imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Remembering Father Gerry

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Jun. 04, 2009 at 9:19 AM
lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

honoring a remarkable man

Remembering Father Gerry - by Stephen Lendman

The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti's (IJDH) Brian Concannon knew him well, and posted this on IJDH's web site on his passing:

"Reverend Gerard Jean-Juste (1947 - 2009), a tireless advocate for justice for Haitians in Haiti and the US, passed away today, May 27, 2009. Fr. Gerry's passing is a great loss to all of us at IJDH and BAI (Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Haiti)."

In an on-air interview, Concannon added:

"So every time there's been a dictatorship in Haiti in the last 20 years he was one of the top people out there resisting it. He was also a leader in the United States where we've got a problem of treating Haitian immigrants discriminatorily. He not only achieved results including ending all three of those dictatorships, but what's probably (most) important was how he achieved (them) - because he was a steadfast proponent of nonviolent tactics including sit-ins, demonstrations, popular education, those kinds of things. He was very effectively able to channel the Haitian people's desire for justice into concrete activities."

Friends, associates, bloggers, and many others paid tribute to this champion of the poor and oppressed, a Liberation Theologian, and ardent Fanmi Lavalas supporter - the party President Jean-Bertrand Aristide headed until US Marines ousted him to exile on February 29, 2004.

William Grimes in The New York Times headlined: "The Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, Champion of Haitian Rights in US, Dies at 62."

In a glowing, moving tribute, Directeur du Centre Haitien's Professor Bell Angelot wrote:

"Like Jeremiah the prophet, he knew the inside of a prison. Like Martin Luther King, Jr. he preached love. Like Mahatma Gandhi he lived non-violence and overcame violence. Just as Moses never reached the Promised Land, he too, did not see the day of the complete liberation of the Haitian people."

"Father Jean-Juste was always coupled to what's just and morally right. A powerful spirit has left this earth, and our mourning darkens the whole city....But though the prophet is gone, his light remains. (He) was one of the pioneers of Liberation Theology alongside Jean- Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, Leonardo Boff of Nicaragua and Oscar Romero of Salvador....."

"He is not dead/He lives on! His body succumbed to the vicissitudes: to pains that even defied science, to evil his heart and brain could no longer bring order to, to political shocks that his conviction and his morale could no longer endure. In the name of the larger Lavalas Movement, we bid farewell to (this blessed man) and wish him a good journey....Thank you very much brother/compatriot, we shall continue to be the Sentinels."

Reverend Jesse Jackson knew Jean-Juste since the 1980s and once traveled with him to see the Pope in Rome. Expressing sorrow, he said: "The burden he puts upon those who remain is to continue his unfinished business. He lived in the eye of the gun, but without fear....he is a martyr whose legacy will live a long time."

In a recorded statement from exile in South Africa, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Father Gerry "will always live in the thoughts of those who love him. It is there you triumph over death" and the evil he resisted to the end.

Others said "I've lost a brother....My father! My friend! A role model for the rights of the less fortunate."

Bill Quigley called him a "Jesus-like revolutionary. In jail and out, he preached liberation of the poor, release of prisoners, human rights for all, and a fair distribution of wealth....(He) was a scourge to the unelected coup governments of Haiti, who served at the pleasure, and usually the direction, of the US government. (In America) he fought against government actions (to deport) black Haitians while welcoming Cubans and Nicaraguans and others....Mon pere, our brother, your spirit....lives on."

Fr. Gerry worked tirelessly for the less fortunate, was the first Haitian ordained a priest by the US Catholic Church, and according to attorney Ira Kurzban who represented his Miami-based Haitian Refugee Center:

"He was a person who spent his whole life committed to justice for the poor" despite being harassed, intimidated, falsely charged with murder, illegally possessing weapons and conspiracy, and jailed twice by the US-installed Latortue government. Then in December 2005, he was diagnosed with leukemia in prison.

Medical anthropologist, healer, humanitarian, co-founder of Partners in Health to treat the poor, and board member of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti Dr. Paul Farmer broke the news at the time saying:

"I visited Father Gerry just before Christmas because I had heard reports that his health was deteriorating...I examined him, obtained the necessary specimens and brought them to the laboratory. When his neck first began to swell some months ago, he thought it was due to a beating he'd received in jail. But the swelling on both sides of his neck increased, followed by fatigue and swollen lymph nodes elsewhere."

