep the Recession from turning into the Great Depression which would have ravaged us all, rich and poor alike.  And it might have taken ten years to recover from a depression.  These Wall Street experts succeeded -- sort of.  The rich recovered and are back on top of things.

But, according to the secular prophet, Matthew Stewart, the top 10 percent are thriving in 2018 at the expense of the rest of us -- the 90 percent -- who are stagnating or declining.  [The Atlantic June 2018]

Next I would like to quote Peter Beinart. [The Atlantic December 2018]:

"In 2008, Obama raised more cash from the financial, insurance, and real-estate industries than his Republican opponent, John McCain did.  Once in office, he named former investment bankers to serve as three of his first four chiefs of staff."

Why would President Obama ever turn to rich, white males for help?  For several hundred years, at least as far back as the founding fathers, it was rich, white males [think slavery and segregation] who oppressed and traumatized his ancestors.  Instead of hiring rich, white males, he should have had them all executed.

All of the founding fathers were rich, white males, some of them also slave holders.  In addition to the terrible trinity of the rich, and white and male, the founding fathers added religion [deism] and culture [Anglo-Saxon] to this demonic trinity; thereby sanctifying social evil.

The trinity of rich and white and male was bad, very evil, but worst of all the American church neglected justice and the love of God, ignored the five hundred fifty-five references to oppression in the OT, dejusticised the English NT.  These theological sins allowed the ethnocentrism and oppression of rich, white males to dominate America.  The white American church has extreme guilt on its back; it has enabled rich, white males free reign and they have engaged in brutal ethnocentrism and oppression on a lavish scale.

On December 11, 2018 on CBS morning news, I watched Paulson, Bernake, and Geithner--the three rich, white males, who at the request of President Obama guided the nation through its "recovery" from the 2008 recession.  To their credit, these three rich, white males were instrumental in preventing a disastrous depression.

For the rich, the recovery was robust.  Not for the rest of us however; not for the other 90 percent.  We live in economic stagnation or decline.

In 2018, the top 10 percent are thriving.  The overall economic growth figures look good, but only because the rich twist all the normal measures of economic growth.  From 2008-2018 income and wealth and equality has exploded; meaning the gap between the rich and the poor is worse than ever.
You may have your own name for what has happened in the last ten years.  I call rich, white males the terrible trinity, or ethnocentrism and oppression incarnated, or demonic duo plus one.  Avoid rich, white males like the plague!!  They are a plague!!  They turn a supposed democracy into a semi-dictatorship run by the rich.

To sanitize this evil, they invented and misused the following phrases:

"American Exceptionalism","Manifest Destiny", "Christian Nation", "Democracy"

If you want to see a similar phenomenon in the OT read Jeremiah 6:13 & 14 plus chapter 7.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Bush 41: The Reeessst of the Story 2nd draft


In a previous generation, Paul Harvey, a newscaster was famous for his segment entitled, The Reeesst of the Story in which he gave the background to news stories which people never heard.  This is my version of The Reeesst of the Story for George Herbert Walker Bush.

By American standards, by rich white male standards, Bush 41 was a family man, a good and gracious person and president.  His acolades were well deserved.

By biblical standards Bush 41 is found severely wanting; he was a neglector of justice and the love of God.  He was a practitioner of ethnocentrism and oppression as most American rich white males are.
Recommended scriptures are: Nehemiah 5; Isaiah 10:1-2; Isaiah 58; Luke 4:18; Luke 4:25-30;
James 5:1-6 and James 2.

On December 4, 2018, on IPTV, I watched a two hour documentary on Bush 41.  Some of my following comments are based on this documentary, but some are my own interpretations.  From this documentary I discovered some new [to me] information about Bush 41.

Around 1960, the Republican party in Texas was a small, insignificant minority.  The joke was you could hold a Republican state convention in a phone booth.  At that time Texas was a part of the solid south.  Meaning it was racist and segregationist.  As a young man, Bush 41 took over as chair of the Republican party determined to grow the party which he did.  In an unbelievably short period of time Texas moved from majority racist Democrat to majority racist Republican--a political miracle.

To do so, Bush 41 had to abandon a sense of moral and ethical principle.  Bush 41 willingly did so which was probably not hard to do since most rich, white males have little social ethic anyway.

