Sunday, January 10, 2010

A note on the passing of Daniel Simidor

Daniel Simidor, a Haitian patriot, one of the most eloquent voices of the genuine Haitian left and a man that I hope I will not be overstating to say I considered a friend and a fellow advocate for the kind of just and humane governance in Haiti that its people deserve, passed away this morning in New York City.

Daniel (born Andre Elizee) was the kind of man that Haiti needs more of, someone intimately connected with the struggle of his people from the ground up and yet able to move with ease in the intellectual and political circles of places such as New York, the city that had been his home for many years. Far from being a simple polemicist or, worse yet, a dilettante, Daniel was a man who cared passionately about the state of his native country and its people, a passion that never slackened in the many years I corresponded with him or the few times I met him. With his political activism, Daniel did a great deal to bring the story of what was happening to Haitians both in their own country, in the neighboring Dominican Republic and in the United States to a far wider audience than would have otherwise known about it, and for many years played a very constructive role in the international dialogue on many issues relating to Haiti.

When my grandfather, Jospeh H. Deibert, passed away late last year, I encountered an African-American Lutheran minister from Illinois who had come all the way to Pennsylvania to pay his respects, and said simply that "You've got to give honor to those who deserve it." I wanted to take this moment to give honor not just to Daniel's memory, but to his advocacy while alive. Daniel Simidor taught me a great deal about Haiti in the brief time and tangential way that I knew him, and his is certainly a voice that will be missed in the ongoing debate about the country's future.

Onè, respè, Daniel. Rest in peace.


Jedidiah Daudi said...

I have followed Daniel Simidor's postings on the Corbett list with pleasure and excitement for ten years or so. I am truly sorry to hear of his passing.

David said...

Very nicely expressed. Thank you, Michael.

David Wilson