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A tour d'horizon of our spokesperson and executive editor, Professor Yves A. Isidor, a man with an eclectic and impressive curriculum vitae
There is so much to be admired in human rights and democracy advocates who are brave, enough to say things that are true, even when they are unpopular and can even cause brutal death to visit them. That is the sort of image that Professor Yves A. Isidor has long sought to cultivate - a man not afraid to speak his mind, to call a spade a spade, to stand up against uncommonly vicious tyrants and dehumanizing poverty.
For more than twenty five years, the greatest intersection of economics and politics, the latter with an emphasis on human rights and democracy (it conveys other, essential, protections for liberty, in addition to the mere holding of elections. On that reasoning is to say an independent judiciary system, equality before a well-enforced rule of law and many more of the same nature or relevance are reasons to, admittedly, pronounce a nation a true democracy), has been in Professor Isidor.
For visitors of this electronic scholarly journal of democracy and human rights, whose cardinal tenet is simply truth, to understand why for more than two decades Professor Isidor has been conducting research, writing and endlessly advocating that "Democracy and respect for human rights, rather than dictatorship, whether it is of the far-right or the far-left, should be Haiti's route to harmony and economic prosperity, meaning an end to the dehumanizing poverty that the majority of his fellow Haitian compatriots have been long forced to endure, is to first meet him through a brief narrative account of his careers, describing his accomplishments.
Professor Isidor - a person of exceptional intellectual calibre with evident social standing and integrity, clear democratic and human rights qualities - has been since 1991 a spokesperson for We Haitians United We Stand For Democracy, a Cambridge, MA-based nonpartisan political pressure group with an emphasis on democracy and human rights, but not limited to the Republic of Haiti. It is not just that he is also the executive editor of wehaitians.com (an invaluable resource), widely regarded, not least by itself, as the world's only English language Haitian-American scholarly journal of democracy and human rights of record. Yes, he teaches economics at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth - one of America's top regional (north) universities, U.S. News & World Report. Also, one of the world's best, according to The Financial Times 2010 top universities in the world. A campus legend for the depth, drama and sheer grandeur of his teaching, students often call him months before the beginning of the fall and spring semesters to inquire if he has a class waiting list, and if so, would it be possible that their names, in addition to those already on that list, figure on it.
Progressive writings have long been dangerous for kings and dictators, to name only these ones. A fact that may attest to that contention is destroying books that challenge the state's worldview, for example, occurred as early as 213 B.C., when Chinese Emperor, Qin Shi Huagdi, burned all books in the realm in an attempt to unify thought, favoring himself and his reign of terror.
Professor Isidor's research and writings (partial) focus on political and economic issues in the United States and Latin America - including the Caribbean. Many of his columns have been published in major United States' newspapers, both regional and national. Some of these publications are: USA Today, The Cambridge Chronicle, The Boston Herald, The Standard-Times, The Providence Journal, The Washington Times, and The Boston Connection Magazine, where until the year, 1999, he was a columnist.
Dear Yves A. Isidor,
On behalf of Baraka Productions, I would like to introduce myself, Roopa De Choudhury, Associate Producer for the documentary "Haiti-200 Years Later." Our documentary traces the turbulent history of Haiti, using the last three years of Aristide's Presidency to reflect upon. We have been shooting in Haiti since December 2003 and have interviews with Timothy Carney, James Dobbins, the opposition leaders in Haiti, Michael Ratner, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Danny Glover and others in Haiti as well. We also recently had an interview with Aristide in South Africa. We would greatly appreciate an interview with you to gain your insight on the situation, as you have written such informational and valuable articles on wehaitians.com. We also need a true and balanced perspective for this documentary.
Your interview will be an extremely valuable component of our documentary. It will help us get a dynamic perspective on Haiti and Aristide's role. "Haiti-200 Years Later" is being produced by PBS regional and SWISS National TV. Also we would be happy to provide you bios of the director, producer and creative team. We shall be in Boston on 24th September and would be most grateful for your interview. Please email me and/or call me at ... to let me know if that is possible and with any questions.