"A definitive diagnosis is in: Father Gerry has (what later was confirmed as chronic lymphocytic leukemia). So he is not only a prisoner of conscience, one of hundreds in Haiti, but a sick prisoner who needs more than prayers and letters of support. He needs proper medical care and, probably chemotherapy," hard to get anywhere in Haiti and impossible "in a Haitian prison." Farmer said his symptoms were progressing rapidly, could damage his immune system, would make him susceptible to common prison infections and diseases, and might end up killing him.

On October 13, 2004, Haitian police arrested him while feeding hungry children in his parish on charges of being "a threat to public order," or in other words no charges, so they made one up. After several weeks, he was released following outcries from supporters, but it was only the beginning of his ordeal.

In July 2005, he was arrested again on charges of murdering journalist Jacques Roche even though he was out of the country at the time of the killing. On July 28, Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience, its highest honor. On January 26, 2006, the murder charges were dropped, but he was indicted on illegal weapons possession and conspiracy.

Then on January 29, he was provisionally released on humanitarian grounds to receive proper medical care in Miami.

On September 11, 2006, the University of San Francisco awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his human rights and social justice work. On November 26, 2007, the Port-au-Prince Court of Appeals heard challenges to his illegal weapons and conspiracy charges but declined to dismiss them, even though the prosecutor said no evidence existed.

Finally, in June 2008, the remaining charges were dropped. All were bogus and intended only to intimidate and harass, disrupt his social justice work, and remove a persistent thorn - a beloved humanitarian and champion of the poor from continuing his work and speaking forcefully against what former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune called Haiti's "political machine of injustice" and all forms of violence.

In September 2005, Port-au-Prince's archbishop Joseph Serge Miot suspended Fr. Gerry from his parish duties at the city's St. Claire Catholic Church on grounds he might run for president, something the Vatican prohibits. Jean-Juste was in prison at the time, couldn't register if he considered running, and immediately appealed. The Vatican, however, supported Miot. The suspension remained, and likely it was less about politics than the Liberation Theology Fr. Gerry practiced.

Rome has long supported some of the most repressive dictators globally. In Haiti also even though it excommunicated Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier in 1959 for expelling clergy critical of his rule. However, in 1966, Pope Paul IV capitulated, reversed the excommunication, and gave Duvalier veto power over Haitian clerical appointments.

The Vatican hardly notices what Haitians now endure, their deep poverty and deprivation, and how oppressively Washington-backed governments treat them. Only humanitarian opposition engenders its ire, the kind no one practiced better than Fr. Gerry.

He was born in Cavaillon, Haiti in 1947, grew up in Les Cayes in the Southeast, studied for the priesthood in Canada, was ordained in 1971, then returned to Haiti to minister to the poor. After refusing to sign a loyalty oath to the Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier government later in 1971, he came to America, worked at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, and earned two degrees from Northeastern University - in engineering technology in 1974 and civil engineering in 1977.

In 1979, he co-founded the Miami Haitian Refugee Center to help thousands of Haiti's poor find asylum in America from repression and deep poverty at home. International law protects them, but it hardly mattered then or now.

Being poor and black, Haitians aren't wanted so they're denied the same rights afforded more favored immigrants like Europeans and Cubans. They're rounded up on arrival, denied refuge, placed in detention under deplorable conditions, and treated like criminals before most often being deported back home. Fr. Gerry worked tirelessly on their behalf and against America's discriminatory immigration policies. In 1980, he told the Miami Herald:

"Haitian people had no rights in Haiti, and they have no rights here. They are starving, they are being separated from their families, they cannot work."

Haitian Women of America's executive director, Marleine Bastien, told the AP:

"We were out in the streets, demonstrating nearly every day on behalf of other Haitian immigrants. I can still in my mind's eye see (Fr. Gerry) lying on the ground when buses were taking refugees without process - lying there in the path of the buses."

In 1980, a US District Court ruled for the Center against the Immigration and Naturalization Service's "wholesale violations of due process" and racial bias for its mass deportation policy. It ordered a new hearing for thousands of Haitians - represented by the Center and other organizations in a class-action suit.

After Jean-Bertrand Aristide's February 1991 election, Fr. Gerry returned to Haiti to help his country's poor and represent the Haitian diaspora abroad. However, after the September military coup, he went into hiding, only resuming his work publicly after Aristide's 1994 return.

After the February 2004 coup, the Washington-installed Latortue government began the above-described ordeal that led to his illness and death. Tears and tributes now honor him. The best way for us all is to support others who continue his work - with far more than just lip service.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=13804

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy