MICHAELLE JEAN CALLED TO MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD
(British Crown to Pay Long Overdue Reparations) by Jafrikayiti, April 7, 2007
Dear Michaelle Jean:
First, let me offer you my congratulations
as you enter a 19th month of tenure as Governor General of
Today, I write to bring two urgent matters to your attention:
Reparations owed to the native peoples of Africa and of the
Canadian Foreign Policy as it impacts our native
The British Crown Must Repair the Damage it Caused !
As commemorative events take place this year to mark the bicentenary of the 1807 British Act for the Abolition of the “Slave Trade”, descendants of the Africans who were enslaved by various European nation-states (from 1499 to 1888)  are exposing some crucial truths  pertaining to the histories and present realities of Africa, Europe, Canada and the rest of the Americas.
Unfortunately, due to conflicts
of interest, many of the people who dominate these commemorative events tend
to exploit them for the promotion of the most outrageous form of revisionist
history. Indeed, these individuals don’t hesitate to blatantly flip reality
up side down in order to hide or embellish the role their nation-states played
in the ugliest period of recorded human history; one which saw the near successful
genocide of various native peoples of Africa and of the
Dessalines was a Real Abolitionist, not Wilberforce !
In a March 25th 2007 statement  , for instance, Prime Minister Stephen Harper boasts how: "On March 25, 1807, King George III proclaimed into law the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the culmination of a decades long campaign by courageous abolitionists, led by the great parliamentarian William Wilberforce”. A simple verification of facts would inform Mr. Harper that the end of this vicious “trade” was the culmination of many battles which preceded the birth, let alone the actions, of one William Wilberforce. In fact, the man being heralded as a leader of “courageous abolitionists” wrote a pamphlet in 1807 in which he shamelessly declared: "It would be wrong to emancipate (the enslaved Africans). To grant freedom to them immediately would be to insure not only their masters' ruin, but their own. They must (first) be trained and educated for freedom…”.
Truth be told, there were compelling military and economic imperatives that pushed Britain to adopt the 1807 Act, which merely rendered the so-called “trade” illegal but failed to abolish racial slavery on British territory  . Over a million captured Africans were still regarded by the British Government as legal human property and forcibly held captive for over another two decades.
In the year 1807, the
only place in the
is forever abolished” declared
article 2 of the first Haitian constitution. As early
as April 1804, using the new nation’s meager post-war budget, liberator and
founder Jean-Jacques Dessalines
secured the liberation of countless human beings
Obviously, it is Jean-Jacques
Dessalines and his comrades, not William Wilberforce,
who deserve to be honored as the true pioneers of the abolition of racial
slavery in the
It is now a known historical fact that two British parliamentary committees on enslavement concluded that ‘if the British government didn’t bring an end to slavery in the colonies peaceably, then those [Caribbean] islands would soon be drenched in blood, [because] the slaves would in the end emancipate themselves’. Thus, in February 1833, a Bill went before a reformed British House of Commons which supported emancipation. It took yet another five years before enslaved Africans were finally ‘legally’ freed.
Africans are Speaking Up, Worldwide !
The organized global enslavement, exploitation and murder of hundreds of millions of African people by Europeans was not the act of isolated individuals but a ‘legalized’ criminal act of gigantic proportions which was sanctioned by identifiable institutions, namely: the Christian church, the British Monarchy and other European-led governments which are still in place today  .
For example, in Walter
Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped
 , we learn that, “as
early as the 1560s, John Hawkins made three trips to West Africa
and stole Africans whom he sold to the Spanish in
In a compelling Declaration of Protest to the 2007 Commemoration  , the Ligali organization highlights how “the subsequent political apathy following the 1807 declaration exposed the hypocrisy of the British government and the European abolitionists who called for the gradual emancipation of African people [“]
Further, the declaration reminds us, “… £20 million had been paid in compensation, not to the captured Africans and their families, but to the British slavers in the Caribbean to reimburse them for any loss of earnings”.
