Henri Masson (born 5 February 1943 at Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits, France) is a French Esperantist. He learned Esperanto in 1970 and joined SAT-Amikaro, an international body making use of Esperanto to link groups of people in various Francophone countries, and was its general secretary until January 2008. He is also president of the Esperanto club of Vendee in France.
Henri Masson first became aware of Esperanto in his youth as he was flipping through the mail-order catalogue of Manufrance (Manufacture Francaise d'Armes et Cycles de St. Etienne), which had text in several languages, including Esperanto. When scarcely 18, he enlisted in the army for three years. Becoming a paratrooper, he was sent to Algeria one week before the end of the Algerian War and remained a few months there. Having concluded that a military career would not suit him, he became a convinced pacifist and gained employment with SNCF, the French national railway company. In 1970, he learned Esperanto and promptly joined SAT-Amikaro, participating in their 1972 congress at Narbonne.
In 1973, at the SAT-Amikaro congress in Lausanne, he unexpectedly inherited responsibility for the group's "propaganda service", which had been headed by Remo Magnani. He swiftly began making significant changes to the French-language publicity materials for SAT-Amikaro. As early as March 1975, he called for replacing the word "propaganda" in the columns of the SAT-Amikaro magazine with "information" — a change which the group finally made three years later in 1978.
After becoming secretary for SAT-Amikaro in 1979, replacing Simone Glodeau, he strengthened the information service. In 1988 he began supllementing the already existing flyers with fact sheets on various more or less specialized aspects of the Esperanto movement. On 1 June 1988 he was one of three guests for a one-hour program about Esperanto on the public radio channel France-Inter. This broadcast resulted in more than 5,000 requests from listeners for information. SAT-Amikaro's information service responded to the inquiries, and the response volume was so large that the radio station arranged a daily 15-minute Esperanto course; the show was aired every morning for five weeks, from 1 August 1988 until 3 September 1988.
In addition to his activities in SAT-Amikaro, Henri Masson was an active member of the World Non-national Association, known in Esperanto as Sennacieca Asocio Tutmondo (SAT). He regularly wrote articles for SAT's working group on pacifism. He was also a regular member of the resolutions committee and of its general council (Generala Konsilantaro). In this role, he strove to benefit other local societies linked with SAT through the organizing strength of SAT-Amikaro. In the '80s the magazines of several of these workers' Esperanto associations regularly made use of material that had been taken from the SAT-Amikaro magazine and its supplement. In 1985, he wrote the first version of the information booklet Kio estas SAT? ("What is SAT?")
As a local activist, he contributed to organizing the Paris regional branch of SAT-Amikaro through editing the monthly bulletin La Parizano ("the Parisian"). In 1993 he also took part, as a member of the Organiz-kongres-komitato, in planning the SAT-Amikaro congress in the Parisian suburb of Bondy, a town which afterwards saw the birth of an active local Esperanto group.
In 1995 he retired and moved to the sea-coast French department of Vendee in the Pays de la Loire region. There he helped found the Esperanto-Vendee Association, where he took responsibility for the publication of its bulletin, even becoming the local group's president in 1997. In parallel, he continued his activity on behalf of SAT-Amikaro as the Internet became a significant part of the group's educational outreach.
An important acoomplishment was the appearance in September 1995 of the French-language version of L'homme qui a defie Babel ("The man who defied Babel", edited by Rene Centassi on the basis of abundant material supplied by Masson. After discussions at the 2003 SAT-Amikaro congress in Mediterranean port town of Agde, he became one of the new co-editors of SAT-Amikaro's magazine La Sago ("The Arrow"), with the goal of ensuring regular publication; the sole editor until then had been Jean Selle. The French-language supplement to La Sago, for which Masson now had sole responsibility, was doubled from two pages to four, and was printed and bound directly into the magazine, no longer as an inserted separate sheet. Masson was also one out of the organizers of the Vendee district's Easter 2004 SAT-Amikaro congress held in La Roche-sur-Yon.
At the start of 2008 Masson resigned his posts in both SAT-Amikaro and SAT, and now continues his pro-Esperanto activities independently, chiefly through Internet communication, such as syndicating a blog for Ipernity and contributing to the Wikipedia project. He also regularly publishes articles about Esperanto, especially in the magazine Agoravox.
One of Masson's articles, for example, presents an exhaustive treatment of various street names found in the town of La Roche-sur-Yon, pointing out the many Esperantists and well-wishers of the Esperanto movement who have had streets in that town named in their honour, including Konrad Adenauer, Vincent Auriol, Maryse Bastie, Edouard Belin, Leon Blum, Willy Brandt, Edouard Branly, Emile Chartier, Georges Clemenceau, Rudolf Diesel, Ferdinand Duviard, Albert Einstein, Henri Farman, Camille Flammarion, Mahatma Gandhi, Edouard Herriot, Jean Jaures, Pope John XXIII, Joseph Joffre, Alfred Kastler, Paul Langevin, Louis Lumiere, Roger Martin du Gard, Francois Mitterrand, Olof Palme, Jean Perrin, Elisee Reclus, Emile Roux, Jules Verne, L. L. Zamenhof and Jean Zay.Du reve a la realite: l'esperanto ("From Dream to Reality: Esperanto"), in La Juna Penso, 3rd ed., Laroque Timbaut: 1977.
Esperanto or English? in La Juna Penso, Laroque Timbaut: 1980.
Linguistique et non-violence, in La Juna penso, Laroque-Timbaut: 1978. 11 p.
(with Rene Centassi), L'homme qui a defie Babel ("The man who defied Babel"), 2nd ed., biography of Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, L'Harmattan: 2001. ISBN 2-84114-114-4
Tabakismo kaj Emancipigo ("Tobacco addiction and emancipation"), in La Juna Penso, 1976. 36 p.
Kio estas SAT? ("What is SAT?"), 1985.
La homo kiu defiis Babelon (trans. by Georges Lagrange and Philippe Combot from L'homme qui a defie Babel). L'Harmattan 2001. ISBN 2-7475-1807-8. The same work has later been translated into and published in Korean (ISBN 89-7464-371-5) and Spanish (2005, ISBN 84-88519-15-X), Lithuanian (2006, ISBN 5-420-01588-9) and Czech (2007, ISBN 978-80-254-0308-2).
Paco en Proksima Oriento, from La Paix au Moyen-Orient ("Peace in the Middle East"), by Aharon Cohen, in La Juna Penso, Laroque-Timbaut: 1974. 22 p.