Aubelin Jolicoeur - Did his fame benefit Haiti ?

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Post by T-dodo » Tue Feb 15, 2005 10:49 pm

I don't know much about Jolicoeur's whole life. But I met him a couple of times, read a lot of his articles in those various newspapers when I was living in Haiti, and heard foreigners' comments on him. Based on that limited exposure to him, I must say this is a guy who had contributed a lot to the development of tourism in Haiti. He was the face of Haiti for many tourists. With his amiable and friendly ways, combined with good manners and tact, Jolicoeur could approach any tourist and make that person feel welcome in the country. He must have felt pretty bad lately, as this industry virtually disappeared, with all the tourists, including the haitian diaspora, going to the Dominican Republic and other countries. I think the country owes him a debt of gratitude for the good things he did for her.



Post by T-dodo » Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:17 pm

[quote]From what I read about Aubelin Jolicoeur and heard from him, the image of Petit-Frère in Graham Greene's "the comedians" is and will remain his lasting contribution...i.e. a found memory for tourists and diplomats of all sorts who sought and found pleasure in Haiti's hotels while the majority of the population starved right under their eyes....the boys dressed in rags beating the drum to which they danced, the underpaid women toiling to produce the rum which they gobble, the painters creating the art work for which they never fairly compensated him. Ah! the good old days ! [/quote]


In the 1760s, Benjamin Franklin advocated that you can't have taxing without representation, when the British wanted to tax the colonies while they had no members in the House of Lords, the chamber where the taxing decision was being made. From that standpoint, I totally agree with you that the poor and i
lliterate people of Haiti should be able to elect those they beleive would represent their interests when national decisions are being made. But, those representatives cannot be an illeterate person who does not have the ability of properly defending the interests of the masses. There, my friend Jaf, I disagree with you.

I have personal friends who believe that Haiti is not ripe yet for democracy. Their rationale is that without knowledge, charlatans and egotistic incompetent politicians can convince the uneducated to vote for them and lead themselves and the country to ruins. I disagree with them on the basis that in a democracy you have a chance to correct your mistakes by voting incompetence out and that there will be enough time to act to avoid an irreversible situation.

But, even though I disagree with them, I also realized how easy it is in Haiti to make promises for people to vote for you and not keeping the promises. The reason is that we don't have enough educated people that would d
emand that we have a press or media that keep the politicians accountable to the people. If you don't beleive my disagreements with them, just for your info, Guy Antoine and I used to have heated debates on the Corbett list with a member named Poincy who believed that democracy does not work in Haiti for the same reasons as Jolicoeur. When we cornered him that a dictatorship is harmful to the country, he came up with something called "benevolent dictatorship." We have argued for days and perhaps months with him against this idea on the Corbett list.

Anyway, Jaf, even if you disagree with Jolicoeur, he was not directly responsible for those people wearing rags drumming or toiling in the hotels where the tourists stayed. In fact, his action caused the tourists to return to Haiti, and sometimes bring friends with them, providing jobs, to those wearing rags and toiling, that otherwise they would not have, like it's happening now. I am speculating here, but I bet every time that a tourist returns to Haiti
because he fell so welcome in the country by Jolicoeur, he creates jobs for the "chauffeur guide," the wearing-rag drummer, the househeeper and all the other employees in the hotel, the street artists who paint the "naif" haitian landscape, the restaurant employees, and so on and so forth. These jobs were the direct result of his efforts. On the other hand, I cannot find a direct relationship between Jolicoeur's actions and the causes of the drummer wearing rags, or the housekeeper toiling at the hotel, or the artist being poor in the streets, etc., even though I cannot say there was none.

My intervention in honoring Jolicoeur's memory was for what he did that was positive for the country. It was not a political statement. I have no problem one pointing out at the negatives in an individual. That's what a good analysis is supposed to do, showing both, and perhaps summarizing on the one with the greater influence of the two. One perceived negative idea does not have the power to nullify nor m
inimize the true positive effects his whole life had on people he knew nor did not know.


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Post by Jonas » Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:00 pm

Everytime I hear or read that Haiti is not ready for democracy, because the people are illiterate, I want to puke.

Why is it that India is so stable?

When India had his first election in 1948, 80% of the people were illiterate. India with her more than 200 languages, her disparate cultures, never had a Coup d'Etat.

Why is that?

The main reasons are that the Indian Elites were British educated; they had a culture of respect for democracy.

Even nowadays, elections last more than two weeks in India. The motto is that anybody who wants to vote must be given that possibility. 1/3 of the Indian population is still illiterate, thus 10s of millions, even hundreds, still vote for their party by the "symbols".

