Dear Pat Robertson:
When tragedy recently befell the Republic of Haiti, you — in your divine authority as an American Christian televangelist — claimed this was a result of a pact the Haitian people made with the devil.
For years, I have merely marveled at your intellectually consistent but consistently theodicic proclamations. But after this most recent display of fearmongering, victim-blaming theo-idiocy, I simply had to drop you a line. Your perfect ignorance of the basic principles of Voudun is less astonishing than your willingness to abandon any generosity of spirit you may have once possessed for what, ratings? To satisfy your chosen people’s yen for all things polarizing and self-aggrandizing? Or do you really believe the Christofascist hate that you vomit up?
Sure, the leaders of the 1791 Bois Caïman Voudun ceremony you reference (Boukman Dutty and Cecile Fatiman) urged the Haitian people to throw away the image of the god of the whites who thirsted for their tears, and to listen to the voice of liberty that spoke from within their hearts. And they did, successfully revolting against their enslavement. But, come on, “a pact with the devil”? And a devil who seals his contracts with a hearty handshake-phrase like “Okay, it’s a deal”? Really, Pat.
Your Christian moral framework of good versus evil doesn’t easily lend itself to an understanding of the interrelation of the Rada and Petwo families of loa. Wait, do you even know what a loa is? For the sake of expedience, I’ll assume you do, and explain that the interrelation between Rada and Petwo is more closely akin to, well, sweet versus bitter or cool versus hot than it is to good versus evil. My spirit, which led Cecile Fatiman at the Bois Caïman ceremony, is the spirit of a loving warrior, of a strong black single mother, of a powerful Petro warrior goddess who protects her children.
Petwo is not Satanic or evil. It is revolutionary anger. As artist Maya Deren noted in her tome on Haitian Voudon, Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti, “Petro was born of this rage. It is not evil; it is the rage against the evil fate that the African suffered, the brutality of his displacement and his enslavement. It is the violence that rose out of that rage, to protest against it. It is the crack of the slave-whip sounding constantly, a never-to-be-forgotten ghost in the Petro rites. It is the raging revolt of the slaves against the Napoleonic forces. And it is the delirium of their triumph. For it was the Petro cult, born in the hills, nurtured in secret, which gave both the moral force and the actual organization to the escaped slaves who plotted and trained, swooped down upon the plantations and led the rest of the slaves in the revolt that, by 1804, had made of Haiti the second free colony in the western hemisphere, following the United States. Even today the songs of revolt, of ‘Vive la liberte’, occur in Petro ritual as a dominant theme.”
Petwo exemplifies the notion that every heart is a revolutionary cell. But your callous, loathsome and paternalistic comments about this tragedy — and your previous verbal attacks on Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, the ACLU, pagans, abortion providers, feminists, the GLBTQI community, etc. — show your heart to be blacker than any Haitian pig, Reverend. And senility is no defense.
So, watch your tongue.
See you at the crossroads.