Screening and Q&A—”Jean-Jacques Dessalines: The Man Who Defeated Napoléon Bonaparte”

A warm welcome and congratulations to my new colleagues Magda Desgranges and Shanaaz Mohammed for organizing a film screening of the documentary film Jean-Jacques Dessalines: The Man Who Defeated Napoléon Bonaparte, which recently won the award for Best Documentary by the 2022 Haiti International Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a and Q&A session with director Arnold Antonin. This event takes place on Tuesday, October 11, at 5:00pm (EST) at Lowell Thomas 019, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Arnold Antonin is a Haitian filmmaker who has directed films on Haitian art, culture, and history. He is known at home and abroad for his social, political, and cultural commentary. In 2002, he received the Djibril Diop Mambety Award at the International Film Festival in Cannes. He is also the recipient of the Paul Robeson Best Film Award in 2007, 2009, and 2011. In 2021, he was recognized as the “Father of Haitian Cinema” for his commitment to uplifting the Haitian Diaspora through cinema. 

His film, Jean-Jacques Dessalines: The Man Who Defeated Napoléon Bonaparte (94-minutes long) is the first feature-length Haitian film about the Haitian Revolution and the War of Independence—and the very first documentary anywhere in the world on Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Dessalines is Haiti’s main founder who was assassinated two years after the proclamation of independence. Today he is both a mythical and an unknown figure. With analyses by Pierre Buteau, Jean Casimir, Michèle Pierre-Louis, Jean Alix René, Bayyinah Bello, Vertus Saint-Louis, Jhon Picard Byron, Lesly Péan, and Daniel Elie, among others, this film reintroduces Dessalines in all his complexity and opens a debate on Haitian crises and colonial heritage. 

For more information on the film, see https://arnold-antonin-films.myshopify.com/collections/documentaries/products/jean-jacques-dessalines-the-man-who-defeated-napoleon-bonaparte

Jean-Luc Godard, Daring Director Who Shaped the French New Wave, Dies at 91

Dave Kehr and Jonathan Kandell write about the trajectory of on Jean-Luc Godard, who died today, for The New York Times: “The Franco-Swiss filmmaker and provocateur radically rethought motion pictures and left a lasting influence on the medium.”

Jean-Luc Godard, the daringly innovative director and provocateur whose unconventional camera work, disjointed narrative style and penchant for radical politics changed the course of filmmaking in the 1960s, leaving a lasting influence on it, died on Tuesday at his home in Rolle, Switzerland. He was 91.

His longtime legal adviser, Patrick Jeanneret, said Mr. Godard died by assisted suicide, having suffered from “multiple disabling pathologies.

“He could not live like you and me, so he decided with a great lucidity, as he had all his life, to say, ‘Now, it’s enough,’” Mr. Jeanneret said in a phone interview. Mr. Godard wanted to die with dignity, Mr. Jeanneret said, and “that was exactly what he did.”

A master of epigrams as well as of movies, Mr. Godard once observed, “A film consists of a beginning, a middle and an end, though not necessarily in that order.”

In practice he seldom scrambled the timeline of his films, preferring instead to leap forward through his narratives by means like the elliptical “jump cut,” which he did much to make into a widely accepted tool. But he never tired of taking apart established forms and reassembling them in ways that were invariably fresh, frequently witty, sometimes abstruse but consistently stimulating.

As a young critic in the 1950s, Mr. Godard was one of several iconoclastic writers who helped turn a new publication called Cahiers du Cinéma into a critical force that swept away the old guard of the European art cinema and replaced it with new heroes largely drawn from the ranks of the American commercial cinema — directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks.

When his first feature-length film as a director, “Breathless” (“À Bout de Souffle”), was released in 1960, Mr. Godard joined several of his Cahiers colleagues in a movement that the French press soon labeled la Nouvelle Vague — the New Wave.