What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

I have been hearing for a long time that the people are not ready for the vote, because they are illiterate. François Duvalier said it, Jean Claude, the Junta

How come it was when the people, they said were illiterate, chose freely, that a serious program of literacy was implemented?

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon Feb 21, 2005 4:48 am

Guys, I don't really know who AJ was. Even though the name tells me something...

Let me try to say a few words. Everywhere in the world there is a minority controlling the economical and political apparatus of a COuntry or State. There is nothing new. This is CAPITALISM...

I don't really have a problem with it, The Golden Rule. Who has the Gold, rules. My biggest problem or issue is the misusing of the famous word, "DEMOCRACY".

I think it is subjective. Let's try to define it a little. Democracy means POPULAR??? We don't have a lot of countries where this was applied and believe it or not in 1990, Haiti was one of the truly democratic countries when people voted en masse for their leader (San Magouy).

Now, let's go to the self-proclaimed "Father of Democracy"? I don't have to tell you the story of 2000 and 2004 Selections.

How democratic are we in the US? People have to pay m
oney that they don't have for Health Care and Education which by the way are free in JAF-LAND and most of Europe. My question is this: Would the masses or majority of people vote against these bills? I doubt it. Therefore, I would rather use Basic Human Rights than that demagogic term: Democracy.

N.B. Jean Marie, you can see that I didn't want to use any number just because of you (just kidding).

Remember AnnPale'ers, be very careful with your numbers, Jean-Marie is watching. Any historical facts, Marilyn is on your tail. Social misstep, Jaf is the man. Gelin and Nekita are Religious issues. Widy pwal dEyE w pou afE Nwa ak Blan. Serge ak Guy ap mete w nan wòl ou si espesyalis yo pa la...

Jaf, mwen wè w pi souvan, manmzèl la ba w on ti chans.



Post by T-dodo » Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:26 pm


Frist, let me tell you I was a little worried about the infrequency of your postings in the past month or so. I was a little reassured when I saw some replies this week and last as well. I must confess that I enjoy your posts a lot, or just your presence on the board, and that I miss them when you can't visit as often as you did in the past. I imagine you must have been very busy lately.

By the way, I did notice you said the following:

[quote]Let me try to say a few words.[/quote]

However, I counted about 280 words, excluding your signature and compound words and names counted as one, that you said afterwards in your comments that follow the statement. Also, "about" in my comments means plus or minus 1%. So, make up your mind. If you want to say a few words, limit it to a few, not 280! I checked my dependable dictionnary,the American Heritage, and it defines "a
few" as:"a small number" or "amounting to or consisting of a small number." I can't see how 280 can be defined as a small number. Since you live in Europe, I figure you might say it is because it is an american dictionnary, not british. So I checked my Harrap's (British/French) French/English dictionnary. They translate a few in French by "peu." We all know there is no way you can stretch "peu" in French to mean 280. So, leonel, my friend, "un peu de précision dans tes chiffres!"

But, seriously, leonel, I agree with your assessment of the real meaning of the concept "democracy" and its application throughout the world. Perhaps, that may explain why the government of Aristide had so many foreign government officials, like a Jesse Helms, so against it that they supported whatever junk the elite gave them as an excuse to oppose it, including denying promised aid that would have hoped to help alleviate misery among the masses.

The reality is that whatever way one defines a concept, like everything
else in life it has positive and negative sides. I tried to consider both sides when I analyse something. In some cases, I may conclude that one factor outweighs the other. In another, I just let the reader or the audience make the choice. But, it is very common for people to use just one side to make a case. While there is nothing wrong about that, this method is often abused for advocacy sake. I try to live by the principle that anything abused tends to be not the right model. I believe Boileau put it so well in literature:

"Tout ce qui est de trop est fade et rebuttant et l'esprit rassasié le rejette à l'instant."


Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon Feb 21, 2005 1:52 pm

Jean-Marie, even though I didn't use any number, you still found a hole... You're great, Man. Chapo ba, papa.

By the way, I just got back from a 12 hour drive which is exactly 43200 seconds from Denmark to Paris and back ( very accurate numbers). Therefore, I am a little tired.

By the way, I still Love you, man. Woh needs you very much. Us haitians we have a tendency to exagerate in terms of numbers. We need accurate data.

