Transcription of Ras Eddy interviewed by Benjamin Hebblethwaite


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Transcription of Ras Eddy interviewed by Benjamin Hebblethwaite
Abbreviated Title:
Vodou and Rastafari in Haiti
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PDF file
Benjamin Hebblethwaite, Josh Clough and Tahiri Jean-Baptiste
Benjamin Hebblethwaite
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean Area, Haiti, Haitian Vodou, Rastafari, Christianity   ( lcsh )


This file provides the transcription of Ras Eddy Dieujuste's interview with UF's Benjamin Hebblethwaite on March 12, 2013. Duke U. Josh Clough and Tahiri Jean-Baptiste provided the transcription and Benjamin Hebblethwaite edited their work. This interview provides insight into transnational religious identity since Ras Eddy lived as an adult for more than 10 years in the US before returning to Haiti to open his own Vodou temple. Ras Eddy contemplates Vodou, Rastafari and Christianity and he discusses development issues like the use of Haitian Creole instead of French in Haitian schools. Ras Eddy displays a refreshing independent style of reflection that depends upon reason and criticism for the discovery of spiritual truths.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Applicable rights reserved.
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vodou - Vodou
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The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 1 Ras Eddy Dieujuste interviewed by Benjamin Hebblethwaite at Lakou Souvnans, March 28, 2013 Edited by Benjamin Hebblethwaite Transcribed by Josh Clough and Tahiri Jean Baptiste Click on this link to watch the interview s in the Vodou Archive Part 1. Ras Eddy: God within God Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Yes Ras Eddy: We are gods within gods within Vodou but the Christians are sinners 1 When you call yourself a sinner, you will always be a sinner because you call yourself that. But, as we believe in Vodou you call yourself god within god so that you save your divinity within. But when you call yourself a sinner, you lose that. You kno Vodou are gods within gods so we preserve our divinity within us. 1 This a reference to the Christian concept of Original Sin whereas every human being bears the sin of Adam and Eve.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 2 Benjamin Hebblethwaite: So tell us about Vodou and Haiti. Tell us about your discovery of Vodou and something about your story. Ras Eddy: Well, I Vodou priest. My grandfather was a Vodou priest. what needs to be done so I can become a Vodou Vodou priest. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Okay, what does it take to become a Vodou priest? Ras Eddy: Well, it depends. When my grandfather died the spiritual roo ms were supposed to be closed and then opened after one year and one day. W e had this flood, which brought everything down so we never had a chance to do that S o we need to rebuild the houses and then do a ceremony and then bless the rooms so I can sit d own and star t doing what needs to be done: c uring people, doing enlightenments for people. You know? Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Yes. So it takes time to acquire the skills and experience? Ras Eddy: Yeah, it takes time depending on what you want to do. Like, I really want to do something small and of course it might grow into something big. So, like fifteen minutes away from here like done have a big cere mony, so everything is gonna be in its place Part 2a. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: So your temple is almost ready. Are you going to do your first ceremony? Ras Eddy: Yeah. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: publicly, in a ceremonial context? Ras Eddy: Yeah. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Okay. So what kind of Vodou priest are you? Ras Eddy: A Ginen. Pure Ginen. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: many places in Haiti, hung out with lots of ve m et people who call themselves Bk Some people call


