HLLN's Tribute to Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste – Yon gwo konbatan ale

Ezili Dantò’s Note:
HLLN Pays Homage to Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste

(SFbayview version ; hear the voice of Jean Ristil as LakouNew York honors the life of  Jean Ristil – Kreyòl broadcast of 2hr special on funeral of Jean Ristil on March 5, 2005 ;  LakouNY honors the life of Jean Ristil broadcasts on 27 Fevriye, 28 Fevriye, 29 Fevriye, 2012. The photos Jean Ristil took recently for HLLN.)
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On February 25, 2012, Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste (Dec 12, 1981 to Feb. 25, 2012) travèse – made his transition. He suffered from chronic ill health, anxieties and stress but for him, saying he was feeling fine was an automatic reflex, almost to the very end, even when it wasn’t true.

He wanted to live.

Jean Ristil fearlessly, even recklessly faced the complexities and harsh realities of living in Site Solèy, Haiti – the poorest, most destitute community in the Western Hemisphere. He was a living library of information which he extended to the world as a Haiti journalist, international photojournalist, a community leader, founder of Fondasyon Kole Zepòl Pou Sove Timoun Site Solèy and long time member of HLLN (Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network)-/Ezili Dantò Witness Project. He was only 30 years old. He spent months before his death in hiding because of the constant threats to his life from the Duvalierist retaking of Haiti behind US-UN firepower and false NGO charity. (“They will kill me. I am in hiding. I can no longer go home” – Interview of Jean by Ezili Dantò, June 7, 2005)

Jean Ristil was an information source for us at Ezili Dantò’s HLLN from 2004 the present, on what was going on in the populous neighborhoods under attack by the US/UN occupation forces. A loyal friend, a soldier for justice, a respected leader in Site Solèy, an indomitable spirit.

Jean led with a quiet energy. You reached out, he was there, watching, already in the mix, listening intensely, ready to be of service, to share. He had stubborn determination. He hustled, he had game, he refused to be defeated. No matter the difficulty, he expected to come through it safely. He would take on a task, even when he had no idea how to get it done but then he’d make a way. Jean frustrated you sometimes but you forgave him. What are you going to do? It wasn’t Jean Ristil’s fault that he scared you to death always facing danger so directly – going where angels fear to thread. Not his fault he had to feed and provide for so many who would otherwise go hungry in NGO-occupied Haiti.

Jean Ristil was the real thing – he could not look away or betray his community as the most educated, privileged and powerful in Haiti,  in the world, at the UN Security Council,  do.  Jean didn’t live to make a profit over people but to be of service. We’ll miss Jean Ristil. So much. His work and courage remain to inspire us, to keep us going forward.

An avan, an avan for Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste, his children, family and all in need in Site Soley. We mourn our loss but rejoice in the memory of his ceaseless struggle for justice and equality. Nou pap bay legen (We will not give up).

Ezili Dantò
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN)
Feb. 26, 2012.

(Below is the “HLLN pays tribute to Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste” piece written on the day of his death, in Kreyòl and in English.  See also, a Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste report for the Ezili Dantò Witness Project on the May 18, 2005 killings & HLLN Sept. 9, 2005 post, “Free Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil .”)


HLLN’s tribute to Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste – Yon gwo konbatan ale by Ezili Dantò, Feb. 25, 2012

Scroll below for English translation

Cité Soleil Photography Workshops
The wonderful Jean Ristil surrounded by children.
2009 May/June Fondasyon Kolézépol Photography Workshops
©Jennifer Pantaléon
By: Zanmi Lakay

Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste
12 Desanm 1981 –25 Fevriye 2012

Nan jou sa a, 25 Fevriye, 2012, solèy la kouche nan lavi Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste (Jan Ristil). Nou pèdi yon gwo konbatan, djanm e konsekan.

Lan Ezili’s HLLN nou pa p janm bliye lavi Jan Ristil. Li te travay pou jistis, pou gen lavi e sante an Ayiti. Li kenbe lonè li. Ayibobo pou ou Jan Ristil.

The massive crowd jubilant and joyoux outside President Aristide’s residence on the day of his return to Haiti after US regime change and deportation in 2004. Photo: Jean Ristil Jean Baptise, March 18, 2011.

Jan Ristil bay Ayiti lavi l, tout lanmou l, menm sante l. San Jan Ristil koule pou Ayiti. Li te yon gwo gason vanyan, yon gason konsekan. Li te bon jan frè nou. Pitit Desalin. Li pa t janm vann Ayiti bay etranje, li te toujou konnen se san Zanset li yo ki te koule pou ban nou libète, se pa t kado blan te fè nou .

Jan Ristil te fèt lan Site Solèy 12 Desanm 1981. Jan Ristil pase lavi li nan Site a. Bon tan move tan, li te toujou kanpe djanm ak popilasyon a. Li pran prizon anba Gerard Latortue. Yo te bat li plizyè fwa pou travay li kòm jounalis e fotograf. Li t ap goumen pou bay san vwa yo la pawòl.

Jan pase tout tan li ap ede ti moun nan Site a – ni sa ki pa genyen papa, ni sa ki pa genyen manman. Se sa k fè nou tout kanpe pou n di jan nou lan doulè jodi a. Tout mounkonsekan ki te konnen Jan Ristil te renmen li – renmen sa gason vanyan sa a tefè nan lavi li. Li pa te genyen anpil edikasyon lekòl, men li te pwofesè lavi. Li te konnen sa sa vle di “onè ak respè.”