Roopa De Choudhury
Certainly, some Harvard University professors, a "de minimus" number of Boston University professors and prominent radio personalities, in the United States, have noticed Professor Isidor's writings, but what they all have grasped so clearly is how research worthy they (writings) are, as the contents of many research projects undertaken, columns and position papers written by the researchers in question suggest.
The Institute for Ibero-American Studies (www.duei.de/iik/), which participates in the virtual specialist library Ibero-America cibera (www.cibera.de), also in Hamburg, Germany, is one of the many renowned network of information and research organizations outside the United States that have permanently stored selected texts written by professor Isidor, and they all are published in this scholarly journal of democracy and human rights.
The ambitions of the Institute for Ibero-American studies appear to surpass those of its rivals. Permanent public access to these texts is ensured via a specialist portal. In a database the documents are specified in form and content, and their copyright holders (authors and institutions) are identified. In addition, a link refers each one of the original documents to this journal of democracy and human rights. The ultimate logic in all this, the texts do mean learning - from university students to academics, to mention only these ones.
Unsurprisingly, it is, of course, for the love of a hopeful democratic Haiti that Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize winning aid group Medecins sans Frontieres, has too directed his attention to this journal, as his writings, published online, suggest.
Of course, incredibly prolific that they are, though through an uncalculated modesty he often maintains the illusion that he is simply a raconteur (one who recounts stories and anecdotes with skill and wit) of democracy and human rights crimes, not a writer of prõdigium (prodigious) talents. Professor Isidor's writings are also readily accessible to thousands of people, if not millions of citizens, who do not speak nor read English, both here in the United States and foreign countries. Often, a question is posed to him: "Why not writing only in English?" As a writer, his claims for the interest in writing in French, Haitian-Creole and Spanish (he speaks them all fluently, too.), in addition to English, are often asserted as a matter of having his work quite widely read, and, hopefully, it will have a multiplying effect, but first on the attitudes of those, including leaders, who have yet to embrace free-market economics and democracy so they may live up to the expectations of the majority of their fellow compatriots. Le Monde (France's most prestigious daily newspaper), like Haiti-Progrès, to name only these two publications of international significance, have published many of his columns.
And, his columns' worth on economic, social and political issues in certain municipalities in the state of Massachusetts (U.S.A.) has been recognized by editors of local newspapers and gutted their publications to accommodate them.
Professor Isidor is an authentic democracy and human rights pioneer. He is nationally and internationally recognized for his work in economics, business, journalism, and has earned a reputation for practicing what he teaches. Visitors of this electronic scholarly journal of democracy and human rights hoping for a list of honors that have been conferred on him should know that he has been a finalist in The New England Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, sponsored by Ernst & Young, Inc. Magazine, and Merrill Lynch. More than that, he has been the recipient of The Boston Connection Magazine Writer Of The Year Award and The Caribbean Press Agency Business And Economic Reporting Of The Year Award.
Also figure on the list of awards received by Professor Isidor are: The Small Business Advocate Award and The Cambridge Civic Community Service Award.
Yet there is the Massachusetts (U.S.A.) State Senate, which through a June 15, 2002 official commendation as "Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate Official Citation," propounded fascinating views about Professor Isidor, highly praised him for his "outstanding leadership, commitment and dedication to the Boston Haitian-American community."
What may also be found to be of interest, if not especially of importance, in the official commendation for meritorious actions is: "Be it further known that the Massachusetts Senate extends best wishes for continued success; that this citation be duly signed by the President of the Senate and attested to and a copy thereof transmitted by the Clerk of the Senate," suggesting that Professor Isidor's name has once again attained a permanent prominent placement, but this time in the State Senate valuable repository of information relating to its public affairs, which the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts deliberately and duly elected members of that upper legislative body in the bicameral legislature for to conduct.
What are Professor Isidor's other accomplishments? On numerous occasions, he has been invited by colleges, universities and professional organizations, to speak on topics related to politics and economics in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. For example, in March 1987, he spoke at The Harvard University Law School on politics and economics in Haiti. Often, in the Boston area when he is not a panelist or feature guest speaker he serves rather in the capacity of a moderator.
