Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Met A student, a Writer At Sonoma State University, Ca

Below is what she wrote about me, about my conversation with her.
Erin Guenther

All he wants is peace and love. A self-proclaimed man of the world, Wadner
Pierre is unlike any other person you will ever meet. He dreams of a world
where everyone can have access to the things that make them happy; peace,
love, food, and education.

It’s hard to explain just how captivating he is. After talking with him I
cannot help but feel enlightened and motivated to do something for the
world. It’s rare to find someone who shows such dedication and passion to
make changes in their country like Pierre does.

A native of Haiti, a country plagued with political turmoil and civil
unrest, Pierre came to SSU this spring to increase his knowledge of the
English language and the American culture. He still continues to try to
make a difference.

“If there is a problem in one country, it is a problem for the whole
world,” said Pierre. With the amount of turmoil in Haiti, he is on a
mission to show the world what a Haitian’s life is really like.

“It is my dream to meet people, talk and spend time with them, and tell
their story,” he said.

Pierre began documenting the plight of the Haitian people as a
photographer and journalist in August 2006, when his first article about
the release of political prisoners arrested by an illegal government was
printed. Since then, he has been writing, photographing and making his
voice heard, publishing in several newspapers and winning awards.

“That’s my dream, but I can still do more,” Pierre thought to himself
after his first article was published by the Institute for Justice and
Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).

In early 2004, Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned as President of Haiti, some
say at the hands of Canada, France, and the United States, creating some
of the worst political turmoil the country has ever seen. With the uproar
caused by the resignation and the swearing in of current president
Boniface Alexandre, the UN established a resolution authorizing a
stabilization mission known as MINUSTAH.

Originally aimed at increasing security and protection during the
electoral period and to assist with the restoration and maintenance of the
rule of law, public safety and public order in Haiti, MINUSTAH is
responsible for more political disorder and is accused of murdering many
civilians. Critics of the resolution fell that it’s alter, and true,
mission is to stop the election of the popular vote in Haiti in order to
assist the “imperialist” agenda of Canada, France and the U.S.

MINUSTAH seems to have now focused all of its attention on “gangsters,”
storming the cities of Cite Soleil and Port-au-prince in an attempt to
gain control of the area. In several of these raids, many innocent
Haitians have been arrested or killed. Estimates on one such example range
from five to 80, with no MINUSTAH fatalities.

Revolts and protests for the return of President Aristide continue
throughout the area, with MINUSTAH personnel constantly thwarting and
arresting those involved.

Pierre’s activism began at age 14 when he worked with Father Gerard
Jean-Juste, a local activist with a mission to help everyone in a
religious youth group.

“Jean-Juste represented hope for our community,” said Pierre. Jean-Juste
was arrested twice for his political opinions by the illegal government,
and it was these arrests that inspired Pierre to do something. After his
release, Jean-Juste continued to fight for the return of Aristide.

“We couldn’t just look at the problem,” said Pierre. “We had to fight,
fight, fight. And we fought, and we fought, and we fought.”

Pierre continued to fight by documenting the events in Haiti, regularly
writing articles for “The Haiti Analysis” and other political activism
sites, stressing the importance of independent journalism.

“We need independent journalists and photojournalists. The world is
thirsty for the truth and the truth is a duty for all journalists,” he

His photography is used by many other news sources and while at SSU he
posts photos and other updates on his online blog

An immeasurable amount of passion is reflected in his photography. He
explained that words may be able to explain a situation, but it cannot
touch someone’s heart. A picture can hit someone deep within and bring out
emotions, so they may truly understand what is happening around the world.

“I like to photograph and register the voice of the people, to translate
what they say, what they want,” he said.

A snapshot of his work, "The Haiti Experience: a Struggle for Liberty" was
featured in the Sonoma State Student Union until March 7. The exhibit
showcased over 20 photographs and writing excerpts by the photojournalist
about the traumatic struggles Haiti has endured since the removal of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February of 2004.

Although he never truly wanted much recognition, Pierre’s work has
received a lot of attention and awards. Project Censored recently honored
Pierre for his article about the horrible way the UN was treating Haitian
civilians. The article, “HAITI: Poor Residents of Capital Describe a State
of Siege” can be viewed at

“I cried I was so happy,” said Pierre. “My work is being followed by the
world and I have some support from the American people.”

“I believe I can change something in my country,” he said. “I don’t wish
to die without using my mind, my knowledge to do something for my country
and the world. I love the change. I believe I can make change.”

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