I聽was born into this world in聽the聽frigid month of聽December, in聽the聽city of聽Boston. So far away from the聽climate and聽culture of聽my聽people, I聽was brought into this world. So far from the聽mountains and聽rivers of聽Ayiti. So far from the聽drums. Oh, the聽drums! The聽drums that beat the聽rhythm of聽my聽life. The聽drums that taught me how to聽speak. The聽drums that beat the聽cadence of聽my聽mother’s words. So far. Yet, so close. My聽first language was krey貌l and聽I聽am Ayisyen.

My聽whole life has been a聽confusing experience. You see, I聽have seen Ayiti from different perspectives. From the聽twisting paths of聽Thomassin and聽the聽gridlock’d, sweltering humidity of聽Miami to聽the聽bleeding scarlet and聽gold of聽the聽United States Marine Corps. I聽ask myself, these days, what is Ayiti? What makes me Ayisyen aside from my聽bloodline? What is it that makes us all Ayisyen? I聽am sitting here watching a聽documentary on聽the聽Egyptian revolution. I聽am observing how the聽layers of聽the聽Egyptian culture, that are usually opposed, came together to聽change the聽future; wondering what is it that binds Ayisyen to聽each other.

We are a聽culture that sprang forth from the聽soil of聽a聽crossroads soaked in聽blood and聽cruelty. Out of聽that we have created something so beautiful that when I聽let my聽mind steep in聽it, tears well up in聽gratitude for聽those that came before and聽what they left for聽me: a聽vibrant, soulful, warrior people. When I聽am in聽Ayiti, I聽am content. When I聽am not, I聽experience moments of聽giddiness when I聽recognize other Ayisyen. But, what makes us what we are? I’m not asking about historical events. I’m talking about our true聽essence. The聽metaphysical definition of聽our people, from Kap Ayisyen to聽Jeremi.

聽I聽know that we are a聽people born of聽many cultures bound together by聽the聽glue of聽our African heritage. I聽know of聽the聽many battles we have fought. I聽know of聽the聽many injustices we have endured. But is that all we are? A聽sequence of聽events? We are more than that. There is something deep that draws us to聽flow together like the聽waves crashing against our shores. I聽don’t have the聽words for聽it. I聽don’t need words for聽it. It is in聽the聽rhythm of聽the聽drums of聽our roots. It is traced in聽the聽v猫v猫 lines. It is shouted in聽the聽market place. It is tasted in聽sugarcane, mangoes, and聽kasav.

We are not political parties or聽socio-economic positions. We are so much more than that. We are a聽people, that to聽this day, continue to聽beat the聽deep sound of聽our hearts to聽a聽cosmic rhythm. Deeply spiritual. Powerfully social. We are a聽tribe of聽scholar-warriors. A聽clan of聽thinkers and聽philosophers. Dancers of聽the聽Dream. Singers of聽the聽Soul. Drummers of聽the聽colors of聽the聽human experience. In聽touch with the聽balance of聽our land, we live and聽thrive in聽most brutal adversity. In聽the聽grace of聽the聽women, I聽see visions of聽my聽mother. In聽the聽strength of聽the聽men, I聽see reflections of聽my聽father. In聽each and聽every voice I聽hear the聽songs of聽our Ancestors.

My聽identity is not my聽passport. My聽identity is filled with the聽love my聽mother put into every meal. My聽identity hangs on聽every word of聽the聽profound proverbs my聽father passed to聽me. My聽identity is deep in聽the聽roots of聽the聽mountains, in聽the聽rivers flowing down to聽the聽crystalline waters through which you can almost see Ginen anba dlo. My聽identity is steady in聽the聽roots of聽the聽pye zanmann. My聽identiy is Ayisyen. It is not bound by聽the聽colors of聽the聽flag, but by聽the聽rhythms of聽my聽life.


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