For Mr. Godard, as well as for New Wave friends and associates like François TruffautClaude ChabrolJacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer, the “tradition of quality” represented by the established French cinema was an aesthetic dead end. To them it was strangled by literary influences and empty displays of craftsmanship that had to be vanquished to make room for a new cinema, one that sprang from the personality and predilections of the director.

Although “Breathless” was not the first New Wave film (both Mr. Chabrol’s 1958 “Beau Serge” and Mr. Truffaut’s 1959 “400 Blows” preceded it), it became representative of the movement. Mr. Godard unapologetically juxtaposed plot devices and characters inherited from genre films and emotional material dredged up, in almost diarylike form, from the filmmaker’s personal life.

The film tells the story of a small-time Parisian crook (Jean-Paul Belmondo) as he commits muggings to collect enough money to run off to Rome with an American student (Jean Seberg), who seems indifferent to his romancing despite being pregnant by him.

“Breathless” is an artistic hybrid that seemed to capture the discontinuities and conflicts of modern life, half in the artificial public world created by the media and half in the deepest recesses of consciousness. In Mr. Godard’s later, more radical phase, he came to suggest that there was no real distinction between the two realms.

“After ‘Breathless,’ anything artistic appeared possible in the cinema,” the critic Richard Brody wrote in “Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard.” “The film moved at the speed of the mind and seemed, unlike anything that preceded it, a live recording of one person thinking in real time.

“It was also a great success, a watershed phenomenon. More than any other event of its times, ‘Breathless’ inspired other directors to make films in a new way and sparked young people’s desire to make films. It instantly launched cinema as the primary art form of a new generation.” [. . .]

[1) Jean-Luc Godard in 1964. “I have always confused cinema with life,” he said. “To me life is just part of films.” Credit: Sam Falk. 2) Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of “Breathless” in 1959. The movie came to represent the French New Wave. Credit: Raymond Cauchetier.]

For full article, see https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/13/movies/jean-luc-godard-dead.html

Erin Eldridge ’21 receives TAPIF Award

Nos félicitations les plus chaleureuses ! Warmest congratulations! Erin Eldridge ’21 is the recipient of a TAPIF award—the Teaching Assistant Program in France, sponsored by the Cultural Services department of the French Embassy in the United States. She will be teaching in Besançon, France. Erin graduated with a double major in French and Political Science, and a minor in Latin American & Caribbean Studies. We are very proud of her.

The Teaching Assistant Program in France offers you the opportunity to work in France for 7 months, teaching English to French students of all ages. Each year, over 1,500 American citizens and permanent residents teach in public schools across all regions of metropolitan France and in the overseas departments of France such as French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion. The American cohort is part of the larger Assistants de langue en France program, which recruits approximately 4,500 young educators from 60 countries to teach 15 languages annually in France. The Assistants de langue en France program is managed by France Éducation International.

See more at https://frenchhighereducation.org/teaching-assistant-program

The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers

This article by Catherine Porter, Constant Méheut, Matt Apuzzo, and Selam Gebrekidan (The New York Times) brings to the general public the topics of many discussions and writings by historians, sociologists, literary and social critics, philosophers, and other scholars in their arguments in favor of reparations in the Caribbean. Here are a few excerpts:

Coffee has been the fulcrum of life here for almost three centuries, since enslaved people cut the first French coffee plantations into the mountainsides. Back then, this was not Haiti, but Saint-Domingue — the biggest supplier of coffee and sugar consumed in Parisian kitchens and Hamburg coffee houses. The colony made many French families fabulously rich. It was also, many historians say, the world’s most brutal.

Ms. Present’s ancestors put an end to that, taking part in the modern world’s first successful slave revolution in 1791 and establishing an independent nation in 1804 — decades before Britain outlawed slavery or the Civil War broke out in America.

But for generations after independence, Haitians were forced to pay the descendants of their former slave masters, including the Empress of Brazil; the son-in-law of the Russian Emperor Nicholas I; Germany’s last imperial chancellor; and Gaston de Galliffet, the French general known as the “butcher of the Commune” for crushing an insurrection in Paris in 1871.

