Nouvèl FOKAL

mercredi 4 mai 2011

Claude Rosier has passed away

G. Le Carret / FOKAL
Claude A. Rosier was a tireless human rights activist. His convictions were unshakeable. He paid dearly for these convictions, with an eleven year imprisonment in the infamous Duvalier jails, including Fort-Dimanche. He wrote about this sombre period of his life in a book « Le Triangle de la Mort, journal d’un prisonnier politique haïtien » (the Triangle of Death, the journal of a Haitian political prisoner). After the return of Jean-Claude Duvalier to Haiti, Rosier formally accused him of crimes against humanity. He passed away on April 11th from a heat attack at age 79.

« The error of all dictators is that, in spite of the lessons of history of many centuries, they believe that permanent violence is the solution to subdue nations. If it were so, Nero, Hitler, Mussolini, Duvalier, Avril, Cedras and others would have never known political failure. All people, even those we call backwards, can bear for a time, the violence of others, but always end by rebelling to destroy the dictatorship’s infernal machine », wrote Claude Rosier in « Le Triangle de la Mort, journal d’un prisonnier politique, 1966-1977 », published in 2003 by editions Henry Deschamps with the support of FOKAL.

More recently, he regularly participated in encounters organised by FOKAL and other associations of the Haitian civil society, in order to explain to the young what this dictatorship was and its consequences today.

He was arrested under Papa Doc in 1966 at his home in Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite and liberated in 1977 under Jean-Claude Duvalier. When liberated, he stayed in Haiti, trying to live a normal life. On February 16th 1986, with other survivors of Duvalier jails, he founded the Haitian political prisoners league. In 1991, he contributed largely to the production of the photographic exhibit of the victims of the dictatorship that was held at the Port-au-Prince Town Hall, an exhibit organised by the association of relatives of the victims « Pa bliye ».

“The terrible conditions of the political struggle which was illegal under the dictatorship, sectarian fights, lack of discipline, and the terrible consequences are all invoked by Claude Rosier in this terrifying account of eleven years spent in the prisons of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier”, writes Delano Gilbert in his preface. The readers, especially our compatriots, will learn or be reminded of the price paid for liberty and democracy in Haiti, and consider how to make them a reality in the country. Claude Rosier’s book is available at the Monique Calixte library.