by Wilangelo E.L. JOSEPH
The first and most paradoxical and relevant thing that drew my attention to this book is the cover: « Christian(s) of voodoo. »
As for me, I was quick to laugh and immediately described the author as crazy. However, after an exploratory reading of the first fifteen pages, I believe I was the stupid one for having jumped to a conclusion so quickly. It was at that stage that sagacity dawned on me. It grasped me so far as to allow me to resort to the title quickly.
Then I understood that a wind of surprise stirred an ocean of questioning and caused waves of logical plausibility and acceptability revelations. In other words, Dr. Rousseau attacked and refuted several in-depth centuries of almost unanimous historical knowledge.
The tremendous first, during this century, as far as I know; a title as captivating as it is catchy, which generally appeals to the notorious intellectuals of the world, those of Haiti or even the Caribbean, and Africa in particular.
With incredible modesty and certain probity, Dr. Rousseau explains his different, distinguished, and revolutionary point of view with delicacy and insight. A priori, based on the linguistic diversity, Africa is indisputably famous and the lack of knowledge of French among the slaves.
Then, he underlines that the incomprehension of the language of the colonists (French) explains this inadequate grasp of Christianity, favoring ipso facto, this other version called ‘Haitian Voodoo’ which has, if applicable, insignificant relation to vodun or voodoo practiced in Africa.
A posteriori, Dr. Rousseau firmly believes that all the followers of this religious practice bequeathed to us by the slaves – being of modified Christianity – are squarely Christians, not just any though but Christians of voodoo! Besides, we will see that the blacks the colonists transplanted to Santo Domingo were already slaves, although their conditions became horrible there.
The author, therefore, included many rare and relatable theoretical notions on the subject. May you internalize this book and let it internalize you as well; then ask the Supreme Being, in whom you believe, to help you make good use of it and get the most out of it.
Wilangelo E. L. JOSEPH
Teacher of Languages and Letters