The burdens continued well into the 20th century. The wealth Ms. Present’s ancestors coaxed from the ground brought wild profits for a French bank that helped finance the Eiffel Tower, Crédit Industriel et Commercial, and its investors. They controlled Haiti’s treasury from Paris for decades, and the bank eventually became part of one of Europe’s largest financial conglomerates.

Haiti’s riches lured Wall Street, too, delivering big margins for the institution that ultimately became Citigroup. It elbowed out the French and helped spur the American invasion of Haiti — one of the longest military occupations in United States history. [. . .]

Violence. Tragedy. Hunger. Underdevelopment. These bywords have clung to Haiti for more than a century. Kidnappings. Outbreaks. Earthquakes. The president assassinated — this time in his bedroom.

How is it possible, many ask, that Haiti shares an island with the Dominican Republic, with its underground subway system, health care coverage, public schools, teeming resorts and impressive stretches of economic growth? [. . .]

But another story is rarely taught or acknowledged: The first people in the modern world to free themselves from slavery and create their own nation were forced to pay for their freedom yet again — in cash. [. . .]

No country could be expected to come to Haiti’s defense. The world powers had frozen it out, refusing to officially acknowledge its independence. American lawmakers in particular did not want enslaved people in their own country to be inspired by Haiti’s self-liberation and rise up. [. . .]

So, Haiti’s president, eager for the trade and security of international recognition, bowed to France’s demands. With that, Haiti set another precedent: It became the world’s first and only country where the descendants of enslaved people paid reparations to the descendants of their masters — for generations.

It is often called the “independence debt.” But that is a misnomer. It was a ransom.

The amount was far beyond Haiti’s meager means. Even the first installment was about six times the government’s income that year, based on official receipts documented by the 19th-century Haitian historian Beaubrun Ardouin.

But that was the point, and part of the plan. The French king had given the baron a second mission: to ensure the former colony took out a loan from young French banks to make the payments.

This became known as Haiti’s “double debt” — the ransom and the loan to pay it — a stunning load that boosted the fledgling Parisian international banking system and helped cement Haiti’s path into poverty and underdevelopment. According to Ardouin’s records, the bankers’ commissions alone exceeded the Haitian government’s total revenues that year.

And that was only the beginning. The double debt helped push Haiti into a cycle of debts that hobbled the country for more than 100 years, draining away much of its revenue and chopping away at its ability to build the essential institutions and infrastructure of an independent nation. Generations after enslaved people rebelled and created the first free Black nation in the Americas, their children were forced to work, sometimes for little or even no pay, for the benefit of others — first the French, then the Americans, then their own dictators. [. . .]

For full article and illustrations, see https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/20/world/americas/haiti-history-colonized-france.html

“Baudelaire Jazz. Méditations poétiques et musicales”

Patrick Chamoiseau’s Baudelaire Jazz. Méditations poétiques et musicales avec Raphaël Imbert (Seuil, 27 May 2022) is based on a series of concerts created for the bicentenary of the birth of French poet Charles Baudelaire at the Musée d’Orsay. The book includes a QR code that allows you to download the corresponding music.

“Baudelaire Jazz!” will also be a live concert with Patrick Chamoiseau (text/vocals) with Raphaël Imbert (saxophone), Celia Kameni (vocals), Sonny Troupé (percussions), and Pierre-François Blanchard (piano) at Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM, Fort Saint-Jean-Place d’Armes, in Marseilles, France) at 21:00h. [See more at MUCEM.]

Here is a description from RadioFrance.

Parution de “Baudelaire Jazz, Méditations poétiques et musicales avec Raphaël Imbert” de Patrick Chamoiseau au Seuil / Essais Littéraires.

