Editorial: Dechouke Boukman (Destroying Boukman), 21 March 1998

In this 1998 editorial, Jean Dominique takes to task the American missionaries who have come to Haiti to proselytize and “dechouke Boukman” — to destroy the reputation of Boukman, a slave who was one of the early leaders of the Haitian Revolution.  Boukman is said to have led a ceremony at Bois Caïman, which missionaries describe as a “pact with the devil.”  In tearing down Boukman, Dominique argues, evangelicals not only disparage the vodou religion, but also undermine the very legitimacy of the Haitian Revolution.

As Dominique points out, intolerance and persecution of vodou believers had been occurring throughout the 20th century, most notably during the 1940s, when the Catholic Church undertook a massive “antisuperstition campaign” in which vodou temples were destroyed and adherents were forced to renounce their religion.

This kind of hidebound intolerance persists among US evangelicals to this day, illustrated most famously when Pat Robertson blamed the 2010 earthquake on Haitians having made a “pact with the devil” to secure their freedom from France.

“Tribute to a Free Man”: Homage to Jean Dominique, July 31, 2000

Download: Tribute to a Free Man (1), Tribute to a Free Man (2)

July 31 2000, for what would have been Jean Dominique’s 70th birthday, several musicians, singers, writers, poets, vodou practitioners, and friends came together to do a public tribute to the slain journalist.  Featuring Sosyete Gran Dra (vodou song), Emmelie Prophète (text), James Germain (song), Barbara Guillaume (song), So Kute (song), Boulout Valcourt (song), Faubert Bolivar (poem by René Philoctète), Samba Zao (Tintin Djo), Patricia Préval (song), and Beethova Obas (song).

Interview with Rose-Marie Desruisseau, 22 December 1972

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Download: Interview with Rose-Marie Desruisseau, 22 December 1972

Renowned painter Rose-Marie Desruisseau, discusses the experience and meaning of painting, especially the role of vodou symbolism, dreamlike imagery, and sexuality in her paintings.  Interview Jean Dominique.

“I started first with the gods of death, you see, but I did not find death there.  I found intense life, I found eroticism there, among the Gede spirits.  I did not find death at all.” – Rose-Marie Desruisseau

Face à l’Opinion: Jean-Marie Drot on André Malraux in Haiti, 4 Dec. 1996

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Download: Face à l’Opinion: Jean-Marie Drot sou André Malraux an Ayiti, 4 desanm 1996 (1)

Face à l’Opinion: Jean-Marie Drot sou André Malraux an Ayiti, 4 desanm 1996 (2)

DESCRIPTION

In 1975, one year before his death, former French Minister of Culture André Malraux visited the artists of Haiti and decided, at the last moment, to insert a full chapter on the Saint Soleil movement in his book l’Intemporel. French filmmaker and writer Jean Marie Drot produced a series of films on Malraux, including Le dernier voyage d’André Malraux en Haïti ou la découverte de l’art vaudou (The last voyage of Andre Malraux in Haiti or the Discovery of Vodou Art). In this interview, Drot discusses the role of magic and of the clandestine in the Haitian imaginary, the meaning of “naïve” or “primitive” art amid academicism and the artistic establishment, and the relationship between art, culture, politics and commercialization in general. Interview Jean Dominique.

“The role of these painters was to cast flowers upon the wounds, upon the misery, upon despair itself.”

Jean-Marie Drot

 http://www.institut-national-audiovisuel.fr/sites/ina/medias/upload/actualite/evenements/programmation_dernier-voyage-andre-malraux-haiti.pdf

Jean Price Mars Interview, January 1969

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Download: Entèvyou Jean Price Mars, 1969

DESCRIPTION

This is a short but unique interview with Jean Price Mars a few weeks before his death in March 1969.  This renowned Haitian intellectual, writer, ethnographer, and diplomat Jean Price Mars, considered one of the founders of the négritude movement, discusses his intellectual trajectory and inspiration, especially around racial theory, Haitian peasant life and customs, and his efforts to study and represent Haitian vodou as a complex and valid religion (contrary to the Catholic church and social and intellectual practice at the time).  Interview Jean Dominique.