It's 1937, at the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Pedro Brito, a Dominican union worker, is living with Adèle Benjamin, “The Haitian Negrita of Belladère”. Their life, and the lives of everyone on the border, is threatened by the Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Obsessed with expansion, and insane with desire to deafricanise his country, he launches Operation Haitian Heads.
How did the soldiers distinguish between Haitians and Dominicans? They made them pronounce the word “perejil”, parsley. Any pronunciation that varied even slightly from Dominican Spanish would be a death sentence…
Le Peuple des terres mêlées, published in 1989, looks back to this barely known massacre. A massacre that literally cut off the voices of nearly 20,000 Haitians in just a few days, in the name of a “pure” Dominican nation. Beyond the madness of the dictatorship, Philoctète takes us to a country bursting with colour and life and gives a voice to the victims. Through the dance of sounds, colours and scents, this short story allows us to see, hear and feel the rich but turbulent life of those on the border.
Le Peuple des terres mêlées was initially published by Henri Deschamps publishing in Port-Au-Prince in 1989 and translated into English in 2008 (under the name Massacre River). CareOf Publishing republished it in digital format in 2018, with illustrations by Chourouk Hriech (chourouk-hriech.com).
Available soon on your tablets, e-readers, smartphones and computers.