Bush was greatly aided unintentionally by President Johnson, who himself, was a Texas Democrat.  Somehow, L.B.J. developed a sense of social justice; by the mid 60s, he was signing civil rights legislation.  Medicare and medicaid, which aided undeserving black poor according to racist, southern Democrats.   This enraged racist Democrats.  What were they to do?

Bush saw a great opportunity.  He recruited and welcomed the racist refuse of the Democratic party, the segregationist southerners into the Republican party.  Soon racist Democrats were almost entirely in the Republican party.  From racist Democrat to racist Republican.

Again since racist, white males have little sense of social ethics, it was easy to compromise on race in both the 60s and later in the 80s.  When Bush 41 was running for president in the late 80s, he ran what was probably the most racist ad ever, the infamous Willy Horton ad, designed to stoke fear in white Americans.

White Americans in general and rich, white males in particular are skilled at sanitizing our long American history of white ethnocentrism and oppression.  Thereby enabling Americans to enjoy the fruits of social evil without guilt and to avoid the necessity of repentance and restitution.

Secondly, this documentary reinforced what I already knew was that the Bush clan was rich.  So Bush was a rich, white, male.  I doubt if a person can be rich and white and male in America and be Christian.  For me, being rich alone is a disqualifier.  Jesus, himself, said, "Woe to the rich."  The only rich person that is not suspect in my eyes is one that has renounced his riches.  Remember the rich, young ruler?  Jesus told him, "Go sell what you have and give it to the poor. Then come and follow me."  A pretty strong hint you can't be both rich and Christian at the same time.

The same with whites in America.  White in America goes along with privilege, white superiority, black inferiority.  So unless whites have repented, engaged in restitution, they can't be Christian in America.  Recently, we had a public demonstration about being male in America.  We had a candidate for the Supreme Court who was publicly and convincingly exposed as a would-be rapist.  But his fellow rich, white males, on the judiciary committee, voted him to become the newest member of the Supreme Court.

I noticed almost all of the eulogies given to Bush 41 were by white males, many of them rich, white males.  I noticed at the funeral service in the National Cathedral, the congregation was made up of the "rich and the famous".  Mostly rich, white males; not many of the least of these were in the service and none gave eulogies.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Haitian Slave Revolt --- 1791-1804


James Michener writes what are called historical novels.  There are a few fictitious names and color added to the novel that is far more history than novel.  Michener says, "The black General Toussaint L 'Ouverture, Napoleon's General Charles Le Clerc and his wife, Pauline Bonaparte, the English General Thomas Maitland and the black voodoo leader Boukman are all historic, as was the ill-fated Polish battalion.  All other characters are fictional, but the various swings of war and the ultimate black victory are accurately described."

So you should almost forget that this is a novel because in essence it is factual history.  Michener is a much better writer than most historians and a much better condenser of history than most historians.  So I regard The Tortured Land chapter int the book entitled, Caribbean, superior to most book length treatments of the early history/slave revolt of Haiti.

Michener calls his chapter on Haiti The Tortured Land.  I would rename this chapter The Oppressed People, or The Traumatized People.  Napoleon calls Haiti his most prosperous colony.  Did Napoleon make a pact with the devil to turn Haiti into his most prosperous colony?  Apparently so.  Napoleon's French slave masters were evil and arrogant, ethnocentric and oppressive, brutal and treacherous  beyond measure. 

I prefer daily and deadly demonic oppression, not a one time pact with the devil.  Under French slavery Haitians suffered from a daily and deadly demonic for one hundred years.  Then they experienced daily and deadly demonic oppression under one hundred years of French debt slavery.  Biblically oppression crushes, humiliates, animalizes, enslaves, traumatizes, impoverishes and kills people created in the image of God.  Biblically oppression smashes the body, crushes the spirit, and creates poverty.  This is what I mean by the daily and deadly demonic.

Only President Jefferson's treatment of his two hundred sixty slaves plus his planned treatment of Indians [Indian Removal Act or the genocide and land theft of all Indian land east of the Mississippi which was later implemented by President Jackson], would come close to the extraordinary evil of the French/Napoleon.

After the successful slave revolt, the evil of the French and Americans combined in the one hundred plus years of French debt slavery.  Today American oppression of Haiti is the dominant form of external oppression.  Haiti is our "puppet colony", economically and sometimes politically.

The unsubstantiated myth of Haitian slaves making a pact with the devil to gain their freedom conveniently blames Haitians, not the French, for their many problems.