« Dans ces pays parfumés que le soleil caresse, où vous ne fîtes qu’entrevoir des esclaves, ils étaient déjà là, vos semblables, vos frères : leur poétique en devenir amorçait celle que vous alliez fonder ! C’est pourquoi nous avons voulu vous emmener dans cette matrice des plantations d’où se sont levés d’improbables créateurs : le conteur primordial, Césaire, Glissant, Fanon… »

Cette méditation poétique et musicale, véritable chaos-opéra, ramène le poète de la modernité occidentale dans l’univers des plantations esclavagistes, de la polyrythmie africaine et de l’improvisation… Un enfer d’où ont surgi, malgré tout, des danses, des chants, des tambours, le règne du conteur créole, maître-de-la-parole, et l’énigme indéchiffrable du jazz. En s’adressant à Charles Baudelaire, Patrick Chamoiseau l’invite à réfléchir avec nous sur l’histoire de l’esclavage, sur celle des plantations où naquit une musique qui semblait avoir été présagée par l’auteur des “Paradis artificiels” et des “Fleurs du mal”.

« Ceux qui durent renaître dans les plantations, le firent avec le rythme que vous connaissez bien. Le rythme qui ouvre à sa propre démesure, le rythme qui casse le rythme, et qui déporte le rythme dans les sauts du frisson et les hoquets de la cadence, la houle de ces mouvements qui montent et qui descendent, qui descendent en montant, cette vague qui force à l’implosion toutes ces belles cathédrales dans lesquelles vous avez ruminé votre ouvrage… M. Baudelaire, vous avez fait jazz ! ».

L’ouvrage de Patrick Chamoiseau, “Baudelaire Jazz, Méditations poétiques et musicales avec Raphaël Imbert” parait le 27 mai aux éditions du Seuil. Un QR code, à l’intérieur de l’ouvrage, permet de télécharger la musique. Raphaël Imbert (sax, clarinette-basse) y est entouré de Célia Kameni (chant), Pierre-François Blanchard (piano) et Sonny Troupé (percussions).

Patrick Chamoiseau a construit une œuvre couronnée de Prix (le Goncourt pour Texaco*) et traduite dans le monde entier, dans laquelle alternent romans visionnaires, essais virulents et engagés, réflexions sur la littérature, textes autobiographiques, contes et romans policiers.

Raphaël Imbert est saxophoniste et directeur artistique de la compagnie Nine Spirit. L’un de ses domaines de prédilection est le spirituel dans le jazz auquel il a notamment consacré l’ouvrage Jazz supreme aux Éditions de l’éclat.


Art Exhibition : « Des Corps libres–Une jeune scène française »

«Des Corps libres–Une jeune scène française» [Free Bodies – A young French scene] is the first group exhibition of Reiffers Art Initiatives. Artists with Caribbean roots represented in this collective exhibition are Kenny Dunkan (Guadeloupe) and Pol Taburet (Guadeloupe). [Shown above is Dunkan’s “Nèg Marron,” 2021; shown below: Taburet’s “Untitled,” 2021, Collection Pinault.]

Curated by Thibaut Wychowanok, committee member of Reiffers Art Initiatives, the body of work in the exhibition questions the representation and fluctuating materiality of the body and celebrates its diversity, its struggles, and its contemporary emancipation. The exhibition opened on May 5 and will remain on view through May 28, 2022, at Studio des Acacias (30, rue des Acacias, 75017 Paris, France). The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays (11:00am to 7:00pm).

Participating artists are: YMANE CHABI-GARASALOMÉ CHATRIOTJEAN CLARACQKENNY DUNKAN, BEN ELLIOTTAREK LAKHRISSICHALISÉE NAAMANIVALENTIN RANGERSARA SADIKPOL TABURETSOPHIE VARINJULIE VILLARD & SIMON BROSSARDMANON WERTENBROEKGASPAR WILLMANN.

