Can we trace his remains with absolute certainty and bring them into the pantheon?
Toussaint Louverture, from his capture to his inhuman internment in a dungeon in Fort-de-Joux, until his death 'in following, April 7, 1803, did not know as much humiliations and sufferings as it endured during its young years spent in slavery. After having known 32 nights and days on the high seas from Cap-Français (Cap-Haitien), he had to remain more prisoner on The Hero at the quay of Brest (France) for another 67 days, before putting the feet on the mainland of France, in October 1803, to never return to the traces of the past. If the act of his death which occurred on April 7, 1803, while he was deprived of care and food, is easily traced and with exactitude, the fact remains that his bulky corpses, for the little importance granted to “ general-traitor “, by the First Consul, have a particular character, Hence on the traces of the remains of Toussaint Louverture, remains and remains an enigma.
Port du Cap -Haitien – port of Brest (France), Toussaint Louverture, chained, spent 32 days and night in
Monday April 7, 2020 ((rezonodwes.com)) – Among the founders of the emancipation of the Haitian people, who, today, seems to be plunged into lethargy, majestically stands out from the background of the painting a man who would have honored any nation: France, in the very first genre. This man, a genius of modern times, was short and slender, active and tireless; wrote Saint-Rémy in “Etude Historique et Critique” referring to the prowess of this man who is none other than the genius Toussaint Louverture who died exactly 217 years ago. Can we trace its remains with absolute certainty and bring them into the pantheon?
Only very advanced archeology studies, with advanced technology applied, could advance irrefutable proof that the large golden vase, exhibited at the MUPANAH, the National Pantheon Museum undoubtedly contains the remains of the Precursor of Haiti's independence.
But did we need to get there to understand the lightness with which the “life presidency” worked on this file at the inauguration of Haiti's largest national museum on April 7, 1983, dedicated to our Ancestors and particularly to the heroes of Independence. One day that the government wanted to coincide with the 180th anniversary of the death of Toussaint Louverture. And that of compatriots, visitors, statesmen, dignitaries came to bow before this urn without apparent state of mind.
A little word from Jean-Robert Estimé has changed the mystery
A simple memorandum of the Minister of External Affairs Jean-Robert Estimé, buried in the archives of the time, but traced, reveals all the mystery. The correspondences speak of dust to be collected under the remains of Fort-de-Joux. Downgraded information, to facilitate the research work of the journalist-investigator, would be the last gift that the Haitian governments would make to the local press. They who are struggling like hell in a giant clam to seek to regulate or control the information shared with the general public.
Knowing that since the night of yesteryear, the fate of the island has been disputed outside , we have turned to the large international online libraries of Western countries, to stir up the past. The “ diguer ”. All the points determining our present with a forgotten past mortgaging the future are found there. So we went back to the genesis of the Museum of the Haitian National Pantheon (MUPANAH), to ask ourselves about the origin of one of the masterpieces, entering our heritage.
A museum, according to a brief description elaborated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), is “ a permanent non-profit institution serving society and its development open to the public …”. In a museum, ICOM pointed out, we are called to “ acquire, conserve, study, exhibit and transmit the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of study, education and delight ”. We have no right to make mistakes or to lie . It seems all the more hideous when the evil was exposed and questioned. In a museum, the experiences of a people are exposed, the past of a man who marked his generation, who transcended himself . Hence the rigor of the authenticity of the pieces to be exhibited .
A group of students from the province visiting the MUPANAH museum in 1985
At MUPANAH, in May 1985, a group of high school students from CIC des Gonaives, of which we were part, during a guided tour by a cicerone barely knowing what he was doing, we (the students of Terminale CIC) very moved and asked to collect us in front of the urn containing the remains of Toussaint Louverture. It was a great moment of meditation. The silence was clear and complete. We heard voices from the heart thanking the former general for the road to independence for the country. His least deeds and acts of bravery, recounted in history, came back to us.
Then we remembered the last words of Toussaint addressed to his son Placide in France, before taking separate paths, to never see each other again during their lifetime. He had clearly said to him: “My child, you will one day return to Santo Domingo. Forget that France murdered your father “. We therefore understood that, in fact, the general was talking about him. Of what will remain of him when he enters his glory. That a day would come when his native land, his true homeland was going to re-establish him in all the dimension of his being, for having successfully delivered, the real fight, followed by concrete acts with a well assured succession.
A Pandora's Box!