If a Christian had a deep understanding of the five hundred fifty-five OT references to oppression, and  if an American church was busy at releasing the American oppressed, and if the American church understood the implied severe critique of Jewish ethnocentrism found in Luke 4:25-30, then American Christians would have the biblcial background to understand the French oppression of Haitians.

But since most American Christians are biblically ignorant about oppression and justice, are historically and sociologically ignorant about their own ethnocentric and oppressive history, they are nearly incapable of understanding deeply the role of French oppression in Haitian history.

Napoleon's title, The Profitable Colony, would have been true from his perspective in 1789.  1789 happens to be the first year of George Washington's eight year presidential reign.  1804 marks the successful end of the Haiti slave revolt.  Jefferson's presidential term was from 1801-1809.

Jefferson sided with the French oppressors.  He was against the successful slave revolt.  Jefferson was a master oppressor.

The French oppression of the Haitian slaves was indescribably evil.  The killing, the slaughter, the torture on both sides of the successful slave revolt was fueled by French ethnocentrism and oppression.  African enslavement, Indian oppression and land theft from both the Indian peoples and Mexicans was also indescribably evil and fueled by American ethnocentrism and oppression.

So, it is no surprise Americans sided with both French slavery for one hundred years and French debt slavery for another hundred plus years.  Yet, the French oppressors called themselves civilized and their slaves savages.  American oppressors called themselves civilized and their slaves and Indians savages.

Both the French and the Americans would have called themselves Christians, but they ignored Jesus' severe critiques of social economic oppression in Luke 4:18 and his severe critique of Jewish ethnocentrism against the Gentiles in Luke 4:25-30.

With these introductory comments, I now turn to  Michener's chapter on the slave revolt, The Tortured Land.

According to Michener Haiti was both blessed and cursed.  Blessed in being the most profitable colony, but "it's curse was that three classes of its citizens hated one another, and the wild upheavals of twenty years -- 1789-1809 -- not only failed to weld these groups into a reasonable whole; they divided them so thoroughly that tragedy became inevitable.  The three groups were white French slavemasters, black slaves, and mulattoes, or half breeds, commonly called in Haiti free-coloreds."

"In 1789 the whites, in Haiti, numbered about forty thousand, free-coloreds, about twenty-two thousand, black slaves not less than four hundred fifty thousand."

It appears that the French deliberately created these three groups to be enemies so that they could not unite in opposition to the French.

During the slave revolt, they fought with one another viciously.  The first leader was a Haitian black named Boukman.  He was a voodoo priest, but of greater significance, he found out information about the revolution that was going on in France.  "Big fighting in Paris.  People like you, me, we taking command.  All new.  All new.  Pretty soon, here in Le Cap, to big change.  There must be liberty for all.  There must be true fraternity between master and slave.  And there must be equality.  Do you know what equality is?  And he would scream, it means you are as good as the white man."

In August 1791, Boukman led the slave revolt.  The French would not give Haitian blacks equality so he told blacks, "They have enslaved us, and they must go!  They have starved our children, and they must be punished!"

Michener writes, "On the morning of 22 August, Boukman stopped his preaching and threw lighted brands into the powder kegs of the north.  Rallying a thousand slaves, then ten, then fifty thousand, he started in the far environs of Cap-Francais and moved like some all-encompassing conflagration toward the city.  Every plantation encountered was ablaze, every white man was slain, as were any women or children caught in the chaos.  The destruction was total, as when a horde of locusts strips a field in autumn.  Trees were chopped down, irrigation ditches destroyed, barns burned, and the great houses laid in ashes -- a hundred plantations wiped out in the first rush, then two hundred, and finally nearly a thousand; they would produce no more sugar, no more coffee.  The wealth of the north was being devastated to a point from which it could never recover."

