Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Half-Hour for Haiti: Read Paul Farmer’s Never Again?

October 18, 2006
Half-Hour for Haiti: Read Paul Farmer’s Never Again?
Update: Some bad news first: political prisoner Rene Civil was formally charged last week, for car theft and for illegal weapons possession.  As we discussed in our August 31 alert,  the charges against Mr. Civil appear to be extremely weak, and politically-motivated. We are working with Mr. Civil’s lawyers at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, who are considering filing an appeal, to develop a response.Mike Levy sends a mesi anpil (thank-you) to everyone who agreed to pitch in on the AHP translation project. He could use still more help, so if you can translate French-English and have some time to spare for a good cause, email mlhaiti@cornernet.com.Coming Events:  A coalition of human rights groups in Haiti has announced that next week will be a week of mobilization for the La Scierie case. Some of the defendants in that case, including former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, have been released, but as we mentioned in our August 9 alert, others, including former legislator Amanus Mayette, remain in prison, 30 months after their arrest, with no trial in sight. We will place documents on the mobilization up on our website as they arrive, and focus on the case in next week’s alert.

This week’s action:  Read “Never Again? Reflections on Human Values and Human Rights” by Dr. Paul Farmer, available at: http://www.tannerlectures.utah.edu/lectures/Farmer_2006.pdf.  Never Again was delivered as the prestigious Tanner Lectures on Human Values at the University of Utah. It explores the connections between structural violence (social structures characterized by poverty and steep inequality) and the disproportionate impact of disease, violence and other violations of human rights on Haiti’s poor and people like them.  Most importantly, Never Again analyzes the connections between this suffering and the comfort in wealthy countries, and discusses what we can do to build a more just world.

Never Again is disturbing, but also thought provoking and inspiring.  It is a good next step for readers of Mountains Beyond Mountainswho want to know more about Dr. Farmer’s philosophy. It is also very useful for all of us who realize that there is something very wrong in the poor streets of Haiti and similar countries, but struggle to articulate it in terms of morality or human rights.

Paul Farmer is a founder of Partners In Health, and a founder and Board Member of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.
____________________________________________________________________________________ For more information about the Half-Hour for Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, or human rights in Haiti, see www.haitijustice.org. To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts once per week, send an email to HalfHour4Haiti@ijdh.org. Tax-deductible contributions to support IJDH’s work can be made on the website, or sent to IJDH, PO Box 745, Joseph, OR 97846.

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