Editorial: Dechouke Boukman (Destroying Boukman), 21 March 1998

In this 1998 editorial, Jean Dominique takes to task the American missionaries who have come to Haiti to proselytize and “dechouke Boukman” — to destroy the reputation of Boukman, a slave who was one of the early leaders of the Haitian Revolution.  Boukman is said to have led a ceremony at Bois Caïman, which missionaries describe as a “pact with the devil.”  In tearing down Boukman, Dominique argues, evangelicals not only disparage the vodou religion, but also undermine the very legitimacy of the Haitian Revolution.

As Dominique points out, intolerance and persecution of vodou believers had been occurring throughout the 20th century, most notably during the 1940s, when the Catholic Church undertook a massive “antisuperstition campaign” in which vodou temples were destroyed and adherents were forced to renounce their religion.

This kind of hidebound intolerance persists among US evangelicals to this day, illustrated most famously when Pat Robertson blamed the 2010 earthquake on Haitians having made a “pact with the devil” to secure their freedom from France.

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