As Greece celebrated Greek independence on Thursday, Hans Charles, Consul General of Haiti in Boston, made a moving speech highlighting the close bonds between the two countries.
Haiti, although located just over 9,000 km (5,592 miles) away from Greece, was the first country in the world to recognize Greece’s independence from the Ottomans in 1822.
Hans Charles was invited by the Greek Consulate in Boston to a ceremony at the USS Constitution, which was sailing in the Aegean during the Greek Revolution. The Consul General responded immediately and came with his Deputy.
In his moving speech he offered a “warm hug” to the Greek people.
“The magnanimous gesture of Haiti at that time confirms the adage that says that the poorest are often the most generous people because they know what suffering is,” he said.
He added: “People who are in need understand better the pain of those who are struggling to get themselves out.”
Haiti’s dedication to freedom and its commitment to fighting oppression is exemplified in their own historic revolution against the French.
Greece donates marble ship to Haiti
Stratos Efthimiou, the Consul General of Greece in Boston, donated a marble boat by sculptor Petros Marmarinos to thank Haiti for honoring Greece on March 25th.
According to Efthimiou, Hans Charles said that he receives the marble boat as a symbol of the material and moral aid that the President of Haiti Boyer gave to Greece during its independence struggle.
The full speech by Haiti’s diplomat
Mia zestí ankaliá (warm hug) to the Greek people.
It is an honor for me to represent Haiti this afternoon for the great celebration of victory on the exploitation of Man by Man.
While in the Eighty’s the Republic of Haiti was striving to have its independence recognized by its former executioners, on January 15, 1822, President Jean Pierre Boyer by his letter to the Greek academic Adamantios Korais made Haiti the first country that recognized the independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire which was exploiting the country since 1453 (About 400 years).
Indeed, during the year 1821, President Boyer would have to pay exorbitant sums to the former colonizing country, France, so that it could recognize the independence of Haiti.
Independence acquired on the battlefield but not given. However, he did his best to scrape and find in the funds of the national economy of the young nation to offer 25,000 bags of coffee to the Greek revolutionaries so that they could arm their soldiers and continue the battle for their independence.
This magnanimous gesture of the State of Haiti at that time confirms the adage that says that the poorest are often the most generous people because they know what suffering is. People who are in need understand better the pain of those who are struggling to get themselves out.
Haiti has known misery and stigma so it understands how other brotherly countries feel when they are bowed under the weight of slavery and misery. This is why we joined forces with Greece for their liberation.
Even today, in this period of pandemic where there are no borders to the spread of the COVID disease, solidarity between people is the best weapon to defeat the common enemy.
On behalf of the Republic of Haiti, I wish a happy Independence Day to the people of Greece around the world.
Finally, I would add that my country, Haiti continues to pay the heavy burden of this war of independence and its solidarity with the peoples who were living in situations of exploitation.
Thus, I take this opportunity to solicit the solidarity of all so that Haiti can take a new run-up and break out of this infernal circle of chronic uncertainty.
Long live solidarity between peoples to overcome all the evils that bother our world and let us create a world of peace where life is good for everyone.
Happy Independence Day, dear Greek friends.
Hans Charles, Consul General of Haiti in Boston.