"But the real horror lay in the loss of life, in the extreme hatred the blacks manifested toward the whites.  Hundreds upon hundreds of white lives were lost that first wild day: men killed with clubs, women drowned in their own private lakes, children pierced with sticks and carried aloft as banners of the uprising, and there were other savageries too awful to relate.  One black woman who had not participated in the orgy of killing said as she passed the piles of dead bodies: 'This day, even the earth is killed.' "

An American sailor visited Haiti soon after this slaughter.  He reported the following after he left his ship at Port-au-Prince to travel overland to rejoin his crew at Cap-Francais:

"I passed eight burned-out plantations a day, a hundred in all, and I was only one man on one road.  I saw white bodies stretched on the ground with stakes driven through them.  I saw innumerable white and black bodies dangling from trees, and I heard of scores of entire white families slain in the rioting.  At the edge of settlements where the whites had been able to assemble and defend themselves I would see heaps of slaves who had attacked guns with only sticks and hoes, and by the time I finished my journey and rejoined my ship, I no longer bothered to look at the latest indecency, but I did wonder whether, in this flaming burst of terror and murder, there was no slave who merely killed his master and let go at that, or no white who had been satisfied merely to shoot the slave without desecrating the corpse.  May God preserve us from such horrors."

The French soon caught Boukman, tortured and killed him.  The next leader of the slave revolt was Toussaint L' Ouverture.  He was a brilliant military strategist who outwitted the French again and again.  At one point in the slave revolt, the French and Toussaint agreed to sit down and negotiate a settlement.  Toussaint unwisely agreed to go to France for the political negotiations, but the treacherous French never intended to negotiate with a black savage.  They threw him in jail where he soon died.  


The French would have beaten down the slave revolt and were on the verge of winning the battle when the slaves were unexpectantly aided by yellow fever which killed far more Frcnch troops than the slaves ever did.

After the death of Toussaint, a new slave general took over named Dessalines.  He was almost driven insane by the French betrayal of Toussaint.  So he vowed to never show the French any mercy whatsoever.  From now on, under his command, it was ruthless murder and death for the French.  Dessalines was described as a "murdering monster", by Michener.

Dessalines won the battle.  The slave revolt succeeded.  "The great Napoleon, having lost the richest colony in the world and nearly one hundred thousand of his best European troops, temporarily gave up on Haiti."

In a final act of rage and betrayal and insanity, Dessalines tricked the free-colored slaves to come to Meduc where they were to be forgiven and reconciliation was to take place.  After the free-coloreds had gathered in the square, Dessalines came out and cried in a wild voice, "Kill them all!"

"Dessalines' behavior became so murderoussly irrational that his two military cohorts, Petion and Christphe, decided that there was no other course but to murder him, which they did.  Thus began the recurring cycle of dictatorship, mismanagement and assassination that would plague Haiti henceforth."

This is how Michener summarizes Haiti's history and slave revolt: "In 1789 it contained half a million prosperous and well-behaved people; now, probably less than two hundred thousand, they say.  Plus all the dead English and Spanish and Polish invaders.  Can a land tolerate such brutal abuse?  Does the blood spilled upon it not contaminate it?  Is our new Haiti condemned to be a ghost that will never be real?"

"Looking again to the north, he could see the roof of the chateau at Cap-Haitian and the multiple massacres its inhabitants had known: 1791, 1793, 1799, 1802 . . . no land could absorb such devastation; the scars would never be erased.  He thought of the individuals responsible for this unending tragedy; grands blancs like Jerome Espivent, who hated both blacks and free-coloreds. And then he winced: Or blacks like me, who 'cleansed the land' of whites and coloreds alike.  Well, now we have our black nation, totally black, and what are we going to make of it?"

"As the dark cold of night spread over his tormented land, he wondered if it would ever lift."

These last comments are by Lowell Noble, not from the pen of James Michener:

I believe that the American white treatment of Native Americans [Indian genocide and our land theft of Indian land] which went on for roughly three hundred years and our two hundred plus years of slavery; this combination of arrogance and evil, ethnocentrism and oppression, brutality and treachery is every bit as evil as what you have just read in the history of Haiti.  I realize that most white Americans will deny this and say that American social evil doesn't even come close to French social evil in Haiti, but I think if you could interview some Native Americans who lived through those times, and interview some slaves, they would confirm ,"Yes, our experiences were as demonic and deadly as that of the Haitians".  And they might even swear a little bit because American whites are experts at sanitizing history to make it look less evil.

Any caring human being should weep every day over the evil of Haiti.  Those same human beings should weep every day over the history of America.  Any American that is going to Haiti to assist Haitians today in the rebuilding of their communities should be brought to tears over the history that you just read about.  But they probably won't be brought to tears over the history of Haiti if they haven't previously been brought to tears over the victims of white ethnocentrism and oppression in America.  You should weep all day for the American tragedy and weep all night over the Haitian tragedy.  Don't say you love Haitians unless you have wept over this tragedy, this demonic evil.