[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
8329: Jean Dominique's Editorial Comment About Dany Toussaint (fwd)
To: Robert Corbett <CorbetRe@Webster.edu>
FROM CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICY
The text that follows is editorial comment by the journalist Jean Dominique,
assassinated on April 3, 2000. This editorial was broadcast on Radio Haiti
Inter in Port-au-Prince on October 19, 1999.
Does Dany Toussaint Take God's Children* for a Bunch of Wild Ducks?
By Jean Dominique, October 1999
Can a group of screamers pretend to take Radio Haiti hostage to force it to
broadcast their defamatory accusations against honest public functionaries
and their racist, anti-mulatto comments? This is the question we asked
ourselves yesterday morning when about forty fanatics blocked for four hours
the Delmas Road in front of our building. Screams, vociferation, rocks
thrown at the front of our building, our iron fence violently shaken.
Confronted with our resistance to their terrorism, they took me on
personally, with the obvious Macoute slogans against the "Little Reds,"
against the "mulattos", and so forth and so on. Neighbors tried in vain to
reason with them. "Gentlemen, Jean Dominique has always been on our side,
since 1980, in 1990, in 1991; the front of the building bears witness to
that, the bullet holes of the putschists during the coup and afterwards,
silence at Radio Haiti . and Jean and his wife in exile."
Our neighbors tried in vain to explain to them that those who attacked Jean
Dominique, those who attacked Radio Haiti and attack it today are always the
same Macoutes, the Duvaliers, the Bennetts, the Jean Valmés, the Constantin
Mayard-Pauls, the Cédrases, the Michel Françoises, the spies of the big
bourgeois gentlemen who produce poisoned medication, the Serge Beaulieus,
the Gérard Georgeses, the Isidor Pognons, as in 1991, the Namphys, the
Our brave neighbors who tried to tell the truth were beaten up in front of
the gates of Radio Haiti. Beaten up! Other neighbors had identified the two
pickup trucks from Pétionville, which brought from time to time new bunches
of screamers; one of them bore the license plate H-5678. You see, we kept
our eyes open. Drivers and demonstrators questioned freely admitted to
having received a few dollars from the major to demonstrate in front of
>From the major? Dany Toussaint to be sure. But why Radio Haiti for God's
sake? During the campaign unleashed by Dany Toussaint against Robert Manuel,
Pierrot Denizé, and the leadership of the police, the following slogan was
circulating in Tabarre, "Bob Manuel, Pierrot Denizé and Jean Dominique are
Little Reds." I have thus been for some time the target of Dany Toussaint's
clique within La Fanmi. On the other hand, you may recall a campaign
unleashed by the pro-coup media, right after Operation Columbus, aiming at
taking control of the Haitian National Police. We used to hear on certain
pro-Jean Claude Duvalier radio stations, one day "Bob Manuel attacked the
government" and the day after, "Dany Toussaint and Jean-Claude Nord defamed
Bob Manuel." The pro-Duvalier radio stations had no shame in using either
slogan as a way of enticing the factions to fight one another.
Our enemies never miss an opportunity to destabilize us. Here at Radio
Haiti, during this defamatory campaign, we kept a cool head. Confronting
these breaches of the penal code--which should be duly prosecuted--these
racist attacks of the purest Macoutist variety, we responded with our
strictly professional approach to disseminating information. Clearly our
silence and restraint irritated Dany Toussaint and maybe his masters.
With the dismissal of Manuel, a padlock that was blocking Dany Toussaint's
ambitions was knocked out of the way -- rather carelessly, it must be
acknowledged. Then Dany Toussaint turned against Denizé and Eucher Joseph at
the cathedral and today against me. What was circulating at Tabarre as a
rumor is being implemented.
While ruminating on these things, I was listening all the same to what was
happening in the streets in front of my door. Once they saw that the
graffiti targeting me, the hateful screams hurled at me, the beatings
inflicted on honest citizens wishing to tell the truth about me did not
scare me at all, they decided to negotiate with me. From my balcony, I
explained that I would accept the excuses they said they wanted to make only
after they erased all the graffiti targeting me. This was done immediately.
I then accepted to listen to them, to hear their excuses but I refused to
allow them to use our microphone and told them to transmit the following
message to Dany Toussaint:
Dany Toussaint has made mistakes, the person who paid you to try and
terrorize me made three mistakes. The first on Saturday at the cathedral
when he and his followers tried to take advantage of Jean Lamy's funeral
service to organize an accusatory and slanderous demonstration. To be sure,
they slandered Pierre Denizé and Luc Eucher. To be sure, they physically
attacked the director general of the national police. To be sure they
desecrated under the eyes of Father Aristide a place that should be sacred
for all: namely the cathedral of Port-au-Prince, a sacred place for
believers and non-believers alike. But Dany Toussaint, in spite of these few
gains, was able to assemble only a few individuals inside the cathedral. It
was very clear, in spite of the mobilization attempted by the pro-coup media
before this funeral mass, in spite of what was said about the popular
backing that Lamy enjoyed, there were only a few demonstrators, along with
Lamy's parents and government officials at this service. This is more proof
of the tragic erosion of the power to mobilize the population that has been
witnessed in Port-au-Prince for some time. Don't you think that our enemies
see this erosion? This was thus Dany Toussaint's first mistake. In military
strategy, to display under the gaze of one's enemies the weakness of one's
forces is on occasion a capital mistake, the word "capital" being taken in
its literal meaning. Is Dany Toussaint a good officer? Has he been a good
officer? The answer is beyond my competence, but, he is a lousy strategist!
His second mistake: intoxicated by the pushing and shoving directed at
Pierrot Denizé and Luc Eucher, Dany Toussaint had these paid screamers carry
him in triumph on their shoulders under Jean-Bertrand Aristide's enigmatic
gaze. To be sure, the screamers wanted him to be the director-general of the
police, but Titid has a sharp eye, he knows how to decode ambitions and his
sibylline smile says a lot about the future, but that is their business! It
is not mine! I have not fought for thirty years to waste my time deciphering
the quarrels among the satraps of Fanmi Lavalas!
The third mistake of Dany Toussaint was to take me on in front of Radio
Haiti! Let us reflect. At the end of Operation Columbus, which was an attack
that went on for days while they repeated their slanders and anti-mulatto
comments in the media in the good old Macoute tradition, slander that could
be taken before a court of law, attacking Radio Haiti yet with the support
and applause of all the media--what did they intend? Very simply, those
media were trying to have the whole radio audience to themselves, to attack
Radio Haiti and force Radio Haiti to broadcast his comments. This means that
the only thing that counts for Dany Toussaint is to be "heard on Radio
Haiti." Reflecting on this I am reminded of the saying by Choderlos de
Laclos, that "slander is the compliment that vice pays to virtue," and that
the second consequence for our detractors is that they have acknowledged the
independent-Lavalas nature of Radio Haiti, which I stress is independent
from all centers of power.
Returning now to the cathedral: the mistake of Dany Tousaint was to think
that a bit of terror on the part of a few street gangsters of the "Young
Popular Power" group would give him access to our microphone. This was to
underestimate two key points: Here we don't give the floor to anyone! We
don't give the floor to slander. We know that true justice is not created by
screaming fanatics, more or less well paid! We know that the burglars
leaving the house they have robbed are the first to yell, "Stop, thief!" How
could a serious judge pay attention to these "Stop, thief " shouts while
investigating the looting of a house . (cynical laughter). Let us be
And so I asked myself the question: During this whole campaign unleashed in
all the media, Dany Toussaint never once called me. Neither he nor Jean
Claude Nord called Radio Haiti to make any kind of declaration about
themselves or the results of the investigation of the death of Jean Lamy
they said they were making. Never! It's strange, this silence! Then he
unleashes this campaign to force me to turn over the microphone to him. My
response is as follows: Dany Toussaint knows perfectly well that if he gives
me the results of his investigation I will as a professional journalist ask
him privately or publicly questions that might bring out the contradictions
in the findings of the investigation. He knows that, and that is why he
prefers to use the street to pressure me.
The murder of Jean Lamy, the attack on Mario Andresol, the recent
assassination of a dozen police officers, the murder of Yvon Toussaint, the
murder attempt against Marie-Claude Calvin Préval all aroused from us on
Radio Haiti the anger of the citizenry and the indignation of Lavalas,
prompting us to fight again for justice, transparency, and popular
participation, while at the same time we acutely followed, as the whole
world knows, in a professional journalistic fashion the preparations for the
Raboteau trial. We may have been the only ones in the media following this
preparation. But for us there is only one motivation, when an individual
uses the still-fresh corpse of a comrade to serve his personal ambition!
Saturday's spectacle at the cathedral was for us, bluntly put, repugnant!
These were the elements of the message that I asked my three interlocutors
to transmit to Dany Toussaint.
I will close with this last consideration: If they keep trying to use these
screamers in front of Radio Haiti Inter to shut down the Delmas Road, he
will break his teeth! The microphone of Radio Haiti will stay closed to him!
But I know that he has weapons! I know that he has the money to pay and arm
his followers. Here, I have no other weapon than my journalist's pen! And my
microphone and my unquenchable faith as a militant for true change! And let
me be perfectly clear, I will not turn over to any free-rider in the world a
monopoly over Lavalas, no matter who it is!
If Dany Toussaint tries anything else against me or the radio and if I am
still alive, I will close the place down after I have denounced these
maneuvers one more time and I will go in exile once more with my wife and
In 1991 the friends of Dany Toussaint tried desperately to take over Radio
Haiti, I resisted them alone! With my faith, intelligence, and professional
experience. At the time I understood that behind the politicians preparing
the coup d'état, behind certain friendships -- because there were dissidents
among them who frequented the salons of the great ladies of Lavalas! --
there was a stubborn will on the part of one.and I had understood on
September 30, 1991 and later on, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and René Préval told
me, "You were right!" They wanted to take over Radio Haiti to prepare a coup
d'état. That's what happened!
Today I ask the same question: Is this the same maneuver? The parish priest
of Dessalines was saying on Sunday in the presence of the head of state that
new coup plotters were trying to destabilize the government. In 1991 I told
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and René Préval, "Don't trust Cédras." Titid replied,
"Cédras and I, we are married." Sad marriage! With AIDS. Titid is stubborn.
Although he is stubborn he must understand that it is not his person alone
nor his sense of power that hangs in the balance in this affair.
Over Radio Haiti, there is a silence to awaken the dead, the five thousand
dead of the coup d'état, this is the truth that must emerge from this
insignificant exercise in intimidation today. This is the truth that it is
right to speak of this morning, the truth of a free man.
Earlier I cited another free man, Laclos. I close with Shakespeare: "The
truth will always make the face of the devil blush!"