Antoine and Georges Izméry were Palestinian-Haitian brothers who were assassinated within a year of each other by the Haitian coup regime that dominated Haiti from 1991-1994. Antoine was a prominent supporter of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, president of Haiti’s first democratically-elected government following the historic Dec. 16, 1990 elections. President Aristide was overthrown by a military coup just seven months after he came to power. From September 1991 to October 1994, Haiti was ruled by a brutal military junta headed by General Raoul Cedras. 

Antoine Izméry

Antoine Izméry was an outspoken critic of the coup regime. He advocated for the return of the exiled President Aristide and he criticized the US role in promoting the coup. His brother, Georges, was murdered in May 1992 by a paramilitary death squad associated with the regime. 

In the eulogy for his brother, Antoine said “Today, in Georges’ name, I speak for all the people who have disappeared: underprivileged, students, journalists, peasants,workers and peaceful citizens. To understand this hideous crime, beyond pain and emotion, it must be understood that they want to transform Haiti into a vast prison and an immense cemetery.” Antoine Izméry subsequently lodged a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over Georges’ death, which sparked a sharply critical resolution from the commission.

On September 11, 1993, Antoine himself was assassinated in broad daylight by 10 armed men tied to Haiti’s military and police. He was dragged from a memorial church service honoring victims of the 1988 St. Jean Bosco massacre, forced to kneel in the street, and shot point blank in the head despite the presence of domestic and international human rights observers and the press.

An international UN investigation later concluded that the elaborate plan to assassinate Antoine Izméry could not have been carried out without the complicity, if not the participation, of highly placed members of the Haitian armed forces. 

Haiti Action Committee is honored to post this powerful eulogy given by Antoine Izméry in 1992 for his younger brother.  We salute and remember Antoine and Georges Izméry for their dedication to justice and social change in Haiti and their love for their fellow human beings. Today, in yet another period of horrific state-sponsored terror in Haiti, the example of the Izméry brothers continues to resonate.

 

EULOGY OF GEORGES IZMERY

Delivered by his older brother, Antoine Izméry

Circumstances of the death of my brother… On May 30, 
Georges would have been 46. He didn’t celebrate with us, his family, 
his relatives, his friends. He is dead. Assassinated by three bullets. 
One near his right shoulder, two in the back. Killed by a coward. He, a 
peaceful citizen who respected God, loved his family, honestly 
earned his living by his work and shared the fruits of his labor 
with others, especially the poorest people of this society. Georges 
died, assassinated, Thursday May 26 around 6 p.m., a stone’s throw 
away from our store, situated on the Boulevard Jean Jacques 
Dessalines, not far from the Cafeteria police station.

Police officers from the Cafeteria, situated near to the scene of 
the crime, didn’t arrive until after protection was given to the 
cowards who committed the murder. Members of my family were 
not authorized to transport my brother to the hospital to get care 
for him. The police took it upon themselves to move him and 
brought him in a police wagon directly to the General Hospital 
morgue. Everyone has heard what the doctors said: No one was 
allowed to go near him: neither his relatives to see him, nor a 
doctor they sent to examine him. If his name were not Izméry, they 
would no doubt have registered him as “unknown.” That’s what had 
been written on his record when he arrived at the hospital.

We would have looked for him everywhere in vain and he would not 
have been recovered, like so many others in the mass graves of 
Titanyen. I am not exaggerating when I say this. I am simply 
denouncing the hideous practice, reintroduced in to Haiti since the 
coup d’etat, of shooting down citizens night and day, disposing of 
their bodies as though after an epidemic, to erase all traces of 
their existence, to deprive them of all respect, even after death. 
Today, in George’s name, I speak for all the people who have 
disappeared: underprivileged, students, journalists, peasants, 
workers and peaceful citizens.

To understand this hideous crime, beyond pain and emotion, it 
must be understood that they want to transform Haiti into a vast 
prison and an immense cemetery. Do you remember that yesterday, 
with Jean Marie Montes, a trade unionist, it was Serge Villard, 
advisor to the government and a man of integrity. Today it is 
Georges, a well-known businessman. Tomorrow who will it be? 
Who next? Do not think that you are safe. The criminals have struck down someone well known, of good heart, 
rich, and whose fortune is based on hard work. Nevertheless, every 
day gratuitous murders are committed in the country.

