Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black History Month - Grenada and Haiti

Is heart, not horn, dat make ramgoat brave. (Guyana)

1974 - Grenada proclaimed independence from Great Britain.

Grenada is known as the Spice Isle, and is the world’s second largest producer of several different spices.

This country became independent in 1974 with Eric Gairy as the first Prime Minister. In 1979, the New Jewel Movement overthrew the Gairy government and Maurice Bishop headed the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).

Unrest occurred in October 1983, and Maurice Bishop was killed. United States marines and rangers, accompanied by a small contingent of Caribbean soldiers, then invaded Grenada. The governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, and Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Nations General Assembly criticized this invasion. Seventeen members of the PRG and the army were arrested and charged with the murder of Bishop and seven others. Accused persons, some of whom were initially sentenced to death, have been set free, the last in 2009.

1991 - Haiti's first democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was sworn in.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was born in 1953. He studied in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Italy, and Israel before being ordained as a priest in 1983.

He worked with the poor in Port-au-Prince slums, and his views on the class struggle were considered radical. Ultimately, his religious order expelled him because of his political activities, and left the priesthood in 1994.

Aristide was elected President of Haiti and took up office on February 7, 1991. The Haitian army deposed him in September of the same year, and it was widely believed that the United States was associated with this coup. General Raoul Cedras became Haiti’s ruler.

During his exile, Aristide went to Venezuela and then to the US to seek international support for his return. He eventually went back to Haiti in October 1994 to complete his term in office. When his term ended, he was not allowed to seek re-election or to serve the years he spent in exile. Rene Preval was elected in his place.

Aristide again became president in 2000 with results that opposition political parties contested. He was forced out of Haiti in 2004, and it is believed that France and the US had a role in his “kidnapping”.

He now lives in South Africa. As recently as after the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, Aristide expressed his desire to return to help rebuild Haiti.

Also on this day in -

1967: Christoper Julius Rock III, better known as Chris Rock was born.

1986 - President Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier fled Haiti after 21 years of a father-son Duvalier regime

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When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at