Description: The exhibition is an invitation to explore the possibility of a body, singular or universal, whether it be evanescent, fantastical, digital, anchored in our current world, science-fictional, or utopian. From the body-object to the body-subject, from the figurative body to the hint of a body, from the dreamed body to the digital avatar body, it is a question not only of writing the body without censorship, but of offering the possibility of taking a new look at it, in complete freedom.

Translated by Ivette Romero. For original information (in French), see https://www.reiffersartinitiatives.com/exposition/exposition-collective-reiffers-art-initiatives-des-corps-libres-une-jeune-scene-francaise/

Also see https://repeatingislands.com/2022/05/16/art-exhibition-des-corps-libres-une-jeune-scene-francaise/

Director Euzhan Palcy honored by SACD

The SACD—Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs [Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers]—have chosen Martinican director and screenwriter Euzhan Palcy as the recipient of the SACD Medal of Honor on Monday, June 13, 2022. Here is the announcement from their site:

A pioneer of cinema honored by the authors

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SACD, will present on Monday June 13, 2022, the Medal of Honor of the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers to director and screenwriter Euzhan Palcy, first female director and first black artist to receive a César Award. This distinction created by the Board of Directors of the SACD is intended to honor the talent and the corpus of work by an author.

Chaired by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the ceremony will take place at the headquarters of the SACD in the presence of members of the Board of Directors of the SACD, Pascal Rogard, Director General of the SACD and President of the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity and Patrick Raude, General Secretary of the SACD.

A journey of passion and commitment

Born in Martinique in 1958, French director and screenwriter Euzhan Palcy discovered her passion for cinema at the age of fourteen. Indeed, it was at this age that Euzhan Palcy read the novel La Rue Cases-Nègres by Joseph Zobel, a book that would fuel her desire to become a filmmaker. She then made the promise that she would one day adapt this story to the big screen, a story that spoke to her for the first time of an environment and characters that she recognized and that she wanted to [translate] into images.

In 1975, after the self-taught making of the TV film La Messagère, she left for mainland France to continue her studies at the École Louis Lumière. She performed assistantships or editing work for big names in cinema. In 1981, the National Film and Moving Image Center (CNC) awarded her an advance on earnings, making her the first filmmaker from the Caribbean to benefit from this award. She then shot Rue Cases-Nègres in Fort-de-France, thanks to the decisive help of Aimé Césaire, then mayor. In 1983, Euzhan Palcy fulfilled her promise as a teenager with the theatrical release of Rue Cases-Nègres, which became a great success. In 1984, the 25-year-old director became the first female filmmaker to receive the César for her first film. Rue Cases-Nègres won nearly 20 international awards.

Buoyed by this success, in 1989 Euzhan Palcy left for the United States to direct A White and Dry Season, a film about Apartheid in South Africa, which made her the first black director to be produced by a major Hollywood company and the first woman to direct Marlon Brando. The film was a success and earned her an Oscar nomination in 1990. She directed several other projects in the United States and France, ranging from fiction to documentary, including in 1994 a documentary triptych on Aimé Césaire, in 2007 a fiction on the colonial period on the island of Reunion Les Mariées de l’Isle Bourbon, or the documentary Parcours de dissidents in 2010. Winner of numerous awards and distinctions, the inspired and inspiring journey of Euzhan Palcy is an example for new generations of authors and authors, for which Jean-Pascal Zadi paid tribute to her when she won her César for Tout simplement noir in 2021.

Translated by Ivette Romero. For original article (in French), see https://www.sacd.fr/fr/la-realisatrice-euzhan-palcy-honoree-par-la-sacd-0

Also see https://ecran-total.fr/2022/05/09/la-sacd-honore-euzhan-palcy/

Haiti’s Revolutionary Leader Toussaint Louverture Is a Hero for Our Time

Charles Forsdick (Jacobin Magazine) reviews Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh (Penguin, 2021).

Sudhir Hazareesingh’s account of what he dubs the “epic life” of Toussaint Louverture provides a meticulous biography of his subject and, at the same time, a comprehensive new introduction to the Haitian Revolution in general. Black Spartacus represents a substantial intervention in the field of Haitian revolutionary historiography and the wider historiography of revolution.

