KOSANBA Haiti and Haitian Vodou Statement, July 9, 2021

English

The Board of KOSANBA, the Scholarly Association for the Study of Haitian Vodou, acknowledges the tragic loss of life and troubling news of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination and the injuries to First Lady Martine Moïse on July 7th, 2021.

Such horrific acts of violence threaten our political institutions and our civil liberties. We offer our condolences to all those who are grieving. We also recognize that such violent political affronts disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, including women, children, members of the queer community, and marginalized religious communities.

As such, we specifically condemn the recent deliberate violence against Vodouizan and their Vodou temples in Martissant, Fontamara, and Mariani, Haiti, including damage to the Lakou Bovwa. We stand in solidarity with all of the manbo, oungan, and ounsi who have suffered this devastating destruction, a remnant of the horrifying violence enacted against Vodou communities in various periods of Haitian history.

Lakou Bovwa and other Vodou temples are a national treasure, serving as vibrant cultural and spiritual links to Haiti’s African heritage. To brutally damage them is to inflict a deep wound into the nation. The visible injuries are shocking, but the intangible reverberations into the neighborhood and into the nation reach far beyond. Material devastation visited upon these religious sites signifies hatred against places, practices, and people dedicated to healing and endurance.

In our environmentally and economically fragile societies, the most vulnerable often seek refuge in the sanctuary of their sacred abodes that have served generations before them. As the keepers of tradition, those who protect these sacred spaces and attend to the universe’s care see this not only as a right but a responsibility. We stand in solidarity in acknowledging their right to be the guardians of customs that offer continual meaning and purpose.

The Board of KOSANBA (Kongrè Santa Barbara) joins with the people of Haiti as we urgently decry this wanton destruction of Haiti’s political leadership and precious Vodou communities. We advocate for the restoration of peace and security in Haiti, and stand in solidarity with all of those affected in this difficult moment.

Kreyòl

Manm Asosyasyon Entelekyèl Etid sou Vodou Ayisyen an (KOSANBA nan akwonim angle a) pran nouvèl boulvèsan lanmò trajik Prezidan Jovenel Moïse ke yo te asasinen an menm tan yo te blese Premye Dam Martine Moïse nan 7 Jiyè, 2021.

Gwo zak vyolans sa yo menase enstitisyon politik nou ak libète sivil nou. N ap ofri kondoleyans nou pou tout moun ki afekte. Epitou, nou realize atak politik vyolan sa yo afekte moun ki pi vilnerab parapò a lòt moun, espesyalman fanm, ti moun, manm kominote M (masisi ak madivin), epi kominote relijye yo ki toujou pèsekite.

Kidonk nou leve kanpe kont vyolans resan ki te fèt ekspre kont Vodouizan ak peristil Vodou nan Matisan, Fontamara, e Maryiani, Ayiti, avèk atak tou sou Lakou Bovwa. N ap kanpe djanm avèk tout manbo yo, oungan yo, ak ounsi yo ki te viktim gwo destriksyon sa yo ki fè nou sonje vyolans rèd ki te fèt kont kominote Vodou yo nan plizyè epòk nan istwa Ayisyen.

Lakou Bovwa ak lòt peristil Vodou yo se kokenchenn trezò nasyonal, paske yap sèvi kankou yon poto mitan kiltirèl ak spirityèl ki konekte nou ak eritaj Afriken nou an Ayiti. Atak brital sou peristil yo blese nou anpil nan peyi a. Blesi vizib yo bay gwo chòk, men blesi invizib yo frape nou pi di nan kominote nou epitou nan nasyon an. Destriksyon materyèl ki fèt nan espas relijye yo se yon fòm rayisman kont kominote yo, rityèl yo, ansanm avèk rayisman kont pèp la ki gen yon kilti ki baze sou gerizon ak sipòte moun.

Nan sosyete pa nou an ki frajil anpil nan domen anviwònman epi nan sistèm ekonomik nou, anpil fwa moun ki pi vilnerab yo konn chache pwoteksyon nan tanp yo e espas mistik yo ki t ap sèvi plizyè jenerasyon avan nou. Kòm gadyen tradisyon yo moun k ap pwoteje espas mistik yo e k ap pran swen mystè yo konpran wòl yo ki  pa selman kankou yon dwa men yon responsabilite tou. N ap kanpe djanm pou rekonèt dwa moun ki kontinye pwoteje tradisyon an paske yo konnen Vodou a ofri kominote a anpil fòs ak konesans.

Manm KOSANBA yo (Kongrè Santa Barbara) mete tèt ansanm avèk moun an Ayiti pou nou leve kanpe kont destriksyon vyolan lidèchip politik Ayisyen an. Epitou nou kondane ak tout fòs nanm nou atak sou kominote Vodou yo ki se kominote telman enpòtan nan peyi a. N ap mande pou sekirite retabli an Ayiti, pou lapè retounen, epi n ap kontinye kanpe ansanm avèk tout moun ki nan soufrans nan moman difisil sa a.

English Statement (PDF)

Kreyòl Statement (PDF)


Divine Haiti: Portraits of the Lwa

In 2006 we created Divine Haiti, a multimedia website designed to educate viewers about the lwa (deities of Haitian Vodou) while also showcasing Haitian artistic achievement. The site features the paintings of Haitian artist Hërsza Barjon with explanatory text by Kyrah Malika Daniels.
(Note: Flash must be enabled to view the site)