prolific author, Dr. Férère most recent
historical work entitled "Les ingérences de
l'Armée d'Haïti dans les élections
de 1957" is published in EN GRANDISSANT SOUS DUVALIER.
The book, could be purchased by contacting Dr. Gerard
Ferrere at Gernancy@hotmail.com or by writing to him at
20136, Ocean Key Drive, Boca Raton Florida, 33498.
of Dr. Gerard Ferere and also the sister of Wilhelm Turnier
who perished in Fort- Dimanche in 1963. She took refuge
with her husband at the Chilian Embassy and later went
into exile with him.
Laroche. Sister of Wilhelm, forced into exile.
in South Florida Sun-Sentinel - October 13, 2002
Gérard Férère.- Thirty-nine
years ago, in May 1963, Haiti president, Francois Duvalier,
used a failed attempt on his son`s life as a pretext
to order the massacre of thousands of citizens. Having
learned I was on the execution list, I took refuge with
my wife, Nancy, at the Chilian embassy in Port-au-Prince.
I had been victimized
by the regime on several occasions: In 1958 Duvalier
ordered my dismissal as an officer in the Haitian Navy
for protesting against his rigged election; and between
1958 and 1963 he had me incarcerated five times. Thinking
he would resign under OAS pressure, we expected our
stay at the embassy to be short.
Contrary to expectations,
Duvalier did not resign. Our planned short stay became
our forced exile, and we were compelled to leave our
two infants behind. Abandoning our babies in harm's
way remains the most painful event of our lives. Our
departure was to have been to some undetermined destination
were it not for the benevolent intercession of a remarkable
man, Robert Maule, general consul of the United States.
Without our asking, Maule came to the Chilean embassy
to grant us immigrant visas to the United States.
May 12, 1963. Here we were,
free at last! But torturous days still lay ahead. The
nightmare of our children left behind was exacerbated
when we learned my wife's four brothers had been arrested.
With God's help, her mother had managed to hide the
babies. And thanks to Maule again, they safely joined
us here that September.
Less than a year later,
after working a few months as a translator for the State
Department, I was able to fulfill my professional dream
and embark on a teaching career at Saint Joseph's University
in Philadelphia. While teaching there, I furthered my
education all the way to a doctorate.I
also met the most wonderful people, among them my best
friend and mentor, the late Dr. Michael Toconita.
My family and I owe Saint
Joseph's the happiest years of our lives.My
academic activities never diverted me from my interest
in Haiti. I publicly lobbied against
board memberships in the National Coalition for Haitian
Refugees and the then-Washington Office on Haiti. In
1980 I, along with a group of Haitians and Americans,
helped found the Coalition for Haitian Concerns, an
organization in Philadelphia aimed at protecting refugees.
America welcomed our family as immigrants. Today I am
a citizen happy to have been able to contribute to the
formation of thousands of students.
In 1998 I retired as professor
emeritus. My wife and I call Boca Raton home. Our daughters,
Magali and Rachel Ferere, and grand-children, Tasha-Nanci
Richardson and Christopher Jenkins, still live in the
North. While in Palm Beach County, I plan to remain
active in Haitian and American affairs, educational,
civic, cultural and otherwise. This includes my guest
lecturing, my teaching in the school district's multicultural
institutes when invited, my Creole classes, my duties
as a citizen.
As a fellow immigrant,
I humbly wish to advise other expatriates to get seriously
involved in the life of this country that has welcomed
us. Some may harbor the legitimate dream of returning
to the native land. However, do realize that most of
us are here to stay. So let us be grateful to our new
motherland and give her the love she deserves. In spite
of situations that may be viewed as shortcomings, our
good old U.S.A. is more generous in matters of immigration
than most other countries. And remember, should you
decide to become citizens, in no way shall your American
nationality prevent you from being useful to your native
country. Au contraire! You will be in a better position
to advocate on her behalf. God bless America!
on Dr Gérard Férère...
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