Zili Dlo: Grand opening Wednesday-Meeting beneficiaries
Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste, Haiti journalist, photographer, community leader, founder of Fondasyon Kole Zepòl and long time member of HLLN/Ezili Dantò Witness Project,
August 10, 2011

Photo Credit: Dominique Esser

Li ban nou edikasyon: lavi’ l montrenou sa sa vle di pou yon Ayisyen san ankenn mwayen goumen san souf pou lajistispou popilasyon an. Lavi li montre nou yon gason edike se yon gason ki genyen kèsansib pou sa k pi piti yo. Pale Fransé pa edikasyon.

Jan Ristil te alatèt òganizasyon Kole Zepòl Pou Sove Timoun Site Solè. Kole Zepòl se yon òganizasyon k ap batay pou lajistis pandan l ap bay timoun Site Soley chemen ak lespwa. Jan Ristil se te zanmi nou, epi kolaboratè Ezili Dantò Witness Project, Lakou New York, ak anpil lòt medya.

Gwo konbatan, gwo konbatan.  Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste, nou te vle sove w. Se vre ti frè – “bondye p ap janm bliye moun li renmen yo.” Ayisyen ki gen kè, pa p janm bliye w. Nou bouke ak lanmò. Nou bouke ak lanmò gwo konbatan nou yo. Gason vanyan takou Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste ki travay pou lajistis ann Ayiti, men ki pa janm wè jistis pou tèt pa yo epi pou timoun yo. — li kite rès la pou noumenm ki deyè.

Scroll below for English translation.  (Ale tande LakouNew York sou Jean Ristil, Omaj pou Jan Ristil –5 Mas 2012 27 Fevriye, 28 Fevriye, 29 Fevriye)

Ezili Dantò of HLLN
February 25, 2012
Photos Jan Ristil pran pou HLLN — Photos Jean Ristil took for HLLN


English Translation (by the Haitian Blogger):

HLLN’s tribute to Jean Ristil Jean Baptiste – Yon gwo konbatan ale by Ezili Dantò, Feb. 25, 2012

Cité Soleil Photography Workshops
The wonderful Jean Ristil surrounded by children.
2009 May/June Fondasyon Kolézépol Photography Workshops
©Jennifer Pantaléon
By: Zanmi Lakay

Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste
12 Desanm 1981 –25 Fevriye 2012

On Feb. 25, 2012, the sun has set on the life of Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste (Jan Ristil). We lost a great warrior, courageous and committed.

At Ezili’s HLLN we pay tribute for the life of our beloved Jan Ristil. He worked for justice, to bring life and health to Haiti. He kept his honor. Ayibobo pou ou Jan Ristil (All hail Jean Ristil).

The massive crowd jubilant and joyoux outside President Aristide’s residence on the day of his return to Haiti after US regime change and deportation in 2004. Photo: Jean Ristil Jean Baptise, March 18, 2011.

Jean Ristil gave his life, all his love, even his health for Haiti. His blood flowed for Haiti. He was a brave and consequential man. He was our true brother – Dessalines’ descendant. He never sold Haiti out to the foreigners. He knew it was the blood of the Ancestors which gave us our freedom. It was not a gift the whites made ​​us.


Jean Ristil was born in Site Solèy on December 12, 1981. Jean lived his entire life in the city. Through good times and bad times, he was always there for the people of Haiti. He was thrown in jail under the Gerard Latortue regime. He was persecuted. They beat him many times for his work as a journalist and photojournalist. He fought hard to give voice to the voiceless.

Zili Dlo: Grand opening Wednesday-Meeting beneficiaries
Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste, Haiti journalist, photographer, community leader, founder of Fondasyon Kole Zepòl and long time member of HLLN/Ezili Dantò Witness Project,
August 10, 2011

Photo Credit: Dominique Esser

He spent all his time helping the children in Site Solèy – especially those without fathers, those without mothers. Everyone of consequence who knew him loved Jean Ristil, loved what this humble man did with his life. He didn’t have much formal schooling, but he was a degreed professor in the university of life. He knew the real meaning of “honor and respect.” He educated us: his life showed us how a Haitian without material means fights on without rest for justice for the people. His life showed us the very meaning of being in the struggle for justice. His life is testimony that a genuinely educated man is a man with empathy for those less privilege.  Pale Fransé pa edikasyon. Speaking French is doesn’t mean you’re necessarily educated.

Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste, Haiti journalist, photographer, community leader, founder of Fondasyon Kole Zepòl and long time member of HLLN/Ezili Danto Witness Project, August 10, 2011

Jean was head of an organization working for justice in Haiti called: Kole Zepòl Pou Sove Timoun. He worked as friend and collaborator with the Ezili Dantò Witness Project, Lakou New York, and many other media outlets.

A great warrior, great warrior.  Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste, we wanted to save you.

He was our genuine brother and as Jan once wrote, “God will never forget those he loves.” Haitians with loving hearts, will never forget you. We are tired of death. Tired that so many of our warriors are dying, brave men like Jean Ristil Jean-Baptiste who work for social justice in Haiti, but never live to see justice done for themselves nor for their children. He leaves the rest to us.

Ezili Dantò of HLLN
February 25, 2012, translated by the Haitian blogger
Photos Jan Ristil pran pou HLLN — Photos Jean Ristil took for HLLN

Massacres à Cité Soleil – What’s going on in Haiti: Another View- PART 1

Jean Ristil’s footage of the UN December massacre in Site Soley, Haiti. UN lied, said they only shot “gangsters” on Dec 22, 2006.
Jean Ristil interviews “gangsters” (innocent, unarmed civilians in Site Soley) as they lay dying from UN bullets. @haitiinfoproj
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Jean Ristil’s footage of the July 2005 massacre in Site Soley
at the end of “Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits.” @haitiinfoproj

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Haiti: Jan 1, 2012 Another Independence Day Under Occupation

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