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Election Ploy: Sarkozy Plans to Add Toussaint Louverture to the Pantheon

Alain Mabanckou reposts an article by Haitian radio station Kiskeya discussing French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy's promise to add the names of Toussaint Louverture and Léopold Sédar Senghor to the Pantheon (Fr) in Paris, resting place of French luminaries like Volatire, Marie Curie and Napoleon, if elected. The addition of Louverture, one of the fathers of the Haitian Revolution, struck many of Mabanckou's readers as especially bizarre–and disrespectful–election ploy. It was against Napoleon's armies that Louverture waged his revolution for independence from France and on Napoleon's orders that he was captured and sent to the French prison where he later died.

2 comments

  • Justin

    I see no reason why this is ‘disrespectful’ at all! – I think this is a great thing, it really is – for a black person who was involved in Frances history colonial or not – to be embedded in it’s history forever is not a bad thing.

    Hell i’d vote for Sarkozy if I was French.. but ah well im black and American not french.

    But still, good job Sarkozy for acknowledging all peoples in french history.

  • Except that Toussaint Louverture is not French! He was killed by the French. There are plenty of other reasonable choices.

    It would be like honoring martyred Jewish resistance fighters next to Nazi war criminals or interring the ashes of Nanjing massacre victims in the Yasukuni shrine. There are some things you just don’t do, or at least don’t do flippantly and without discussing it with the group whose national symbol (in this case, Haitians) who would like to borrow.

    And to anyone who might think I might be exaggerating the incongruency, read about how kind life under Code Noir was to slaves in Haiti. (Scroll down to “Slavery: Life, Death, Work and Resistance”)

    It’s politics, it’s pandering, it’s ignorance of history. Every politician does this, but when they do, they deserve to be called out on it.

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