Since 
September 30, the Army has renewed its former behavior. It 
believes itself to be once again the master of lives and of goods. It 
kills today as it killed Jean-Robert Cius, Daniel Israel, Mackinson 
Michel in Gonaives, Roseline Vaval in 
Petit- Goave, Christophe Charnel in Cap-Haitien, Duny Despestre in 
Port-au-Prince, without counting the others: Yves Volel, Lafontant 
Joseph, Gregory Delpe and thousands of anonymous people in Cite 
Soleil, San-Fil, Martissant, St. Martin, Bolosse, Carrefour, Cap, 
Cayes, Jeremie, Port-de-Paix.

Every morning the sun rises on a cortege of cadavers in the streets. 
Georges was disgusted by it. In the midst of work, he couldn’t keep 
from letting his anger out over such cowardice. Since May 15th, 
some 300 cadavers have passed through the morgue of the General 
Hospital. Every evening brings gun fire, robberies, rapes, and fear 
in the homes, especially in working class neighborhoods, privileged 
targets of the soldiers. Every honest person must reproach this 
intolerable situation or wait one day to be the next victim.

There is still time. Rise up and make your voice heard for your own 
survival. The murder of Georges is a revolting and sordid crime 
committed against a merchant who peacefully attended to his own 
business. It is a gratuitous murder, perpetrated against someone 
of whom nobody could naively say, “He asked for it.”

But there is also the non-assistance of a person in danger. 
Soldiers did not help Georges Izméry. Worse, when they finally got 
to the scene of the crime, they forbade and prevented any help. At 
the moment of the crime a police wagon was waiting nearby. 
Simple coincidence? Bizarre coincidence? Instead of an 
ambulance, the police wagon took away the body. Thus, not only do 
soldiers kill, but they want to be assured that, their deed 
accomplished, death follows. The non-assistance of a person in 
danger is just as ignoble a crime as murder itself. It is a crime 
punishable by the law. A soldier who orders his subordinates to 
act in this manner shows that, in this army, there is neither 
”moderation” nor “respect for life” as some would want us to 
believe–whether general or captain, sergeant or simple soldier.

To the suffering of the relatives they add an undue pressure: the 
threat to make them know the same fate as the victim. What are 
they looking for? To make everyone know that they have the right 
of life and death over them, as in the darkest days of Francois 
Duvalier! Put another way, they impose upon us with their arms 
a war to force us to recognize their supremacy. These heirs, these 
macoutes, don’t want to become unworthy of their “spiritual 
father.” They must find us facing them, decided to win the battle 
for democracy. Our rejection of duvalierism, of its doctrine and 
its fascist practices is total and definitive. There will be no 
possible compromise with those who want to make us submit by 
force of arms. It is them or us. As much as they will use violence, 
it will always be them against us and us without them. Makout pe 
ladann (macoutes fear involvement).

Georges Izméry and the social question. We must also ask 
ourselves whether Georges Izméry was really the target they 
intended to kill. To this question I reply without hesitating that, 
in his way, Georges was a fighter. He did not accept the sordid and 
inhuman conditions in which his fellow citizens wasted away. 
Georges knew La Saline, Cite Soleil and all the working class 
neighborhoods without water, sewers, electricity, work or hope for 
a better future than what the inhabitants could forge for 
themselves. Georges expressed his solidarity in sharing a part of 
his wealth with the poorest of our society. He knew how to extend 
a helping hand to all. He also helped finance ecclesiastical, social 
and community projects. He shared not to show off the wealth he 
had earned by his work, but to redistribute a part of it to the 
community and to his fellow citizens as his heart told him to do. 
It was his way to respond to the problems of a great number of 
underprivileged in Haiti.

Georges and I shared the same values, the same choices and the 
same objectives. We had complete confidence in one another. His 
murder confirms. if it needed to be, the degradation of moral 
values in Haiti. We live in a society where life is no longer 
respected. They kill as if for pleasure. They torture innocent 
people in a sadistic manner. Even the dead aren’t respected; they 
are buried in shallow graves and the dogs share the remains. Let us 
not close our eyes. Otherwise we would risk, in turn, coveting 
other people’s money and trying to acquire it by theft. Let us not 
close our consciousness to the cries of peasants because we, in 
turn, will seek to dispossess them of their land.

