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Haiti | San Francisco

Rally To Save Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine!
by Ben Terrall & Bill Carpenter ( wcarpent [at] ccsf.edu )
Thursday Sep 20th, 2007 11:53 AM
Rally at Market & Montgomery, September 18, 2007. Three-minute QT movie. 42MB.
Copy the following to embed the movie into another web page:
download video:

070918lovinskyhaitipt1x.mov (41.8MB)

On Tuesday, September 18, the Bay Area-based Haiti Action Committee
(HAC) held a rally in downtown San Francisco to call attention to the
unresolved kidnapping of veteran Haitian human rights activist
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine.

East Bay drummers Ustadi, Tacuma, Rondo and Lanier kicked things off
by playing West African percussion near the intersection of Market and
Montgomery, a public transit hub in the city's financial district.
Drums are the traditional lifeblood of political demonstrations in
Haiti, and the music resonated for the many among those congregating
who had witnessed Haitian protests first-hand. The drumming also
emphasized the deep African roots of the Haitian people and their
struggles against slavery and U.S.-backed colonialism.

MC Dave Welsh of the SF Labor Council, thanked the drummers and called
Robert Roth to the microphone. Roth took part in a delegation to
Haiti in late July that this reporter also joined in Port-au-Prince.
Roth, a San Francisco high school teacher and long-time HAC activist,
explained, "It's been over a month since Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine has
disappeared. He is a human rights worker, he's a psychologist, he's
worked with victims of torture from the coup of 1991-1994. He's
continued his human rights advocacy in Haiti during this recent coup
in 2004, a coup organized and created by the United States
government."

Roth continued, "When we were there in Haiti, we met with Lovinsky at
his house, he talked to us about the current situation in Haiti and
how the human rights violations continue against the people. He
talked to us about political prisoners, and how they continue to be
held in Haiti under the UN occupation, and how they continue to be
held under the Preval government. We then went to a demonstration on
the anniversary of the US occupation of Haiti, which took place in
1915^ the US stayed until 1934. This was the anniversary of that
occupation, and we went right in front of the UN headquarters in
Port-au-Prince, to observe a protest of this occupation, which has not
been for the people of Haiti, but has been for the rich of Haiti. It
has not been for the poor, it has been for the elite, it has kept the
elite in power and it is attempting to destroy democracy in Haiti. And
Lovinsky was in the front of that demonstration, not only speaking
directly to the UN, but then leading the demonstrators in a dance
which was beautiful to watch."

Roth concluded, "I want to just say that he is a deep thinker, and he
is a very, very important leader of the people's movement in Haiti.
And he has disappeared for over a month, and that's a crime against
the people of Haiti, it's a crime against anyone who believes in
freedom and justice. It's a crime against anyone who believes in peace
and dignity and human rights and all the things that we cherish. And
so our hearts are with him wherever he is. And we will not give up. We
will not give up our solidarity with Lovinsky. We will not give up
hope for his safe return, we will not give up our demand that the
authorities in Haiti account for his disappearance, and bring him
safely back to his family, his people. And we don't see this as just
about Lovinsky. It's about the people of Haiti, it's about the people
of Iraq, it's about the people of Palestine, it's about the people of
the Philippines, wherever people are fighting for justice. And so we
take a moment here to honor him, and we take a moment to let people
all over the world now that Lovinsky is with us, we're with him, and
we'll continue to be out here until he returns home safely."

HAC co-founder Pierre Labossiere echoed that internationalist
perspective in his comments about "this beautiful brother,
psychologist, human rights worker, someone who's at the forefront of
the movement for justice, for economic and social justice for the
people of Haiti, and for people throughout the world." Labossiere
described how when a member of the July delegation who was helping
organize a Human Rights Tribunal on crimes committed during Katrina
told Lovinsky of that New Orleans-based solidarity initiative,
"Lovinsky said 'how do I support it? Let me sign up.' [...] As a matter
of fact he was supposed to attend the tribunal when he disappeared
three weeks before, the actual tribunal took place. So Lovinsky is
one of those brothers who care for people world-wide, he's just...not
limited to Haiti. He sees the struggle for justice, and human rights,
and equality as a world-wide struggle, and that people need to rally
around from wherever you are from and link arms with each other, so we
can have a world of peace, a world of justice, where human rights are
respected."

Labossiere concluded that there was one message to deliver "to the US
embassy in Haiti, to the Brazilian authorities, who are in charge of
the UN mission in Haiti, to the Haitian authorities." That message:
"we need them to exert all their influence...they are very powerful,
very influential ^ with all sectors of Haitian society, from the very
top politicians to the underworld, to demand one thing: that brother
Lovinsky be returned to his family safely. We can do that, it's
important, it's necessary that we do that."
A letter that local Dominican Sister Stella Goodpasture recently sent
to the Brazilian government includes an important point about any
investigation to gain the safe return of Lovinsky: "I must emphasize
most emphatically that the Haiti Action Committee and other concerned
friends and family of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine are NOT asking for the
Brazilian mission in Port-au-Prince to crack down militarily as they
have in the past. What we are asking for is that Brazilian officials
express their concern through any and all channels that the kidnappers
should negotiate with Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine's family and that
Lovinsky needs to be released unharmed."

--Ben Terrall



Lovinsky photo at beginning of QT movie by Darren Ell:
http://www.darrenell.com/en/index.html
§Rally To Save Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine!
by Bill Carpenter Thursday Sep 20th, 2007 11:53 AM
070918lovinsky4517.jpg
070918lovinsky4517.jpg

§Rally To Save Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine!
by Bill Carpenter Thursday Sep 20th, 2007 11:53 AM
070918lovinsky4527.jpg
070918lovinsky4527.jpg

Part 2: Robert Roth
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/09/23/18449279.php