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 3 themselves Oungan Bk Some pe ople call themselves Oungan asogwe. Some people call themselves Manbo asogwe. Some people are S vit. Some people are oungan makout. So where are you? Is that stuff relevant? Ras Eddy: Vodou priest and a Vodou priest is the father of the nation. He is who keeps the tradition going. the bk is a negative side of the oungan. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Why is it negative? Ras Eddy: Well because a bk is mixed with, I can say, what we call spirits. What are They mix it up an d the Haitian would call it dyab So with the Ginen, you only use the good inherited spirit. The because they are no longer with you when you put your hands in blood. Ginen will not mix up with blood. It is something pure. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Is that right? in particular? Ras Eddy: But we have a way to protect ourselves. Y us to protect us. God put them there for that purpose. But some people misuse the spirits Vodou has some type of negative t Vodou not the knife th Vodou is pure. Vodou never Vodou who misuse it. And Vodou is so powerful and you got other religions trying to weaken Vodou within our mind, So we can be just like the way we are today, but if more Haitians practice Vodou Benjamin Hebblethwaite: So you talk about Ginen and you talk about it being pure and different than other types of Vodou different rites, so if I say Kongo or Petwo or if I say N a go or R ada, where do those elements fit into that problem of using spirits for wrong? Ras Eddy: Well, ea ch of them has their spirits, l ike you have Rada, Dahomey. You have hot spirits that use liquor and you have cool spirits, like Nago, like when the drums are being played real low. But with a hot spirit, you need a hot temper with the drums ike, looking like (gives facial expre ssion), like you have Ogou Feray and Bosou. When they come you see the army within them, you You got spirits that open doors up opportunities, which is Legba.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 4 He has the key to all the barriers. So we have to address the Legba before any other spirit. Every religion or concept has their own steps, their own rules and regulations to go by, to get what you wanna get. We Haitians, Vodou that we practice today has been mixed with other concepts. Like you got the Masons mixed up with the Vodou You got the Catholics mixed up with the Vodou The Vodou we practice now is a different kind of Vodou whic h shows more negative sides of it then positive. We got too many bad influences in the Vodou Vodou itself is pure. Vodou s people that know the power of Vodou that misuse Vodou Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ras Eddy: ity Most of the people that practice Vodou in Haiti are people that have never been to school, or a foreign school. So their level of overstanding is not high enough for them to practice at a higher level. destroy himself or somebody, but if you giv e a gun to somebody who is strong minded who is mature, Vodou being something so powerful in the hands of people who are uneducated can become a threat. Haitians, for us to pr actic e Vodou in its original form, we have to reeducate the Haitian people. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: And you would do that through a certain type of Vodou ? Ras Eddy: Yeah, the education system, you know what I mean? The education system that we get today is a Christi an type of education, and they have a Christian program, with books that teach you about Jesus. And the minute you start believing in Christianity Vodou as satanic. So most of the Haitians that are at an intellectual level are Christia n minded. So that leaves more people that are not intellectual practicing Vodou 2 Vodou is not really reflected in the country. But Vodou is positive. One hundred percent positive! ot positive wi thin their minds, because their mind level is so low because the education system that we get here is awkward. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok, so let me ask you this, if Haiti were to accept Haitian Kreyl in the school system instead of French and include Fr ench as a second language, maybe, do you think it would help the poor Haitians and the Vodou community that Ras Eddy: Haitians being taught in Kreyl is one of the greatest steps that Haiti would ever take. Because having people learning in a language that they do not overstand I understand under So the education 2 Vodou is practiced in large part outside of the city and can be said to be the religion of the common Haitian citizen.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 5 sy stem we get here should be in Kreyl. You have a lot of people learning in French but Part 2b. Ras Eddy: explain to me what they have read in French, to explain it to me in Kreyl, and they cannot Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Is that right? Ras Eddy: Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ras Eddy: And, one other thing, what make it so bad, we not learning of ourselves. We ow anything about ourselves. They teaching us of French. Even the Haitian literature is in French. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: I know. Ras Eddy: I mean, we learning things about what the French did, what the English did, know what I mean, but we not l earning things what we have done. Like where we came from. How the Africans were living in Africa before, I can say, the slave masters went there and, like, spread us around. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Right. Ras Eddy: know your past then So you got the Chinese people, they know their past and they still got their own names, but we have our own names. My name is Jean Eddy Dieujuste not French. Because we were colonized by the French, so our identity has been changed, going t he wrong way. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ras Eddy: Haitian food, Haitian religion, Haitian culture, Haitian identity then we gonna evolve, rise up. But French, like French education, you know, I can say, Benjamin Hebblethwaite: In Israel.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 6 Ras Eddy: od. So, it needs to stay there. Our overstanding of God is Vodou G as long as we keep practicing other religions then always be depending on other people. Know wha t I mean? Because if I pray to G od throu gh you, then G hand stuff. saying? So s a Haitian. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Well let me ask you thi s, so some people say that the L wa are aspects of God. So G od has many aspects, like a diamond, and many facets. Ras Eddy: t say so, because the spir its, some of the spirits were human beings living on earth that master a certain element that gets so far that you, that come after possessed by that particular spirit then yo u can do wha tever they can do, l ike you get Danbala. Dan bala he mastered the snakes, so Danba la can do whatever the snake can do 3 Know what I mean? He had an army of sna bala can climb up a tree like a snake do. And us, being the descendants of Da n invoke Da n bala, then we crawl like a snake. But Da n bala was a human being, living here. But you have spirits within elements, within every element, within the four element s he water has elements with spirits that keeps it alive. You Vodou is knowing the power of the four elements and you know how to use nature, how to adapt to Vodou is. So we can be one with this tree. We can be one with a dog. We can turn into a dog. We can turn into a tree We can turn into whatever. power we have within us that people do not overstand. Like, for an example, we got people that can fly fro m here to Port au Prince without wings and planes You got people Vodou is. something positiv e. So b We used the power of Vodou So gunshot w ill not go through a Vodou if they know the real power of Vodou Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Haitian independence? Ras Eddy: Yeah. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: And that is remembered by most Haitians? 3 Danbala Wdo and his wife Ayida Wdo were the first Lwa created by God. Danbala is represented by a white egg and is depicted as a rainbow colored snake on potomitan and vv. When a Vodouist is possessed by Danbala the Vodouist makes serpentine movements, climbs trees a nd hisses.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 7 Ras Eddy: Yeah, but Vodou minds to weaken Vodou So the reflect (ion) of it is not that much. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: O k, so what do you think is the best thing if you look at the Vodou community and it s intellectuals especially, like you, people who can read and write in Kreyl, in English, what do you think would be the most powerful method or tool that the Vodou peopl e could use to try and educate other Vodou ists? Ras Eddy: Have their own schools. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Have their own schools? Ras Eddy: Get support from the government, which is something that is hard to get. Have our own schools and send our kids to our own schools. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok ay Ras Eddy: minded and see Vodou as being satanic. Then we gon na have people with an intellectual level as practicing Vodou to its highest level. Not the lowest form. We need to redefine the school system within Haiti. If not, the Vodou priests, or the Vodou organizations, or the people who believe in Vodou to put t ogether so t hey can build their own schools and do Vodou ceremonies and uplift the pe ople within their own culture t o raise their kids. Because you got a lot of Vodou priests sending their kid s to school and they become preachers and Christian minded and that means all the Vodou resources go to them. Vodou community. Vodou is not, I can say, rising up, you know? gonna be a Vodou priest soon so Vodou resources away from the Vodou community, you know? make sure that I put my kids in a em up against me. Yeah, so, my plan is to build a school for the Vodou priests and the Svit the people that believe in Vodou So we can save Vodou So we can save those little children, know what I mean? Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Now, so you have childr en? Ras Eddy: I have three kids. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok ay so if you look at all the options for schools in your neighborhood, is there an option that is public, that is secular, that does not give religious ideology of any kind? Ras Eddy: Well yea h, you have some. Not in my community. My kid, I live with in I have one kid in the states and the third one is not ready for school yet. Th e second one, she goes to school in Gonaives, because most of the schools in


