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Attached, and below, is an announcement for a showing of "Pote Mak Sonje: the Raboteau Trial," in Boston on April 5, 2004 at 6 PM. The film is a must-see for anyone trying to understand recent events in Haiti. It chronicles the courageous and persistent fight by victims of a 1994 massacre to obtain justice through Haiti's court system. The Raboteau victims insisted on forcing a justice system that had always served those with guns and money to serve democratic ideals. They rejected violence, knowing that extrajudicial retaliation would only continue the vicious cycle. They bet on democracy continuing, and ensuring that anyone angered by their efforts would be forced to play by the same non-violent rules.
In a way the victims won their bet: many of their oppressors were convicted, and the trial was hailed as fair to defendants and victims alike, and one
of the most significant human rights trials in the hemisphere. They showed Haiti and the world that poor people can win a fight for justice.
The victims also lost their bet, and are paying a high price. Haiti's nine-year democratic interlude ended on February 28, with the violent coup d'etat against the elected government. Many of the insurgency's top leaders had been convicted in the Raboteau trial and for other atrocities. The rebels emptied the prisons in every city they took, releasing everyone in custody for Raboteau. The criminals are not playing by democratic or non-violent rules: they are back to doing the same systematic human rights violations as the last time they were in charge. Even before the coup d'etat, the Raboteau victims had been subject to retaliation. Most have been in hiding since December, two victims and the chief prosecutor have had their houses burned.
Pote Mak Sonje places the Raboteau victim's fight squarely within the broader context of the struggle of Hai
ti's poor majority for freedom and self determination, against powerful forces in Haiti and abroad. A panel discussion after the film will talk about the latest chapters of this struggle, the coup d'etat and popular resistance to the undemocratic takeover. Please attend the film to learn more about what is happening in Haiti, and to find out how you can support Haiti's democracy. Please forward this announcement to anyone who may be interested.
PARTNERS IN HEALTH
invites you to a film and panel discussion
Pote Mak Sonje: The Raboteau Trial
(Whoever Bears the Scar Remembers)
Director: Harriet Hirshorn
This film explores the 2000 Raboteau trial in Hait
i, one of the most significant human rights trials in the Western Hemisphere.
Monday, April 5, 2004
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Harvard Medical School - New Research Building
(opposite HMS Quad on Longwood Ave.)
The Conference Center - 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur - Boston, MA
(Public parking on Longwood Avenue or
Longwood Stop on "D" or "E" Green Lines)
Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, Co-founder Partners In Health / Zanmi Lasante
Jennifer Harbury, JD, Human Rights Lawyer / Radcliffe Institute Fellow
Brian Concannon Jr., JD, Human Rights Lawyer / Bureau des Avocats Internationaux
Co-sponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies/Harvard Universit
& the Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School