Hazareesingh’s biography has rightly attracted numerous accolades, not least the Wolfson History Prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for a work of historical nonfiction. There is also reported to be a TV adaptation in the offing by Mammoth Screen, the British production company known for such series as The Serpent and Poldark.

Black Spartacus is compellingly written and presents its rich source material, both historiographic and archival, with a welcome lightness of touch. The resulting work will cement Louverture’s standing in the Anglophone world as a key figure of the age of revolutions whose contemporary resonance is more apparent than ever.

An Energy With No Borders

“The ideal of black empowerment,” notes Hazareesingh, “was at the heart of Toussaint’s legend.” First published in September 2020, during the autumn following the murder of George Floyd and the global protests associated with Black Lives Matter, the new biography proved timely. Many people cited the Haitian leader as a historical precedent and inspiration for the contemporary movement.

Here is a man who transformed revolt into organized revolution, a leader characterized by an uncompromising commitment to universal emancipation.

It may not be a “progressive handbook for revolution across the globe,” as the author describes C. L. R. James’s work The Black Jacobins. Yet Black Spartacus nevertheless offers an account of a revolutionary icon who led a struggle for black emancipation combating the key forms of oppression of his age: “slavery, settler colonialism, imperial domination, racial hierarchy and European cultural supremacy.” Here is a man who transformed revolt into organized revolution, a leader characterized by an uncompromising commitment to universal emancipation, who exposed the blind spots and illogicality of European thinking.

Hazareesingh’s aim is to show how Louverture was above all “inspired by the Makandalist ambition to create a common consciousness among black slaves, by the movement’s appeal to their aspirations for liberty, and by its goal to forge an efficient revolutionary organization.” The term “Makandalist” refers to François Makandal, who organized a secret society of Haitian slaves a generation before Louverture, preparing a revolt before he was captured and brutally executed. His example helped inspire the revolution that Louverture went on to lead.

The original hardback’s cover image is drawn from François Cauvin’s 2009 portrait of Louverture with a pintade (guinea fowl) forming his hat. In Haiti, people see these birds as a symbol of liberty and resistance. On their introduction to the colony, they are reported to have resisted domestication and fled their would-be captors in the style of Maroons.

The conclusion of Black Spartacus moves from the archive to the varied corpus of cultural representations that feature Louverture. Having cited Wyclef Jean and Akala, Hazareesingh closes with Haitian voices, specifically with those of the band Chouk Bwa (“Tree Stump”). Its name was inspired by the revolutionary leader’s speech on the “tree of liberty,” one that he is said to have delivered when Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops kidnapped him and deported him from Haiti to France, where he would die in captivity in April 1803. Hazareesingh quotes the group’s singer, Edele Joseph, who summarizes his band’s Louverturian spirit: “The mission is to bring positive energy to people. . .  The energy has no borders.”

The Precursor and the Liberator

Outside Haiti, Louverture has tended to attract more hagiographic approaches that often downplay his personal and strategic flaws. These complexities are more visible in Haiti itself, where the specters of the Revolution are never far from the surface.

Outside Haiti, Louverture has tended to attract more hagiographic approaches that often downplay his personal and strategic flaws. In his 2005 essay, La Cohée du Lamentin, Édouard Glissant described the ghost of Toussaint Louverture haunting the ramparts of the Château de Joux, the fort in the Jura region of France where, progressively starved by Napoleon of food, heat, and light, he died in April 1803. The French had sought to remove Louverture from the country and neutralize his influence over the formerly enslaved inhabitants of the colony of Saint-Domingue. Instead, the man now known as the “Precursor” inspired his former generals — notably Jean-Jacques Dessalines (the “Liberator”) and Henri Christophe — to rise up again against Charles Leclerc’s occupying forces. They transformed a revolution driven by a desire for emancipation from enslavement into an anti-colonial war of independence.

