Friday, January 15, 2010

Bwa Kayiman

During the Year of Our Lord 1791, things were not copacetic on the Caribbean island paradise of Hispanola, particularly in the extremely profitable French colony of Saint-Domingue.

Gentleman by the name of Dutty Boukman had hisself a nasty case of the red-arse over some of the local facts of life -- not the least of which was that Dutty Boukman and upwards of half-a-million of his friends and neighbors were the private property of about 40,000 French colonials.

While this would tend to irritate anybody, Mr. Boukman had an ace in the hole: he was the local houngan, or priest in the Carribean religion of Vodou.

And I'm here to tell you, whatever you do, don't piss off the priests.

On the evening of August 14th of that year, Dutty Boukman conducted a religious ceremony in the north of Hispanola, at Bois Caiman -- Bwa Kayiman in the Creole tongue -- which seems to have gotten a wee bit exuberant.

At least one pig got himself sacrificed, blood-oaths were sworn, blood -- some of which may have been human -- was imbibed to seal those oaths, people were getting possessed left, right and centre, speaking in tongues and dancing themselves into a frenzy.

During the height of the festivities, Dutty Boukman allegedly exhorted his followers to extract vengeance from the white slave-holders, and he may have followed up by calling for the image of the "God of the whites" to be "cast aside", before turning his congregation loose.

And voila! The Haitian Revolution.

Now, Caribbean Vodou in general -- and Haitian Vodou in particular -- is an interesting amalgamation of West African animistic traditions with Roman Catholic Christianity.

The Haitians believed -- and still do believe -- that there is one Supreme God, named Bondye (a Creole adaptation of "Bon Dieu", French for "Good God") who is the Creator of All.

How-some-ever, the Haitians figure that Bondye is busy -- having a universe to run and all -- and doesn't really have time for people. Not wanting to leave His people hanging in the breeze, Bondye relies on a series of lesser types called lwas (or loas) roughly analogous to Catholic saints and angels to run interference on His behalf with the human race.

One of the lwa is Ezili Dantor -- the lwa concerned with motherhood, children, and the protection of same -- and it was she to whom the black pig was sacrificed, and she whom was said to have possessed several of those at Bois Caiman on that August night in 1791.

The Haitians are proud of Dutty Boukman and the revolution he kicked off which led to the first Republic run by people of African descent in the New World.

Pat Robertson could have looked in any book on Haitian history or Haitian mythology and gotten his facts straight, but -- as we like to say here at The LawDog Files:

You're supposed to read books, not eat them ...

and Master Patty doesn't seem to have gotten the memo.

Ah, well.

LawDog

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

What did he say?

Xander said...

He said that they made a pact with the devil to free themselves from the French, which is why they're poor and and suffer from hurricanes and earthquakes.

Shane said...

Read the second letter found here.

Deschain said...

Terribly interesting, that. I'm curious, why not call out to a more...pragmatic, shall we say, loa? Damballah and the ol' Baron come immediately to mind. Also: interesting note- the loa tend to be extremely two sided. There aren't good or bad loa, each has vices and noble qualities.

Carteach0 said...

It's 7am on a day I can kick back a little, after an incredibly hard week... and I am here being educated on obscure religions by Lawdog.

Liking it too.

Don said...

Pat Robertson has no time for your silliness. He can leg press more weight than the strongest weight lifting champions of history because God made his energy drink magical.

I wish I'd made that up, but that's really what he claims.

Anika said...

Between the Haiti situation and that nutcase Robertson, it's hard to believe we are in the 21st century.

reflectoscope said...

What Carteach0 said.

Jim

Da Curly Wolf said...

and then there was Danny Glover's response..which I'm not gonna bother posting a link to since if you watch fox..it be there. Stupid is as stupid does..and Danny boy is VERY stupid.

D.W. Drang said...

Alas, brother Robertson is as immune to facts as, say, Sarah Brady.

Today's Quote of the day at View From North Central Idaho is apt.

Anonymous said...

I always wondered what would happen when a global pulpit and Alzheimer's connected.

Now I know.

Antibubba

Anonymous said...

