A Tribute to Jean Anil Louis-Juste
By Yves Pierre-Louis

Professor Jean Anil Louis-Juste inspired his students and other progressives working for social change in Haiti
Along with the earthquake, another terrible event occurred on January 12. Gunmen assassinated in broad daylight Jean Anil Louis-Juste, a beloved teacher at the State University’s School of Human Sciences and Ethnology. No investigation has yet been launched into the killing, which occurred shortly before the massive quake. This report about Anil’s memorial service from Haiti Liberté’s Port-au-Prince bureau chief Yves Pierre-Louis conveys the deep infl uence Louis-Juste had on many Haitian students and progressive activists. His killing now takes its place among many other unsolved murders of progressive fi gures in Haiti including educator Charlot Jacquelin (1986), journalist Jean Dominique (2000), Father Jean Marie Vincent (1994), and Father Ti Jean Pierre- Louis (1999). The article was translated from its original Kreyòl by Kim Ives.

On Friday, Mar. 12, 2010, two months to the day after his death, several hundred students, professors, revolutionary militants, peasant representatives, and delegations from the U.S., Cuba and the Dominican Republic gathered in the yard of the School of Human Sciences to pay their last respects to a comrade, a university professor, a revolutionary, Jean Anil Louis-Juste. On Jan. 12, about two hours before the earthquake, criminals dispatched by shadowy reactionary forces assassinated Anil. They shot him three times, and he died later in the hospital. He was killed for speaking the truth, fi ghting lies, taking courageous positions and defending the masses’ interests while working at the State University of Haiti (UEH).

Who was Anil Louis-Juste? He was 53 years old, had studied agronomy, and had lots of diplomas. He had also studied sociology and had obtained a doctorate in sociology from the University’s School of Human Sciences and Ethnology. He had always taught his courses in Kreyòl, the Haitian people’s language, so that his ideas would fi nd purchase among the masses and change the way they think and act. He always fought for the people’s cause. He refused all bourgeois privilege so that he could remain true to his convictions.Anil helped to set up several student organizations including the Association of Dessalinien University Students (ASID), the Movement for Popular Democracy (MODEP), and the Gramsci Circle. In a leafl et that was circulated at the memorial service, the Student Group to Refl ect on Social Problems (GREPS) said: “Professor Anil, we will never forget you. They killed your body but liberty’s wind blows more strongly in our hearts, and what you planted in us will continue to fl ower.”

In a special issue of the revue Dessalinien (January/February 2010) entitled “Tribute for a Dessalinien Liberator, Jean Anil Louis- Juste,” ASID published a piece which Anil wrote on Jan. 5, 2009 entitled “Social Communication and Social Questions in Haiti: What Practice of Refl ection and Refl ection of Practice is there at the School of Human Sciences?”

“There is a tendency in Haiti for people to associate social communication with journalism,” he wrote in the piece. “When one talks about communication, people think of radio, newspapers, television, etc. If we could only communicate via the mass media, there wouldn’t be any communication. When we look at the news media’s programs, we fi nd that they give the politicians’ messages priority over every other aspect of life. But it isn’t a political message. It is the message of opportunists only fi ghting to occupy a state post. At the same time, journalists give the heads of ‘civil society organizations’ to right to construct new forms of the State, even though civil society wants to present itself as not having any State affi liation. It is only momentous social events when the mainstream press allows union leaders, popular organization leaders and peasant movement coordinators to talk. This practice makes even journalists think that it’s only civil and political politicians who are the source of news, in other words who can make an event important, who make sense and who interest the public the media is trying to reach. Furthermore, when they have to comment on a government decision, they grab a civil or political politician and put him or her before the people to give their opinion. Usually they speak on behalf of the political class in the opposition. The journalists don’t even consider that they themselves have the right to have their own opinion on the measures the State or civil society are taking in society. This practice makes social communication become still poorer. It is presented in two dimensions: its length is “political,” its width is media. If others speak of communications, they ask : ‘what authority do you have to refl ect on social communication.’”

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Haïti Liberté  Vol. 3 No. 34 • Du 10 au 16 mars 2010