Writers often attribute very different views of Haiti’s future to the Precursor and the Liberator, with the former supposedly committed to the country’s autonomy in a French commonwealth of nations, while the latter was naturally suspicious of former colonizers and insisted on self-sufficiency at all costs. In reality, the differences between the two men were not as polarized as these depictions suggest. Yet Haitian politics remains split between Louverturians and Dessalineans, as the legacies of the revolution continue to resonate in the present. [. . .]

Citizen Toussaint

Black Spartacus belongs to a long tradition of English-language biographies that concentrate on Toussaint Louverture. This lineage extends back to the 1802 English translation of Jean-François Dubroca’s racist, scurrilous, and pro-Napoleonic account of his life but also includes more approving texts that followed in the nineteenth century, such as The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture, the Negro Patriot of Hayti, published by the Unitarian minister John Relly Beard in 1853.

The main text with which Hazareesingh inevitably engages, however, is The Black Jacobins. This is a work that the author clearly admires, but it does not escape his criticism. In emphasizing his subject’s Jacobin credentials, Hazareesingh argues, C. L. R. James ignored his monarchist tendencies as well as the “breathtaking originality” of his revolutionary endeavors.

Other English-language biographies followed in the wake of James, most notably Ralph Korngold’s Citizen Toussaint, published by the Left Book Club in 1944, and Wenda Parkinson’s “This Gilded African, which appeared in 1978. More recently, there has been a cluster of biographical studies, notably those of Madison Smartt Bell and Philippe Girard.

Smartt Bell’s life of Louverture is a companion piece to his trilogy of novels on the Haitian Revolution. It presents his subject as a vaudouisant, a shape-shifting practitioner of traditional religion who at the same time mastered and deployed Enlightenment knowledge. Girard draws on an impressive body of archival material, particularly when it comes to his subject’s early life. Yet his analysis reverts to a new conservative revisionism that claims one of Louverture’s principal aims was to acquire wealth and social status for himself. [. . .]

For full review, see https://jacobinmag.com/2022/03/black-spartacus-haitian-revolution-sudhir-hazareesingh-review

Also see https://repeatingislands.com/2020/08/31/toussaint-louverture-the-true-hero-of-haiti-reviewed-by-amy-wilentz/

See more on the book at https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/303/303774/black-spartacus/9780141985060.html

Mort du médecin Paul Farmer, « grand ami d’Haïti »

Voici un article d’Agence France Presse (21 février 2022) sur la mort de Paul Farmer, l’éminent praticien de la «médecine sociale» et co-fondateur de Partners in Health, qui a consacré sa vie à la santé publique en Haïti, au Rwanda et dans d’autres pays.

Le médecin américain Paul Farmer, connu pour son travail humanitaire dans les pays en développement, est décédé lundi au Rwanda à l’âge de 62 ans, a annoncé son organisation basée à Boston.

« Le Dr Paul Farmer est décédé de façon inattendue aujourd’hui dans son sommeil », a indiqué l’ONG humanitaire Partners in Health qu’il avait co-fondée depuis Haïti à la fin des années 1980, pour fournir des traitements aux populations dans les pays pauvres.

Spécialiste des maladies infectieuses

Professeur à Harvard, anthropologue et spécialiste des maladies infectieuses, il a vécu de longues années dans ce pays des Caraïbes.

En 2010, au moment du séisme catastrophique, Paul Farmer est responsable de co-piloter les efforts des Nations unies en Haïti, travaillant aux côtés de l’ancien président américain Bill Clinton.  

Il était « l’une des personnes les plus extraordinaires que nous ayons jamais connues », a salué ce dernier dans un communiqué.

La directrice de l’agence américaine d’aide au développement, Samantha Power, a qualifié sa mort de « dévastatrice ». « Paul donnait tout aux autres, tout », a-t-elle souligné, saluant un « géant », « généreux » et « brillant ».

