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Décès d'Aubelin Jolicoeur
Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 10:40 pm
[quote]Décès d'Aubelin Jolicoeur, célèbre chroniqueur mondain haitien
Posté le 15 février 2005
Le journaliste haitien Aubelin Jolicoeur est décédé, le lundi 14 février, dans un centre hospitalier privé de la ville côtière de Jacmel, sud-est d'Haiti, a informé un proche du défunt sur une radio locale. Il avait 81 ans.
Chroniqueur mondain, Aubelin Jolicoeur a collaboré pendant plusieurs années, aux journaux Le Petit samedi soir, Le Matin, et jusqu'à sa mort au quotidien centenaire Le Nouvelliste. Il fut ministre de l'Information sous le gouvernement de Henri Namphy dans les années 1980.
Le célèbre journaliste est, sous le nom de Petit Pierre, le héros d'un livre de Jean Raspail, « un personnage romanesque avec des zones d'ombre certaines mais aussi des trésors de fidélité amicale. » Il a inspiré le personnage du même nom dans « Les Comédiens » de Graham Green.
Aubelin Jolicoeur a reçu dans son pays plusieurs distinctions pour son apport à la culture haitienne. Il a longtemps vécu à l'hôtel Oloffson à Port-au-Prince. Il a également occupé la chambre près du manguier de l'hôtel Marabout à Pétion-Ville, dirigé pendant 40 ans par feue la chorégraphe Odette Latour Wiener. Il a habité jusqu'à sa mort une chambre à l'hôtel La Jacmélienne à Jacmel.
Aubelin Jolicoeur passes on
Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:15 pm
Reposting through special arrangement with Bob Corbett
From: "Bob Corbett's Haiti list" <email@example.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Aubelin Jolicoeur passes on
I first moved to Haiti in 1985, my mother came along for a week or so and, among other things, introduced me to two people; Katherine Dunham, who resided at Habitation Leclerc, Martissant 23, and Aubelin Jolicoeur, (white suit, cane in hand, quite dapper), who was based at the Hotel Oloffson.
Aubelin was a journalist, to say the least, and my mom was in the arts. They had known each other probably since the 1940's. Aubelin's eyes, piercing, almost diabolical at times, surveyed me from head to toe, literally. When I took over the Hotel Oloffson in 1987 our lives a
nd our fates became intertwined, for better or worse. Aubelin had been forever immortalized when Graham Greene wrote the Comedians and based the character Petit Pierre on him. During our times together, Aubelin was trying to hold on to the past, <La Belle Epoque>, and I was trying to get a handle on the present. The most difficult times we had, our most emotional conversations, were during Aristide's first three year exile. Aubelin detested the man while I defended him as the choice of the people. Aubelin thought that the Haitian population wasn't ready to vote. Not educated enough. Those were difficult times. Eventually, my views of Aristide became more like Aubelin's and he would often remind me in his Haitian version of the Queen's English <I told you so>, <I was right>. <He is a monster>. My final conversation with Aubelin was in Jacmel a couple of weeks ago. At one point a tear came to his eye when he talked about his predicament, but we were mostly talking of the Ancient Egy
ptians, Dessalines and a book I was working on concerning Haiti's mystical relationship with the Ancient Egyptians. Aubelin passed away on St. Valentines Day. He would say it was because he was a man of love, but perhaps it was because he felt alone that day. When he passed away, many people in Haiti, including myself, lost a father.
The end of an era? No. The era had already ended. We're still trying to pick up the pieces and move forward.
Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:14 pm
(The Guardian, 18 Feb 05)
By Greg ChamberlainFor nearly half a century, Haitian journalist Aubelin Jolicoeur, who has died aged 80, cheerfully tried to convince the world that his country was better than its horrific image of political brutality and extreme poverty, that it was worth visiting and could be enjoyed.