Our children and all the youth of Haiti expect from us a new society 
marked by the seal of truth; they expect to be done with the reign 
of

St. Jean-Bosco Church

institutionalized lies. A joyous society where the values of 
compassion, fraternity, love and respect for all will be substituted 
for injustice, violence, hatred and intolerance. A small group 
without moral values 
rendered possible the fire in Saint John Bosco and the murder of 
the faithful assembled to pray to God. It rendered possible the 
stabbing of the little girl, Esperancia, in her mother’s womb before 
her birth. It rendered possible the fire in Lafanmi Selavi 
(orphanage) where cowards caused the deaths of four children in their 
sleep.

Georges is dead, and so many others too, victims of this little group 
without scruples or any sense of moral values. That Georges’ death 
be a key event for the new beginning and the definitive 
transformation sought by the people. That Georges’ death give 
courage to continue the struggle and the reason we will win.

Many people ask themselves with reason if there was a mistake 
about the person. They believe that the one they want to 
eliminate at any price is me, Antoine Izméry. And they advance 
four reasons as proof:

a) My strong political opinions: I don’t make any concessions 
to the putschists, to the corrupt and to their buddies, the dealers 
in contraband. And I agitate for the return of Aristide to his 
country and his functions.

b) My incessant struggle against the dealers in contraband 
that makes me seem like a hindrance to getting rich fraudulently. 
Yet, behind every deal in contraband is usually a military thug, high 
ranking, naturally.

c) The action that Georges and I just broached against the 
Banque de l’Union Haitienne (B.U.H.) We were attempting to gather 
enough shareholders to convoke an extraordinary assembly with 
the purpose of examining the politics of B.U.H. loans, the repeated 
internal embezzlement and the kind of financing of putschists they 
operate. Thus, certain financial operations would be directly 
linked to the present political situation. (Note: the B.U.H. is 
controlled by the Brandt family).

d) My decisive criticism of U.S. policy vis-a-vis Haiti, which 
disturbed American diplomatic personnel. I have my opinions on 
the Americans and their participation in the coup d’etat of 
September 1991 and I have stated them publicly. I denounce the 
bad signals sent to the putschists every time a breach is opened in 
the embargo either by the U.S. itself or by their inaction….. This 
struggle would irritate the military either because of the 
contesting of their usurped power, their assassinations or the 
restraints placed on their illicit enrichment. I will be to them a 
man to slaughter. Georges has fallen, perhaps in my place. And 
whatever error there may be, this will prove only one thing: that 
all of us present in this Cathedral or elsewhere are in danger of 
death.
For the moment, I am alive and I do not at all have the intention of 
making my political testament here. But I must tell you that my 
life is a quest for justice and for social change in Haiti. For me, 
the first objective of justice is the right to life, protected and 
guaranteed by a government conscious of the claims of all our 
people. I will not change. I will always remain a political fighter.

To our Haitian friends, I will permit myself to say that the 
struggle for the triumph of justice will be long and bloody. But 
liberty is not given, it is taken. And for one who falls, 10, 100, 
1000 will follow. Yes, the people of Haiti are hungry and thirsty 
for justice. It began on February 7, 1986. It will not stop until the 
objectives have been attained: a more humane, just, truthful and 
joyous society, a society where all are respected, kote tout moun 
se moun.

Lycee Izmery – named in honor of Izmery brothers

To my foreign friends I will say this, I am not looking for death. 
But I am not afraid of death. Life is not the most precious good to 
humanity. There are conditions that can render life itself odious. 
To know that one is governed by assassins or by a band of organized 
criminals such as the mafia…. To live under terror, to be deprived 
of ones fundamental liberties, to see oneself robbed of the result 
of a vote freely and democratically expressed, to not have the 
means to decent housing for oneself, to nourish oneself 
comfortably, to be cared for, to send ones children to school, to be 
tortured or imprisoned in a degrading way: here are some of the 
conditions that render life odious. The Haitian people will always 
find me on their side and on the side of our freely elected leaders 
in our march toward life and in our combat against death.

All of you who have come to pay respects to Georges, who have 
brought comfort to our family and myself, I salute you with 
respect, honor and dignity. Georges is no more! He bequeaths to us 
the terrain of social change and love for fellow beings. In this 
sense, he is not dead. He lives in our projects and in what we do so 
that never, never again in Haiti will people be brought to say as in 
’Les Gouverneurs de la Rosee’: “We all are dying.”

So, like all fighters and all social reformers, Georges Izméry will 
always be present among us.

 

[from Haiti: Resistance & Democracy. Bulletin #111 by Haiti Communications Project]