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 8 And my kid needs to know his own religion before Jesus. 2c. Ras Eddy: Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Yeah, absolut ely. Ras Eddy: od first and know the Vodou you know what I mean? And then they can know Muslims, or whatever. But right now she needs to know her own religion before any other religion. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok, so where do you send her? Ras Eddy: She goes to school in Gon aives at this school called Tante Edi Benjamin Hebblethwaite: (repeats the name of the school) Ras Eddy: Yeah, they have this prayer that they do everyday at 8:00. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok. Ras Eddy: 8:00 8:820. So I make sure I send her past that time. (laughs) So ever since ) Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Well done! Ras Eddy: m saying? I can go directly to G od. No Jesus, no Abraham, no Jacob, nobody else but me. Me, myself, a nd I! (brief water break) Richard Freeman : ed that throughout different periods there has been various degrees that Vodou has been open. I was just wondering, since your grandfather couple stories that you could share with the viewe rs about what it was like in certain does that stand today?


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 9 Ras Eddy: Ok ay well, there was a time that Vodou had to be practiced in secret 4 like you had to hide to practice Vodou s not the same, but every now and type of attack on a Vodou a satan ic reli gion, you know So sometime s they burn the Vodou temples and burn some Vodou recently when we had the cholera event, so they kinda like blame it on the Vodou priests and stuff like that. So you had a few attacks on Vodou priests in different places, but we working toward, so things like that because, things like that happen because the people have been colonized. So, to be colonized is to be, I can say, to me saying. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Yeah, absolutely. Ras Eddy: Zombifye. So because they become doing ignorant a cts Vodou they do. But I see and I talk to a few Svit they say they would not retaliate if that happen ed again. So if a church or a pastor happens to attack a temple or whatever and th ey will attack a church, blah, blah, blah. So some will not retaliate nowadays because they starting to believe that the Vodou is the right religion for Haiti and they should not let ot Vodou izan are the ones that did 1804 preaching no Jesus in 1804. We had Vodou you know what I mean! We had the spirits! Know what I mean? So right now, Vodou needs to be practiced more in Haiti. only way that Haiti will ever change. As long as we forget who we are, where we came from, (inaudible 5:42) Yeah, we gotta see clearly. Haitians are lost, thers to he lp us. When you s why they showing us around and when they show you around they take you wherever. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Yes, and yet as you said, authentic Haitian school system. Ras Eddy: Yeah. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: When is it coming? Ras Eddy: Well, most of the people within the government system are colonized people so most likely they woul 4 Vodou has experienced various periods of rejete. These periods are expeditions against V odou by the church and the state. A cholera outbreak shortly after the earthquake in 2010 brought about widespread fear of Vodou that resulted in the lync hing of at least 45 people, most of them Vodou priests.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 10 that raised them. They were raised to perpetu ate the system. So the minute you put a project like that, they will not finance it; so we as Vodou priests, the Svit need to pu t together and build our own schools. And we can get help from outside people who believe, like other believers outside the country. But, as far as like government, nah, And e only way for Haiti to rise up, we need to redefine the school system and know more about Vodou Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok ay well let me ask you this, do you think it is possible, is it conceivable, in the next 100 years, that the Vodou community can put pressure with other like minded sectors, on the government to make them Creolize? Ras Eddy: 100 years is too far. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok ay next 10 years. To creolize. Ras Eddy: Yeah, like, how long does a generation last? Fifteen, twenty years, right? So one or two generations is enough. The only thing, see it seems hard, but by using, how would you say strat gie efficace ? Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Successful strategy? Ras Eddy: Yeah, and that strategy would be reeducate and redefine the schoo l system. ying? And they will become, know what I me an, a different kind of people, not colonized people, you know? A colonized Ok, a zombie is just a zombie. They walk like this (impersonates a walking zombie) Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ras Eddy: Yeah, you know what I mean? They go to school to learn of G od ; and to become a Vodou become a Vodou priest, but to become a preacher you need to go to school. You need to go learn what G Benjamin Hebble thwaite: N ow tell us something about your musical career. You said that you were writing music you have some songs on iTunes. Tell us about the songs, the project, the long term goals, your style. I mean, I regret to say, I just met you Ras Eddy so I have Ras Eddy: Thank you. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: So tell the viewers a little bit about your music and what messages you have in them.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 11 Ras Eddy: Ok, well I have this song but hoping to go home with something for their some jobs ask for your CV, like your curriculum vitae, and when you take it to them much poverty in this world, too much racism in this world too much injustice in this people are dying in this system of B dying in this system of Babylon, you know? We need to love each other, know what I have another song called Poupe twl Puppet on Strings. Calling the Haitian government from the president all the way down to the mayor, they are all puppets. They are not going about. Part 3 Benjamin Hebblethwait e: So it sounds like your songs address es social problems and injustices. Ras Eddy: Yeah, yeah. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: : Ok, you mentioned in your song about poverty, you talked about Babylon. So just before we did the interview you were talking about Rastafari and I Ras Eddy: Means confusion. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Confusion and materialistic kind of culture. So tell us about Rastafari in your life and in Haiti. How did you meet Rastafari and what do you think about it? Ras Eddy: Ok, ok. Well, ever since I was a young kid I always used to listen to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller and I used to like, you know, the image, the way that m saying? So I always you know, liked to liste n to r eggae. But I did until I went to the States and when I became older, I started to learn more about the Rastafari I even, one time, u sed to call myself a Rastafari becaus e when I was doing research, you know, on religion and I studied, you know, Christianity and I noticed that it s not the right religion to go by and I was like, instead of being a Christian, I would rather be Rastafari which is something that is invented in Ethiopia. You know what I mean? But after a the Ra stafari in Jesus Christ as being the son o f a Rasta