His own image took a knock when Graham Greene immortalised him in his 1966 novel The Comedians as “Petit Pierre,” a dandyish bon vivant and probable spy for the murderous dictatorship of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his family.
But the tiny, animated boulevardier with bedroom eyes and posh English accent, who flounced about in a white suit and silk ascot twirling a gold-topped cane, thrived on the smear because it brought him the fame he craved. And, thanks also to h
is unctuous courting of other foreign celebrities, probably a shield against the whims of the mercurial dictator, whom he called his “father.”
He was introduced to Greene in Haiti by American writer Truman Capote in 1954 and the pair soon gravitated to the romantic, creaking Grand Hotel Oloffson, where Greene set his novel. For the next 40 years, Jolicoeur hobnobbed there, in the lingering ambiance of Haiti's “belle époque,” with a world-class panoply of showbiz, literary and media glitterati.
He was delighted when they nicknamed him “Mr Haiti” for greeting them at the airport and gushingly writing them up in his newspaper column. He called himself “Haiti's first public relations man.”
His counterpoint was useful to Papa Doc as the dictator grappled with international revulsion and boycotts of his regime. Jolicoeur showed the acceptable face of Haiti and the distinguished foreigners were charmed, despite the occasional body glimpsed on the airport road.
Vain, boastful, buff
oonish and bending this way and that to the political winds, he was nevertheless an astute, cultivated and industrious journalist. Under the Duvaliers, he mostly stuck to chronicling the social and literary doings of the country's political, cultural and business elite, laced with the obscure classical references once de rigueur for recognition by Haiti's mannered upper class. He said Papa Doc liked him because “I write good French.”
But he disdained the “vulgar” regime of the dictator's clueless son Jean-Claude, who took over as “president-for-life” in 1971, and eventually joined veiled press criticism that helped nudge the dynasty to its end.
He then became a more open political commentator, disgusted at the endless incompetence sinking the country into ever deeper poverty and political disorder. “There's a thug inside every Haitian,” he liked to say. He thought his compatriots were “not ready for democracy” and harshly criticised the recent excesses of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
with whom he was bitterly disappointed.
Jolicoeur was born in a cemetery (“among the spirits,” he joked) in the southern town of Jacmel when his mother went into premature labour. His father was a local coffee and cocoa trader. The young Aubelin hungrily learned French, the language of the ruling class, and it became his ticket to success as a journalist in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in days when being his shade of black was a clear social disadvantage.
The few minor political posts he accepted turned sour – press secretary to a fleeting general who rigged elections in 1957, four months as a post-Duvalier director of tourism and an even briefer tenure as deputy information minister that ended when he spat in anger at a crowd of strikers at the ministry.
His way with women was legendary. He greeted female guests at the Oloffson with poetic flourishes in his ringing voice and they gigglingly checked the next morning's paper to see who had won the best encomium – brilliant, princes
s, sparkling, divine, breathtaking and other extravagances. Jolicoeur, whose name means “flirt” and who contrived to expire on St Valentine's Day, had a dozen children by as many women, the last only a few years ago.
He was never rich like the upper class he fawned over or the marquises and counts who put him up on his occasional expeditions to Paris. He opened a small art gallery named after his then-wife Claire, a Canadian, and tried to wheedle tourists into buying the paintings but few did and he gave many away. For years he received a small stipend from Bollinger for mentioning their champagne in his columns. “Haitians are comedians,” he would say. “It's all a show.”
When he was evicted from his rented house several years ago, he moved into a shabby hotel where he lived amid cardboard boxes of his memories and out of shame rarely ventured to the nearby Oloffson. His famous gold-topped cane was stolen and its replacement was only a silver one.
Enfeebled by Parkinson's disease a
nd prostate cancer, his renowned flamboyance vanished and he spent his last years at a seaside hotel in his home town run by an old Duvalierist friend.
Aubelin Jolicoeur, journalist, born April 30 1924; died February 14 2005[/quote]