Indeed, Professor Isidor has accomplished a lot more. Transporting themselves further through his voluminous list of accomplishments, visitors of this electronic scholarly journal of democracy and human rights would also learn: Often, when a major United States' newspaper, from The Boston Globe to The Miami Herald, needs a professional opinion on politics and economics in the Caribbean and Latin America his allegiance to democracy and commitment to human rights oblige him to offer one (a center of division). So, too, the same may be said for many highly respected foreign publications, radio and television stations, including The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation or CBC.
Becoming an authority on the bestiality of the Haitian government, presided by Jean-Bertrand Aristide - a populist with totalitarian tendencies, or actually a radical leftist and uncommonly chief bandit, who has a desire for assassinating (photographs, graphic) even presumed political opponents that many believe him to be the Caribbean fictional creation of Stalin - first can require years of study; however, comparing it to the reigns of terror of Nero and Diocletian and, more recently, Lenin and Hitler, as its attempted assassination of Port-au-Prince's Archbishop, François Wolf Ligondé, in 1991, not to mention an innumerable number of priests and democracy and human rights advocates assassinated, and brutally so, simply for uttering aloud the word "democracy," could a decade or so ago help draw the following conclusion: "Professor Yves A. Isidor faces death by necklacing" - a system of forcibly putting used automobile tires around political opponents' necks before pouring gasoline and set them on fire, which ultimately results in fatal death (photograph, graphic).
|"Since human rights, democracy, economics and journalism intersected - all in the pursuit of a democratic Haiti - the cry from the blood stained armchairs of reviled dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide and partners in the narcotics trade has been 'we will continue to rule at any cost necessary.'"|
It was because of Professor Isidor's writings and pronouncements for a democratic Haiti and against perpetual gross human rights violations and an unsavory dictatorship in the quasi-semi-Caribbean island nation that he was nearly assassinated by supporters and officials of the Haitian government, in 1991. A year later, he was physically attacked by supporters of the government of the same. And in 1995, his name appeared on a hit-list of the Haitian government. Still, he did not cave, but remained a freethinker. As a result, many advocates of democracy and human rights, to include others who, too, but at a distance, were in the pursuit of democracy in Haiti, became convinced, had he returned to Haiti, he would have been burnt alive, but first arrested and tortured like the Roman historian Bartolomco Platina - he, according to Catholic Encyclopedia, was taken out of the circulation and then tortured by Pope Alexander VI, 1421-1481, for daring to include the word pleasure in the title of his cookbook. His friend, Marsilio Ficino, a celibate philologist, translator of Plato, philosopher and physician, who helped spark Italian interest in ancient Greece, promoting a synthesis of classical philosophy and Christian theology that became a hallmark of Renaissance humanism, eventually became a priest. He mentioned that Plato should be read in the church. So, too, did he claim Socrates and Plato, to the great dissatisfaction of the church high hierarchy, as fore-runners of Christ - by the Haitian government and then revered as a martyr of free thought.
As the Haitian government continued not to serve freedom and promote the common good, but resorted to violence against peaceful citizens and advocates of democracy and human rights, however, to the surprise of hundreds of thousands of Haitian nationals and foreigners, Professor Isidor became a more symbol of anti-dictatorship. This could be explained by his numerous appearances on all Boston area television and radio news affairs programs as well as national talk shows. He eloquently argued that economic development was a quality rare in a dictatorship of the far-right. So, too, he offered the same assertion for communism, especially when it is in its totalitarian Stalinist-Maoist form.
To explain how contradictions in the world first communist state, the Soviet Union, killed Marx's vision of a free and prosperous society, or his aspirations to put what were the privileges of the few into the hands of the many, first Professor Isidor quoted him directly (from the Deutsche-Brusseler-Zeitung, Nov. 11, 1847): "If the material conditions that necessarily result in the disappearance of the capitalist mode of production and with it the overthrow of the capitalist ruling class have not yet appeared in the historical process, but should happen despite this before history requires it, then the victory of the proletariat in overturning the rule of the capitalist class can only be temporary."
Professor Isidor went on to briefly examine the economy (centrally planned) of the Soviet Union. Specific questions addressed were: Why did it fail, in 1989? And especially, why 32 years after Chairman Nikita Khrushchev himself in 1957 declared war on capitalism?