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 12 then, well, behind Ra stafarianism explains that Hail e Selassie is a desce ndent of this guy called Meneli k which means the son of a wise man and his mother was the queen of Sheba who had went to meet King Solomon and then she, somehow someway, she brought him some gifts and stuff like that and he gave her back some gifts in return and the story explains that they made love and then she gave birth to this kid named Meneli k, wh ich means the son of a wise man, because Solomon was supposed to be a wise man. So, and the story behind Ra stafarianism explains that Hail e Selassie is G od himself, that came on Earth in a physical form hold up, wait a minute, if Hail e Selassie had a mother he had a father just like me and he became god, so I can become god myself, so if I have G od direc no one else I srael or the god of .. I go by the God of the universe, the G od of all You know? The god of Ras Eddy, you know? my energy away to no one else but m e. So, like I was saying, we need to stop believing in concepts invented by men who were born, like the same way as us. So when you follow behind, you always stay (behind) so I can, too. So my level of overstanding of God that person, not according to G od. Somebody invented Jehova h Witnesses, so if I call myself a Jehova h overstanding of God is according to whoever invented Jehova h Witnesses. So all the peop le that you see that are followers of religions are just sorry if I say that, zombies. (laughter) Benjamin Hebblethwaite: No apologies required. (laughter) Ras Eddy: K now what I mean ? Because God did not put us here to just be followers. You can follow, but not all you r life. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Vodou Ras Eddy: Benjamin Hebblethwaite: And now, i n Vodou diff erent groups and many different peristil (temples) and many different ounf (sanctuaries) Ras Eddy: Well, I was raised a bit outside the country. I spent ten years outside, but, with me, my main focus are the spirit s. Know what I mean ? So, the spirits are for all of us so different yards, different lakou But my yard will be a different yard from them other yards because I come to puri fy the Svit mind within Vodou


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 13 Vodou Vodou No saints, just lwa Benjamin Hebblethwaite: No saints? Ras Eddy: They call Ogou Feray for Saint Ja are not playing the same role so why would you mix those two? Why would you mix the two? Benjamin Hebbl ethwaite: Right, why would you mix the two? Ok. Ras Eddy: And that is because of the Catholic religions. Before, the Catholic religions used to cause like, how you say, dechoukaj [uprooting] How you say dechoukaj in English? Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Yeah, like a kind of revolt. Ras Eddy: Yeah, so Vodou priests, who was, like, smart, they used the same images like the Catholics were using within ? Benjamin Hebblethwaite: arate ? Ras Eddy: No, no, to stop themsel ves Catholics were doing. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Right, to camouflage, maybe? Ras Eddy: We call it mouvman rejete (anti Vodou campaign). In the early, like 1900s and stuff like that, 1940, 50. Benjamin H ebblethwaite: Right, right, campaigns against Vodou by the C hurch and the state. Ras Eddy: Yeah, they were burning down, so some Vodou priests, they made their temple looking like a Catholic, like they were Catholics and stuff like that. Putting all the saints pictures all over so they could you know, stop themselves from getting ... (trails off). So the new generation who do not know the history keep it as being something that Vod ou because of that (inaudible) the Catholics were doing against Vodou Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Right, like kind of the Roman Catholic influence. Part 4


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 14 Josh Clough: (inaudible) what you said before, how it ( Vodou ) changed? Ras Eddy: Vodou started to really take Vodou seriously, because I had met this old guy one time and he t old me that, and he was talking to me, he told me that (inaudible) So when I came back and I started to do more research about Vodou you know, and I spoke to this older guy, he was, he had to be in his l s try ing to change Haiti and he asked me what was my plan. I told him that, well we need to know Vodou And I was like Vodou ? I was like, why Vodou ? I told him, the way I see the people prac ticing Vodou need to try to do a different aspect of Vodou so I can know the full, so I c an have the full view of Vodou So I did that. I took time out. I went to different Lakou and I did a lot of research and I have my own experience within Vodou I invok e my own spirits. I do my own demann (requests ), you know? Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Ok ay Ras Eddy: Yeah, you know? Vodou It is m living Vodou right now so no books can tell me more of Vodou And I have the spirits, you know? Benjamin Hebblethwaite: Right, ok ay Ras Eddy: Yeah. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: So, now, how long have you been back in Haiti and how long have you been working on your Vodou project to become a priest and open your own worship place? Ras Eddy: Vodou priest, or that I was going to become one. I knew my grandfather was one, but I didn chosen. So one time when I came back to Haiti I went to this Vodou ceremony and this guy who was invoked by this spirit, he was possessed by this spirit and he came to me and he gave me Vodou priest and you Vodou Benjamin Hebblethwaite:


