Published Sun, Oct 17, 21.
Written by Rebecca Honorat.
PHOTO: Dessalines featured on the 250 Gourdes
Today, November 17th, is Dessalines Day in Haiti.
It's a national holiday to commemorate the life of Jean-Jacques Dessalines on the anniversary of his assassination in 1806.
Dessalines served alongside Toussaint Louverture in the Haitian Revolution that started in 1791, and he took over the leadership position when Louverture died. While there are differing opinions about Dessalines' leadership style, there is unified pride associated with today's holiday. Dessalines was the one who officially declared Haiti a free republic and abolished slavery. Haiti is home to the largest, and most successful, slave rebellion and it is the first country in the Americas to permanently abolish slavery.
There were protests planned today in many parts of Haiti to demand justice for the recent assassination of their president. President Jovenel Moise was assassinated on July 7, 2021. There have been more than 40 people arrested for the assassination but they have yet to charge anyone with planning and financing the killing.
We expected to hear news of protests today, but unfortunately the news was much worse.
A group of 17 foreigners were kidnapped yesterday in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince and they are currently being held for ransom. We don't have any connection with the group but our hearts are heavy knowing the severity of their situation. We don't have any details, nor do we know why they were in Haiti during such a dangerous time, but we will pray for their safe release and for a sense of peace during the rest of the ordeal. You can read more in this article from CNN.
You have likely already heard about the kidnapping of the group of foreigners but what didn't make the news today was the kidnapping of four Haitian men from our home town of Grande Goave. They were also kidnapped on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince and are being held for ransom.
When the citizens of Grande Goave heard the news they took to the streets and blocked the main highway for the second time this week. Last time it was protesting the lack of fuel. Today it was in protest of the daily kidnappings that are crippling society.
The group confiscated a truck, parked it across the highway, slashed the front tires, and hid the keys. It is a vicious cycle of destruction but it is one of the few ways they can make their voices heard.
We appreciate the many people who reached out today to make sure the Honorat family, and our staff in Haiti, were safe. Please join us in praying for the country of Haiti and her many challenges.
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Alongside Families in Haiti Society is a Registered Canadian Charity