Death of Dom Phillips, the journalist of the Amazon tragedy
Journalist Dom Phillips (center) with indigenous people in the state of Roraima, November 15, 2019.

“Amazonia, how beautiful you are. » These words are the last written by Dom Phillips on his Facebook account, five days before his disappearance on the Rio Itaquai, in the northeast of Brazil, on Sunday June 5, while traveling with the Brazilian indigenist Bruno Araujo Pereira . The sentence in the form of a love confession is accompanied by a video where we see a motor boat advancing on the water with a long strip of land in the background surmounted by a cathedral forest. After ten days of searching, the remains of his body were unearthed 3 kilometers from the river. They were identified by federal police on June 17. Dom Phillips was 57 years old. He had just moved to Salvador de Bahia with his Brazilian wife, Alessandra Sampaio, after having lived in Sao Paulo and then in Rio de Janeiro.

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Evoking Dom Phillips, who was a journalist at the Guardian and at washington postit is to recall the words of Chamfort: “Why do you suppose I speak well of him, because he is my friend?” And why don’t you just assume he’s my friend, because there’s good to be said for it? » Dom, I rubbed shoulders with him for a long time in Brazil, at the time of Dilma Rousseff, social movements and political crises, the end of the golden age of the PT, the Workers’ Party of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, says “Lula”. Dom was a singularly endearing man, with a rare modesty, too, and a humanity that compelled admiration. Endowed with a vitriolic sense of humor, overflowing with affection and tenderness for his family, he was interested in everything, with, in work, the expression and the requirement of a very high professional conscience. .

With him, it’s a “crazy about Brazil” who disappears, one of those who had made this country-continent their reason for living, their passion. Brazil, Dom knew its contours and depths for having crisscrossed it for nearly fifteen years. From brutal police raids in the favelas to crazy election campaigns, from corruption trials to impeachment proceedings that he had the opportunity to cover, he reported with accuracy and rigor. Smiling, determined never to take himself seriously, he accumulated notes, encounters, small and large stories. Dom, that was it, a ballad of style and prose for whom politeness and kindness had to accompany fieldwork. Only the very British accent placed on a brazilian language which he mastered almost perfectly betrayed, not without delight, a slight form of restraint from elsewhere.

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