Paul Farmer, dénonçant régulièrement l’impact mortel de la pauvreté sur la santé était aussi très connu pour ses années passées en Afrique, lors desquelles il avait fait de la lutte contre Ebola un de ses principaux combats.

Plaidant pour « des soins de qualité » en Afrique de l’Ouest, il s’était récemment illustré dans des vidéos d’appels aux dons aux côtés de stars américaines comme Jennifer Lawrence ou Julianne Moore.

« Si vous aviez la chance de le connaître, votre vie était changée, en mieux », a assuré l’acteur américain Edward Norton, connu pour son investissement dans l’entrepreneuriat social.

Au Rwanda, Paul Farmer a oeuvré à la fondation d’une université ayant pour but de remédier au manque de professionnels de la santé en Afrique, formant non seulement des médecins, mais également des spécialistes des questions de soins de santé dans les régions pauvres ou rurales.

L’institution a qualifié son décès de « catastrophe inimaginable ».

Paul Farmer était marié et avait trois enfants.

À lire : https://www.lapresse.ca/international/caraibes/2022-02-21/mort-du-medecin-paul-farmer-grand-ami-d-haiti.php  

Haïti : Le docteur Paul Farmer est mort
AlterPresse, 21 février 2022
https://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article28018

Dr Paul Farmer est mort dans son sommeil : un électrochoc en Haïti et ailleurs
Le Nouvelliste, 21 février 2022
https://lenouvelliste.com/article/234353/dr-paul-farmer-est-mort-dans-son-sommeil-un-electrochoc-en-haiti-et-ailleurs

Merci, Docteur Paul Farmer
Le Nouvelliste, 21 février 2022
https://lenouvelliste.com/article/234351/merci-docteur-paul-farmer

Paul Farmer : un ami d’Haïti est mort
Haïti Standard, 21 février 2022
https://haitistandard.com/paul-farmer-un-ami-dhaiti-est-mort

Haïti : Le Dr Paul Farmer, co-Fondateur de «Zanmi Lasante» est décédé
Haïti Libre, 22 février 2022
https://www.haitilibre.com/article-36017-haiti-flash-le-dr-paul-farmer-co-fondateur-de-zanmi-lasante-est-decede.html

Gaëlle Bien-Aimé lauréate de la résidence d’écriture francophone 2022

Un article de Bethaida Bernadel (MagHaiti):

La bonne nouvelle vient tout juste de tomber, l’autrice haïtienne Gaëlle Bien-Aimé est la lauréate de la résidence d’écriture francophone « Afrique-Haïti 2022″.

Cette résidence d’écriture portée par AlCA nouvelle Aquitaine et l’institut des Afriques (IdAf) depuis 2018 a pour but, selon les organisateurs, de favoriser l’émergence des nouveaux talents littéraires africains et haïtiens sur la scène internationale.

La gagnante Gaëlle sera bénéficiaire d’un séjour de 12 semaines dans les lieux de résidence partenaires à la Rochelle, à Limoge et à Bordeaux, d’une bourse d’écriture d’environ 48 000 euros net, la prise en charge complète de son voyage et une participation aux rencontres publiques et aux médiations organisées par l’institut des Afriques, les francophonies des écritures de la scène et le centre intermonde, selon les organisateurs.

Gaëlle Bien-Aimé, cette féministe assumée est reconnue sur la scène artistique et littéraire depuis de nombreuses années. Elle a cofondé en 2018, une école d’Art dramatique nommée ACTE, elle est à la fois comédienne, humoriste, journaliste et professeure de corps et voix à ACTE.

Il convient de rappeler que Gaëlle Bien-Aimé est la deuxième autrice de nationalité haïtienne à être lauréate de la résidence Francophone. En 2018, l’Haïtienne Darline Gilles en a brillé également de mille feux en remportant ce même titre.

À lire : https://maghaiti.net/gaelle-bien-aime-laureate-de-la-residence-decriture-francophone-2022/