Great was our amazement to learn, in the light of a first correspondence exchanged in November 1982, between the Haitian Chancellery and the French Consulate, that there was than small shovels of earth collected at Fort-de-Joux, to be introduced into an urn . If the remains of Toussaint Louverture were as easily spotted and indexed, like those of Jean-Pierre Boyer, resting in the Père Lachaise cemetery, in France, President Lysius Salomon, in 1883, would be the first Haitian head of state to pay tribute to the great genius of the black race. Mr. Salomon knew the Metropolis better than any other Haitian past or future head of state, for having lived there for a long time in Haitian diplomatic missions in Paris.
Symbolic gesture failing to take possession of his real remains, we may have all agreed, but to persist in making believe that Toussaint Louverture, at his death, returned to his homeland, in an urn, it's wacky. This historical lie has long lost the essence of its dimension. If the Emperor Dessalines, dead at 40, waited almost 48 years (October 1845) to be placed under the altar of the fatherland; the governor-general of Santo Domingo, on the other hand, had president Lysius Salomon having first, a very special thought for his person.
In 1883, that is to say eighty (80) years later after his death, all traces of going back to the remains of Toussaint Louverture, was already dissipated .
His titular soul watched over the young homeland in trouble of creating a Nation-State, vilified by apprentice-dictators. There were even documents, before the great restructuring works of the Fort, around 1876, relating to the taking over of the remains of Toussaint by his son Isaac. All this to explain that the shovels of dust collected at Fort-de-Joux, at the request of “ government for life “, no longer has its raison d'être.
Before Jean Claude Duvalier, in November 1982, two other former presidents of Haiti Sténio Vincent and François Duvalier studied the question. They too had shown particular interest in researching the accuracy of General Toussaint’s remains for repatriation. They wrote a letter of intent to their French counterparts.
Toussaint buried in a mass grave
The first, President Vincent, would have been told that the renovations carried out at Fort-de -Joux, between 1876-1880, had allowed the displacement of all the bones in a single mass grave . So it became impossible, if not difficult, to go back to the exact location where the Black Genie was buried. Vincent, probably, wanted to bring out a sense of enlightened patriotism, to cover the shadow of the occupation, a period during which his government excelled in zeal.
In the second, Papa Doc, dismissed and somewhat despised over the international scene for the qualification of despot, by proclaiming himself president for life, general De Gaule declared an end of not receiving. Then he added “… what interest do these people have in claiming the remains of a former French general “. For Charles De Gaule, Toussaint would be French. He had come to die in his country in total promiscuity.
And the tiger's son, Jean-Claude Duvalier, apparently succeeded . What a success ? “ Malfini robbed li pa jwen’n ti poul li pran pay “. Probably JCD anticipated. No problem, it is served and the pompous ceremonies take place on April 7, 1983.
Correspondence between Minister Estimé and the Ambassador of France in Haiti in 1982
For history and for the truth, is reproduced below, the extract of a written correspondence of Jean-Robert Estimé addressed to Marcel Barthélemy, Ambassador of France in Port-au-Prince.
Port-au-Prince, the November 11, 1982
Referring to our last conversations, I have the honor to address you hereby on behalf of the Haitian government, an official request so that the French government accepts to restore to the Republic of Haiti the remains of Toussaint Louverture and those of Jean-Pierre Boyer, which are found respectively at the Fort de Joux in the Jura and at Père-Lachaise in Paris.
The Government t Haitian is aware of the difficulties inherent in locating and identifying the bones of Toussaint Louverture, whose mortal remains had been placed in a mass grave which was subjected to various ground movements on which, it seems, constructions have been erected since then.
If it turns out to be really impossible to find with certainty the remains of the Great Precursor, the Haitian people and government would like France, in a gesture of great symbolic significance, to hand over to the Haitian nation, with the luster and splendor it deems necessary, an urn containing earth from the place where the body was buried .
Remains or an urn could be solemnly installed in the National Pantheon Museum on the occasion of its inauguration in April 1983.
Thanking you for the follow-up I would like to take this opportunity to renew to you, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Jean-Robert Estimé Secretary of State
No matter the hidden corner of nature where the remains of Toussaint Louverture are buried or scattered, the First of the Blacks, deposed from the high rank he occupied, betrayed by his own lieutenants, kidnapped in his country, brutally transferred under the icy skies of France, his Memoirs that history exhumes from their burial deliver us entirely in the light of the dimension of genius of this illustrious character. And Haiti produced only one other after him: the Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the First of us.
research and writing: cba