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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Gerald Bloncourt Speaks To Marie-Jeannine Myrthil In Paris About His New Published Memoir

Book ReviewAs promised, our correspondent in Paris, Marie-Jeannine Myrthil, sat down with Gérald Bloncourt at his home in suburban Paris last month for a conversation about his new released memoir entitled “Le Regard Engagé.”MJM: Monsieur Bloncourt, could you please tell us about your origin?GB: I was born in Bainet, near Jacmel, in 1926 from a Guadeloupean naturalized Haitian father and a French mother.MJM: What has led you to write, “Le Regard Engagé?”GB: This book is an autobiography that retraces my life as a reporter, places I have visited, and also people I have met. By the way, it contains many historical anecdotes. I wanted to put all this in writing.MJM: What was the interest of mentioning the trial the Soviet Jews under Stalin?GB:  The Soviets were arresting Jews accused of being the enemies of the people. They were rehabilitated after the death of Stalin. This is an illustration of the regime of Stalin really was: a horrible thing against justice, respect for others, and freedom.MJM: Do you still maintain contact with the Prolisario Front of Western Sahara?   GB: Last year, I received a telegram from one of the leaders. I more or less maintain some contact with them. You know, everyone has his own preoccupations.MJM: In the book, you mention the death of your older brother, Tony Bloncourt. Has this tragedy contributed to your profound transformation as a revolutionary?GB: Tony Bloncourt arrived in France in 1938. He had scholarship to continue his medical school, of which he had already started in Haiti. He became part of the resistance against the Nazis, was arrested by French police and handed over to the Gestapo. He was executed by a firing squad in 1942. He became part of the resistance heroes. I was very young at that time, but his assassination helped instill in me the idea that it was necessary to fight for a world more just, more fraternal and more humane as I rejected outright, from then on, injustice and racism.MJM: What were the circumstances that led you to leave Haiti?GB:  I was expelled in 1946 by the Lescot government for being one of the leaders of the 1946 movement. Along with Jacques Stephen Alexis, I was one of the founding leaders of the “La Ruche” (The Hive) movement. Our movement engineered the overthrow of the regime, and I became an embarrassment to my parents. Since my mother was French, I was expelled under the pretext that I was a French citizen interfering in the affairs of another country.  MJM: You use past tense to say that Rene Depestre was among us. Why?GB: Rene Depestre was a young poet who had just released his first poetry book entitled “Etincelles” (The Spike). He was part of the “La Ruche” movement. However, life misfortune had caused Depestre, who was living in Cuba, to find a job at UNESCO with the support of the Duvalier regime. We have kept some distance between us since then. We did meet a few times after that.MJM: Where is the “Committee to Trial Duvalier?”GB: With his millions, Duvalier has bought a lot of people. He was not trialed, and I don’t think he ever will be.   MJM: What does that mean by “He ever will be?”GB: The court declared that the accords pertinent to crimes against humanity were signed after the presentation of the facts against him. Therefore, those facts could not be used to trial J.C.Duvalier. The truth is that they don’t want a Duvalier trial, which could implicate a lot of important personalities in France. They had found excuses not to hold a trial.    MJM: Do you still consider yourself Marxist?GB: Yes, I do, and I will always be a Marxist. I am for a social justice that would benefit the whole world.MJM: What do you think of the current situation in Haiti?GB: At the beginning, I supported Aristide. But when I discovered his hidden ambitions, I turned against him. Today, we have fallen into the sphere of American imperialism. However, there is still hope. I know there are compatriots of good faith who are currently working in a positive way to the benefit of the poor.  MJM: Do you think we can still talk about a Haitian left?GB: If it means Serge Jules and the others, I have to say that it is a very poor left. I have no faith in them, and I think they are a whole bunch of opportunists who rely on I. S. (the International Socialists) to win power. They are a bunch of manipulators. Still, I believe in the Haitian people, and I have good faith that tomorrow will be better.

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