Peace and Love,
Depi nan ginen, bon neg ap ede bon neg (JAF)

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Aubelin Jolicoeur, a Study in Haitian Class Dynamics

Post by Lakat » Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:41 pm

I used to stay at the Oloffson in the early 80s. Of course I met Jolicoeur, or should I say he met me. He was my first and best teacher of Haitian class dynamics. In the beginning I was charmed, he "bought" me lunch (I use quotes because he never paid for anything at the Oloffson!). He held court at the Oloffson with a flourish. He was regal in bearing, but just like Haiti, our beautiful and ugly darling, he was hiding a rotten interior. He spoke impeccable if a bit archaic French. He carried a gold tipped cane for affect not need and he had an Afghan (the dog, not the blanket nor a Southern Asian person) whom I witnessed peeing on a fern in the lounge of the Oloffson. Such manners! He was all smiles and friendly advice, including inviting me to stay at his home/gallery anytime I wanted (I had confessed to him that I wanted to come to Haiti to live). He wrote about me in
his column in Le Nouvelliste! Oh my if that didn't turn my head! I was from Los Angeles where almost everyone is anonymous and finding one's relevance is a never ending quest. It was a little gossip column but I could never have made the papers at home! I think I might have kept the article somewhere. This was all before he brought my welcome rum punch to my room...where he pounced on me! I backed up and said no. He was furious and that was the end of our beautiful friendship. In the short time I had known him I realized that he was someone I could not spend time with. I had friends who were majority class Haitians and for this he said to me, "I thought you had class but I was wrong!" I learned that he was the epitome of the privileged Haitian. Now Jolicoeur was never wealthy but he had image. You don't have to be a wealthy Haitian to think you are better than the majority Haitian. I learned what is rotten about Haiti in knowing Aubelin Jolicoeur. His belief that the majority Haitian was a ch
ild to be taken care of by the educated and worldly was not an aberration, it is the norm. The sick don't even know they are sick but they keep infecting Haiti, over and over. That is why, no matter who is president, Haiti will not get better. Not until that sickness is cured. How to cure it? I sure as heck don't know!

By the way, any reasonably attractive woman who crossed paths with Jolicoeur will tell you a similar story to mine. I am hardly a bump in the road for the infamous Petit Pierre and though I will never forget him (I am both repulsed and amused by his memory) I'm sure he forgot me instantly upon my leaving. I met one of his daughters (he had several children by several women...also not unheard of in Haitian society) at the Club Med where she worked. She was a beauty. I heard that he had his last child only a few years ago. Amazing!

This was more than a eulogy wasn't it!!

Hey Guy, I'm here!


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Post by admin » Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:25 am

Yes, you are here, perhaps infrequently, as was my sorrow. There you have it, a couple of paragraphs of personal testimony that gets to the heart of it, that captures the essence of the man, and reveals the truth more than tomes of political analysis. This is exactly why I created this forum, Kathy. To capture such testimonies. They have come few and far between. For this, thank you, Kathy.

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Post by Lakat » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:43 am

My pleasure Guy! Your response is why I love you and admire you so much! Instead of taking what I say personally, you see the bigger picture and the truth of it. That is not easy to do. But you know that I am not including every privileged Haitian; I am talking about the majority. Enough to make you and those like you a rarity in Haiti and outside. God Bless you and others who see the truth and set about to do the right thing. I'm afraid I'm going to use the "H" word again! Here it comes...

You are my hero!

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:08 am

Lakat, Guy does not like to blush...

If you use the H word again, I personnally gonna put you on probation for six weeks...

Be careful, our webmaster is too modest


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Post by Lakat » Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:09 am

To Leonel: I have to admit, I do it on purpose! I guess as long as I am feeling mischievous, I'm alive! (Still, it's true so why not say it!)

To Jaf: Thanks for the kind words and for being another hero of Haiti who is not afraid to know the truth and who speaks out about it. The reason you don't see me post that much is that I quit the Corbett List because I could no longer tolerate the majority of postings there and many of the responses I sent did not pass muster with Corbett. I miss a few gems but hopefully my friends will keep me informed. And why I haven't posted more often here (a place that is highly satisfying to me) is that I have a full time job trying to get my fellow Americans to see the truth that is slamming into our faces about THIS country. My theory is, Haiti is stuck now and won't be able to move as long as this administration has carte blanche from the Congress and from the people. I send let
ters and make phone calls to my Senators and Representative urging them to fight for us. I don't know if it does anything but it makes me feel as though I am trying. Also I send out articles to friends and acquaintences, much like you do, Jaf. My circle of friends has you know many people do not want to see the will cause them to have to change their deeply held beliefs about their country and themselves. Very traumatic. I don't stop though because they HAVE to see or we will be lost.

I will do my best to come here more often and enjoy the conversation, discourse and camaraderie. But be careful what you wish for...I could go from "you bring nourishment to the table" to "my gosh there's enough food here to choke a horse!"




Post by Gelin_ » Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:59 pm

[quote]... If you look well, everytime we do so, his picture on the left releases</B> a bit more of that half smile he is trying so hard to contain.[/quote]
Fè respè w Jaf! Give the guy a break...he is trying to concentrate here.


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