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 15 Ras Eddy: back. I just started, started to take it serio So this one time I was in my yard and this guy came and he was kind or drunk, and he came and he was a sking me for my cousin named Pololo and Pololo was not there. And then he sat down. But he came to my yard a few time s but never sat down. He just grabbed my cousin and left. But this one time he sat down and started seeing, you know, like, talking ave within their mystical life w ithout knowing them. he caught my a ttention and I walked closer to him and he grandfather was a Vodou priest and he le after hearing this same message from different people, different places, so I start to take it serious. So now I visit t he yard, see everything collapsed, no rooms, no nothing. So now ng to find the financial help, also with the help of the spirits Sometime I go to sleep and wake up with a lottery number, I make some money, you know? (laughter) Know w hat I mean? Vodou revolution time, know what I mean? Vodou country will evolve, will change. Benjamin Hebblethwaite: you want to share with us? Things that you think our viewers s hould know? Who come from many countries. Ras Eddy: Yes, I have a message to the whole world. You know? The whole world, you yourse lf, the message is for you: We need to find a way to relate to each other and accept as who I am. I accept you as one other thing is, the education system that we get is wrong. It is teaching us h ow to gain more. More and more, to become more rich, not teaching us how to relate to each other, how to take care of each other, how to take care o f nature, how to protect ourselves in nat ure. We need to redefine the school system within the whole world and reduce the material aspect within our education system. You know? And less people dying, and we gonna have more love. But the minute that we keep that same education system that is Ayibobo pou pawl sa a. Benjami n Hebblethwaite: Ayibobo. Thank you very much.


The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, Copyright 2014 16


1 The UF Duke NEH Collaborative Grant, 2014 Summary of Ras Eddy Dieujuste B y Tahiri Jean Baptiste 2014 Ras Eddy believes that Haitian Vodouist s retain their holiness because they do not subscribe to the concept of original sin. He believes that if individual s assume that they are inherently sinners, as in the case of Christianity, the n that belief becomes reality. Eventually this belief erodes the divinity of the individual. Vodouist s on the other hand, believe that they dwell within God and thus are inherently g odly. Accordingly, Ras Eddy believes that Vodou is fundamentally pure though it is at times subjected to the will of individuals In order to explain this concept, Ras Eddy compares Vodou to knives. Knives can be used for everyday tasks like cooking and cutting, or they can be used for evil acts like murde r. The knife is not the murderer; it is t he individual who chooses to use the knife to commit murder who is at fault Vodou operates in a similar way Vodou is not evil nor does it set out to harm anyone in any way. The same cannot always be said of practitioners of Vodou. Ras Eddy also noted that Vodou practitioner s utilize Vodou in accordance with their level of education. Education in Haiti is largely Christianized. This education, according to Ras Eddy is often anti Vodou. This exacerbates a disparity in the demographics of who practices Vodou T hus Vodou peasantry. Of those Haitians who do receive an education, Ras Eddy argues that they do not fully comprehend wh at they are taught because the instruction is in French They cannot advance nor can they surpass intellectual expectations because the vast majority of them do not speak French adequately Of those who do speak French, their understanding of the language is rudimentary and does not allow for creativity or ingenuity. Furthermore, not only is the education in French and not Creole, the content of the education does not focus on Haitian people, history and culture. education al reform i s for Creole speaking Haitians and Haitian Vodouists, who emphasize the preservation of Haitian culture and tradition to form their own school systems outside of the school system found in Haiti Ras Eddy advocates educating the masses from a Vodou and Creole perspective. His personal philosophy can be characterized as one that accentuates love, and the celebration and acceptance of difference s cross culturally Overall his ideology is centered upon world altruism. Keywords and phrases: education refo rm, Christianity, Vodou, creole instruction, sin, Haitian culture, advocacy, French instruction