JJ Dominique’s latest book, Mémoire Errante (Wandering Memory), is dedicated to her father, Jean Dominique, theRadio Haiti journalist slain in Port-au-Prince in April 2000. Beyond the story of her relationship with a ‘charismatic, cantankerous but generous and brave man’ as she describes him, there is the account of a society where innocent victims ceaselessly fall under assassins’ bullets, where untouchables reign, where the courage of a people defies reason. The book begins with these simple words: Je vais partir. I am leaving. It continues with her successive uprootings from her native land; forced journeys, brief or long exiles out of her country, a voyager in perpetual transit…
When one has lost one’s country, memory becomes the homeland, and recreating history through literature is a means of understanding and reliving events that would otherwise be lost. The mind is a powerful thing. It is an oasis of time and memories and JJ Dominique’s memory, wandering or persistent, does not allow her to forget any of the incidents seen or the abuses of power witnessed. Obsessed with memory (her first novel was Memoirs of an amnesiac, she published with Mémoire d’encrier, and her book signing was organized by Fondation Mémoire…), perhaps JJ Dominique is always writing the same book, telling the same story. It is one that bears repeating; it is that the past pervades us, that we are, as Emili Teixidor writes,“the continuation of all the terrible stories“.
She speaks without ostentation, without theatricality and she shines. She is simple, genuine, and profoundly generous with her readers.
Alix Buyu Ambroise and Michèle Voltaire Marcelin.
Fusion of poetry and music in honor of JJ Dominique.
JJ presenting her book and Michèle.
The “Fondation Mémoire” organized JJ Dominique’s book-signing event in Baldwin, Long Island.
Guest of honor was the widow of Jean Dominique, Michèle Montas. With JJ, Michèle, and Buyu.
40 years after Anthony Phelps wrote “Mon pays que voici”, it still resonates with the same sadness, the same truth: “O my country, so sad is the season that now has come the time to speak with signs”.
Michèle, and Buyu on tenor saxophone.
The audience at Precious Moments in Baldwin, L.I.
JJ and Dr. Patrick Plantin
Dr. Patrick Plantin, Buyu, Michèle with architect and pianist Anton Martinez.
Loyal supporters of the arts: Yolène and Denise Ambroise with Michèle.
Jean Dominique, journalist and agronomist.
” I have no other weapon than my journalist’s pen, my microphone and my unquenchable faith as a militant for true change.”
Strongly critical of the United States policy towards Haïti and of the violence, corruption and negligence of the successive Haitian governments from Duvalier to Aristide, Dominique’s outspoken bravado resulted in being forced into exile several times and in Radio Haïti frequently being shut down. When Dominique returned to Haïti after the fall of the Duvalier regime, he was greeted at the airport by 60,000 people. On April 3rd, 2000, he was shot four times in the chest as he arrived for work at Radio Haïti. The station’s security guard was also killed in the attack. President Préval ordered three days of official mourning and 16,000 people attended his funeral at the national sports stadium.
Jonathan Demme documented the life of Jean Dominique in his film “The Agronomist”.
Port-au-Prince – Un matin d’avril 2000, Jean Dominique est assassiné. La nouvelle circule telle une tornade. Haïti est sous le choc. La démocratie et la liberté de presse ont perdu un combattant. Proches et militants décident de refuser l’oubli. Le cinéaste Jonathan Demme réalise le film “L’agronome”, qui retrace le parcours du journaliste. Des milliers de voix crient à l’injustice. Son épouse Michèle et sa fille JJ sont contraintes à l’exil. De Port-au-Prince à Miami, de Venise à Montréal, JJ Dominique témoigne. Elle raconte la relation au père, le devoir de mémoire, le désir de justice dans un pays gangrené par l’impunité. Elle rompt le silence, fait appel au souvenir, à l’histoire, au quotidien, et se reconstruit à travers l’écriture. Au-delà de la chronique familiale, dans ces récits sans concession, JJ Dominique dévoile à la fois le règne des intouchables et la soif de liberté d’une société qui n’en finit pas de mourir sous des balles assassines.