For Maoism, first he referred to a 1940 Mao's speech on democracy. "Coexistence with different social systems during a long transition to socialism will finally lead to communism."
Equally important to Professor Isidor in his analysis of Mao and his disgraced social system, was his extremely disastrous Great Leap Forward of the late 1950's, the slavery-type collectivization that ended up costing more than 35 million of Chinese peasants their lives, not including millions of intellectuals who also met with death after they were forced to work the land.
Professor Isidor has been more than an exceptional scholar, an incredibly prolific writer and human rights and democracy pioneer. There was also a moment in his life when he founded a financial and business consulting firm, Cambridge Financial Corp. That was in January 1983, and he has since served in the capacity of its Chief Executive Officer.
Of course, a lot more (but today, thanks, in part, to Professor Isidor's extraordinary works, Haiti's longtime de facto president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is daily described as being like a character - bestial, genocidal, uncommonly totalitarian, lethal, corrupt and ludicrous - from a newer Latin America's classic dictator novel, Mario Vargas Llosa's "Feast of the Goat"), conducting research and writing on Haiti, for example, remains to be done by Professor Isidor to help the Caribbean nation achieves democracy. And, its citizens, enjoy an acceptable quality of life, too, of course. The indispensable intellectual that he is, the human rights and democracy pioneer that he is, too, will enable him, but through his writings, to further attempt to enter the minds of readers and get under their skin, even those, such as dictators, who are reluctant to change - and, for the better.
It has been enormously difficult, if not painful, as the reader of this page has learned, for Professor Isidor, a man whose parents and elementary-school teachers imbued in him a love of democracy and human rights, to help carve out a new future for Haiti, delivering the Caribbean nation from dictatorship to democracy - and, respectably so.
Yet, the experience may not sound pleasant all for a man who believed to be fulfilling a historical imperative - not without reason, certainly.
"For nearly two hundred years, the majority of citizens of this small corner, Haiti, of the world," Professor Isidor once concluded, as he was disgorging a lecture without TelePrompTer or notes, "have been preoccupied with the political and economic impact of dictatorship. Worst of all, they have experienced dehumanizing poverty and succumb to so, in great numbers, at a premature age."
At one point, overcome by the continuing unparalleled suffering of the Haitian people, he opened wide his arms and said "We fail to detour Haiti into a democratic nation, a prosperous nation by neglecting those unacceptable problems;" in the mostly White and educated American audience. A petite and stylish Haitian-American woman clasped her hands, sighing, "C'est très bien ça!" (This is very good).
Professor Isidor has long discovered that one of his own ancestors played a role in August, 1791-December,1803 Haitian revolution against the French or, alternately, against slavery. So, it seems as if destiny is still calling. He feels that he has no choice but to continue embracing his historical responsibility.
The promotion of democracy, including maintaining it, in the Caribbean Republic (its long, most importantly, current political circumstances resemble a terrifying story by Lovecraft or Stoker), continues to be the thing for him to do and, adroitly so, as the Haitian government continues to make a spectacle of incivility by brutally killing political opponents (many of them in broad daylight), hoping that its odious crimes and passions for blood, to its specifications, will ultimately consign advocates of democracy and human rights to the archives of history.
Politics and economics, beyond dispute, will continue to demand ideas with real impact. Of course, great ideas will not come out of thin air. The truth is that what makes it certain the struggle for a democratic Haiti will not be poorer Professor Isidor will continue to claim a prominent role. Risks, certainly, will be aplenty, as evidence by his unique experience over the past twenty two years. Since you reject the idea of a totalitarian dictatorship in Haiti and elsewhere write him today for a speaking engagement. His appearance, expert on international politics and economics who has a desire to impart applicable knowledge and skills, at your college, university, or church, will sure prove beneficial to all conference participants. Great learning will take place, especially among students majoring in politics and economics. "Education," said John Dewey, "is the fundamental method of social progress." A few of Professor Yves A. Isidor's courses: Contemporary Issues Economics / Microeconomics / Development Economics
Correspond with Professor Yves A. Isidor via electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
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