Madame Governor General, being yourself a descendant of the Africans who were enslaved on the island of Haiti, you are surely aware that, in a similar fashion, from 1825 to 1947 the French Republic crippled our nation of African abolitionists with a $150 Million Gold Francs ransom. 
A coalition of organizations
is working feverishly for the International Tribunal on Reparations for African
being held in Berlin,
The British Crown must stop evading its obligations through futile attempts at revisionism and projection. It must instead mobilize adequate resources to begin repairing the damage it has caused through its lead role in the kidnapping and enslaving of Africans  .
Governor General, it is a fact that, in
than respond to Mr. Cikiah’s insightful suggestion, in his March 25, 2007 statement,
Prime Minister Harper boasts about “the leadership of Lieutenant Governor
John Graves Simcoe who persuaded the Legislature
of Upper Canada to adopt the first meaningful restrictions on slavery
within the British Empire in 1793”. Now, this is the same John Simcoe who would lead a tragically unsuccessful expedition
against the Haitian revolution in 1796. Defeated by true abolitionists in
(These are actual photographs of British slave ships taken in the 1860s. Following the 1807 Act, the British Navy imposed on slaving ship captains a fine of 100 pounds per enslaved person found aboard. This also meant that thousands upon thousands of Africans were thrown to the sharks by slavers who attempted to avoid the fine. How much did the British Goverment profit from these fines? How many African bones are in the Atlantic ocean?).
Sooner or later the hypocrisy must end. Currently, the Parliament of Jamaica is discussing the issue of Reparations. President Bharrat Jagdeo  of Guyana have recently made a public statement in which he underlies that “remarks about the horrors of the slave trade and slavery become meaningless and platitudinous” unless and until nation-states, like Britain, pay reparations to the peoples they have so profoundly scarred through the evil of State-sponsored and Church-blessed enslavement and commercial exploitation.
This blunt expression
of despair brings me to the second object of my letter: Canadian Foreign Policy as it impacts our
From Kashechewan to Cité Soleil: brothers and sisters are asking you and I to help end the hypocrisy, stop the bleeding and start the healing!
reality is difficult to accept as one considers how report after report, tragic
disaster after tragic disaster expose the conditions of squalor in which many
Canadians are forced to live in 2007. Yet, each budget speech includes pompous
statements and dollar figures supposedly dedicated to “making poverty history”
– not only in
On the one hand former residents of Kashechewan  (Canada) who are still traumatized by the contaminated drinking water disaster of April 2005, face the prospect of forced evacuation from their land;
On the other, para-governmental
funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade (DFAIT) and senior members of the Canadian Arms Forces are justifying
that Canada engages ever deeper in a colonial adventure in Haiti. Apparently,
on account of a so-called “Responsibility to Protect”  (Haitians?). However, according to the
Canadian Military Journal, “strong commitment to the sovereignty [and]
independence ... of
Time to End the Hypocrisy, Stop the Bleeding, Start the Healing !
Dear Governor General, being among the privileged few Africans with a certain voice, it befalls us to help put an end to this hypocrisy !
We both know that neither the
appalling poverty found in
strategy consisting in throwing money and weapons, while patching up a brick school, a dispensary and a few prisons in return for shameless waving of a million Canadian flags - is no solution at all.
Even when some relatively successful initiatives are undertaken by well-meaning foreigners working within the neo-colonial context, they cannot bring sustainable solutions to the huge and profound problems facing the impoverished native peoples.
Reversing the situation shall require us to adopt new policies and approaches, rather than rehashing the same old practices inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s “White man Burden”.
