The outrage over Pat Robertson’s comments on the Haitian curse amused me. Afterall, Napoleon III wasn’t even born by the time the Haitians achieved independence much less started. So I went looking for what might be a grain of truth.
I found something interesting in Bob Corbett’s The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803.
For several years the slaves had been deserting their plantations with increasing frequency. The numbers of maroons had swollen dramatically and all that was needed was some spark to ignite the pent up frustration, hatred and impulse toward independence.
This event was a Petwo Voodoo service. On the evening of August 14th Dutty Boukman, a houngan and practitioner of the Petwo Voodoo cult, held a service at Bois Caiman. A woman at the service was possessed by Ogoun, the Voodoo warrior spirit. She sacrificed a black pig, and speaking the voice of the spirit, named those who were to lead the slaves and maroons to revolt and seek a stark justice from their white oppressors.
I was initially dismayed because naming leaders and making a pact are not the same thing. The two are not mutually exclusive, so maybe both could happen at this same event?
Eventually, I found Jean Gelin’s article God, Satan, and the Birth of Haiti – Part One. Part 2, Part 3. Looking further I ran across some stuff which makes it clear Christian anti-Voodoo people clearly believe the deal with the Devil story. However, the stories were inconsistent (typical when a story is passed along person to person and only later written down) about when. Some said the event happened to launch the revolution while others claimed on the independence day.
There is also another point of view: Haitian reparations for their revolution to the French (aka the Devil) is the deal which ensured the country would never become a success.
Pat was alluding to a story, probably a popular one as Haiti is a place evangelicals have had success converting Catholics to another Christian denomination. Probably this is why so many of the stories I read claimed to practice Voodoo one must be Catholic first. Doesn’t seem like people who were there were the ones to write down this story. It seems this dedicating Haiti to the Devil story was recorded years later by probably White (aka victim) missionaries.
The best response I’ve read about Pat’s Haiti comments.