Pat R is a ding-a-ling. What I would like to point out is the horrific diaster now being endured by the Haitian people is real and not caused by God or the Devil.
It now appears (as usual) that
"The Great Satan" has come to the rescue. The USA will undoubtably save thousands of lives with our aid and this should be pointed out to people around the world as well to Danny Glover. We should tell Danny that his hero, Mr. Chavez did send one planeload of supplys to help Haiti.
Paul in Texas

Glen said...

Accursed would seem to be a pretty accurate description of Haiti for the past century or so.

The reasons for the problems in Haiti seem to defy easy explanation. FUBAR, Hopeless..those are the sort of terms that come to mind.

Perhaps becoming a colony of Canada would be a good option. Certainly nothing done in the past 50 years has been of any long term benefit.

Anonymous said...

It rains on both just and the unjust or in Haiti's case, the ground shook for the Christians and non-Christians. It's human nature to blame God or evil, when sometimes bad things just happen.
Rhodaloo

Did it MY way said...

Obscure religion or current?
I thought Pat Robertson was called home by God when he could not raise 4m

See Ya

Midwest Chick said...

Pat Robertson doesn't differentiate. He can't see anything beyond his narrow definitions and worldview and anything beyond his understanding, he defines as evil.

Anything that happens to those he defines as evil or to those who do not adhere to the 'norms' of his particular religious sect, he defines as "Divine retribution".

Tam said...

Don,

"I wish I'd made that up, but that's really what he claims."

Wait, what?

Anonymous said...

Might I suggest that those here who are hammering Robertson over what he said(as reported by the Lmsm - which we all know is a paragon of vertue when reporting comments by people they dispise - see S. Palin) might want research his actual remark?
emdfl

MadRocketScientist said...

Anon @ 5:06:

Here's the quote, with video.

Amanda_B said...

There was no point pouring salt in a deep fresh wound. He seems to have forgotten a few important tenants of our faith. Senile indeed.

Old NFO said...

Obviously Patty boy needs to fact check before he goes off the deep end... again... sigh...

Anonymous said...

There are no doubt lots of folks down Haiti way who are now getting to meet Baron Samadi in person. I hope they remembered to leave the Baron lots of booze and cigars every year on La Toussaint!

chicopanther

Grunt said...

Robertsons remark while off isn't the issue here. What has me in an uproar is that ObamaLamaDingDong has pledged 100 million dollars of taxpayer money to Haiti. I am against all foreign aid or welfare, I am against my tax money taken at the point of the IRS bayonet being thrown down a rabbit hole. I have no problem using our military to provide security, MASH type hospitals, and Engineers to help get some infrastructure back up, but any money for Haiti from America should come form the people via charity, be it a church type or a NGO type. It is not now nor has it ever been the US Government's job to give away tax money in this manner even though it has been done by both parties.I resent it now more than ever as this nation teeters on the edge of financial collapse.
We need to guard our capital and use it only where there will be a return.Haiti is now and has always been, and most likely will be a hell hole.Nothing taxpayer dollars have done, are doing or will do will can change that. Robertson is only a distraction from the bigger problem. I realize many will see this as hard hearted but I am tired of America being used as the world's Daddy Warbucks and then being bitten in the hand that feeds, or fed when all is said and done(Not to mention it's not a proper use of my tax money)

dfwmtx said...

Ever notice how much Pat squints when he's making all these prophetic statements? The man confuses the colors in the darkness behind his eyelids for divine revelations.

How come the entirety of Scotland never declared war on him when years ago when Robertson said Scotland was "a dark land full of homosexuals", I'll never know.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but didn't you know? According to a leftist South American president/dictator, the earthquake in Haiti is all the doing of the Americans, who have invented an infernal machine that causes the earth to vibrate, and Haiti was the test run. It's all a dastardly plot to destroy Iraq via earthquake.
LM

Shifty1 said...

Just a thought, but seeing as how Pat Robertson is a Bible-beleiving preacher and all....

If the "ceremony" on that night in question way back when actually happened as described here, then technically Mr. Robertson is correct....sacrificing an animal to whatever god/goddess/spirit is definately worshipping someone other than God. And worshipping any other god other than THE God is "ungodly"; ergo it HAS to fall in the realm of the Satanic. Just sayin'....cut the brother a break. He may not be a tactful guy, but he's on theologically sound footing.

Anonymous said...

But, but, didn't Abraham sacrifice a ram-and Aaron both a ram and an ox? Just to mention a few in only one religion, don't you know.
LawMom

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