For instance, when taking stock of poverty in Haiti today, it is disingenuous to make light of the fact that in 1825, under the threat of re-enslavement, and with 12 warships armed with 500 canons, France blackmailed the African abolitionists of Haiti into agreeing to pay a bounty of 150 million Gold Francs for the lost of men, women and children they had deemed to be "French property". That ransom (lowered to 90 million Francs), estimated at over $22 billion (USD) today, was in fact extorted from Haiti by France (meanwhile they sold off Louisiana which then represented 22 times the size of the entire island of Haiti for only 15 million Francs).
To say that the Charles X Ransom  had a devastating and lasting impact on our people would be a gross understatement. Decades after decades, Haiti had no money for social spending and development and had to close its rural schools, cut down its forests  , adopt the Rural Code which further systematized the class divisions (between rural and city folks) and bound the majority to work the land to pay off a hideous, racist and unfair debt.
deforestation commenced. The timber was converted to cash through the export
market. This is how the Haitian government generated revenue to pay for their
Very Canadian Coup d'État !
On February 29, 2004, the Constitutional Head of State who issued
One year before the coup d’état, the Canadian
government organized a high-level meeting of North American, Latin American
and European powerbrokers to discuss possible regime change in Haiti. “The
Ottawa Initiative on
Since the first public leak of these machinations,
Canadians of Haitian origin warned the Prime Minister not to engage is such
a foolish adventure
 . Others have appealed
for your personal intervention
 . Instead of heeding
our advice, successive Canadian governments have essentially pursued the agenda developed under “The
Ottawa Initiative on
The Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) Press for
Conversion Magazine published a
March 2007 issue titled “A Very Canadian
Coup d’état in Haiti”
 . It reads,
among other things, that “
Author Randall Robinson (The
Debt) summarizes well how the current machinations of the International Financial
Institutions (IFIs) serve to prolong the exploitation
of the same impoverished peoples whose sweat and blood had fuel Europe and
What Alternatives am I Recommending?
Contrary to the IMF style of
“aid”, the Cuba-Venezuela model is, in essence, what activists  for peace with justice have
been advocating for several years. Unfortunately, successive Canadian governments
have chosen to ignore this message and, Instead, have multiplied workshops,
conferences, meetings (usually, with little or no Haitian participation) to
coordinate even more “foreign aid” to
Dear Michaelle Jean, as one sane and brave African named Toyin Agbetu exemplified during the recent Westminster Abbey event  , crumbs and token gestures will not do the trick. Until due reparations are made to descendants of the enslaved Africans, the British Monarchy, the Church of England, and their apologists will have a hard time getting us to dance happily with them over the bones of our ancestors.
Please Seize the Opportunity and Make a Real Difference !
So, as you accompany Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Latin America, over the coming weeks, please consider the points raised in this long letter which was, hopefully, found worthy of your time and consideration.
On the day of your inauguration, I expressed on Canada A.M. the hope that you shall surprise many by refusing to be a silent beauty, confined to pomp, ceremony and preservation of the status quo but proving instead to be a daring agent of positive change in our troubled world  .
Will this Canadian Governor
General, whose personal coat of arms
 bears the broken chain
of the famed Unknown Maroon, become the Head of State who convinces
the British Crown to pay the long overdue reparations to the native peoples
of Africa and of the
If so, perhaps I am justified to imagine
that both Your Excellency and Mr. Lafond will proceed
to challenge the French government to follow suit, beginning with restitution
of the Charles X ransom to
And, in keeping with the spirit of “briser les solitudes”, shall you, Michaelle Jean, be the leader who offers Canadians the opportunity to adopt a new, truly representative title for their Head of State?
Hopeful as ever, I salute and embrace you dear sister, on this April 7, 2007, the 204th anniversary of the passing of our beloved ancestor, Toussaint Louverture.
Your faithful compatriot who
dares hope that you shall indeed make the opening for the first Grand
Jafrikayiti (Jean Saint-Vil), Gatineau,
 Canadian Officials
Initiate Planning for Military Ouster of Aristide,
 The Need to Speak Out: Canada’s Governor Generalship by Kim Petersen